The Hating Game by Sally Thorne Review

book review

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is a contemporary new adult novel which follows two rival employees at a publishing company. Lucy Hutton, a spunky executive assistant (and slight push-over) to one of the company’s CEOs, despises Joshua Templeton, the company’s other executive assistant who appears cold-hearted and ruthless approach to other employees. When a promotion opens up, both Lucy and Joshua want the new prestigious position. However, through their competition, Lucy and Joshua find that they may not hate each other as much as they once thought.

This year, I wanted to branch out and read about more characters who are my age. While I love young adult books, I’ve found more and more that I can’t always relate to their experiences. However, it’s been difficult finding new adult books or adult books that aren’t hardcore romance books or about characters significantly older than me and dealing with parts of life that I haven’t experienced. I think The Hating Game was a great read because it is like a contemporary young adult read, but for an older audience  which is what I hope to see more of in new adult books.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I couldn’t put it down! This book is an easy to read book that reads like a romantic comedy. I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw this book turn into a movie in the near future. The characters, who although change their hearts a little too quickly for me, are likeable and have funny back-and-forth comments throughout the novel. Though is book contains tropes typical in similar books, I still found myself smiling throughout the story and not thinking about reading similar books to this a few times before.

That being said, there were a few minor changes that I think could have made this book better. While most of Lucy and Joshua’s banter was cute and funny, there were a few instances that were really uncomfortable to read for me. Additionally, I was really put off by the ending. I felt like there was really no resolution to the competition between them so the ending was a little bit of a cop-out.

The Hating Game is a great stepping stone for people looking to branch out of young adult books, but not dive into the adult world yet. I would recommend this book to people who enjoyed I’ve Got Your Number or My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella, since both feature young professionals and focuses their life experiences as well as romance. I give The Hating Game four out of five stars.

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Shatter Me/Unravel Me Book Review

book review

The Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi is a fantasy young adult series that follows Juliette, a teenager with a deadly touch. After years of isolation, Juliette is finally taken out of confinement with plans to be used as a war weapon by Warner, the son of a ruthless Reestablishment leader. However, Juliette begins to question herself and her powers after she meets Adam, a soldier who seems immune to her touch.

I remember when Restore Me, the fourth book in this series was released and tons of people in the book community were extremely excited. I never read Shatter Me, but remembered reading tons of less-than-favorable reviews when the first book appeared during a huge boom in young adult fantasy a couple years back. I’m always interested in reading some of the OG Booktube favorites, especially when I’ve heard mixed reviews. For example, I personally heard many negative reviews for The Selection series when it first came out, but picked it up when many bloggers loved it because they went in with the mindset of it being a fun, but not extremely deep read. I found that I actually read had fun reading that series as well, years after it originally gained popularity. Let’s see if I had the same success with Shatter Me!

The Shatter Me series follows a very similar formula to other YA fantasies released around the same time. Juliette, who considers herself plan and undesirable, has a remarkable power that helps her gain confidence and strengths. She finds herself between two love interests: the nice boy she knew from her childhood and the somewhat crazy bad boy in some position of power. In this sense, the first two books of the Shatter Me series, Shatter Me and Unravel Me, don’t really stand out in a sea of young adult novels since their plot echoes many other books in the same genre. I also found much of the plot recycled multiple times throughout these first two books which makes it difficult to differentiate the first two books in this series and see any growth in the plot.

As for the plot, it didn’t personally grab me like other OG young adult fan favorites. I planned to read this entire series this past summer, but didn’t find the motivation to pick up Ignite Me or Restore Me yet. For me, I couldn’t quite grip the feel of the plot. For me, The Reestablishment wasn’t clearly defined and I wasn’t entirely sure of how they came to power or their plans. As for the rebels, there’s more of a superhero vibe and soon it’s like everyone has a super power so it’s not that unique or different anymore. This two parts of the book just didn’t mesh well for me and they didn’t excite me either.

Another aspect of the book that I have mixed feelings towards are the characters. Juliette is a fairly typical YA heroine for the time it was released. I wish her character was a little more well-developed and had a little more growth. I felt like the only things I really knew about her after the second book was vague details about her childhood, that she was in isolation for years, and that she is pretty (which is said by every male in the book countless times). As for Adam, he’s another standard character for the time. He’s the stable boy you knew from childhood, but doesn’t really have anything else going for him. As for Warner, I could probably write a whole post just on him. He’s someone I just can’t get behind. I get he’s been through a lot too, but he seems very unstable and problematic that it makes me uncomfortable to want to cheer on a relationship for him with Juliette.

Some of the biggest criticisms I’ve seen regarding the series is the flowery writing style that contains unnecessary descriptions that don’t always make sense. I’m not someone who really gravitates towards flowery writing, however, the writing style didn’t bother me as I read the book. If you read a lot, it is easy to filter through the lengthy descriptions and see the main idea. Both Shatter Me and Unravel Me were quick reads for me, so maybe I read too fast, but the extra writing wasn’t a major turn-off for me.

After reading these first two books, I’m not sure if I want to continue this series. They were quick reads, but I’m not sure if I want to read the same story over and over again like I did while reading the first two books. I give Shatter Me and Unravel Me three out of five stars.

 

What are some OG popular books you’ve heard of from blogging, but have never read?

 

Discount Physical Book Haul September 2018

book haul 2

Recently, I’ve become more interested in buying e-books since I am running out of space to store physical copies. However, I can’t pass up a good deal on a physical book that I’ve been wanting to own. Over the past couple months, I’ve picked up a few physical books at thrift stores, discount stores, or on sale at the book store. Here’s what I found:

  • Once Upon a Kiss by Robin Palmer

Once Upon a Kiss

I tried to read a book by Robin Palmer recently, The Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and just could not finish it. However, I saw this book on sale at a discount store and decided to pick it up. This is apart of the Castle High series, but I liked when I was younger, so I thought I might as well pick up the one book in the series that I didn’t own. The description of this book reminds me of 13 Going on 30. An unpopular girl in the 80s goes to the future at her high school where she’s popular and no longer associates with her former best friends.

  • The Elite, The Heir, and Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass

The Elite (The Selection, #2)The Heir (The Selection, #4)Happily Ever After (The Selection, #0.4, 0.5, 2.5, 3.1, 3.5)

I read The Selection series during summer 2017 and really enjoyed it. However, I read them through my local library and did not own any books in the series. I love the covers of these books and was so happy when I found a few at my library’s book sale or discounted at the book store. The only book I haven’t read is Happily Ever After, which contains short stories and bonus scenes.

  • The Fill-In Boyfriend and The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

The Fill-In BoyfriendThe Distance Between Us

Kasie West has become an auto-buy contemporary author for me. While I own all of her books on my Kindle already (with the exception of Lucky in Love), I do want to own physical copies of her books as well to display on my bookshelf when I finally purchase one. Plus, it’s nice having two copies if my sister and I want to read one of her books at the same time.

  • I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella

I've Got Your Number

This is by far my favorite Sophie Kinsella book. Like with The Selection series, I read it through my local library and didn’t own a physical or digital copy. Luckily, I found a copy in a thrift store so I will be able to reread this book again!

 

What are some books that you’ve recently hauled?

Janette Rallison Mini-Reviews: Just One Wish and My Fair Godmother

book review

Janette Rallison was definitely a favorite author of mine as I started reading young adult books in middle school. Her sense of humor definitely matched mine which led to countless hours of me laughing out loud as I read her books over. As I result, I always asked for books by this author for my birthday or Christmas. I haven’t seen her books really talked about on Booktube, so here are two mini-reviews on two of her books that I recently re-read:

Just One Wish

My one wish is for you to read this book!

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison follows high school student Annika Truman as she attempts to find the star of a television Robin Hood show to meet her brother fighting cancer before a major surgery. Between bringing snakes on set and challenging Robin Hood to an archery competition, the clock is ticking to make her brother’s wish come true. Her plans grow more complicated when she starts to develop feelings for the actor.

I read several books by Janette Rallison in high school and Just One Wish was always one of my favorites. Janette Rallison always wrote books that made me laugh out loud. While this book does have its humorous moments, it also has a lot of heart and caused me to tear up a few times. As a result, I think this is definitely one of her most successful books. I give this book five out of five stars.

My Fair Godmother (My Fair Godmother, #1)

In My Fair Godmother, Savannah receives the help of her fairy godmother after her boyfriend dumps her for her bookish older sister. Soon, Savannah finds herself trapped in fairy tales in the middle ages. The only way she can leave is if a modern boy also trapped in the middle ages can become an actual prince charming.

One of my favorite aspects of this book would be the main character, Savannah. In most Cinderella stories, it follows the shy and awkward girl who gets transformed into a princess. In this book, however, the “Cinderella” character is a pretty, popular, and shallow girl who discovers that it is more important for someone to like you on the inside rather than the outside.

My Fair Godmother weaves in several classic fairytales (Cinderella, Snow White) while also putting its own spin on them. This book reads like a Disney Channel original movie, so I think younger YA and even older middle grade readers would get the most enjoyment out of this book. I give this book three out of fours stars.

 

What is an author you loved in middle school or high school?

 

 

Speak: The Graphic Novel Review

book review

Speak: The Graphic Novel is the graphic novelization of Laurie Halse Anderson’s award-winning young adult novel which is often considered a modern classic. Speak tells the story of freshman Melissa Sordino. After calling the police at a party over the summer, Melissa is ostracized by her peers and former friends. However, none of her peers knows the true reason behind her phone call: she was raped by an upperclassmen who still threatens her at school.

Speak was originally published in 1999 and the movie was released in 2004. It has been challenged and banned in countless schools. Still, Melissa’s story resonates with many readers and her traumatic experience is still not uncommon in our society. I appreciate that Speak was transformed into a graphic novel to reach a whole new audience of readers who may identify with Melissa’s experiences.

I’ve never actually read the original version of Speak, but I’ve seen the movie version on television several times. I asked my sister, who has read the book and seen the movie, and she said they are very similar. From those comparisons, I would say the graphic novel also stays true to the story. While there are a few “modern” references thrown in (I remember a character mentioning Instagram, which didn’t exist the book was originally published), but overall the core aspects of the story remain the same which I appreciated.

I also really enjoyed the artwork in this book. Artwork plays a huge role in Melissa’s story, so it is a very integral part of the book. I think the artwork (illustrated by Emily Carroll), really captured the tone of the book. I also appreciated how the artwrok emphasized several symbols that appear throughout the book, such as trees and a Maya Angelou poster that Melissa hangs in her work space.

All considered, I think the most powerful aspect of Speak is it message. I think one of the main reasons that Speak is considered a modern classic is how it speaks to so many people. There are so many people who relate to Melissa’s experience, especially people who are considered in the “young adult” range. By putting this book in a graphic novel format, it opens the doors for more people to read this book and realize that they aren’t alone.

Overall, Speak: The Graphic Novel is a wonderful adaptation of a great story. I hope to read this book in its original format in the near future. However, whether you read it in its original format, the graphic novel, or watch the movie, I believe this is a story that you need to read or watch at least once. I give this book five out of five stars.

The Versatile Blogger Award

Book Tag

Thanks to Of All the Books in All the Libraries for nominating me!

THE RULES:

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Leave a link to their blog
  • Tell us 7 things about yourself
  • Nominate 15 bloggers/bloggers you’ve discovered recently or follow regularly
  1. Outside of the blogging world and reviewing books, I’m a teacher! I just started my second year of teaching as an elementary special education teacher.
  2. I love the water! One of my favorite places to go is the beach. Since I don’t live near the water, I usually only get to go there on vacation During the summer. Also, I love to go to the pool and float on my sparkle inner tube. This past summer, I finally splurged on a pool pass and didn’t regret it!
  3. I’m a dog person! I love cuddling with my dog, Bolt, and taking him on walks. He’s a little bit of a diva, but I love him so much and still in denial that he will be turning seven in two weeks.
  4. I have a twin sister! I’m the older one by seven minutes. My sister is my best friend and I don’t know what I would do without her!
  5. I really like makeup! I’m a huge fan of makeup, especially makeup that I can get discounted at TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. I’m constantly checking the #tjmaxxfinds and #marshallfinds tags on Instagram. I go there so much that one of the employees suggested I work there.
  6. I am a member of the National Forensics League! In high school, I competed in Forensics which is speech and debate competitions. Usually, I competed in Dramatic Duo with my sister, but also competed in Humorous and Dramatic Interpretation individually as well.
  7. I am not very organized! Everyone I meet expects me to be a very clean and organized person because “it seems like I’m always put together.” However, I’m extremely messy! Even if my space isn’t exactly neat, I always know where everything is.

Nominations:

 

What are some interesting facts about you?

 

The Summers by Iva-Marie Palmer Book Review

book review

The Summers by Iva-Marie Palmer follows Kate Sommers who returns to her family’s old beach house years after her mother passed away to prepare for her older sister’s wedding. Back at the Cape, Kate runs into her long-time crush and sister’s old summer boyfriend, Ryan Landry. Now that her sister is getting married, Kate believes it is finally her turn to get noticed.

I purchased this book as a Kindle Daily Deal without knowing anything about this story. From the description, it reminded me a little bit of Jenny Han’s Summer trilogy and Katie Cotugno’s 99 Days which both take place in the summer and feature love triangles. Though those aren’t my favorite YA reads, they were fun books to read over the summer. As a result, I hoped that The Summers would also prove to be a fun summer read that also may feature a love triangle, but featuring two women instead of two mean. Unfortunately, there were a few issues that I encountered in this book that prevented me from connecting with the story.

I think I really struggled to connect with this book because of the characters. Kate is a pretty typical YA character who likes to write and has always been obsessed with the boy next door… and that’s pretty much it. Ryan is cute, muscular, loves to cook… and that’s it. Kate’s older sister, Eliza, is bossy, condescending, rude… and that’s it. Each character fell a little flat for me which made me not really care about their stories.

I also felt like this book really missed the mark on a few aspects, especially the relationships between the sisters. I wished Kate and Eliza’s relationship was a little more fleshed out and that we got to see more of Kate’s relationship with her two younger sisters. Parts of the book that I thought would be more dramatic, like when Kate revealed her relationship with Ryan to Eliza or some sketchy interactions between Ryan and Eliza, were brushed under the rug in favor of reading about Kate stalking Ryan’s ex-girlfriend.

Overall, this book lacked the spark to make the story interesting. I didn’t find myself enjoying this story as I read it. This is presented as a light and quick read, but I struggled to turn the pages. I give this book two out of five stars.

Genuine Fraud Review

book review

Genuine Fraud is a recent suspense/mystery novel by E. Lockhart perfect for fans of her book We Were Liars. Genuine Fraud follows Jule, a girl who is currently running from the law for unknown reasons at the beginning of the novel. As the story unfolds in reverse orders, readers discover Jule’s questionable past and obsession Imogen, a heiress that takes Jule under her wing.

When I checked out Genuine Fraud from my library, I hadn’t heard great reviews. However, I always like picking up books that are a little more controversial because sometimes I go in with very low expectations but am pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them. For me, Genuine Fraud was better than I expected, but still only stands as an average read.

I had a very similar reading experience with Genuine Fraud that I did with We Were Liars. With We Were Liars, I kept flipping pages to see what happened in the end, even though I did have my guesses at the twists (which happened to be correct). After We Were Liars, I was super excited about it and thought it was amazing. However, once the excitement of seeing the ending faded, I realized it was really only an average book with an above average entertainment value. I feel the same way about Genuine Fraud minus the excitement of We Were Liars. Since they were very similar reads for me, it wasn’t as exciting the second time around.

Jule is an interesting character to discuss. Her actions are absolutely terrible and she definitely wasn’t written to be likable. Julie has some stances on privilege in the book which I would have liked to read more about to better understand her motivations, but any of her opinions are really overshadowed by her crazy actions to basically take over Imogen’s life. Overall, Julie is a somewhat interesting character, but to maintain her mysterious air she isn’t fleshed out well enough to really get to know her or understand her.

As for the set up of the book, it does take some getting used to, but it really shines in the middle of the story. You want to keep reading to see how Jule got to the point of the end of the book and what really happened to some of the other characters. However, I felt like this set up really fell flat at the end of the story when you basically had all of the little details carried out.

Another aspect of this book that I can’t speak much about, but may turn off other readers, is its similarities to other works. This book is inspired by The Talent Mr. Ripley, a novel by Patricia Highsmith with a movie of the same name. I have never read that story or seen the movie, however, I’ve seen several reviewers mention that this book draws to much from that story, making it slightly unoriginal.

Overall, Genuine Fraud is a read you can finish in one sitting. While it is a page-turner, it is missing some key elements to make it exciting and stand out from other similar works. I give Genuine Fraud three out of five stars.

Not If I Save You First Review

book review

Not If I Save You First is a young adult action/suspense novel by Ally Carter which follows the daughter of a former Secret Service agent in the desolate forest of Alaska. When the President’s son Logan, and Maddie’s former best friend, majorly screws up, his father ships him off to the Alaskan wilderness to teach him a lesson. When a man bent on revenge threatens Logan’s life, Maddie and Logan find themselves fighting for survival without help in sight.

I’ve read one other book by Ally Carter before, but since I’m not a huge suspense/spy book type of readers, I haven’t really read anything else by her. However, I saw this book recently released and it sounded very interesting so I picked it up from my library on a whim. While I do think I would have enjoyed this book more if I read it when I was the same age of the characters in the story, it’s an overall solid young adult read.

I think I struggled to connect with this story the most due to the characters. The characters in this book really remind me of the characters I loved when I started reading YA for the first time. Maggie is a spunky YA heroine who like clothes and things that are bedazzled. Logan is flirty, fun, and completely focused on Maddie’s safety. I think I would have really loved these characters if I was just starting YA, but now that I’ve read quite a few YA books, I’ve seen these characters countless times and in novels I’ve enjoyed more. Plus, Logan’s protectiveness and defensiveness towards Maggie started to really get on my nerves.

Another aspect of this book that I had mixed feelings towards was the plot itself. Maybe it was my misinterpretation, but it seemed like from the blurb Maggie really hated Logan and wanted to get revenge on him herself. Yes, Maggie had a grudge towards Logan, but I was confused and slightly disappointed when this really didn’t pan out in the plot. I also really didn’t care for how everything unfolded in the end. I thought some parts made the whole beginning really pointless, which is hard to describe without giving away any spoilers, but that always frustrates me when it occurs in a book.

I think one quality of this book that redeemed it for me was the writing. Ally Carter is definitely known for her work in this genre and it shows. The writing style in this book was easy to read and had an easy to follow plot. This book is definitely a read you can breeze through it one setting. Even though other aspects of this book didn’t necessarily connect with me, I still really appreciate her writing style.

I wouldn’t say Not If I Save You First is a miss, but I would definitely recommend it to readers just starting YA. Even though I didn’t personally connect with the story, this book definitely contains solid elements for the target audience. I know if I was sixteen years old when I first read this book, I would have really loved it and probably would have reread it several times. I give Not If I Save You First three out of five stars.

99 Days by Katie Cotugno Review

book review

Here’s (a little bit less) than 99 reasons you should read this book.

99 Days by Katie Cotugno follows Molly, a recent boarding school graduate, who returns to her hometown for 99 days before she heads off to college. Molly, however, isn’t in for an easy summer. When she ran off the previous fall, she left a mess behind when her mother published a book based on her real-life love triangle between two brothers in her hometown.

I’ve recently seen a lot of reviews for book by Katie Cotugno pop on Booktube. Even though many of the reviews I watched seemed more mixed and negative than positive, they seemed like the perfect summer contemporary reads so I requested a few of her books from my local library. Much to my surprise, I had a fun time reading 99 Days and can see myself picking up another book by this author in the future.

The best way that I can describe 99 Days is that it is perfect for fans of the Summer Trilogy by Jenny Han. Similar to the summer trilogy, Molly was friends with a family for her entire life and then she gets caught up in a love triangle with two of the brothers. Patrick, her original boyfriend, is very similar to the moody Conrad, while Gabe is more of the light-hearted Jeremiah. Meanwhile, the main character Molly is very similar to Belly in the way that she makes many decisions that make you face palm, but understand because she genuinely acts like a teenager. Without giving away any spoilers, I actually enjoyed this book slightly more than the summer trilogy because it feels like it does point out some issues particularly with one of the relationships.

As for the messages in the book, I think it tried to spread a good message, but wasn’t necessarily successful in doing so. This book really tried to show the double standard in relationships mistakes between men and women. Molly receives a lot of hate throughout this book, while the male involved receives none at all. I appreciated how this double standard was called out in the book. I also really appreciated Patrick’s current girlfriend who went against the “crazy pretty girlfriend” stereotype by befriending Molly, pointing out the double standard people use against Molly, but also standing her ground when Molly completely disrespects her. That being said, there’s a lot of drama that distracts readers from these messages.

I think the largest problem people will have with this book is the drama created by the characters. The majority of the characters in this book knowingly and intentionally make choices that hurt many people without feeling any sense of regret. As a result, they continue to make those choices repeatedly and get upset when people call them out on their choices. As a result, there’s a lot of potential in the relationships (Molly and Patrick, Molly and Gabe, Molly and her mother, etc.), but they don’t really moved forward throughout the course of the novel. Although I want to see how this story ends (there is a sequel), I also don’t want to sit through the same old drama when I can pretty much guess how the story will end.

Overall, 99 Days is a quick summer read that love triangle lovers will really enjoy. While this isn’t my favorite YA contemporary, I’ve read others that I have enjoyed less. I give 99 Days three out of five stars.