ARC Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

17838528Title: The Unexpected Everything

Author: Morgan Matson

Publication date: May 3, 2016

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Pages: 519

Source: ARC from the publisher (Thank you, Simon & Schuster!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked /National Book Store

 

Synopsis:

Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

It has been four years since I last read a Morgan Matson book. Yeah, it was that long! Second Chance Summer was the last one. I have a copy of Since You’ve Been Gone on my shelf and I hope to read it soon. Anyway, I got to read the author’s latest, The Unexpected Everything and enjoyed it!

Realistic and relatable, The Unexpected Everything is a book that perfectly depicts how the unexpected things in life turn out to be beautiful. People plan how their life would be most of the time, like they should be this and that or something. It’s okay to have goals in life, but sometimes we also have to open ourselves to unexpected things that come our way especially if they are experiences we haven’t come across yet. You know, the unexpected is magical because there are infinite possibilities wedged in it. So live in the moment, and don’t be afraid to embrace the unexpected!

The characters are wonderfully crafted! Each of them possesses unique qualities that spiced up the story. Authentic and solid, the friendship in the book thoroughly mirrors what friendship is like in real life. I also love the father and daughter angle! Andie and her dad’s bonding moments are heartfelt and endearing.

The romance is adorable! With an undeniable chemistry, Andie and Clark are so meant to be! I love the way The Unexpected Everything illustrates how a love story unfolds—the meet-cute, the awkward first date, getting to know each other, and lastly, falling in love! ❤

Morgan Matson is so good in making readers feel that they’re part of the story as well as giving happy feels!

A blissful and charming novel, The Unexpected Everything is a YA contemporary you’d definitely want to add to your TBR pile! 🙂

 

Rating:

4/5 stars

Blog Tour: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

V23 new typeface tagline.inddTitle: Tell Me Three Things

Author: Julie Buxbaum

Publication date: April 5, 2016

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 336

Source: ARC from the publisher (Thank you, Penguin Random House!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked /National Book Store

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.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

It’s summertime in the Philippines, and it’s the perfect season to indulge in YA contemporaries! If you were to ask me what book I’d recommend, it would be Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum! Why?

Because….

Tell Me Three Things will make you:

  1. Happy
  2. Smiley
  3. Giddy

And that’s what a summer read should be, right? Tell Me Three Things is sunshine, Popsicle, and ice-cold mango smoothie rolled into one! The story is stuffed with charming and blissful feels! However, there are also scenes that exhibit raw and intense emotions that brought out main character Jessie’s flaws, which I appreciated about the book. Tell Me Three Things illustrated love, loss, and acceptance in a way that readers could easily connect with the story.

Loaded with characters that have diverse personalities, the story is indeed enjoyable and lively! Main character Jessie is so authentic, funny, and lovable! I loved reading her thoughts and her entire adventure.

Now the romance is my favorite aspect of this story because of its mysterious vibe. Jessie’s chat conversations with SN were delightful. Plus, I enjoyed not knowing SN’s identity until the moment of truth! The mystery made Tell Me Three Things difficult to put down as it kept me guessing who SN really is. I had a hunch of SN’s identity in the beginning chapters, but then things were just unpredictable! When SN’s identity was revealed, my happiness overflowed because he is the ideal match for Jessie. And hooray, my guess is correct! 🙂

Author Julie Buxbaum’s writing is fresh and entertaining! There was never a dull moment in Tell Me Three Things. The pace was just right—not too fast and not too slow. I look forward to reading more YA books by Julie Buxbaum in the future!

 

Rating:

4/5 stars

 

 

 

 

ARC Review: When We Collided by Emery Lord

27235365Title: When We Collided

Author: Emery Lord

Publication date: April 7, 2016

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s

Pages: 344

Source: ARC from the publisher (Thank you, Bloomsbury Children’s UK!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked /National Book Store

Synopsis: 

Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.

Vivi and Jonah couldn’t be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi’s zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there’s something important Vivi hasn’t told him.

Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart and Jandy Nelson, When We Collided is a powerful story of two teens whose love is put to the test by forces beyond their control.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Emery Lord is indeed one of my favorite authors when it comes to YA contemporary novels. Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You both blew me away completely, so I made it a point to include her in my “auto-buy authors” list. This year, a new Emery Lord book comes out and believe me when I say that it will rock your world.

Told in alternate POVs, When We Collided is a profound and out of the ordinary kind of beautiful story. To tell you the truth, this book surprised me—but in a good way. When We Collided started effervescent and spellbinding that I actually thought it’s a feel-good, fluffy, summer read. But then I didn’t expect it would be heavy at some point along the way. This book is full of deep and indescribable emotions that puncture every bone in your body. So you better brace yourself for that! Furthermore, When We Collided is a huge eye-opener because the author takes readers inside the mind of someone with *insert name of illness* I applaud Emery Lord for a truthful execution of the story!

The characters are authentic in all facets. Vivi Alexander is a ball of sunshine. Her positive outlook is so contagious! Smart, creative, and full of surprises, she has magic in her that I can’t explain! However, beneath Vivi’s shimmering outward persona is a dark, mysterious version of herself. On the other hand, Jonah Daniels is a caring and responsible person. He takes care of his family, always putting them first. He’s also a sweet and thoughtful guy! He does swoon-worthy things for Vivi that totally melted my heart! ❤

Although the romance developed a bit fast for me, I admire the Vivi and Jonah moments that were charming and downright magical! I love how they understand each one’s flaws and supported one another as they treaded the road of love, acceptance, and healing.

Emery Lord’s writing is genuinely remarkable like an artwork oozing with zest. It’s easy to get lost in an Emery Lord book because the words will pull you in, bind your attention to the story, and never let you go. Most of all, I love how Emery writes realistic relationships and scenarios that readers could associate with at once.

A powerful story that will knock you off your feet, When We Collided is a perfect reminder that love brightens up life even when it is clothed in darkness.

Rating:

4.5/5 stars

ARC Review: What You Always Wanted by Kristin Rae

25663575Title: What You Always Wanted (If Only, #8)

Author: Kristin Rae

Publication date: March 29, 2016

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Pages: 320

Source: ARC gifted by the author (Thank you, Kristin!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

Synopsis:

If Only . . . he was the boy she’s been dreaming of. The If Only line continues in this fun high school theater-themed romance!

Drama girl Maddie Brooks has always had high standards for guys. But she has yet to find one who can live up to the romantic, classic Hollywood heartthrobs, especially the dreamy song-and-dance man Gene Kelly. When Maddie begins to carpool with Jesse Morales, her new neighbor and star pitcher of the baseball team, she’s struck by his wit, good looks, and love for his family–but a guy so into sports is definitely not her style. Then Maddie discovers that Jesse was raised as a dancer and still practices in the community theater dance studio to keep in shape. Perhaps her perfect dream guy exists after all! But when it becomes clear that baseball–not dance–is Jessie’s passion, can Maddie find a way to let her dream guy go and appreciate the charms of the amazing guy in front of her?

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

As a theatre kid in college, I was altogether drawn to Kristin Rae’s sophomore novel, What You Always Wanted. Theatre was a huge part of my life that I truly miss, and reading this book was like a trip down memory lane.

Fresh and engaging, What You Always Wanted is a novel that encourages readers to be brave to show his/her true self. The book thoroughly illustrates that the greatest starring role you’ll ever play in the show called life is being your own person and being proud of who you are. In relation to this, you cannot force others to be the people you want them to be. You have to let them shine the way they want to because they have their own show, their own life, to star in.

The romance is so cute in every way! Jesse + Maddie = infinite heart eyes emoji! 🙂 You know the excitement and giddiness you feel when you meet your favorite movie star or your favorite author in person? That’s how every #Jeddie / #Masse (or whatever ship name they have) seemed to me!

Kristin Rae’s writing emits truthfulness and a bucketful of smile inducing feels. She does know how to bring sunshine to readers’ lives through her words! This is one of the reasons why I fell head over heels in love with her debut, Wish You Were Italian. If you have read WYWI, you’d understand why I strongly feel this way.

What You Always Wanted is a charming YA contemporary that will surely paint a gleeful smile on your face. Perfect for those who love theatre and classic movies!

 

Rating:

4/5 stars

 

ARC Review: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

23719423Title: This Raging Light

Author: Estelle Laure

Publication date: January 5, 2016

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers

Pages: 288

Source: ARC from publisher (Thank you, HMH!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

Synopsis: 

“A funny, poetic, big-hearted reminder that life can—and will—take us all by surprise.”—Jennifer E. Smith, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Can the best thing happen at the worst time?  Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Of all the contemporary novels I read last year, there’s only one that took me three days to finish. That, my dear readers, is the fastest reading time I could afford at the moment because of my busy work schedule. It was such a breeze that I only stopped reading for bathroom breaks or when I needed to get back to work.

Showcasing a fresh, hypnotic writing style and decent pacing, This Raging Light is a debut novel that expresses raw and honest emotions with impactful depth. The feels claw out of the pages, making readers a part of the story. The characters are so authentic in a sense that they would pass off as living, breathing humans with problems and experiences that anyone could relate to. Lucille, the main character, is a strong and amazing sister to Wren. The romance is electric and beautiful! You’d feel the intensity of Lucille and Digby’s (the love interest) attraction to each other.

I love how This Raging Light is about being brave to face a scary world. Author Estelle Laure opens readers’ eyes to the firm realization that standing up on your own is all right. And yet you also have to keep in mind that it’s okay to ask for help. Oftentimes, there’s someone willing to extend a hand. You are not alone.

Burning with the brightness of hope and love, This Raging Light will definitely touch readers’ hearts.

 

Rating:

3.5/5 stars

 

A Series of DNFs

What is it like to write DNF reviews? For me, it seems to be the most terrible thing I’ve ever done as a book blogger. Books are treasures, but what if you don’t like a particular story? Or in my case, one story after another? I feel that I’m the odd one out when I don’t like the story everyone loves as well as feel very awful when I write DNF reviews.

Now this post is for three books that I have DNF-ed in the past few months because I didn’t enjoy them. I’m soooo sorry! 😦 Most of you loved these books, but I just couldn’t identify with any of them and their characters. There were also dragging parts that felt like forever. Plus, with the endless TBR pile that all book bloggers have, I don’t want to waste my time reading a book that doesn’t thrill me. 😦

 

The Devil You Know by Trish Doller

22929537

Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat

23287163

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

23830990

*Photos from Goodreads

Blog Tour: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith [Excerpt + Giveaway!]

Hi guys! Thanks for dropping by! For the Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between  PH blog tour, I’m happy to share with you an excerpt from the lovely book! Hope you like it! 🙂

EXCERPT

***

“Aidan raises an eyebrow. “That’d better not be a list of reasons why we should break up. . .”

“It’s not,” she says as she hands it over to him, watching as he scans the page with a bemused expression. “I just figured maybe we could use a plan.”

“And this is it?”

She nods. “This is it.”

“Okay,” he says, taking a deep breath. “Then I guess we should get going.”

Together, they start to walk in the direction of the car, but halfway there, Clare stops short, suddenly and unaccountably nervous, her heart drumming hard in her chest. She looks over at Aidan with slightly panicked eyes. “This is kind of crazy, isn’t it?”

“What?” he asks.

“That we leave tomorrow,” she says, her voice rising a little. “That after all this time, we only have twelve hours left. I mean. . . we’re finally here, you know? At the end of the road.”

“Or,” he reminds her, “the beginning.”

Clare doesn’t say anything, she wants desperately to believe him, but standing here on the edge of something so big, it seems impossible.

“Trust me,” Aidan says, reaching for her hand. “A lot can happen in twelve hours.”

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

23369370

Title: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Publication date: September 1, 2015

Publisher: Poppy

Pages: 256

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

Synopsis:

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they’ll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

 

 

GIVEAWAY TIME!

We’re giving away an ARC of Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between!

Open to PH residents only.

Please click on the Rafflecopter link below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*For the complete schedule of the blog tour, please head over to Pinoy Book Tours

 

ARC Review: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

23369370Title: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Publication date: September 1, 2015

Publisher: Poppy

Pages: 256

Source: ARC from the publisher (Thank you, The NOVL!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

Synopsis:

On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they’ll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?

This new must-read novel from Jennifer E. Smith, author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, explores the difficult choices that must be made when life and love lead in different directions.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

One of the things I love about reading a Jennifer E. Smith book is getting this hopeful, magical feeling inside me every time. This year, the remarkable author gives readers another YA contemporary rich in thought and emotions that will surely leave a lasting impression in their hearts.

Wrapped in a sincere and nostalgic undertone, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is a story is about love and the difficult decisions we make in life. It follows Clare and Aidan, a couple on their last night before leaving for college. Both are contemplating whether they should break up or keep their relationship intact. Clare and Aidan go on a trip to memory lane—back to where their love story began—hoping to find something that will help resolve their dilemma. Now who wouldn’t be keen on reading a story as unique as this?

Raw and realistic, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is a well-conceptualized novel that fascinated me. The idea of revisiting your past in a span of twelve hours was indeed refreshing and exciting. I’m consistently on the lookout for books with ingenious and attention-grabbing concepts. I’m happy to say that Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between falls under the classifications I mentioned. The story makes you realize a lot of things! Oh, and the feels are so spot on! They punch holes in your heart one moving scene after the other. Mind you, most of my sticky notes have “Awwww”, “Oh my heart!” and “The feels!” written on them.

The characters are genuine and easy to associate with. Clare and Aidan’s relationship is a delight to behold! I enjoyed visiting their past with them and seeing their relationship unfold. I also liked Scotty and Stella! They are downright cute and entertaining! I wish there would be a book about them. 🙂

As always, Jennifer E. Smith writes beautiful and authentic stories that readers don’t want to end. Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is definitely one of them! I will always look forward to reading Jennifer E. Smith’s books!

Instilled with surprising discoveries and hopeful beginnings, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between is brilliance and heart in one exceptional novel.

 

Rating:

4.5/5 stars

 

ARC Review: Another Day by David Levithan

18459855Title: Another Day

Author: David Levithan

Publication date: August 25, 2015

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Pages: 300

Source: e-ARC from the publisher (Thank you, Random House Kids!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

Synopsis:

The eagerly anticipated companion to David Levithan’s New York Times bestseller Every Day

In this enthralling companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan (co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green) tells Rhiannon’s side of the story as she seeks to discover the truth about love and how it can change you.

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

Another Day by David Levithan is the much-awaited companion novel to the 2012 release, Every Day. I was a huge fan of Every Day and was very thrilled when I found out about Another Day.

Written in the POV of Rhiannon, the love interest of A, Another Day is spot on in emotions and thoughts about love. There were moments when things were beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. The feels are very intense! The story’s profoundness generated thoughts I never imagined would cross my mind. Another Day enabled me to see how truly complicated A’s life is. Waking up in a different body every day sounds fascinating. However, it’s difficult to have that type of life because you don’t get to live normally—no permanent family, home, circle of friends, and even life itself. Change is the only constant thing in A’s life. Another Day will allow readers to appreciate the normal life they have.

David Levithan’s writing is brilliant! Reading Another Day felt like floating above the clouds. It’s so light and at the same time, relaxing. Plus, it’s too beautiful to stop reading just to take down notes!

In totality, Another Day is a pretty good book. Although the ending wasn’t what I expected, I still enjoyed the story.

 

Rating:

3.5/5 stars

 

 

 

ARC Review: Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

13132816Title: Emmy & Oliver

Author: Robin Benway

Publication date: June 23, 2015

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 352

Source: ARC from the publisher (Thank you, HarperCollins!)

Purchase the book: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository / Fully Booked / National Book Store

 

Synopsis:

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.

*Photo and synopsis from Goodreads

My review:

At first glance, Emmy & Oliver seems like a wonderful book. Its storyline showed a lot of promise, and it’s a contemporary that I believed I would love. Sadly, however, I did not finish reading the book. I looked forward to it so much but it turned out to be a let down for me. I wasn’t able to connect with the story and the characters. There was no thrill, nothing interesting to keep my attention. I didn’t feel anything while I was reading it.

With a lot of people loving Emmy & Oliver, I felt like the odd one out. It came to a point that I questioned if something was wrong with me. Emmy & Oliver is contemporary. And being a contemporary fangirl, aren’t I supposed to like it even just a little? But I’m really sorry to say that Emmy & Oliver did not work for me. 😦

I do not mean offense to anyone. This is review is just my sincere personal opinion. To those who have this book in their TBR pile, I encourage you to still give it a try. Emmy & Oliver might not be for me, but it could be your next favorite book.

 

Rating:

DNF