Saturday, September 3, 2016

Daring the Bad Boy by Monica Murphy

Daring the Bad Boy Book Review
by Monica Murphy

Truth or Dare was never this much fun…

Annie McFarland is sick of being a shy nobody. A session at summer camp seems like the perfect opportunity to reinvent herself—gain some confidence, kiss a boy, be whoever she wants to be. A few days in, she’s already set her sights on über-hottie Kyle. Too bad her fear of water keeps her away from the lake, where Kyle is always hanging out.

Jacob Fazio is at Camp Pine Ridge after one too many screw-ups. Junior counseling seems like punishment enough, but the rigid no-fraternizing-with-campers rules harsh his chill. When a night of Truth or Dare gets him roped into teaching Annie how to swim, she begs him to also teach her how to snag Kyle.

Late-night swim sessions turn into late-night kissing sessions…but there’s more on the line than just their hearts. If they get caught, Jake’s headed straight to juvie, but Annie’s more than ready to dare him to reveal the truth.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains references to drinking, sexual situations, adult language, and an intense bad boy hero who will melt your heart.


This book fit perfectly into the type of summer reading that I normally like. It cute, with an adorable bad boy , and the perfect summer camp setting. I liked how the romance between the Annie and Jake started differently than many contemporary romances. Normally the girl is the one that is all fluttery inside and the guy seems aloof but in this book Jake liked Annie before she really realized she liked him. I liked this aspect of the book because it wasn't the complete insta-love that I expected. I liked that their romance didn't go from 0 to 60 in 10 pages. It took its time and developed in more of a slow burn. I thought the scene where they jumped off the cliff and almost kissed in the dark in the pool at the bottom was super cute. The only part of the book that kind of made me mad was how Annie pressured Jake to tell everyone even though  it could get him in trouble. I understand that she really liked him and wanted everyone to know that they were dating but it was wrong of her to go behind his back. It ended up working out in their favor though because Jake's father went through a similar situation when he met Jake's mother. The whole thing worked itself out and Jake and Annie were able to stay together even though they lived far apart. The book is a cute, easy summer read that follows a very familiar but lovable trope.

My Rating: ***.5

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Romancing the Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

Romancing the Nerd by Leah Rae Miller


Dan Garrett has become exactly what he hates—popular. Until recently, he was just another live-action role-playing nerd on the lowest rung of the social ladder. Cue a massive growth spurt and an uncanny skill at taking three-point shots in basketball and voilà...Mr. Popular. It's definitely weird.
And the biggest drawback? Going from high school zero to basketball hero cost Dan the secret girl of his dorky dreams.
A band geek with an eclectic fashion sense, Zelda Potts's “coolness” stat is about minus forty-two. Dan turning his back on her and the rest of nerd-dom was brutal enough, but when he humiliates her at school, Zelda decides it's time for a little revenge—dork style. Never mind that she used to have a crush on him. Never mind that her plan could backfire big time.
It's time to roll the dice...and hope like freakin' hell she doesn't lose her heart in the process.

Non-Spoilery Thoughts:

First I have to say that this book is as adorkable as the cover, title, and synopsis would suggest. As a book and film lover I have to say that I have a bit of an inner nerd myself, so while I have never LARPed, I'm pretty sure I understood and was able to appreciate all of the other nerdy references. I got all warm and fuzzy while reading this nerd romance and I think many other fellow book nerd will feel the same way. Also, the plot started off as a revenge story that then morphs into a reluctant romance which is a trope that I will never get sick of in the rom-com genre. 

More Specific/Spoiler Details:

Of course in a revenge romance plot, the revenge-er must create a false identity on social media to spy and communicate with the victim. I thought it was adorable how Dan was talking to Zelda's online persona about a girl that he had blew it with and she didn't even realize he was talking about her. She thinks he is talking about some other girl and thinks she is going to get the juicy drama she needs to get revenge on him but really it just proved that he was a great guy and regretted how he had hurt her. The nerdy late night chats just kept me smiling like a goof. The cutest online chat moment had to be when Dan says he actually pets the screen of his computer because he is pretty much swooning over Zelda's nerdy opinion.

It was really frustrating how Dan would open up to Zelda in their chats and she would just try and twist his words to make him seem like a bad person. She kept wanting to think of him as the bad guy even though he wasn't. I felt bad for Dan and the situation with his dad and sports. In high school I also played basketball and enjoyed it for a while but eventually it just became too much for me and I wanted to quit. My parents were angry and opposed the idea because to them being an athlete in high school was the most  important thing I could be doing with my life. I quit and was much happier just being my bookish nerdy self. Despite feeling bad for Daniel I still found it lightly weird and funny that a guy with the nickname Taxidermy Todd cared so much about sports.

Another reason why I really liked Dan (that developed into a boom crush) was because he embraced his nerdy side so well and even had a nerd tattoo! I also really liked his humor and banter with Zelda. When he walked in on her quoting Star Wars while holding the light saber and proceeded to start a light saber fight I had to try so hard to hold back the goofy smile because I was reading in public.

All around a great book that any self proclaimed book nerd or comic lover will enjoy and relate to so well.


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Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

* This book will be released on April 19, 2016.

I think there are two types of thrillers: the type that start out normal and then BAM everything goes to crap or the kind where the insanity has already happened and you are on a journey with the narrator to piece together what happened. This book was the second kind of thriller and was a tad confusing in the beginning trying to figure out names and how they fit with the man character. Even though the book started after the murder had occurred the mystery didn't really pick up for me until about three quarters through the story. The beginning of the book seemed to be a lot like what I had seen of "Making of a Murderer"; the main character was questioning the testimony she gave to put the suspected murderer in jail. Also, the little foreword made me think that this book was based off a true story but I didn't want to look it up and get spoiled. After finishing the book I tried to find out more information on whether or not the story was rooted in fact. I couldn't find anything but I did encounter Kara Thomas's website for the book. I really like how it was set up to look like a local news site that was reporting about the murders. The video-promos on the website for the book were really great and would work really well as a book trailer to encourage people to read the book. 

Despite the slow start the book took an unsuspected turn at this point in the story. I was thrown for a loop trying to figure out how all of the individual crimes fit together. I think the best aspect of this book didn't have to do with the Monster but the mystery of Tessa's missing family. I was a bit worried that the author wouldn't be able to pull it all together in the end but I felt like it was all wrapped up very well. All of the loose ends were closed and all the crimes were solved. The only loose piece that wasn't really explained was the last few lines of the epilogue. I thought that it was really neat that Kara Thomas left that little cliff hanger for the reader. It was pretty obvious how the ending fit in with the rest of the story but that tiny bit of mystery left the haunting feeling at the end of the book.

MY RATING: ***(1/2)

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

by Sandy Hall

I picked this book up because I just wanted a breezy, cute read to read for Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, I finished it in one day, and now have to find another awesomely cute read! This book is so fast paced and I got sucked in to the characters' lives so quickly. I was worried that I wouldn't get to know the characters well enough because it wasn't told from either of their perspectives, but I, just like all the narrators of the story got so invested in Lea and Gabe's relationship. I felt like creative writing teacher, Inga, rooting for them so hard, while at the same time cursing Hillary. I think this is a perfect Valentine's Day read or for an everyday pick-me-up.


I have to admit that at first I was doubting the author because I found all the different viewpoints confusing. I just didn't understand how I would be able to read about important milestones in Lea and Gabe's relationship if it was told from everyone except them. I quickly grew to like them however. They kept the story fresh and I liked hearing how invested all of the narrators were. I loved how the bus driver Bob, fantasized about stopping short so that Lea would fall into Gabe's arms. I was a bit confused by the bench narrator but I figured the bench would be where Lea and Gabe had an important conversation (and I was right!). My favorite narrator by far though had to be the squirrel. I was reading this book in bed, and I would randomly shout "squirrel" and read passages so my roommate could hear all of the cute things the squirrel said. One of my favorite squirrel lines had to be when he didn't know what a bagel was, but he hoped it was a kind of nut (lol). By the way, I am also a first year college student so I found a ton of the material in this book to be very relate-able. I also really enjoyed the pop-culture references that were sprinkled throughout the book. Great movies and TV shows like Buffy, Mean Girls, and Teen Wolf were mentioned. I did figure out that Gabe had a hearing issue before it was actually stated it but I love figuring out twists and having them be right almost as much as I love being surprised. 
One of my favorite interactions between Gabe and Lea was when they introduced themselves to each other at midnight breakfast after sitting next to each other for an entire semester. Poor Victor was narrating this scene and he broke up some of the second-hand awkwardness by pretending to stab himself with his fork. The most frustrating part of the novel was when Gabe decided to talk to Hillary to get used to talking to girls. I immediately knew that Lea would be offended. She spent so much time and effort trying to get Gabe to talk to her but he was too shy, but he can just walk up to Hillary and chat. He obviously didn't like her, which was why he was able to talk to her but Lea didn't know that and the rift this caused between them was heartbreaking. Gabe finally got up the nerve to talk to her in the coffee shop and she left when he tried. Despite this, they finally worked all their shyness out and the bench had it's big scene with the two of them...

MY RATING: ****1/2

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Secret to Letting Go by Katherine Fleet

The Secret to Letting Go
Katherine Fleet


One summer can change everything…
Haunted with guilt after his girlfriend’s death, Daniel Hudson has no interest in committing to anyone. At the end of the summer, he’ll be leaving Florida for a new start in college. If only he could avoid the mysterious new girl in town, who seems every bit as naive and eccentric as she looks. Trouble is, she’s hard to ignore, with her beautiful piercing eyes, pitiful-looking dog, and unsettling tendency of finding trouble.
Clover Scott lived her whole life off the grid and arrives on the Gulf coast in search of her grandparents. She never expected to nearly drown, or get caught in a hurricane, or fall in love with the boy who rescues her. Now, she has a chance to rewrite her life’s story, to finally fit in somewhere, but Daniel wants answers about her past. When the police start asking questions about the disappearance of her parents, she must make a choice: go to jail or confess her secrets—even if they might destroy her chance at a happily-ever-after.


Before reading this book I only briefly scanned the synopsis; reading about the first paragraph before deciding it was something I was interested in reading. I had the idea that this book would be a romantic story of two people overcoming past struggles. Although this is a good description, I was not expecting the darkness in this book. I think it was good for me to start the book without really knowing what it was about because the sudden shifts in the emotion of the book kept me totally engaged. Also, this book plunged right into the story, I didn't have to wait at all to meet either of the main characters. These were character that were so lovable and I really enjoyed that I didn't have to read for awhile before getting to know them. Clover was so awkwardly cute and innocent seeming, while Daniel was completely understanding and always willing to help her. Both characters had problems from their past but the problems didn't directly present themselves in the story. I loved first getting to know the characters and observe their interactions before diving into their grief. Their problems started to present themselves and the book started to take a darker turn but it still had surprisingly adorable scenes that perfectly balanced the grief. One of my favorite parts in the book is when Daniel takes Clover to see her first movie. The fact that she helped clean up the theater after and Daniel let her was the cutest thing ever. Moments like these really balanced the mystery of Clover and Daniel's past so the reader wasn't overwhelmed. I expected Clover's secret to be bad but not as horrible as it was. I felt really horrible about how she blamed herself. She didn't understand society because her "father" had kept her secluded and she felt she had no one to turn to.I liked how Daniel handled the situation and supported Clover. I was also completely surprised and blown away to find out that Mr. Garret was Clover's dad. It was nice to know that she had family besides her grandpa left and that she would be able to count on them in the future. Finding out that Sam was her brother was also a really nice part to that surprise. I like how quickly Sam stepped into the role as older brother; even defending Clover when he saw Daniel kissing Morgan. I really loved the unexpected nature of this book, as well as the romance. The romance was unique because even though Daniel and Clover helped each other start to heal, they finished their journey on their own. They both really were able to understand themselves and the pasts before they started dating again. 

My Rating: ****

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Not Okay Cupid by Heidi R. Kling

Not Okay, Cupid Blog Tour Review

by Heidi R. Kling

Her wicked revenge, or his wicked heart…
Hazel McCallister loves her life. Perfect grades. Perfect best friend. Perfect boyfriend. Until her perfect boyfriend cheats on her with her perfect best friend. Now Hazel’s in free fall—until her best friend’s brother, Felix, gives her the perfect idea. Reclaim her power by taking revenge on her cheating ex.
Felix James loves his life. Casual relationships. Loads of surfing. He’s as drama-free as they come. But he can’t stand by when his sister steals her best friend’s boyfriend, and the dude insists it was Hazel’s fault. So Felix vows to help turn Hazel into a girl her ex can’t resist—so then she can break his heart.
With an alliance in place, Hazel’s revenge is all but assured. But with each piece of payback, she feels a stronger attraction to Felix, even though revenge will turn her into a girl Felix could never be with. And soon Hazel has to make an impossible choice: revenge…or Felix, the boy who’s stolen her heart.
WARNING! This book contains betrayal, revenge, and that most tempting vice of all, the bad boy you know you can’t have.

This book can pretty much be summed up by its cover. It is a cute, bubbly, romantic comedy in book form. It was pretty predictable (true rom-com fashion) but that is exactly what I want when reading these types of books. I can't think of much else non-spoiler things to say besides the fact that it is adorable.


First off I would like to address Hazel's original relationship with Jay. It was a classic rom-com toxic romance. Jay sounded like a complete tool; counting his calories and only wearing pastel, frat boy outfits. Also both Jay and Hazel were in the relationship because it was easy; Hazel didn't even enjoy kissing Jay. I think that these obvious faults in their relationship made Hazel's quick feelings for Felix more believable. She never truly had any chemistry or feelings for Jay so it was believable that she moved on so quickly.

The romance between Felix and Hazel was also a pretty typical trope for this type of novel but it was still enjoyable. They started their fake relationship in order to get back at Hazel's boyfriend (classic set-up for the girl to fall in love with the fake boyfriend).  Even though Felix is said to be the "bad boy" he never really seemed that way in the book. He was always bantering with Hazel and even though they weren't really dating he opened up to her. He even named his sweet potato dipping sauce after her for the Valentine's day menu at the diner. My favorite scene from the book though is when Hazel is texting Felix and he says he is trying to avoid a collision right before he runs into her. Then they banter and Hazel play punches Felix and he tells her she shouldn't punch him because he isn't a shark. This is obviously an inside joke and I thought it was the cutest conversation they had in the book. I think I smiled throughout this whole book and I might have even giggled once or twice.

MY RATING: ***.75

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Monday, January 4, 2016

Top 10 Reads of 2015

Hey guys! It's  almost a week into 2016 so I figured I better make my list of the top 10 books I read last year. These really aren't in any particular order because I have a hard time comparing genres because some (like romance) are purely entertaining and others (fantasy) take more time to fall in love with the world.

... DRUM-ROLL...

10. Winter by Marissa Meyer
This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. The month before t was released I reread the first three books so that I could essentially marathon the series because I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing any details. I was not dissapointed at all. I pretty much loved how everything wrapped up and I have to say that this is a series finale to rival a Cassandra Clare finale.

9. Archer's Voice by Mia Sheridan
This is probably one of the best purely romantic books I have read. I loved the interesting point of view that Archer provided being that he is a mute. I had read books from the perspective a a deaf protagonist and I found this equally eye-opening. I also loved the angst (lol). I listened to this on audiobook and I would listen to it in the car on my way to work or school. There were times when I would just sit in my car until the last possible second and then think about it the whole time I was working because something angsty had happened.

8. Confess by Colleen Hoover
As long as Colleen keeps writing books she will probably always have a place in my top ten of the year. She released two books this year and I absolutely loved them both but I chose Confess to be in my top ten because of the unique art she included. I fell in love with Danny O'Connor's work as well as the characters in the novel. Her books always have a "punch in the gut" moment that just makes you want to curl in a ball but keep reading at the same time. Of course I cried while reading this...

7. The Martian by Andy Weir
It may seem odd but despite my love of reading and literature, I am going to school to be an engineer. This book appealed to both sides of me and I really enjoyed how the author merged science with extreme wit and humor. Also the movie was fantastic (one of the best book to movie adaptations).

6. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
I really enjoyed the rawness of this novel and the historic accuracy Diana portrayed. I loved the story despite the slow beginning and I really enjoyed the first season of the TV show adaptation. Unfortunately I am intimidated by the size of the rest of the series and I have heard it is still slow moving. Please comment to offer encouragement to continue on.

5. Saga by Brian K. Vaughn
This year was my first venture into graphic novels. This is my favorite I have read so far, although I have only read the first two in the series. I like the art and how the daughter is narrating from the future and the omniscience her perspective provides.

4. Winger by Andrew Smith
This book was one of the most surprising for me this year. I just expected a contemporary novel about a boy at boarding school. I thought that was all it was until the last little bit where I was completely blown away by the ending. I haven't read the companion novel yet but I hope to in 2016.

3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
I was hesitant about this book because of the hype but I really did end up enjoying this debut novel. I am thrilled to hear that it is not a stand alone like it was advertised and I can't wait for the sequel. (Is it going to be a movie too?)

2. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
This was one of the many verrrryyy long fantasy novels I read this year. I loved its uniqueness and the ambiguity of the characters. Also the magic system, is one of the most interesting and powerful of any fantasy novel.

This is the only book that is intentionally ranked because it was hands down my favorite book of the year. And maybe my favorite book of all time.
**1.** All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This year I really developed a liking for historical fiction mostly because of PeruseProject's constant compliment for the genre and because of this book. I LOVED the way this book painted the picture of the historical events and the way I could literally see the story before my eyes. Most of the time I have a vague image and only a movie/TV show solidifies how I see the story but this book painted the picture before me. It had so many character perspectives, narrative styles, and timelines, but it worked so well! It was like watching a movie (I'm pretty sure there was even music playing in my head while I read it) and I really hope it could be turned into an awesome movie.