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

ARC Review + Playlist: The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

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The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
Publication Date: November 1st 2016 by Delacorte Press
Source: Borrowed ARC for Blog Tour
Rating: ★★★★★
Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads

Synopsis

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

ARC provided for Blog Tour. No compensation in any form was received for the review of this book.

Let me just start off by saying that the cover of this book is absolutely one of my favorites? I still remember that day when the cover reveal went live. This book is also one of my most anticipated novels for this year because I really loved Nicola Yoon’s debut novel, Everything, Everything.

This book is about fate, destiny… serendipity. That’s exactly how the main characters, Natasha and Daniel, were brought together. One thing I really love about the book is the multiple points of view of the characters, not only Natasha and Daniel, but also everyone and everything around them. Although, Natasha and Daniel’s were the only ones told in first person POV. This was such a great reading experience and it brought depth and more understanding and empathy to the characters and their stories.

“Maybe part of falling in love with someone else is also falling in love with yourself.”

Natasha Kingsley was born in Jamaica but she basically grew up in the US, since her family moved there, but since their visa have expired, they’re being deported back to Jamaica in 12 hours. I really love her character. She’s really smart and tough and easy to relate with, especially because she’s a cynic, a bit like me. And even though her facade seems hard, she’s not really emotionally distant. She believes in science.

Daniel Jae Ho Bae’s parents are from South Korea but they immigrated to America, even before he and his brother Charlie were born. Daniel is the polar opposite of Natasha. He’s also smart, and he’s about to apply to Yale for college. He’s a hopeless romantic, cheesy adorable and he believes in love.

“Some people exist in your life to make it better. Some people exist to make it worse.”

I love the growth of the characters and their relationships, between them and the people around them, such as their families. Besides the romance, family is also one of the focal points in the story. Both have complicated and dynamic relationships with their respective families and it’s a great thing to see them be resolved towards the end.

Like what I usually say, it’s no secret that I love stories that happen in a span of one day, which is exactly why I fell in love easily with this book. That and the unique writing style of Yoon. To be honest, I love this book better than her debut. The plot reminds me of some of the usual stories in movies with 24 hour romances, only this one’s a bit better since they didn’t only meet once.

Overall, I really loved every aspect of the book. The pacing is constant, and climactic at times which suits the progress of the story. I did set a high expectation for the book and I’m glad I wasn’t disappointed. I definitely recommend this book to everyone out there who believes in love.

PLAYLIST

Sweet Serendipity – Lee DeWyze
Karaoke – Smallpools
Take A Chance on Me – ABBA
Fell On Black Days – Soundgarden
Everyone’s Got Something – Perrin Lamb
Fallingforyou – The 1975
Science & Faith – The Script

Hope you enjoy this little playlist I made for the book!

GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

inah

My Unscripted Life by Lauren Morill (ARC)

my unscripted lifeMy Unscripted Life by Lauren Morrill
Publication Date: October 11th 2016 by Delacorte Press
Source: ARC from Publisher via Netgalley
Rating: ★★
Amazon / Book Depository

Synopsis

Sometimes love stories go off script.

Another sultry Georgia summer is about to get a lot hotter. Dee Wilkie is still licking her wounds after getting rejected by the precollege fine arts program of her dreams. But if she’d gone away, she wouldn’t have been around to say yes to an unbelievable opportunity: working on the set of a movie filming in her small Southern town that just happens to be starring Milo Ritter, the famous pop star Dee (along with the rest of the world) has had a crush since eighth grade.

It’s not like Dee will be sharing any screen time with Milo—she’s just a lowly PA. And Milo is so disappointingly rude that Dee is eager to stay far away from him. Except after a few chance meetings, she begins to wonder if just maybe there’s a reason for his offensive attitude, and if there’s more to Milo than his good looks and above-it-all Hollywood pedigree. Can a relationship with a guy like Milo ever work out for a girl like Dee? Never say never. . .

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

This was my first Lauren Morrill book and I can’t say yet if it’s going to be my last because even though I enjoyed some parts, I just didn’t feel so connected with the characters.

I guess I’m the party pooper in this parade because I’ve been seeing tons of good reviews for this book which made me really excited to read it. But there’s just too many cliches to start off, and I know I said that cliches sometimes work for me, but not this time.

I quite like Dee’s personality and her passion for art and actually being responsible, but most of the time I just feel indifferent and disconnected. It’s a little surprising that I even got to finish the book. But here’s the thing, it wasn’t really boring and I did smile at times, it’s just that most of the time I don’t feel anything. I didn’t even like Milo for like, half of the book. His character was a slow progress and I hated that he had to front himself as a jerk and I have to admit I’m a little done with that trope.

I wish there were more interactions between Dee and her bestfriend, Naz. I really live for strong female friendships or just any friendships in general and I felt that the book was a bit lacking in that aspect. I also think that the romance between Dee and Milo was very rushed, so I didn’t get the appreciate and enjoy it all that much.

I love Lauren Morrill’s writing style though. That’s why I’m a little conflicted if I should try her other books, but maybe I will. I think this book wasn’t really just for me. I also love how it delves a little deeper with the film production aspects, I found it very technical and full of information and I learned a  lot about film making and being on set because of this book. I can say give this book a try if you love the whole actor-falling-in-love-with-an-average-person type of thing. Maybe you’ll enjoy it better than I did.

inah

#ThrillerThursday: The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas

the darkest cornersThe Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
Publication Date: April 19th 2016 by Delacorte Press
Source: Finished copy from Publisher
Rating: ★★★
Amazon / Book Depository / Goodreads

Synopsis

The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

I received a finished copy of this book from the publisher in exchange of a review, as part of the #ThrillerThursday campaign. No compensation in any form was received for the review of this book.

Ever read one of those books where you feel like you’re watching a cool movie as everything plays out in your head? The Darkest Corners is exactly that book. It’s gripping from the start and definitely a page-turner.

The story starts with Tessa boarding a flight to Pennsylvania to visit his father, which brought back memories of everything that happened surrounding the death of her friend’s cousin Lori.

This is pretty much one of the best and solid YA thrillers I’ve read in a while. It actually left my heart pounding as I finished reading it. I’m not the best fan of suspense/thrillers but I know one when I see one. The book is so enjoyable and creepy at the same time, especially when everything starts to unfold. I had a bit of a problem with the pacing because it seems a bit slow at first.

“I figure there’s only so much we can beat ourselves up about, things we wish we’d done differently, before we’re broken beyond repair.”

I love how the book remained unpredictable until the end. Kara Thomas’s writing style is on point, I think she’s written for TV before and I’m glad she translated that skill into the novel. It’s like the book is build to be seen on screen. I’d definitely watch the hell out of this book if they make a movie from it.

The emotional growth of the characters is also one of the best things about this one. Tessa and her best friend Callie, were distant when the story started. However, as the story progressed, they eventually made up. The two were linked as primary witnesses in Lori’s death, which sent Wyatt Stokes to prison. But there’s more to the story, which of course I’m not going to discuss, but I loved how the whole thing panned out. Each crazy twist and turn added the fear factor in the book, especially towards the end. Events were too climactic, it left me speechless and out of breath.

“The smallest things could mean the difference between a man’s life and death.”

Romance isn’t a big thing in the book but I adored Decker, Tessa’s friend. There’s a big potential between the two and the chemistry is great but I’m actually glad with the way how they remained just friends. The book focuses more on friendships and family relationships which I really appreciate.

The book has a dark tone overall, it seems like I was watching an episode of Twin Peaks, or those kinds of crime investigation shows, or even listening to an episode of Serial. It’s just too gripping and haunting, I bet it’ll bug your head for a long while. The ending is pretty solid too. Plus the epilogue is fantastic, it feels like it’s a post-credit scene in a movie. I definitely recommend this book if you’re out looking for a good thriller.

inah