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Book Review: The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

24157347Book Title: The Last Boy and Girl in the World
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publication Date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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What if your town was sliding underwater and everyone was ordered to pack up and leave? How would you and your friends spend your last days together?

While the adults plan for the future, box up their possessions, and find new places to live, Keeley Hewitt and her friends decide to go out with a bang. There are parties in abandoned houses. Canoe races down Main Street. The goal is to make the most of every minute they still have together.

And for Keeley, that means taking one last shot at the boy she’s loved forever.

There’s a weird sort of bravery that comes from knowing there’s nothing left to lose. You might do things you normally wouldn’t. Or say things you shouldn’t. The reward almost always outweighs the risk.

Almost.

It’s the end of Aberdeen, but the beginning of Keeley’s first love story. It just might not turn out the way she thought. Because it’s not always clear what’s worth fighting for and what you should let become a memory.


MY THOUGHTS

I am disappointed by this book. Well, to be honest, it may be partly my fault because I’ve set considerably high expectations for this one due to rave reviews of the author’s Burn for Burn series. I tried to like The Last Boy and Girl in the World but it just really let me down.

Let me mention the things I liked first. For one, there’s the type of conversations that Keeley and Jesse have. Keeley has this huge crush on Jesse and when they started texting each other, they exchange funny photos and videos. I liked that because I personally know how fun that is as compared to idle small talk.

And speaking of Jesse, there was this one time that he was nervous and he started rambling a lot. Despite being a bit out of character, I really liked reading about a boy rambles when agitated. I feel like only girl characters do that in books.

Also, I loved the friendship of Mrs. Hewitt (Keeley’s mom) and Mrs. Dorsey (Keeley’s best friend’s mom). They appear so close despite each having a family of their own, and they always look out for each other in the book. Likewise, Mrs. Dorsey’s daughter, Morgan, is Keeley’s best friend and I loved her character as well.

On the other hand, there are quite a few things that I didn’t like. I really liked the premise of this book but as I read more and more, I find my interest waning.

I didn’t really like most of the characters. Even the main character, Keeley, was hard to bear. She is insensitive, selfish, self-centered and really mean, especially to Levi. Also, I don’t like how all she can think about is her crush while the whole town is basically in shock of their situation.

The romance in the end also feels very forced. I did, however, pushed through until the end because I wanted to see how things would turn out for their town, Aberdeen.

The overall plot was good but most of the characters irked me. Despite this though, I still look forward to reading the author’s other books.

All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads.

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Book Review: The Row by J.R. Johansson

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Book Title: The Row
Author: J.R. Johansson
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publication Date: October 11th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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A death sentence. A family torn apart. One girl’s hunt for the truth.

Seventeen-year-old Riley Beckett is no stranger to prison. Her father is a convicted serial killer on death row who has always maintained that he was falsely accused. Riley has never missed a single visit with her father. She wholeheartedly believes that he is innocent.

Then, a month before the execution date, Riley’s world is rocked when, in an attempt to help her move on, her father secretly confesses to her that he actually did carry out the murders. He takes it back almost immediately, but she cannot forget what he’s told her. Determined to uncover the truth for her own sake, she discovers something that will forever change everything she’s believed about the family she loves.


MY THOUGHTS

Goddamn! This book is amazing. From the moment I read the summary, I knew I would enjoy this but I didn’t expect that I would love this so much. I think I read this book in less than a day, and considering how slow of a reader I’ve become, that just shows how much I’ve enjoyed reading this one.
To start off with this review, let me just say that this is very well-written. The scenes, however intense, are really easy to follow. Also, the way how the author gives  information a bit at a time didn’t irritate me as I thought it would. It just made me want to devour the book more.
Riley’s character, the protagonist, is also very well-written. Her emotions practically seep through the pages which made me empathize for her, and the character development is really evident. The things she was going through were really hard and I think the author did a great job in making Riley’s response to the situation realistic. Also, I like how Riley took it upon herself to find the answers she needs and not try to change her dad’s case because, let’s face it, what difference can a 17 year old make as compared to professionals. Likewise, I also appreciate how the other characters gradually become more open in giving Riley answers instead of thinking of her as a six year-old kid.
Moving on to Jordan, that perfect human being. I love him so much. He is really caring, determined, honest and smart. He also let his emotions take control at times which just shows that he is human too, and I absolutely love him for that. I honestly think that this book could have done with more scenes of Jordan and Riley because the romance here wasn’t really emphasized much. But I also think that the romance was perfect just the way it is. I don’t really understand myself, to be honest.
And can I talk about Matthew for a bit? He is Jordan’s younger brother and he just makes me smile! Scenes with Matthew are just so refreshing from the heavy drama related to the main plot. I miss that little ball of sunshine already. Now I want a younger brother as much as ever!
On the other hand, the mystery aspect in this book is great. I had a few guesses every now and then but I did not anticipate how things would unfold. The ending is amazing and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I recommend this to lovers of contemporary thriller. I can’t wait to try Johansson’s other works!
All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads.
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Book Review: Body Swap by Sylvia McNicoll

36569630Book Title: Body Swap
Author: Sylvia McNicoll
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publication Date: October 9th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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A fatal collision — who’s to blame? Two bodies, two souls switch in search of justice.

When fifteen-year-old Hallie gets knocked flying by a Hurricane SUV, her life ends without her ever having kissed a boy. At an otherworldly carnival, she meets and argues with the eighty-two-year-old driver, Susan. Both return to life, only with one catch — they’ve swapped bodies.

Now Hallie has wrinkled skin and achy joints while Susan deals with a forehead zit and a crush on a guy who’s a player. Hallie faces a life in a long-term care residence. Susan gets picked up for shoplifting.

As they struggle with technology, medications, and each other’s fashion foibles, they start to understand and maybe even like each other. But can they work together to prove that a defect in the Hurricane caused the deadly crash? Or will their time run out?


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

What compelled me to request for this book on Netgalley was the summary. I think it would be interesting to read about a teenage girl swap bodies with an elderly woman. I had hopes for this one, but I’m so sad to say that Body Swap did not meet them.

But let’s start with what I liked. The actual plot of the book is actually good and quite promising. I like the concept of our two main characters, Hallie and Susan, living the other’s life, while searching for a way to go back to normal, despite of their 67-year age gap. It’s fun to see Susan’s transition from originally being an 82-year-old woman to having a 15-year-old’s body, as she learns all about technology and its convenience.

And that’s about it. Now, moving on to the stuff that I think needs improvement…

I had a hard time finishing this book due to a lot of factors. Firstly, I did not connect to any of the characters. I tend to enjoy reading more when the books have complex characters with great character development. This book, however, failed to have said characters. Actually, I’ve come to dislike Hallie. She takes advantage of Susan’s money when they swapped bodies. I mean, Hallie insisted on buying not one, but two $600 phones and then eating at an expensive restaurant afterwards. Susan is an old lady, for crying out loud! Hallie has made a dent on Susan’s retirement money for sure. Aside from that, I hate how Hallie doesn’t even hide her disdain about swapping bodies with Susan. It’s just plain rude. As for the other characters, they just don’t have much depth to them.

I also would have had trouble recognizing whose point of view I was reading if not for the indicators at the start of each chapter. It’s hard to differentiate them at times due to how flat they all fell.

Another thing is that the goal of the book is just so confusing. There’s just so much going on: pretending to be the person they’ve swapped bodies with, proving that a car company is at fault for their mishap, scoring a boyfriend for Hallie, proving that cellphones are both bad and good. All of these in just less than 250 pages.

Overall, this has a great premise but since I am a character-driven reader I didn’t really like this one. Still, go check this out if you want to as this is just a quick read. Unfortunately, this one’s not for me.

All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads and Netgalley.

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Book Review: Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny

40014443Book Title: Summer Constellations
Author: Alisha Sevigny
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publication Date: May 1st 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Julia Ducharme is ready for a fresh start. Her little brother has finally recovered from a serious illness, and now she just wants to enjoy peak season at the campground her family owns. Maybe this will be the year her annual summer fling with Dan Schaeffer becomes something more?

But her summer dreams are quickly shattered. First, Dan arrives for vacation with a new girlfriend in tow, and then Julia discovers this may be her last summer in the only home she’s ever known.

Crushing medical bills have brought her single mom to the brink of bankruptcy, and a wealthy developer is sniffing around the campground. He sees what Julia sees: lush woods, a pristine lake, miles of trails for adventure. Unlike Julia, he thinks this is the perfect spot for a casino resort.

Heartbroken and afraid, Julia looks to the stars for some perspective. Taking her telescope down to the dock one night, she has a chance encounter with a guitar-playing boy who offers some helpful advice. Too bad this handsome stranger is the developer’s son, Nick Constantine.

As plans for a resort move forward, Julia is desperate to find a solution that doesn’t mean leaving the lake. Nick, in turn, is desperate to separate himself from his father’s aggressive business tactics. He promises that, together, they can thwart the sale.

But can Julia trust him to conspire against his own father? And could she ever she trust him with her heart?

SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS is a story of lost summers, hidden treasure and love written in the stars. It is also a thoughtful reflection on what it means to love — and leave — one’s childhood home.


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

When I first saw this on Netgalley, I just knew that I had to request this. The book summary sounded great, and not to mention the gorgeous cover! I knew that I would like this, but I didn’t expect to love Summer Constellations.

To start off, Julia Ducharme is such an interesting character which I connected to instantly. Julia is witty, sweet, passionate, and I think her love for astronomy kinda rubbed off on me; I learned several cool facts! Aside from that, Julia wants to save their campground not only because it’s the only home she and her family grew up in, but she also wants to preserve the beautiful nature from being turned into a casino.

Nick Constantine, on the other hand, is the epitome of perfection. He is just so charming, gentle, and the best boyfriend anyone can ever ask for. He just knows what to say all the time, and he jumped in front of a freaking skunk for Julia and her little brother! Other than that, I love how Nick and Julia’s conversations are mostly about stuff that matter. Not just banter and small talk.

And don’t forget Caleb, Julia’s little brother. Oh, how I love that nine-year-old kid. He didn’t let his condition hinder him from helping out to save the campground. His passion and bravery is just so amazing to read about.

Furthermore, I love how the book mainly focuses on the relationship between Julia and her family, and Julia and Nick; the fact that Julia’s best friend, Paige, went to Osaka in the first chapter of the book contributed to that hence she wasn’t present in most of the book. I would have like a little bit more depth to Julia and Paige’s friendship, though.

From the way it was described, I think that the campground is breathtaking and the author did a great job in painting a picture of it in the readers’ mind. I actually have the urge to go to a campground as well for the summer.

I definitely recommend this book, especially for fans of contemporary books. This a short but sweet, humorous book perfect for the summer! I will surely be on the look-out for more of Sevigny’s works.

All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads.

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Book Review: The Initiation by Chris Babu

38636861Book Title: The Initiation
Author: Chris Babu
Series: The Initiation #1
Publication Date: February 27th 2018
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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As featured on Bloomberg.com!

Everyone is equal. But no one is safe.

In a ruined world, Manhattan is now New America, a walled-in society based on equality. But the perfect facade hides a dark truth.

A timid math geek, sixteen-year-old Drayden watches his life crumble when his beloved mother is exiled. The mystery of her banishment leads him to a sinister secret: New America is in trouble, and every one of its citizens is in jeopardy.

With time running out, he enters the Initiation. It’s a test within the empty subway tunnels—a perilous journey of puzzles and deadly physical trials. Winners join the ruling Bureau and move to its safe haven. But failure means death. Can Drayden conquer the Initiation, or is salvation out of his grasp?


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

If I were to describe this book in one word, I would say it is marvelous. I didn’t hesitate to give a 5-star rating because this was just so enthralling. The world building was great and the pacing was pretty fast, with the Initiation starting at 30% into the book, which I appreciated since I was in the mood for a fast-paced read.

Also, the author created such wonderful characters! I instantly loved Drayden, our main character. He started out as a fearful yet intelligent boy who doesn’t have the courage to stand up for himself. But as the book progresses, as Drayden comes face-to-face with losses and challenges, his drive to succeed grew more and more. I saw how his character developed to someone who set aside all fears and hesitations to save his loved ones. He also has a strong sense of morality. But aside from Drayden, another character that I had absolutely loved was Tim, the boy with the heart of gold and the perfect best friend anyone could ever ask for. I adored the friendship between Drayden and Tim, how they rely on one another and fulfill each other’s shortcomings.

The plot is fantastic and it kept me on edge. The challenges in the Initiation were ghastly yet exciting to read about. I liked how Drayden and Catrice explained in detail their solutions and strategies for the challenges, since not all of them in the group excel in intelligence. I also liked Drayden and Catrice’s chemistry from the start, though I’m glad that the romance wasn’t too much.

I highly recommend this one to fans of dystopian books. I’m really excited for the next books in the series!

All book cover photos and book info (such as summary, publication, etc.) are taken from Goodreads.