Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Book Covers

top ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is a cover freebie. Since summer is fast approaching, I decided to choose my top ten favorite summer books covers. Any books with reviews on my website will be linked to the title. Here are my nine choices:

1.) The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

This cover is gorgeous! I love the bright colors and how the shells are placed in the background. I also love the simple font.

2.) The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

The Moon and More

Like with The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, I love how bright and summery the colors are on this book cover! I love how Sarah’s Dessen name fades into blue and pink. Also, I definitely have taken pictures like this on vacation.

3.) The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

The Unexpected Everything

From the ice cream truck, to the font, to the dogs this cover is perfection! It definitely captured my attention when I first saw it in the bookstore. One cool aspect of this cover is on the inside there are more pictures of the dogs!

4.) The Boyfriend League by Rachel Hawthorne

The Boyfriend League

This cover is really cute and gives me a good idea of the plot before I even read the description on the back. I really like how the cover is sporty and girly at the same!

5.) Thrill Ride by Rachel Hawthorne

Thrill Ride

Like with The Boyfriend League, I like how this cute illustration gives you an idea of how fun this book will be to read! I think the heart in the roller coaster is cute, simple, and effective.

6.) The Test: Junior Lifeguards by Elizabeth Doyle Carey

The Test: Junior Lifeguards

Before reading this book, I didn’t even know about Junior Lifeguards. For the cover, I really like how the O is a life preserver and how the authors name is on the back of the beach chair.

7.) Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch 

Love & Gelato

The cover is of this book is one of the reasons that I was immediately drawn to it. The ice cream is cute, simple, and summery! It definitely makes me want some gelato.

8.) The Summer of Cotton Candy by Debbie Viguié

The Summer of Cotton Candy (Sweet Seasons, #1)

At a college event, I worked the cotton candy booth. Unfortunately, my cotton candy never looked as good as the cotton candy on this cover! Whenever I see this book cover, it makes me want to go to the nearest fair or amusement park.

9.) Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita 

Sleepaway Girls (Whispering Pines, #1)

Summer camp is a staple of summer and I think this cover captures the spirit of summer camp! I really like how the suitcase includes a shirt with the name of the camp on it and includes clothes that I could see the main character wearing!

 

What are your favorite summer book covers?

 

Icing on the Lake Book Review

icing on the lake

A winter romance with cute hockey players? Sounds like icing on the… lake!

Icing on the Lake by Catherine Clark follows Kirsten who spending a month with her recently divorced sister as she rebuilds her life. Kirsten quickly meets a group of hockey boys and instantly sets her sights on Sean, the star player, as a potential date to her friends’ Groundhog’s Day weekend trip. However, Sean’s frustrating brother, Conor keeps getting in the way.

On my blog, I ranked my favorite books from a specific imprint of Harper Teen (see my blog post here). If I added Icing on the Lake to the list, it would fall somewhere in the middle. While Icing on the Lake was cute and fun, it didn’t have the same spark as some of the others books by Catherine Clark that I have read.

One of my favorite parts of this book was Kirsten’s relationship with her sister. Since the books in this imprint are known to be fluffy and fun, most just focus on the book’s romantic relationships. Kirsten and her sister had their misunderstandings and squabbles, but I loved seeing how much they supported each other at the end of the novel.

My biggest complaint about Icing on the Lake would be the relationship takes too long to develop. For most of the book, Kirsten has her eyes on Sean. By the time she figures out she likes Conor more, it’s pretty much the end of the book. While Kirsten and Conor do have their moments, they spend the majority of the book disliking each other. When they finally get together, it seems like the book abruptly ends. While their relationship wasn’t terrible, I wish I could have seen more cute moments between Kirsten and Conor.

Overall, Icing on the Lake is a cute read that is perfect for winter. However, it needed something a little extra to stand out from the crowd. I give Icing on the Lake three out of five stars.

 

The Fill-In Boyfriend Review

the fill in boyfriend

I fill in five stars for The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West.

The Fill-In Boyfriend focuses on Gia Montgomery, a popular girl whose boyfriend dumps her in the parking lot before prom. To not disappoint her friends, Gia finds a boy to pose as her ex-boyfriend, Bradley. To return the favor, Gia poses as fake Bradley’s girlfriend at his exes graduation party. Soon, Gia’s lies start to catch up with her and threaten to ruin her perfect life.

I’ve read one Kasie West book in the past, The Distance Between Us, and enjoyed it. Then, I saw The Fill-In Boyfriend as a Kindle deal and quickly purchased it. After reading a few negatives reviews about not liking the main character or story line, I was afraid that I wouldn’t enjoy this book as much as The Distance Between Us. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised and liked this book even more than The Distance Between Us!

I think one of the main reasons people dislike this book is the main character, Gia. When readers first meet Gia, she is incredibly shallow and willing to lie in order to protect her reputation. However, as the book goes on, Gia really tries to be a better person. Obviously, Gia struggles with maintaining her image and doing what is right, so she doesn’t always do the right thing. However, I loved seeing her change throughout the book and think she becomes a more likable character at the end of the novel.

I also really enjoyed the side characters in this book. Gia’s “friends” are very similar to people that I remember in high school. I liked how Bec, a girl strikingly different than Gia’s usual crowd, helped Gia overlook stereotypes but also learned to overlook them herself. I also really appreciated how the author portrayed Gia’s family and how it influenced the person she became. Gia’s parents are very emotionally unavailable and are complete perfectionists. I think many people could relate Gia’s family dynamics.

As for the romance, I think Gia and Hayden were a cute couple and I enjoyed reading more about their relationship more than Caymen and Xander in The Distance Between Us. I liked how even though they were very different people, they both experienced similar situations that they bonded over. Gia and Hayden had a lot of cute couple experiences and phrases which will help them remember me in a sea of YA contemporary romances.

The Fill-In Boyfriend was a cute book that I breezed through in one sitting. After reading this book, I definitely plan on picking up for Kasie West books in the future. I give The Fill-In Boyfriend five out of five stars.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: My Reading Wishlist

top ten

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is what is on your wish list to see more in books, however, I decided to take a different spin on the topic. Since I started my book blog, I have added a lot of books to my to be read pile. Here are the top ten books on my reading wish list:

  1. Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Once and for All

Sarah Dessen has been one of my favorite young adult authors since high school. I was so excited when I found out she was releasing another book! I actually already pre-ordered this book and I am waiting patiently (maybe not so patiently) until its release date.

 

  1. Lucky in Love by Kasie West

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Kasie West is quickly becoming an auto-buy author for me. After seeing so many people in the bookish community raving about her books, I decided to read her books and was not disappointed. I’m such a fan on Kasie West’s books because they remind me of my favorite high school movies. Lucky in Love definitely has that feel so I’m looking forward to reading it!

 

  1. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #3)

Even though I wasn’t the hugest fan of the second book in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series, I definitely want to read this book. I love reading cute and fluffy books, so this book is definitely high on my reading wishlist.

 

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

32075671

I’ve heard nothing but positive things about this book, so I’m really excited to read it! I placed a hold on this book at my local library, so like with Once and For All, I’m not-so-patiently waiting for my chance to read it.

 

  1. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

Open Road Summer

I saw this book in the Kindle Monthly Deals section. It sounded like a fun and cute summer story, so I bought it! I’m saving this book for the summer and I can’t wait to move it from my to be read to read list on Goodreads.

 

  1. On the Fence by Kasie West

On the Fence

This is another book that I’ve already purchased, but can’t wait to read! This book will probably be taken off my reading wish list the soonest. Since I’m student teaching and don’t have any finals this semester, I plan to read it during finals week!

 

  1. Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

Girl Out of Water

The plot of this book reminds me of Sarah Dessen, so it earned a spot on my reading wish list. This seems like the perfect book to read during the summer, so I need to get my hands on it ASAP.

 

  1. I Believe in a Thing called Love by Maurene Goo

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

I’ve heard that this book is a great rom-com, since rom-coms are some of my favorite reads, it has a spot on my reading wish list!

 

  1. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Everything, Everything
I just read The Sun is Also a Star and absolutely LOVED it. With the trailer for this movie always popping up on Youtube, I really have been wanting to read this book (even if the ending was spoiled for me)!

 

  1. Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Geekerella

Geekerella sounds like a super cute book with a fun twist on the classic Cinderella story. Hopefully, I have a book fairy godmother to take this off my reading wish list! 

 

What books are on your reading wish list?

 

 

Snowed In Review

snowed in

There may have been a lot of inches of snow on the ground in this book, but unfortunately, I am not giving it that many stars.

Snowed In by Rachel Hawthorne follows Ashleigh Sneuax (pronounced “Snow”) who moves with her mom from Texas to an island of Michigan in the winter. Due to her parent’s divorce, Ashleigh keeps one rule: no boyfriends. Ashleigh’s mind changes when she meets Josh, a cute boy on the island. There’s only one problem… he’s dating her new best friend.

Before on my blog, I ranked my favorite books from an imprint of Harper Teen (you can see that post here). Most of my top rated books are by Rachel Hawthorne, so I was extremely excited to read another one of her books. Snowed In, however, failed to meet my expectations. If I ranked Snowed In on my list, it most likely would be near the bottom.

First, I’ll start with the positives. I really enjoyed reading about the setting of this book. It definitely takes place in a unique area and Hawthorne did a great job of creating the atmosphere of the book. I loved seeing so many small town traditions and other features of the town which were unique to the area.

Now, for the negatives. I think my largest issue with this book is how it justifies cheating in a relationship. Ashleigh is heartbroken when she discovers her father is remarrying because she feels like he is “cheating” on her and her mother. However, it is played off as fine when Ashleigh and Josh kiss behind Nathalie’s back. Ashleigh and Josh’s actions are justified because Nathalie only refers to Josh as “my boyfriend,” their relationship only started by checking off yes on a paper in middle school, and Nathalie immediately gets another boyfriend after the break-up with a boy who has always been in love with her. I really did not like this aspect of the book and it put a damper of Ashleigh and Josh’s relationship for me.

Overall, Snowed In a quick and easy read that is perfect when you want to read something light and fluffy. That being said, I didn’t particularly care for the relationship in this book so it wasn’t as fun for me to read as I expected. I give Snowed In two out of five stars.

 

April Wrap-Up

wrap up

With Easter break this past month, I finally had some free time to read books for fun! Here are all the books that I read in April. Any book with a review will be linked to the book’s title:

Icing on the Lake by Catherine Clark (★ ★ ★)

Icing on the Lake

Snowed In by Rachel Hawthorne (★ ★)

Snowed In

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)

The Fill-In Boyfriend

The Test: Junior Lifeguards by Elizabeth Doyle Carey (★ ★ ★ ★)

The Test: Junior Lifeguards

Alex, Approximately Review

alex approximately

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett earns approximately three stars from me.

Alex, Approximately is a You’ve Got Mail-inspired story that follows movie-obsessed Bailey as she moves across the country to live with her father in California. Coincidentally, Bailey’s online friend and crush, “Alex”, lives in the same area. Bailey, also known as “Mink” online, never tells Alex about her recent move. Instead, she searches for him while working at museum where she meets a new boy that may make her forget about Alex entirely.

Alex, Approximately is a solid young adult contemporary romance. While it falls into several cliches, the novel features good writing and a good story. Unfortunately for me, the story lagged a bit in the middle. After putting the book aside for a bit, I was able to push through the second half of the book and was satisfied with the conclusion.

As for the main character, Bailey was an okay protagonist for me. While she will be extremely relatable to the target audience, she fell flat for me and was a little too boring. Like many protagonists in contemporary books, she loved movies, dressed in vintage clothes, and deals with huge issues from her past. Other than that, it is hard to pinpoint anything particularly remarkable about her personality. However, Bailey is an overall good character in the book, even if she isn’t too memorable among a sea of other young adult characters.

I have more mixed feelings towards the love interests in the book. If you’ve ever heard of You’ve Got Mail, it’s pretty easy to guess which character is “Alex.” This made the book drag for me, especially in the middle, where plot dragged. When it comes to a boil at the end after disappearing from the middle of the book, it seems a little over dramatic and the reaction from Porter, Bailey’s other love interest, seems a little too much.

Like with Bailey, I thought Porter was a decent character, but not particularly memorable. With many love interests in young adult fiction, Porter has a mysterious event that happened in the past, instantly argues with Bailey, has a creepy best friend that hits on the main character, but actually possesses a heart of gold. Besides one moment at the end, Porter always came across as a little too perfect for me. Once again, Porter was a solid love interest, but nothing remarkable.
While I enjoyed parts of Alex, Approximately, there were several sections where I was a little bored and felt myself just pushing through to the end. Alex, Approximately is a decent young adult book that would be fun to read for the summer, but it won’t be the top of my reread pile. I give Alex, Approximately, three out of five stars.  

I received this book via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

ARC Review: Junior Lifeguards

junior lifeguards

Summer fun? Best friends? A cool summer job? The Test: Junior Lifeguard by Elizabeth Doyle Carey passes the fun summer read test.

Jenna Bowers is a competitive swimmer slowly losing her top spot on the team. This summer, Jenna wants to hop out of the pool and dive into the ocean as a junior lifeguard with her three best friends. Becoming a junior lifeguard, however, may be more difficult than winning the gold.

I’ve read a few other books by Elizabeth Doyle Carey in her middle grade series, The Cupcake Diaries, as Coco Simon. Even though I really liked the author’s writing style and characterization, I thought the books moved too slow and the stories were wrapped up too easily. Luckily, I didn’t find these problems with The Test: Junior Lifeguards and hope to continue the series.

After reading this book, I think it is perfect for reading starting to outgrow middle grade, but aren’t ready to venture into grittier young adult books. The Test: Junior Lifeguards does a great job of balancing friends, family, crushes, and more serious topics in an appropriate way for younger readers. One of the best aspects of this book is Jenna’s friend group. The dynamics of her friend group are very authentic for girls in middle school to early high school, so I think a lot of readers in the target audience could relate to Jenna and her story.

I also liked that this book had a clear ending, but left a lot of room for a sequel featuring any one of Jenna’s friends. Each of Jenna’s friends have the potential to have an interesting story line featuring one of the many mysteries set up in the first book. Out of all of Jenna’s friends, I think I would be the most excited to read about Selena. Out of the group, she was the most interesting character with the most promising story line. I think I would be least excited to read Ziggy’s story because she slightly annoyed me with her immaturity, tardiness, and careless attitude.

One of my complaints with this story was how much of the girls’ conversation centered around guys. Considering the characters’ ages, it makes sense that the girls are a little boy crazy. However, it seemed like any time a male character popped up in the book, they all gushed about his attractiveness. This happened with literally any male character, even if they only appeared a few seconds, like the “manny” to the famous girls in town for the summer.

My other complaint with this story would be some of the girl drama. Like with the boy craziness, it is expected at this age. However, sometimes it got a little too much. If one of Jenna’s friends just made a reference to the boy she liked, she quickly assumed they wanted to steal them away or thought they were cute too. This especially happened when Jenna interacted with Selena, who Jenna constantly remarked was beautiful enough to steal any guy away from her. It seemed like whenever another girl one-upped Jenna she got extremely jealous. While competitiveness is part of Jenna’s personality, it sometimes was a little too much for me.

The Test Junior Lifeguards is the perfect summer read for young girls in the stage between middle grade and young adult. This would be a great book to bring on a beach vacation! I give The Test: Junior Lifeguards four out of five stars.

I received The Test: Junior Lifeguards by Elizabeth Doyle Carey from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Queen of Babble Review

queen-of-babble

Unfortunately, the Meg Cabot’s Queen of Babble had some king-sized problems.

Queen of Babble follows Lizzie Nichols, a recent college graduate with a big mouth, who travels to London for the summer to spend time with her boyfriend. However, plans her plans do not go as expected. Soon, Lizzie finds herself at a chateau in France with her friends to help with a wedding. There she meets Luke, the chateau owner’s son, and finds herself falling for him.

Since high school, I always loved Meg Cabot books. Most of the books I checked out between freshman and senior year were either Meg Cabot or Sarah Dessen. I loved how Meg Cabot’s colorful and fun writing stood apart from other books. I’m disappointed to say, however, that I did not really enjoy Queen of Babble.

One of my main issues with this book was the main character, Lizzie. After recently graduating college, potentially moving to New York, and spending the summer in London, I expected Lizzie to act a little more mature. However, Lizzie’s voice actually reminded me of a character from a younger YA book. After a brief encounter with her boyfriend, she planned their entire lives together. She built him up to be this wonderful guy after meeting him one time, despite warnings from her friends. After awhile, her character really irritated to me.

Another issue I had with Queen of Babble was the pacing. If you want to read this book, do not read the summary from Goodreads because description is the entire book. When I was reading, I was surprised that I was already around 40% through the book and Luke still didn’t appear in the book. Furthermore, a lot of the book repeated what happened in earlier parts of the book just to different characters. Even though Lizzie is the “queen of babbling,” sometimes it became a little too much. I found myself skipping paragraphs where she repeated the same information over and over.

As a result, the romance part of the book suffered. Lizzie doesn’t meet Luke until far into the book, which means there is little time to see their relationship develop. Especially since Luke has a girlfriend when Lizzie arrives, readers are only given a few cute moments between the characters. Even though this book is very chicklit, I expected a little more out of their relationship.

Overall, Queen of Babble was okay, but not my favorite Meg Cabot book. Since it took awhile for me to become interested in the story and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the main character, I give this book two out of five stars.

Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Stage Fright Review

stage-fright

Lights, camera… action! Allie Finkle takes the stage in the fourth book of the Rules for Girls series.

In Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Stage Fright, Meg Cabot’s middle grade heroine auditions for a role in her class play about recycling. Every girl in the class covets the main role, Princess Penelope, who wanders through the recycling forest while hiding from the evil queen. Much to Allie’s dismay, Mrs. Hunter casts her as the evil queen.

Last read, I read the first Allie Finkle book. I expected a cute book with a nice message for young readers. I was surprised to find myself laughing out loud at Allie’s crazy antics. Even though I didn’t like the fourth book as much as the first book, Stage Fright offers a lot of laughs and good messages for younger readers.

I think the best aspect of this book is Allie Finkle’s attitude. Unlike many novels featuring characters of the same age, Allie does not disrespect her parents or incite petty drama between her friends. Allie acts extremely mature and supports her friends even when one of her friends gets the part she wanted in the school play and acts mean towards her. Many of her rules are extremely relatable and useful for readers. She also provides many witty observations about the other students in her class.

Another aspect I enjoyed about this book were Allie’s rules. A lot of books for this age range also utilize rules within their books. However, I think Allie’s rules stand out from the other similar books. All of Allie’s rules, which are listed at the end of the book, are extremely useful and relatable for readers. I especially liked the rules in this book because they encouraged readers to be nice to others, do the best with what you are given, and to support your friends.

Overall, Stage Fright is a nice addition to the Allie Finkle series. While the beginning was a little slow for me, it really picked up in the middle and end. I rate Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Stage Fright as four out of five stars.