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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: 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: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

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Book Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #1
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: April 8th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Romance, YA
Age Range: 12-17 years old
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him–and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.


MY THOUGHTS

I was a bit hesitant to pick this up when I did because I wasn’t really in the mood for being bombarded with new terms and whatever as I’m entering a new world reading a new series. But the cover made me think: Surely it would be a pleasant and light because look at that cover! And I was right, it is a humorous and fun read. I wasn’t aware that I was laughing so much until my sister told me to stop being an idiot.

I was surprised when I found myself liking the main character, Harper Price. I never thought I would admire a character who loves prom and frets about lip gloss. I mean, our personalities just seem a bit different from each other. But then again, she is really hilarious and bad-ass in her own way. I guess her wit and charisma won me over.

Let me just say this: How David Stark calls Harper “Pres” just brings back memories for me. Okay, story time! When I was in 7th grade, I had a crush on our class president. I call him “Pres” and it kinda became our thing. *sigh* Good times. But you don’t care about that, do you? Moving on…

The love element in this is totally what I’m looking for in the romance genre, not too rushed but not too slow. It’s not insta-love, but it’s not where-is-the-fucking-romance either. Also, it’s more on the subtle side, like it didn’t majorly affect the whole plot. Their relationship gave me butterflies in my stomach; they’re just so cute!

The ending was really unpredictable, I feel like. I laughed so much for some reason, one being I was certainly caught off guard. I don’t know, something about it just seems so damn amusing to me.

I would’ve liked a bit more action, if you ask me, but it was still a great story. This book is like an introduction to this new world that Harper’s been thrown into, so I’ll let the lack of action slide.

Although I tried not to (because I kept hearing people say that they didn’t really like the sequel), I have quite high expectations for the next books. I just really hope that my expectations won’t come biting me in the ass in the future.

Would I recommend it?

Yes, yes, yes, yes. Personally, I would buy it for the cover alone but the story and the characters are truly amazing. I suggest you try this out if you haven’t yet and if you have, go read it again!

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

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Book Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

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Book Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 1st 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Chick Lit, Realistic Fiction, Romance, YA
Age Range: 14-17 years old
My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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“Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it.”
“Okay.”
“Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?”
“Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?”

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie—she’s already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.


MY THOUGHTS

I was really disappointed by this one.

I thought I was going to like it. I mean, look at that cover, and then read the summary, and then go through all its great ratings on Goodreads. It’s impossible to keep my hopes down.

Let me start by saying that the title is very misleading. Twenty Boy Summer? More like Not-Even-Half-Of-That Summer. (Lame, I know.)

I am a very character-centered reader. I don’t usually care if the plot isn’t amazing—with the exception of, you know, cut-my-eyes-off bad. I believe that the character/s of the book adds a lot more to the experience of a reader. That being said, I felt nothing for the characters in Twenty Boy Smumer. By “characters,” I mean Anna and Frankie. Maybe it’s because I didn’t get to know them as much as I would’ve like. Or maybe I don’t freaking see why they would be best friends in the first place! The only person I liked was Matt… but he dies! Ugh.

I know I said I felt nothing for the two main characters, but scratch that. I felt something for Frankie: pure hatred. Frankie is just as selfish and self-absorbed as I thought she would be. I get it, she’s grieving because her brother died. But for goodness’ sake, Anna loved Matt too—as a brother, best friend and a lover. Frankie keeps on acting like she’s the only person affected, and she doesn’t know how to consider other feelings but her own! I want to kick Anna for putting up with Frankie’s shit.

There was a lot of breaking the rules throughout their duration in Zanzibar Bay, and like the goody two shoes I am, I was really nervous with all of the duo’s rendezvous with the two hotties they meet on their summer holiday. But that’s not even the worse part, it is the fact that Anna and Frankie weren’t even caught and/or punished for sneaking out.

One of the aforementioned hotties is Anna’s “summer romance”, I guess you can say. But I can’t feel the romance. I literally cringe at some point.

I originally wanted to rate this a 1 out of 5, but decided against it. The only thing that earned the extra star was the first few chapters when Matt was still alive. I genuinely thought it would turn out as a great contemporary read, but it was a let down.

Would I recommend it?

Not really. It had potential in the first few chapters but I was unhappy on how it turns out. If you really think you like the plot, I suggest borrowing from a friend or your local library if they have it because I don’t think it’s worth the ten bucks.

All book cover photos and summaries are taken from Goodreads.

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Book Review: Valley of the Moon by Bronwyn Archer

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Book Title: Valley of the Moon
Author: Bronwyn Archer
Series: Valley of the Moon #1 (?)
Publication Date: April 13th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Age Range: 13+ years old
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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There’s just one semester left at the Briar School for Girls in Sonoma, CA. But it will take more than straight As for Lana Goodwin to survive . . .

Senior year is not going well for 17-year-old Lana Goodwin. Her father’s vintage car business is about to crash and burn, the nicest (and cutest) teacher at school was fired under a cloud of scandal, and her hot sort-of boyfriend may or may not have something big to hide.

She’s also totally over being the class pauper. It’s bad enough her dad was briefly married to the head of the board—the rich, cruel, impeccably groomed Ramona Crawford. What’s worse is going to school with her vindictive ex-stepsister, who never misses an opportunity to make her life hell. Not ever.

It also happens to be the tenth anniversary of her mother’s suicide. No one knows why Annie Goodwin jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge the day after Christmas. She didn’t leave a note. She wasn’t sick. Even Lana’s father can’t explain it. Ten years later, someone—or something—starts sending her clues about her mother’s past.

Before Lana can escape to college, she finds herself in a life-or-death race to uncover her mother’s long-buried secrets.

Can she claim her birthright before her future and her life are snatched away?

Valley of the Moon is a modern-day fairy tale with some intense themes.


I received a copy of this book from Xpresso Book Tours (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

I have mixed feelings about this one. I’m not really sure if I like it or not. But I can definitely say that this has more negatives than positives, for me at least.

When I first read the summary, all I could think was how great it sounds. I mean, come on, read this again:

It also happens to be the tenth anniversary of her mother’s suicide. No one knows why Annie Goodwin jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge the day after Christmas. She didn’t leave a note. She wasn’t sick. Even Lana’s father can’t explain it. Ten years later, someone—or something—starts sending her clues about her mother’s past.

Now tell me that that isn’t the least bit interesting. You can imagine how pumped I was to start this book. Unfortunately though, it didn’t quite meet my expectations. The main thing that pulled me into requesting this book is the whole enigma of the clues about Lana’s mother’s past. Not a cheesy (and crappy) romance. The book didn’t provide much depth about her mother’s death. And it focused on the romance for far too long.

While we’re on that topic, let me say that the romance in this book is absolutely cringe worthy, 100% insta-love and not relevant at all. I’m talking about Lana and Caleb’s relationship, of course. They know next to nothing about each other but claims that it’s love plus, I feel like all they do is kiss. I just don’t get why authors feel the need to put romance in every single book even though it ruins the whole reading experience. Or maybe if the romance will make more sense in the sequel, at least make it a bit more believable. I’m not bashing the author, not at all, but the “love story” in this just ruined it for me.

Because I’m such a sucker for mystery novels, and also because the premise of this book still intrigues me despite the problems I encountered while reading, I still pushed through. It took a while for me to get through this because the writing just feels like it doesn’t flow correctly, I feel like it was all over the place, and that kind of put me off. And I got a bit confused with the family tree but I think it’s my fault, really. I read Me Before You alongside of this and when I read two books at once, especially when I prefer the other one much more, some details get jumbled up.

Towards the end, there came a sudden burst of action and it kind of threw me off—but not really in a bad way. Hey, I love action so I’m not complaining, I was just surprised is all. It just feels like Lana can’t catch a break at that time, so it made me feel anxious a lot.

Then, the ending. It’s a cliffhanger, but it’s also anticlimactic (what with all the action that happens beforehand).

Now let’s get to the (few) positives of the book.

If it isn’t obvious in the summary given above, this is kind of like a Cinderella retelling. I like how Ramona’s and Cressida’s characters were depicted in the story. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like them because they make Lana’s life more complicated than it already is. What I mean is that I like how it looks like they’re not just there for the sake of more drama.

I can’t really say too much but the plot twists were good. Not amazing because they didn’t make me gasp or anything. Nevertheless, they’re good because I didn’t see them coming.

Also, why are most fictional characters named Alexander so goddamn swoon-worthy?! Um, I don’t need a whole page of Alexanders on my fictional-boyfriends list, thank you very much.

Overall, this is a mostly okay read. Has more negatives than positives but it doesn’t feel right if I rate it a 2 out of 5 because I still did enjoy this. It has potential but it didn’t deliver quite well. I’m not sure if I’ll be reading the sequel when it comes out.