Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Art of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander | Rating: ★★★☆☆

As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way. 

When I first heard about The Art of Not Breathing I knew that I had to read it. There was something I enjoyed about the vibe of the summary and I coveted it from the get go. I felt it had the potential to be all its own but also hit a similar vein like Sarah Dessen, Lurlene McDaniel and Gayle Forman. And who can resist such a promising plot? I felt right away I would need a tissue box on hand and I wasn't wrong.

But. Huge but. The Art of Not Breathing wasn't exactly what I expected it to be and while it was still solid, and I'd definitely recommend it, I couldn't help but to be a little uncertain about it. As a whole, I can't say if I'm going to ever be inclined to pick it up and read it again. But I will say that it is undeniably heartfelt and a breeze to finish. All you young adult lovers out there will devour this one quickly and it's readily on the list of summer reads.

Sarah Alexander hits a lot of good notes in her portrayal of loss--the loss of a twin, five years prior, no less--and mental illness. There are many trigger warns applicable to The Art of Not Breathing but not always in an overly graphic way. I daresay that Alexander knew what she was doing and did a solid when it came down to accuracy.


Sweet Little Lies by Lauren Conrad | Rating: ★★★☆☆

Fame and style, scandal and gossip, Lauren Conrad is at it again with her bestselling drama L.A. Candy.  Sweet Little Lies follows the introduction to the trilogy quite well and showcases a tale of fluffy goodness, rivaling the novels Gossip Girl and The A-List in terms of guilty pleasure enjoyment. Because of Conrad's start on MTV with a hugely successful spin on reality television with Laguna Beach and The Hills, L.C. knows her stuff when it comes to unexpected fame and a sultry backdrop.

Not everything is as it seems and who can you really trust when it all boils down to fame? Jane Roberts' world was thrust into chaos after she and best friend, Scarlett, are approached to star in a reality series. Now, a scandal has sent her into hiding with her new, untrustworthy, friend and co-star Madison. After news leaks of Jane having cheated on her delicious, celebrity boyfriend (with his best friend, no less) and unbecoming photographs of her begin popping up in the tabloids, the series is hotter than ever. Nothing beats a good scandal in Hollywood and Jane has just provided one for the ages.

Desperate to get away from everything, Jane is swept up by Madison for a little vacation. Little does she know that Madison is the one who betrayed her and caused the storm to materialize.


The Haters by Jesse Andrews | Rating: ★★☆☆☆

As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

The thing about The Haters is I wanted to love it--I really and truly wanted to because A.) the plot sounds incredibly fun and promising in theory and I could really use a laugh an a road trip plot. B.) Jesse Andrews is hugely talented and made me fall in love with Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and his writing. And C.) Amulet's promotion of the novel was the cutest I've seen in the last few years and I'm a sucker for cute things. So when I flipped the book to read its summary I was pumped.

But the problem was that it didn't live up to expectations at all and felt equal parts lackluster and try hard. Jesse Andrews could have done so much better in my eyes but the simple matter is that it is likely just not my cup of tea personally. Because while it wasn't awful, awful, awful and had some bright spots, it just wasn't all that great in my view. I wanted so much more from it and it was just not meant to be.

Alas! 


Bucky F*cking Dent by David Duchovny | Rating: ★★★★★

Can you, man, find the poetry to keep the sun from rising, like a mountain, blocking its inevitable ascent for a few more moments? Can you, who call yourself a writer, find the words that will have an actual influence on the real and natural world? Magic passwords-shazzam, open sesame, scoddy waddy doo dah–warriors lurking in the Trojan horse of words. The implicit answer to Coleridge’s question was: Hell, no. If the answer were yes, he would never have asked the question. The writer will never make something happen in the real world. In fact, the act of writing may be in itself the final admission that one is powerless in reality. Shit, that would surely suck. 

Bucky F*cking Dent is more than just an attention grabbing title. It is more than just a small novel about life, and its hits and misses. Most importantly, the novel introduces us to David Duchovny, novelist, instead of David Duchovny, actor. You may know David Duchovny from his many iconic roles throughout his career: Fox Mulder (The X-Files), Hank Moody (Californication) or currently Sam Hodiak (Aquarius) or the like. Or you may only know him in passing from his prolific career.

But what many people don't realize is that Duchovny is a skilled writer--a talent that is often unacknowledged.


Friday, May 27, 2016

You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan |  Rating: ★★★★★

As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via Net Galley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Broadening the genre (if only for a small fraction of what is desired) beloved LGBTQ friendly writers Nina LaCour ("Everything Leads to You", "Hold Still") and David Levithan ("Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist", "Boy Meets Boy") have teamed up with each other for what's surely the most dynamic writing duo this year and lead us into a breezy young adult contemporary that is fast on track to becoming a new favorite for fans.

Seriously, guys. Their writing together? It's heavenly. Can you guys, like, I don't know, team up again about thirty-five more times? No?

Okay. Back on track!

If you've ever loved either author's work (solo or otherwise) You Know Me Well should be at the top of your list to purchase this summer. I don't even have to tell you this. Perhaps the best young adult book of 2016, You Know Me Well is the perfect novel to lay in the sun with and remains impossible to put down. New fans will be made with this gem of a novel and I'm confident in saying so.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

 Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld | Rating: ★★★★☆

As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way. 

Fans of Jane Austen, rejoice! Fans of Curtis Sittenfeld? Bonus rejoice. Double rejoice. All the rejoice. How many times can I say rejoice in my review before one of you lot reaches through my laptop screen to slap me a bit? Okay, I’m calm now. Kind of. It’s no secret that this little (little?) guy was at the tip top of my most anticipated this year and that’s for two reasons.

One: I love Jane Austen. A lot. And retellings of her work can be pretty gnarly. Did I say gnarly? I’m sorry.

Two: I love Curtis Sittenfeld.

Like… a lot.

Honestly, are you guys ready for this one? Because this review has been ages in the making for me and I wanted to get it just right. But sometimes words don’t do anything justice and even though this wasn’t my favorite release of the year, I sure did enjoy it. I have a lot of feelings for this novel–this beast of a novel, I should say.


The Crown by Kiera Cass | Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

Bittersweet, sophisticated and totally romantic. Those are the three choice words I have for the final installment of the beloved The Selection series by Kiera Cass. After five books and one collection of short stories, the series wraps up its final chapter with The Crown; leaving readers breathless and more than a little sad to say goodbye.

As always, with Kiera Cass, loose ends are tied up and there are many moments to swoon over. If you were one of the many who didn’t find themselves that fond of The Heir, this one is the superior of the two–it’s all about growth, decisions, love and the choices we make that can be longstanding.

Refresher, time! When we left Eadlyn Schreave she was in the process of not only coming of age in the public eye but making history by being a female heir to the throne who is having her own selection. Eadlyn is a mix of both good and bad qualities between her parents, our beloved America and Maxon. For many readers, this becomes a problem–because she is a child, she is a bit spoiled and she can be aggressive in many ways.

(I have to be honest, I don’t think she’s as bad as everyone else seems to and firmly believe that if she were a male, she wouldn’t receive half as much hate from the fandom.)