Bittersweet Review

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There’s nothing bitter about this sweet read!

Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler follows Hudson Avery, a former competitive skater, who now bakes cupcakes at her mother’s failing restaurant her parents’ divorce. After receiving a letter about a scholarship skating competition, Hudson knows she needs to get back on the ice or she will be forced to live in her small town forever. However, Hudson can only get ice time if she helps her town struggling hockey team.

For me, my feelings towards Sarah Ockler’s books have been mixed. I absolutely loved The Summer of Chasing Mermaids and The Book of Broken Hearts. However, I only thought Fixing Delilah and Twenty Boy Summer were okay and I couldn’t get past the first 50 pages of #scandal. Fortunately, Bittersweet falls into the same category as the the first two books I mentioned!

The most successful aspect of Bittersweet is that the story is incredibly realistic. Hudson and her family are struggling to make ends meet. They live in a cramped apartment, constantly are behind on bills, and are forced to sacrifice their lives in order to keep the family afloat. As a result, tensions run high between Hudson and her mother when Hudson is forced to miss out on many typical teen experiences and is forced to take on more adult roles, like paying her family’s bills and taking care of her brother. The dynamic between Hudson, her family members, and her friends is so real that I even got nervous when their relationships took a turn for the worse!

Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the overall message of the book. This book deals with being at home/part of family, but also following your dreams and making your own name. It also explores what happens when your dream is destroyed and that it’s okay if you’re dream isn’t what you expected. However, my favorite part of dreams explored in this book is how people’s privilege may give them easier or more difficult access to their dreams. One of Hudson’s love interests, Will Harper, has connections to NHL scouts. Even though the hockey team isn’t great, he can still achieve his dream. Meanwhile, Hudson comes from a poor family who could barely afford ice skating lessons. One of the most heartbreaking quotes from the novel, in my opinion, is when Hudson’s mother states, “We can’t afford the stars.”

Aside from the realistic dynamics and well thought out out theme, the book also contains a lot of great characterization. While there are several players on the hockey team, each is given such a distinct personality when introduced, it is easy to tell them apart throughout the novel. Additionally, characters traditionally stereotypes in other novels have more depth and personality. Hudson’s best friend fade into the background and provide comments about her love interests, but calls her out when she acts like a lousy friend and isn’t afraid to share when her opinion drastically differs from the main character. One of Hudson’s love interests, Will, isn’t just the hot jerk athlete, but is provided with a realistic backstory that provides his character with more complexity.

I know there may have been some red lights flashing at the two words in my last paragraph… “love interests.” However, this is one case where I think the love triangle aspect works. In this book, Hudson has two love interests, Will and Josh, the captain and co-captain of the hockey team. In this book, it’s clear who Hudson will choose in the end. However, I really appreciated both of Hudson’s relationships in this book (although both a tad bit insta-lovey) because they both reinforce the idea of Hudson’s dreams and the balance of her past and future.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Bittersweet. I’ve read this book a few times, but I appreciated it even more reading it again and catching little details that I missed the first time around. I give Bittersweet five out of five stars.

Books on my DNF List

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Even though I try to finish every book that I start, there’s some books that I picked up once… and never again. However, I hope that I can try to read some of the book on this list again this year! Here are some books on my DNF list:

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1)

I tried reading this book over the summer and I think I made it around 1/3 of the way through before I put it down. The plot moved incredibly slow to me and I still had a lot left to read. Maybe I’ll try this book again in the future (I found the first three books of this series for extremely cheap at a library book sale), but not during the summer when I usually read more light and fun reads.

#scandal by Sarah Ockler

#scandal

I usually love Sarah Ockler’s books, but I didn’t even get through the first half of this book. Right away, the first character was extremely unlikable. Also, the writing style and plot seemed so different from her other books. Since I really like this author, I will probably try and read it again at some point.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

I think I made it 50-60% through this book before putting it down. I didn’t feel invested invested in the story or characters. I heard the second book is better than the first, so maybe I’ll try reading this book again another time.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 

Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)

I actually really enjoyed reading this book. However, I got this book out of the library and returned it before finishing it. I do want to read this book again, but classics always get lost in my TBR pile.

The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson 

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I couldn’t find the right cover, but in elementary school this book caught my eye immediately for having a shiny gold cover. I checked it out at least five times, but never finished it. Looking at the summary now, it doesn’t seem like a book I would pick up.

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty

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I read Jessica Darling’s It List last summer and LOVED it and before I even heard about that series, I always wanted to read Sloppy Firsts. When I found Sloppy Firsts at a thrift store, I was so excited! Whenever I read, it usually doesn’t bother me to see swearing throughout a book. However, this book used so much language that it made me uncomfortable. I might try reading this book again now that I know what to expect, but it’s not high on my TBR right now.

Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made me Famous by Kathryn Williams 

Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous

I bought this book at Dollar Tree a few years ago. The plot sounded interesting: a teenage girls earns a spot on a reality cooking show. However, the characters fell flat for me and I never finished the book. This book still sounds interesting to me, so hopefully I can give it another shot this year!

 

What books are on your DNF list?

May Reading Wrap-Up

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Here is a list of all the books that I read this month and my thoughts on them:

What books will you be reading next month?

In Love with Book Covers

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Day 6 of Blogentine’s Day.

For today, I decided to scope my Goodreads shelf for books that had at least one heart on the cover (even though there may be different editions of the book with hearts on it, I stuck with the covers pictured on Goodreads). Here are the results:

  • Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

The cover would fit the book more if a cupcake was on the cover, but at least it still fits with the baking theme and the blue cover makes it feel wintry.

  • We Can Work it Out (The Lonely Hearts Club #2) by Elizabeth Eulberg

Even though I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first, I like how the cover has the same spirit as the first.

  • Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Someone like You isn’t my favorite Sarah Dessen book, but this cover is adorable! I always try to make cute pictures in the sand, but unfortunately they never turn out like this.

  • Princess in Love by Meg Cabot

This is the cover on Goodreads, but this isn’t my favorite edition. I prefer the cover that was a darker pink and remember picking it up in fourth grade specifically for the cover.

  • Peace, Love and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle

Even though I thought this book was only okay, I think the cover is really cute. It gets bonus points for having rubber ducks on it (which I collect).

  • Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Not only is this cover beautiful, but it is also significant to the story.

  • This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

This isn’t my favorite cover of This Lullaby, but it was the one on Goodreads. I actually prefer the new cover, which has a guitar pick in the shape of a heart.

  • The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

I really like the bright colors on this cover how the heart made by the book pages compliments the title.

  • Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

If I remember correctly, this cover doesn’t have much to do with the book. However, I like how simple it is and the cookie looks delicious!

  • Thrill Ride by Rachel Hawthorne

I didn’t know hearts could be made into this many things! This cover is really cute, even if I would never ride that roller coaster on the cover.

  • The Boyfriend League by Rachel Hawthorne

This cover is also adorable and fits perfectly with the book, which is an easy summer read.

Which of these covers was your favorite?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Recently Added to my TBR Pile

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Here are the top ten books I’ve recently added to my TBR pile.

1. You by Caroline Kepnes

I’ve heard positive reviews about this book online and the concept is interesting. This book is definitely high on my TBR pile!

2. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

I’ve loved all of her books so far and am very excited for this book (which will be released early this year), especially since one of the characters is a cousin of the main character from Between Shades of Gray. Also, the cover is beautiful!

3. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I’ve been interested in reading this book for awhile, but never have gotten around to reading it. It’s received many positive reviews, so I can’t wait to read it.

4. Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling #1) by Megan McCafferty

This book seems like a fun young adult book that would make me laugh out loud. I love finding funny, contemporary books, so this is definitely high on my TBR pile.

5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

I’ve seen all of the movies, but I’ve never actually read one of the books. Where’s better to start than the beginning?

6. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

I really enjoy Sarah Ockler’s books, but haven’t read this one yet. Since this one takes place by a beach, it’s definitely one my list to read soon. I also think the cover is gorgeous!

7.  We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews of this book, but the plot seems interesting, and I want to see if I love it or hate it.

8.  The List by Siobhan Vivian

I wanted to read this book when it first came out, but I never read it. After remembering it recently, I’ve put it in my TBR pile.

9. My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak

After walking around the bookstore recently, I spotted this book. The plot reminds me of Megan Meade’s Guide to the McGowan Boys, which I really liked, so I want to see if I really like this book too. I also noticed it was originally posted on Wattpad, which also interested me.

10. Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn

I’m on the fourth season of Revenge, so anything that involves the Hamptons and rocky relationships catches my attention.

What book is at the top of your TBR pile?