Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

tell me three thingsTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Publication Date: April 5th 2016 by Delacorte Press
Source: Purchased Audiobook / E-book
Rating: ★★★★★
Amazon / Book Depository 

Synopsis

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

It all started with an email.

So this is actually the first contemporary novel that I listened to as an audiobook because I’m not built for audiobooks but I really really enjoyed listening. And then just a few days earlier, this book went on sale on Amazon so I had to buy it and reread. I’m sure when the time comes, I’ll be buying a hard copy to reread it over again because it’s definitely one of my favorite contemporaries to date.

“One of the worst parts about someone dying is thinking back to all those times you didn’t ask the right questions, all those times you stupidly assumed you’d have all the time in the world. And this too: how all that time feels like not much time at all. What’s left feels like something manufactured. The overexposed ghosts of memories.”

Jessie is the new girl in school. She transferred from Chicago to California with her father to live with her stepmom, Rachel, and stepbrother, Theo. And then, during her first week at school, she received an email from Somebody Nobody (or SN) offering help in navigating Wood Valley High.

I really love Jessie’s character because she’s so genuine. She’s frustrating at times and naive but at the same time, adorable and smart which made her character arc stand out. She loves books too!

“Perfect days are for people with small, realizable dreams. Or maybe for all of us, they just happen in retrospect; they’re only now perfect because they contain something irrevocably and irretrievably lost.”

I also enjoyed the other characters like Theo, I just wish we had more Theo in the book. Agnes and Dri too! They’re Jessie’s friends in her new school. Scarlett was Jessie’s best friend back from Chicago and I really loved their funny banter and sweet conversations from time to time. Especially during that time when Jessie went back to Chicago to visit and they had this conflict resolved, it was such a step-up.

Of course, the contenders as to whom SN might be. Liam, Caleb, or Ethan. I quite enjoyed all three of them, each to their own personalities. Liam and Ethan are both musicians and from the same band. Caleb and Liam are close friends, so it was sort of implied that there might be a geometry with love here somewhere but actually there wasn’t. And I’m glad that SN turned out to be who I wanted it to be, although at first, I wasn’t really sure if it was going to be him. The mystery of SN’s true identity was really exciting, especially when it all went down to the moment of truth, where Jessie found out who SN really was. It was super fun to read, and more fun to hear because the emotions were really genuine! Mad props to Jorjeana Marie for her wonderful narration!

“But sometimes a kiss is not a kiss is not a kiss. Sometimes it’s poetry.”

Another thing I enjoyed about this book was not only it celebrated love, it also dealt with friendships, families, and of course grief. Moving on is such an easy concept but it’s definitely hard to do. This concept made the whole book so damn relatable.

This book just hit the homerun with me. It’s utterly impossible not to feel and just explode with emotions with this book. It’s just so real and genuine and the author didn’t even really try. Julie Buxbaum just managed to capture it perfectly. With that said, I’m really looking forward to her future books!

inah

I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil

i'm not your manic pixie dream girlI’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Gretchen McNeil
Publication Date: October 18th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Source: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss
Rating: ★★★★ 
Amazon / Book Depository

Synopsis

From acclaimed author Gretchen McNeil comes her first realistic contemporary romance—perfect for fans of Kody Keplinger’s The Duff and Morgan Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone.

Beatrice Maria Estrella Giovannini has life all figured out. She’s starting senior year at the top of her class, she’s a shoo-in for a scholarship to M.I.T., and she’s got a new boyfriend she’s crazy about. The only problem: All through high school Bea and her best friends Spencer and Gabe have been the targets of horrific bullying.

So Bea uses her math skills to come up with The Formula, a 100% mathematically guaranteed path to social happiness in high school. Now Gabe is on his way to becoming Student Body President, and Spencer is finally getting his art noticed. But when her boyfriend Jesse dumps her for Toile, the quirky new girl at school, Bea realizes it’s time to use The Formula for herself. She’ll be reinvented as the eccentric and lovable Trixie—a quintessential manic pixie dream girl—in order to win Jesse back and beat new-girl Toile at her own game.

Unfortunately, being a manic pixie dream girl isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and “Trixie” is causing unexpected consequences for her friends. As The Formula begins to break down, can Bea find a way to reclaim her true identity and fix everything she’s messed up? Or will the casualties of her manic pixie experiment go far deeper than she could possibly imagine?

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher. No compensation in any form was received for the review of this book.

Well, this turned out to be pretty good! I really enjoyed this book and was able to finish it in a day! Although, the concept is pretty much similar to some YA Contemporaries I’ve read before, it still managed to stand out on its own. This is actually the first Gretchen McNeil book I’ve read, although I’m familiar with her other titles but still I didn’t know what to expect so I sort of went into the book blindly.

This tells the story of Bea, a smart senior student, who came up with The Formula to help her friends Gabe and Spencer from bullies and for being treated as outcasts in their school. As the formula worked for her best friends, she got dumped by her boyfriend Jessie. Tweaking The Formula, she used it to reinvent herself into a manic pixie dream girl to win Jesse back. But it wasn’t all perfect and caused a rift between her and her friends.

“Toile’s type is a heroin for a guy like Jesse.”
“And what type is that?” I asked.
Spencer laughed. “Duh. She’s a manic pixie dream girl.”

I love that Bea is half-Filipina and her character seems realistic, but it was a little hard to grasp her whole character. She wasn’t really likeable but her flaws drew me closer to her and made her interesting. This book tackled cliches and tropes really well. Bea was the nerd, Gabe was the gay best friend, and Spencer was a mix of shy, quiet yet brutally honest friend aka the friend we all need. Gabe was really funny, but Spencer though. Really… he’s one of my favorite characters ever. He’s brutally honest and dreamy… he’s just so lovely. I love how she calls out Bea from some of her bullshit and he’s not afraid to say what’s on his mind.

The romance in the book was a mix of swoonworthy scenes and some a little cringey and dramatic, but what I totally enjoyed about this book was the way it broke the manic pixie dream girl stereotype. See, most books or films that features MPDGs are mostly told in the male POV, but this… this is completely different. It shows a lot of insight when it comes to breaking that trope and I really love how Bea managed to grow and learn from it.

“Women are not on this planet exclusively to inspire men and make them happy. We have our own dreams and needs, our own shit to get done. We run companies, countries, international organizations. We’re not props, and we’re certainly not here to cater to men’s egos.”

The feminism is also a strong theme in this book, same goes with friendship and family relationship. And when it comes to family, I think this could just be the most different and unique one I’ve read so far. Parents were acting out as horny teenagers in this book, which was a little hilarious but also a pain in the butt.

I also enjoyed the pop culture references dropped in the book. I also admit that most of the movies mentioned in this book (which were movies that feature MPDGs), I’ve already seen. Because yes, I’m a sucker for chick flicks. They’re my guilty pleasure.

Albeit having some issues with the book, I think this book deserves to be read. I really had a great time reading this and I’m looking forward to reading more from the author! If you love chick-flicks like Clueless or Mean Girls like me, you’ll definitely love this book!

inah

Pique Beyond Week || The Romantics by Leah Konen (ARC Review)

Abrams Books’ launched a new YA website called Pique Beyond! Pique is all about going beyond the book. Not only do they highlight exclusive excerpts and quotes from new and upcoming books, but they peel back the cover and show us the behind-the-scenes stuff: how books are made, what the authors were thinking, and how it all comes together. This week, they’re highlighting all of their newest titles, and let me tell you, they look amazing. Visit the site today at piquebeyond.com or follow them on Twitter and Instagram at @piquebeyond! Today, I’m sharing a title from Abrams Books that I really enjoyed reading!

the-romanticsThe Romantics by Leah Konen
Publication Date: November 1st, 2016 by Amulet Books
Source: ARC from Publisher via Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★
Amazon / Book Depository

Synopsis

Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell, The Romantics will charm readers of all ages.

Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher. No compensation in any form was received for the review of this book.

It’s true that this book will charm readers of all ages. And this book got me out of my reading slump. From the first chapter, I got hooked already because of the wit and sass of the narrator.

See, this book is about love and is narrated by Love itself so it got really funny and quirky, yet serious at the same time which is why I loved it so much.

“Real love makes you better than you ever know you could be.”

Gael Brennan is a total romantic. I think readers can pick it up early on and I really found it adorable. Romantics are my kind of people because I am one too, although I could say that I’m sort of cynical from time to time. When he got his heart broken, Love helped him but as Love meddled, some things got out of hand as The Rebound came in the picture.

The narration is one of my favorite aspects of the book. It’s so on point and hilarious! This book is like watching your favorite romantic-comedy movie, snuggled under covers while eating popcorn or drinking cocoa or whatever your favorite beverage is. This book is exactly the one you should read on a Friday night when you just want to chill.

“Romantic love is one thing, but the love between a parent and a child—well, that is always worth fighting for.”

I also enjoyed how this book celebrated different kinds of love: from romantic, platonic, familial, and even pragmatic. I love contemporary books that not only focuses on romance but also, does not shy away from friendships and family relationships. Honestly, this book reminded me of a lot of YA contemps that I read and rom-coms that I watched before, so I think I’m probably going to catch some flicks or two because this book left me wanting more love stories!

So listen, this book needs to be read by any contemporary lovers out there. It’s full of cliches but it was presented amazingly, in a way that will make readers agree and realize that cliches aren’t as bad as we all think. Besides, don’t we all get a little bit cliche when it comes to love?  I’m definitely impressed with Leah Konen’s writing style and I’m sure as hell looking forward to more of her works in the future!

inah

No Holding Back by Kate Evangelista (ARC Review + Giveaway)

no holding backNo Holding Back by Kate Evangelista
Publication Date: October 18th 2016
Source: ARC from Publisher via Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★
Amazon / Book Depository

Synopsis

A romantic European vacation is the perfect excuse to let go in this highly anticipated sequel to No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista.

Everyone knows that Nathan is in love with his best friend, Preston…Everyone except Preston. Nathan has always accepted that Preston was too focused on his swim training to worry about love. But Preston is heading off to train for the Olympics soon, so if Nathan wants his chance at love, he has to speak up now. But saying “I love you” is surprisingly difficult, even for someone as confident as Nathan. Maybe a whirlwind vacation in Europe could help? But… what if it doesn’t work out and he loses the best friend he’s ever had?

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher as part of the blog tour. No compensation in any form was received for the review of this book.

This was one of my most anticipated reads because I truly loved Nathan and Preston since No Love Allowed and I’m so glad that I wasn’t disappointed! It turned out to be a pretty quick read for me and I truly was left wanting more, but at the same time I was satisfied with it.

Nathan and Preston were truly adorable. They do have opposite personalities and I love how their polarities complement each other. I also love that most of the book’s setting was in Europe like this was truly GOALS AF! What wouldn’t you give just to spend a great time with your best friend-turned-lover in Europe? Seriously!

“You don’t need to sacrifice love just because you have a dream.”

Speaking of, one of the best things about this book was that best friends to lovers trope. I’m a sucker for that type of romance and I will never ever get tired of it. This one really did the job great.

The pacing of the book was mostly good, though it lagged a little in the middle but I didn’t really mind it that much. It was also predictable but hey, at least I got a satisfying ending.

“In everything, the one constant was Nathan.”

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Kate Evangelista’s romantic story skills leaves you wanting more. Speaking of romantic, there’s a hot shower scene in this book so go read!!!

P.S. I’m not sure if it really was me on the Acknowledgement Page. I’ve yet to confirm with Kate, but if in case it was me, WELL, I’M DAMN LUCKY AND GRATEFUL BECAUSE IT’S MY FIRST TIME TO SEE MY NAME ON THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS HUHU!

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inah