Review: Make It Count by Megan Erickson

Review: Make It Count by Megan EricksonMake It Count by Megan Erickson
Series: Bowler University #1
Published by William Morrow Impulse on June 3, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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four-half-stars

Kat Caruso wishes her brain had a return policy, or at least a complaint hot-line. The defective organ is constantly distracted, terrible at statistics, and absolutely flooded with inappropriate thoughts about her boyfriend’s gorgeous best friend, Alec…who just so happens to be her brand new math tutor. Who knew nerd was so hot?

Kat usually goes through tutors like she does boyfriends—both always seem to bail when they realize how hopeless she is. It’s safer for her heart to keep everyone at arm’s reach. But Alec is always stepping just a little too close.

Alec Stone should not be fantasizing about Kat. She’s adorable, unbelievably witty, and completely off limits. He’d never stab his best friend in the back…

But when secrets are revealed, the lines of loyalty are blurred. To make it count, Alec must learn messy human emotions can’t be solved like a trigonometry function. And Kat has to trust Alec may be the first guy to want her for who she is, and not in spite of it.

Obviously what I needed after an intense binge of historical romance novels was some contemporary, romance, right? New Adult fiction and I have struggled to form a healthy relationship. Everything in me wants to love new adult books because that’s basically the chick lit of the 90s/2000s by another name, and I ate that stuff up. However, new adult spun off as an edgier, darker thing, and I cannot take too much of that thing. I’m so glad that some fluffier, more diverse new adult is happening, and I cannot wait to read every book Megan Erickson has ever written. Make It Count is the cutest, and it’s an interracial romance to boot!

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Review: Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Girl Mans Up by M-E GirardGirl Mans Up by M-E Girard
Published by HarperTeen on September 6, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars

All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty. But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth--that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.

I’ve said before how much I love books that surprise me. Sure, it’s always a delight to read a good book, and it’s fabulous when I pick up a book that’s one hundred percent up my alley that turns out to live up to its premise, but there’s something extra special when a book I’m not sure about and taking a chance out turns out to be completely amazing. I don’t have a great reason for why I was skeptical that Girl Mans Up might not be quite right for me as a reader, other than the title rubbing me the wrong way a bit, but those suspicions have been proved completely false. Girl Mans Up made me feel a whole range of emotions from blinding rage to family, friendship and romantic feels.

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Review: The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day

I received this book for free from ALA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia DayThe Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on September 6, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: ALA
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two-half-stars

Together is somewhere they long to be.

Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted-- he's admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There's only one obstacle in Ash's path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?

All Eden's ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college -- and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks. . . When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream -- one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds?

It shouldn’t be a surprise that I was really looking forward to The Possibility of Somewhere. I mean, it’s got a Pride & Prejudice comparison in the copy, and, if there’s one thing I can’t resist, it’s that. About half the time, or perhaps more, those Austen comparisons end up being a trap. A terrible, painful trap. In this case, I ended up somewhere in between heaven and a trap. The Possibility of Somewhere didn’t quite achieve its possible somewhere, but it wasn’t a horrid trap.

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Review: War for the Oaks by Emma Bull

Review: War for the Oaks by Emma BullWar for the Oaks by Emma Bull
Published by Orb Books on November 1, 2004
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 319
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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four-half-stars

Acclaimed by critics and readers on its first publication in 1987, winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel, Emma Bull's War for the Oaks is one of the novels that has defined modern urban fantasy.

Eddi McCandry sings rock and roll. But her boyfriend just dumped her, her band just broke up, and life could hardly be worse. Then, walking home through downtown Minneapolis on a dark night, she finds herself drafted into an invisible war between the faerie folk. Now, more than her own survival is at risk—and her own preferences, musical and personal, are very much beside the point.

By turns tough and lyrical, fabulous and down-to-earth, War for the Oaks is a fantasy novel that's as much about this world as about the other one. It's about real love and loyalty, about real music and musicians, about false glamour and true art. It will change the way you hear and see your own daily life.

For a book that came out in 1987 and that is considered the beginning of the urban fantasy genre (and thus also paranormal, which tbh is basically just UF), War for the Oaks holds up remarkably well. I first read War for the Oaks back in 2009, and I absolutely loved everything about it. The moment I finished my library copy, I ordered myself my very own copy, because I had to have it. As a more critical reader than I was then (blogging will do this to you), I see a couple of minor issues, but I still love this book fiercely.

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Size Doesn’t Matter (71): Lotus and Thorn; Dreaming of You; The Way to Game the Walk of Shame

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (71): Lotus and Thorn; Dreaming of You; The Way to Game the Walk of ShameLotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne
Published by Putnam Juvenile on June 7, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopian
Pages: 429
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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two-half-stars

A thrilling science fiction adventure perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce and Sarah Maas

Ravaged by a plague known as Red Death, the planet Gabriel, a former colony of Earth, is a barren wasteland. Since being abandoned by Earth 500 years ago, resources are scarce and life is cheap. To stay alive, the survivors, the Citizens, scavenge the remains of a now dead city, trading for food with the resource-rich Curadores, the only other survivors on Gabriel. Every old computer, every piece of wire, every scrap of metal counts. To steal is the ultimate sin. So when tough-as-nails seventeen-year-old Leica is caught doing just that, she's exiled and left to the mercy of Gabriel's unforgiving desert for the rest of her life.

While in exile, Leica discovers a mysterious shuttle, which may not only lead her home, but even more impossible—reestablish contact with Earth. Then Red Death rears its head again, killing her entire work crew, leaving Leica all alone until a handsome Curador offers her refuge in the Dome—the only place on Gabriel untouched by Red Death, where a decadent and sultry life awaits. But there's a catch: Leica can only enter the Dome as his concubine—his Kisaeng. When a rogue group of Citizens see their chance for revolution in Leica's good fortune, she finds herself unraveling a deadly mystery with chilling answers to the true origin of Red Death and the reason Earth really abandoned them so long ago.

A richly imagined fantasy in the vein of Tamora Pierce, Lotus and Thorn, is a magnificent, epic adventure.

The book copy describes Lotus and Thorn as a “richly imagined fantasy in the vein of Tamora Pierce.” I want you to pull that bit away and set it on fire, since it’s laughably inaccurate. Lotus and Thorn is NOT a fantasy; it is science fiction. And it’s like Tamora Pierce in that there are women who fight. It’s not like Sarah J. Maas either. Lies, lies, lies. There’s some cool stuff about Lotus and Thorn, but this book suffers from its sheer length.

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