Adorkable by Sarra Manning: review

10890319Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Stand Alone
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: May 24th 2012
Synopsis: Welcome to the dorkside. It’s going to be a bumpy ride…

Jeane Smith’s a blogger, a dreamer, a dare-to-dreamer, a jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand and has half a million followers on twitter.

Michael Lee’s a star of school, stage and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie.

They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can’t they stop snogging?

My Thoughts:

“We have nothing to declare but our dorkiness.”

Adorkable is a contemporary novel that I found to be undeniably charming. The book is fun, adorable, and has a really good message. Adorkable also had an uncanny ability to make me laugh, which is always a good thing 😉 This might not be a contemporary filled with emotion and impact, but it was fun.

I admit that the plot is a little ridiculous and the circumstances in the book can be even more ridiculous. I myself probably wouldn’t have liked this book as much as I had if it wasn’t for one thing: Sarra Manning’s great characters.

First is Jeane Smith, who is now one of my favorite characters. Jeane Smith is the blogger (see? She’s awesome already) behind the famous Adorkable, has half a million followers on Twitter, is the queen of jumble sales, and isn’t at all afraid of being her. She can be really terrible, but even then she is sort of fantastic.

“Never shield your oddness, but wear your oddness like a shield.”  

Jeane is one of those people who, upon hearing that you don’t approve of them, will say, “So? I think I’m freaking amazing” and then walk calmly away as if you didn’t exist. I find that absolutely refreshing since there definitely aren’t many characters out there that are like that.

Michael Lee wasn’t as amazing as Jeane, but he was definitely good. I was actually surprised by how believable and honest he was written. Even though he is a genuinely good person, Michael Lee’s thoughts can be pretty unpleasant at times, especially when Jeane is being a little intolerable. But I’ve always valued honest and imperfect more than unbelievable and perfect, so me and Michael Lee got along just fine.

The chemistry and relationship between Jeane and Michael Lee: Perfectly written. Jeane and Michael Lee’s relationship is an undeniably messy one. The way it progresses is not the norm. But that messy relationship was perfectly written, and to be honest, even when Jeane and Michael Lee were verbally battling out, I wished that I was a character in the book so I could ‘accidentally’ push the two together.

Manning’s writing is great, with dialogue and narrative that really made me smile and laugh, making Adorkable a breeze to read. She seemed to know exactly what she wanted to write and understood how she was going to do it.

Adorkable is a very good contemporary and is one of the more refreshing stories out of the genre. I would recommend this book to lovers of fun, adorable stories with great characters. Oh, and also people who want to take a step into the dorkside. Because the dorkside really needs some members.

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My Imaginary Ex by Mina V. Esguerra: review

My Imaginary ExMy Imaginary Ex by Mina V. Esguerra

Stand Alone

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: New Adult/Young Adult

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Chick Lit

Publisher: Summit Media

Release Date: 2009

Synopsis: Here’s what happens when you play pretend.

When Zack asks Jasmine to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend, she gamely agrees, thinking it would be fun. A few years later, she still has to keep convincing people that they were never together! Then one day, she finds out he’s getting married—to someone she’d just met once! All of a sudden, things aren’t so clear-cut anymore. Can Jasmine sort out her feelings (sometimes, she can’t even tell real from pretend when it comes to her and Zack) before it’s too late?

My Thoughts:

I am a very girly person and I love fun, cute love stories. Love stories that are written well never fail to make me absolutely giddy. I am not afraid to admit the my girly self squees a lot when I encounter a cute story. One day I was struck with the want of a cute love story and so I picked up My Imaginary Ex. Do you know what happened when I read it? I squeeed. (Is squeeed even a word?)

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My Imaginary Ex is a fun, amusing friend-to-couple tale that is very different from the norm. When Jasmine was in college a boy named Zack asked her to pretend to be his ex-girlfriend because the girl he liked only dated boys who had dated before. After the lie was created it just kept growing and growing. Years later, people still think that Jasmine and Zack used to date each other!

One day Jasmine finds out that Zack is getting married to a Kimmy, a woman she has never met. After this happens things quickly turn complicated when two of Zack’s past ex-girlfriends* meet up with Jasmine and tell her that she must stop the marriage! Jasmine must figure out how she feels about Zack before time runs out.

I admit that My Imaginary Ex had a story structure that took some time to get used to for me. The story has many flashbacks that show how Jasmine and Zack’s relationship was in the past and how it got to it is in present time. When I did get used to it I found that it worked really well. I was able to find more about Jasmine and Zack which would only make me root for them as a couple even more.

The characters in My Imaginary Ex were fun to read about. Jasmine is a bit dense but she is a nice character to read about overall. I could tell that Lena and Marjorie really cared about Zack even though they were driven to break up with him in the past. It is not everyday one gets to read a love story where the ex-girlfriends do the matchmaking! Zack is the kind a of guy who is afraid to confess to the one he loves in fear of ruining the friendship between them. He doesn’t let people know much about himself but he is still sweet. He did have a interesting way of getting his crush Lena to date him in college 😛

I love stories where friends turn into a couple so Jasmine and Zack’s relationship worked well for me. I know this sounds really cheesy but I do want the love of my life to be friends with me first before we start dating so I guess that was probably why I liked this story so much.

My Imaginary Ex was a fun, short book to romp through and I would definitely recommend it for someone who is in search for a cute story. This book fulfilled my girly want for a love story. At first, I was afraid to read this book because I knew that I would compare it to Fairy Tale Fail which was by the same author. Thankfully, this book was still good. (Fairy Tale Fail is still better, though!)

Now if you need me I will be browsing through the store in search of Love Your Frenemies which tells Kimmy’s side of the story!

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Revenge Of The Girl With The Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg: review

Revenge of the Girl with the Great PersonalityRevenge Of The Girl With The Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg

Standalone

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary, Chick Lit, Romance, Realistic

Publisher: Point

Release Date: March 1st 2013

Synopsis: A hilarious new novel from Elizabeth Eulberg about taking the wall out of the wallflower so she can bloom.

Don’t mess with a girl with a Great Personality.

Everybody loves Lexi. She’s popular, smart, funny…but she’s never been one of those girls, the pretty ones who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).

Lexi’s sick of it. She’s sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She’s sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She’s sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she’s sick of having all her family’s money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.

The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren’t going to know what hit them. Because Lexi’s going to play the beauty game – and she’s in it to win it.

My Thoughts:

Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality is one of those books that one will be able to romp through in a very short amount of time. This book is fun, interesting, cute, but it can also be quite emotional at times. Sure, there are some clichés but the book is still a fun read. Comparing this book to a good pile of sweet candy would be pretty accurate. Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality is sweet and made me want to devour it as fast as possible.

And no, I didn’t eat a whole bag of candy awhile reading this book. Okay, maybe a little bag of candy.

This is the story about the girl with the Great Personality. She doesn’t go on dates or gets invited to parties. She isn’t gorgeous either. She is only that girl with the Great Personality. She is almost always inferior to her other classmates as she doesn’t stand out much and she is always being compared to her bratty, beauty-queen little sister and taken for granted by her mother. The reader gets to see this girl who loathes being the girl with the Great Personality grow into a fine, strong young woman who knows that in fact, it is a good thing to have a Great Personality and proudly holds the label.

The things that I liked:

*The opening chapter. The book starts off with Lexi applying butt glue to her sister. How can that not interest you?

*Lexi is a well written character that I couldn’t get enough of. She is a determined, fun, and hardworking character that was absolutely refreshing to read about. Her voice is witty and kept me reading until the last page. Her development was also very nice.

*The novel was able to evoke a lot of emotion within me. Whether it was excitement, happiness, sadness, or outrage.

*Lexi’s sister Mackenzie also gets some character development. At first, she is very bratty and selfish but we start getting glimpses of how she feels about the pageants and the reader is able to sympathise with her.

*The fun. There was a lot of fun parts in this novel and I enjoyed them when they came 🙂

*The positive message. Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality contains a very positive message: beauty is not what make who you are it is the personality that does.

Thing that were okay:

*The love interest. Taylor and Logan were okay but not that great. They both fell a little flat.

*Lexi’s parents. I wished that there was something that could have me feel at least some sympathy for them. Unfortunately, the only thing we see in this book is how careless, stupid, and selfish they are.

*Lexi’s friends. They felt very cookie-cutter to me. They did support Lexi and helped her when she needed it but I didn’t find any depth to them. Benny seemed like a comic relief and I am getting tired of homosexual characters being used as such. And Cam just didn’t have much page time.

Things that I disliked:

*The ending didn’t satisfy me. The reader doesn’t get to see what happens to Lexi and her family. It felt as if there should have been at least two more chapters to give the reader some closure.

Overall…

Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality is very well worth the read. It is poignant, fun, and contains a well written main character that will win you over. I enjoyed reading this novel immensely and I am sure many others will!

An advanced copy was provided in exchange for a honest review via Netgalley.

Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra: review

Fairy Tale FailFairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra

Standalone

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Adult/Young Adult

Genre: Chick Lit, Romance, Contemporary

Publisher: CreateSpace

Release Date: September 5th 2010(first published April 17th 2010)

Synopsis: Of all the twenty-something women who are hopeless romantics, Ellie Manuel is more “hopeless” than “romantic.” Even after her Prince Charming broke up with her, she just won’t give up … because fairy tale heroines don’t live “happily ever after” right away, silly, they’re tested first! Determined to pass the test, she spends the next year restoring herself to the girl Prince Charming had fallen in love with in the first place. Until she discovers that life without him might not be so bad after all: her career is taking off, her confidence is back, and the cute guy at work is no longer a stranger. So when is it okay to quit on a fairy tale?

My thoughts: This book was the perfect February read. Fairy Tale Fail was cute, funny, and romantic. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the pages. And since that this book is only about one hundred pages I was able to finish it quickly. Every ten pages this book raises its one out of ten scale up by one point. Remember: there are 110 pages.

Ellie Manuel has a theory: life is like a fairy tale. She thinks that her “happily ever after” might be near when she starts dating Don, her “prince charming.” But they break up. Even then Ellie thinks that she is, like every fairy tale hero is, being tested. Ellie spends a year becoming the “free girl” she used to be before dating Don so she can win him back. Until she starts to find herself enjoying life without Don. She is doing well in her career, she is restoring her confidence, and her “office crush” is becoming more than an office crush. Will Ellie decide to prove her theory wrong?

Ellie is a character that will have you rooting for her instantly. She is smart and tries her best. She tries to make the people around her proud. And her character grows a lot throughout the story. I could see a huge difference in her. Ellie is a girl that I would want as a best friend. She is a girl that I would want to be in the same barkada with.

And then there is Lucas. He isn’t what one would picture as a prince charming. He smokes(well, used to), has tattoos, and allegedly *cough-hint hint-cough* broke up with his girlfriend after getting her pregnant. But the reader later finds out that although he isn’t prince charming he is a really nice guy. I wish to find my own Lucas later in life.

The reader also gets a glimpse of the Filipino culture awhile reading this book. I loved learning about barkada‘s and such. There are a lot of Filipino words sprinkled throughout the book. I was easily able to learn what the word meant because of the context.

Esguerra’s prose is easy to read through which made reading Fairy Tale Fail a breeze.

Fairy Tale Fail is a gem. I really can’t recommend this book enough! I demand that anyone who wants a cute, quick story to read this book. You will thank me later. This was my first Esguerra book but it will certainly not be my last!

The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock: review

The Off Season (Dairy Queen, #2)The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Hardback, Paperback

Series: Dairy Queen #2

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

Age Group: Young Adult

Genre: Contemporary, Sports, Romance, Chick Lit, Realistic

Release date: June 4th 2007

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Synopsis: Life is looking up for D.J. Schwenk. She’s in eleventh grade, finally. After a rocky summer, she’s reconnecting in a big way with her best friend, Amber. She’s got kind of a thing going with Brian Nelson, who’s cute and popular and smart but seems to like her anyway. And then there’s the fact she’s starting for the Red Bend High School football team—the first girl linebacker in northern Wisconsin, probably. Which just shows you can’t predict the future. As autumn progresses, D.J. struggles to understand Amber, Schwenk Farm, her relationship with Brian, and most of all her family. As a whole herd of trouble comes her way, she discovers she’s a lot stronger than she—or anyone—ever thought.

This hilarious, heartbreaking and triumphant sequel to the critically acclaimed Dairy Queen takes D.J. and all the Schwenks from Labor Day to a Thanksgiving football game that you will never forget.

My thoughts: D.J. is back in The Off Season and her life has been pretty good lately. She is becoming friends again with Amber and she is kind of dating the cute guy known as Brian Nelson. She is also the linebacker for the Red Bend High School football team. And then tragedy strikes. The Off Season is one of those books that made me smile, laugh, and cry awhile reading it and then when I reached the end I did a happy sigh. Personally, I think that The Off Season was better than its predecessor, Dairy Queen. I found this book to be much more poignant and engaging. (Although, Dairy Queen is still pretty darn good.)

I love D.J. She feels like a real person to me and I think she is a delightful character to read about. She has a lot thrown at her but she deals with it with determination. D.J. works hard and doesn’t give up. D.J. does have her faults though and she has trouble knowing what to say. But her determination to get through everything is admirable. D.J.’s voice is a very honest, funny, real, and engaging one. I wholeheartedly adore it. I also loved read about the family dynamics. I always enjoy reading about realistic families in books and I always enjoy it even more when there are siblings. The Off Season was able to pull it off amazingly. The Schwenk family is a very realistic one. They are flawed but they truly love each other and they get through all the obstacles. And I found D.J.’s brothers: Bill and Win to be enjoyable to read about. They are easily two of my favorite characters in this book(second only to D.J.).

The Off Season is also about sports just like Dairy Queen but there is more story off the field than on it. And I was not disappointed about that. This book tells the story of D.J. and her family growing and getting through the obstacles that come their way. There were sad moments but it was also heartwarming.

The “small town” element in this book is also something I enjoyed. Red Bend is a small community that has good people living in it. They help each other out and care for one another. I liked-if not loved- all the residents of Red Bend. And one scene that involved almost the whole community of Red Bend and Hawley brought a tear to my eye.

This has been my second time on the Schwenk farm and I loved it. Murdock has exceeded my expections a second time and I have no doubt that she will a third time. It makes me sad that there is only one more book in this series.

*This is my 100th post 🙂

Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt: review

Going VintageGoing Vintage by Lindsay Leavitt

Hardcover

Standalone

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit, Realistic

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Release Date: March 26th 2013

Synopsis: When Mallory discovers that her boyfriend, Jeremy, is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she swears off boys. She also swears off modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to “go vintage” and return to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn’t cheat on you online). She sets out to complete grandma’s list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous. But the list is trickier than it looks. And obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how good Oliver (Jeremy’s cousin) smells. But with the help of her sister, she’ll get it done. Somehow.

My thoughts: Going Vintage was such a cute and quirky book! I have fallen head over heels in love with it.

I thought Mallory was a great character. After finding out her boyfriend is cheating on her with a girl on the internet Mallory is inspired by her grandma’s list of high school goals to “go vintage”. She gives up technology and sets out to complete all the goals on The List. I really loved how she became more and more independent throughout the book. Mallory was a very real character that just wanted to heal. I appreciated the way she turned out in the ending although it was a bit surprising(in a good way). Oliver was hilarious and adorable! He was a very unique character and his personality really shines. The rest of the characters were also very nice to read about.

Going Vintage is Mallory’s story. The story was very different from what I have read before. It is not everyday that I find a book and learn that it is about a girl whose boyfriend cheated on her with a person named BubbleYum. Going Vintage is a very light-hearted story that will have many fun and hilarious moments. I liked how the story flowed and I was never bored reading it. Although there are a couple of sub-plots the focus was always on Mallory.

The writing was amazing. The interaction and dialogue between the characters never felt forced and were often times very funny. I also thought that Leavitt did a very good job at portraying Mallory and all the other characters in the book.

Going Vintage is definitely a good rainy day read and will be very much loved by many people.

*An advanced copy was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock: review

Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen, #1)Title: Dairy Queen

Author: Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Series: Dairy Queen #1

Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary, Sports, Romance, Chick Lit, Realistic

Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Synopsis: When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.
Harsh words indeed, from Brian Nelson of all people. But, D. J. can’t help admitting, maybe he’s right.
When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.
Stuff like why her best friend, Amber, isn’t so friendly anymore. Or why her little brother, Curtis, never opens his mouth. Why her mom has two jobs and a big secret. Why her college-football-star brothers won’t even call home. Why her dad would go ballistic if she tried out for the high school football team herself. And why Brian is so, so out of her league.
When you don’t talk, there’s a lot of stuff that ends up not getting said.
Welcome to the summer that fifteen-year-old D. J. Schwenk of Red Bend, Wisconsin, learns to talk, and ends up having an awful lot of stuff to say.

Why didn’t I read this sooner? Dairy Queen is definitely one of the best contemporary books I have ever read. Although Dairy Queen does not get into deep issues it is still thought-provoking in its own way. Plus, there is a farm and a lot of cows in this book. I like that.

The characters are all true to life characters. They are realistic, relatable, and very loveable. D.J.(I admire her so much) is a very well made character. Although she is unsure of herself at times she is very determined to do what she wants to do. D.J. was also a very hardworking character which made me love her even more. I loved her as a narrative as she was funny, serious, and true to herself. D.J. was also very kick butt. Brian was also a very fun to read about character. He had his own set of flaws to but his good qualities balance that out. I found him very crush worthy. I loved seeing D.J. and Brian grow as characters and loved them both very much. The rest of the characters are not to be overlooked. Even though they had only a short time on the pages of the book I was still able to like and care for them. I especially loved how D.J.’s family grew as characters to as we do not really get to see much family in the Young Adult genre. Simply put, the characters in Dairy Queen are marvelous.

The story of Dairy Queen is a very fun story. In the first half of Dairy Queen we are introduced to D.J.’s life on the farm and around the cows. We read about D.J. training Brian over the summer and developing relationship. Reading about their growing friendship was a very peaceful but fun experience. The second half where all the sports and action happens is where it gets the most exciting. I was never a fan of football but Dairy Queen has shown me how great, hard, and exhilarating it really was. I loved reading about D.J. on the football field kicking the opposing team’s butts. I sometimes found myself about to open my mouth and cheer on D.J. but than close it as I was around people(I do not think I would look very normal talking to a book).

Murdock is able to write D.J.’s voice and emotions so very well. The scenes when D.J. was on the field were very vivid and detailed. I could imagine myself as a player on the field running right next to D.J. I loved Murdock’s good humoured but also serious writing.

Dairy Queen is a very fun, cuddly, and exciting read. I really need the next book. Now.

I give Dairy Queen 4 out of 5 Footballs

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour By Morgan Matson: review

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew–just in time for Amy’s senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she’s always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy’s mother’s old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she’s surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road–diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards–this is the story of one girl’s journey to find herself

I was pleasantly surprised with this book! I had expected a completely light-hearted story about the adventure of two teenagers. I was way wrong. This book actually goes into some deep stuff considering the genre. The characters are all very loveable and endearing. Both Amy and Roger have contrasting personalites with Amy being quiet and shy and Roger being more energetic and outgoing. The two develop real well in the story, both facing their problems and fixing their lives.

The story pretty much just tells us about Amy and Roger’s road trip. The road trip and the writing was done very well. The descriptions of all the places they visited made me feel like I was right there along with them. The pictures, fun facts, and Roger’s sketches in the travel scrapbook made it feel even more real. The story is well paced for the most part, in my opinion the story dragged a bit in the middle but that was fixed pretty quickly. I do wish that the romance part of the book appeared more as that was what i was looking for. Amy and Roger don’t find out their love for eachother until the very last chapters of the book which kind of irked me.

This book was a very enjoyable read and I loved every minute of reading it!

I give Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour 4.5 out of 5 Stars