Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

Title: The Fill-In Boyfriend
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: 5.5.2015
Pages: 352
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Series: N/A
Source: ARC from NCTE

Rating: 5 Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend— two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party — three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

Review:
Over the last couple of years, I’ve had the pleasure of attending book conferences in the late fall/early winter and it’s kind of become a competition with my friends so see who can get their hands on the newest Kasie West book before the others (thus triggering a stampede of anxious readers and bloggers flocking to a single booth). When I managed to lock my hands around a copy of this at NCTE in November, it was like angels heralding, babies giggling and snow falling peacefully around me all at once. I’ve been excited for the FILL-IN BOYFRIEND for over a year, and trust me, it delivers.

West has a knack for infusing wit, heart and quirk in all her main characters, and Gia is no exception. She sparkles on every page, making me laugh and swoon and sigh at all the right places. She is a good girl with a good heart and a few not-so-wonderful ideas that blow up in her face, often in humorous ways.

The scenes between Gia and H—um, I mean, non-Bradley absolutely sizzle. Their chemistry is off the charts and what starts off as an unconventional date slowly evolves into a true friendship and more. It’s definitely one of my favorite YA romances ever.


Fans of West are likely already lining up to buy THE FILL-IN BOYFRIEND , but if you’ve never had the pleasure of one of her books, I encourage—beg—you to start here. You won’t be sorry!

Buy: The Fill-In Boyfriend

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review: The Secrets We Keep by Trish Leaver

Title: The Secrets We Keep
Author: Trish Leaver
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Publication Date: 4.28.2015
Pages: 304
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Series: N/A
Source: ARC from publisher

Rating: 4 ½ Stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.

Review:
Holy Moses, I was not expecting to love this book the way I did. I had zero intentions of reading it in one sitting, but that's just what happened. THE SECRETS WE KEEP sucked me in from the first chapter and kept me captive until the very end.

There's something about twins that fascinates me. Maybe it's that built-in soulmate angle or having a confidant forever. Despite my lofty ideals, Ella and Maddy are pretty opposite and exist separately. Ella keeps her head down while Maddy is always searching for the spotlight. When Ella wakes up after a tragic accident where she was driving Maddy's car and the identical passenger was killed, everyone assumes she is Maddy.

Maddy, the golden girl. Feeling responsible, Ella decides to bury Ella so she can live out the life Maddy was meant to have. But it's never that simple. There are layers of lies and deception in Maddy's world that she shielded Ella from. So now Ella must unravel the mysterious surrounding her sister's life and decide if she wants to right the wrongs, but if she does that, she'll be outing herself.

Ella is such a fantastic character. Complex and beautiful, and my heart broke for her. She genuinely believes that everyone is relived Maddy is the surviving twin and her guilt eats up my gut the way it eats up the pages. She tries so hard to be the Maddy everyone loved, slowly losing more of Ella in the process. She is literally tearing herself apart the majority of the book.

Trish Leaver writes with spellbinding detail. A story like this could easily get cliché or overly dark. She tempers the darkness and somberness with subtle light. She truly pulls you into the mind of Ella, breaking down where Ella begins and Maddy ends.

This novel is 90% character driven and it's absolutely beautiful. I was sad to see it end, but the end is simply perfect.
Buy: The Secrets We Keep

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

There's a GIF For That: #BookCon Edition

Since the BEA edition of this post seemed to be popular, I thought I would add one for Book Con based on last year's experiences. Because ... well, why not?

When you walk up to the Javits the morning of Book Con, knowing you're a blogger and these people are just readers ....

When you see the line of people waiting to get their badges ....

When you first enter the floor and are greeted by thousands of people ....

When it takes you 5 minutes to move 5 feet ....



And the same person has been mouth-breathing on your neck the entire 5 minutes...

Then you turn to talk to the friend you walked in with and they're gone ....


So you take a shortcut along the back wall to avoid the crowds and hope no one sees you ....


And find the security guards sleeping ....


When you're told by 3 people that there are 3 lines for 1 author .... 



When you realize you were woefully unprepared for this chaos ....


When you direct the 53rd person to ask where to get signing tickets ....


When you see people taking a dozen copies of the same book ....



When you wind up becoming a BookCon staff member because you feel bad that they're overwhelmed and need help ....


When you call it quits ....


And seek sanctuary on the BEA side of the floor to make sure you still have all vital appendages ....


Then you find your friend you lost hours earlier ....


When someone mentions the words "John Green" and "panel downstairs" ....


But because you're curious, you lean over the railing to see the people waiting to get into the panels downstairs ....

You go to leave and see people taking random display stuff from all the booths and publishers trying to stop them .... 


When you finally leave the Javits Center ....


When you make an entire GIF post devoted to the hells of Book Con and realize you're planning to give it another go this year ....




There's a GIF For That: #BEA15 Edition

BEA is only 4 weeks out and a lot of people are going to be having a lot of different emotions both leading up to and during BEA. While this post will be graphic heavy, I just want each of you to know that no matter what you feel ... there's a GIF for that emotion.

When you wake up the first day of BEA ....




When you take your place in line to enter BEA super early in the morning....




When the guards are about to let you enter the Promised Land and everyone starts pushing together because clearly we can all fit through the doorway together ....




When someone takes the last ARC in a galley drop before you can wade through the sea of bodies ....




When you're the one who grabs the last ARC from the galley drop pile ....




When you see someone crawl on their belly under a tangle of arms and legs to subvert a galley away from the stack unnoticed ....




When the mad rush calms down and you start to get your bearings ....




When you see someone cut in line ahead of you ....




When you see someone eyeing a line as they walk by, wondering where they can insert themselves with the least resistance ....




When someone [inadvertently] bitch slaps you across the face with their overstuffed tote bag ....




When you show up to a signing an hour before it begins to find out you're #200 in line ....



When you go to start a line an hour before the signing begins because you know the author is super popular and you want to be first in line, but the line attendant is all ....




When a signing gets cancelled at the last minute ....




When you finally meet your author hero for the first time ....




When you see someone walking around with a book you were told wasn't there five minutes earlier AND NOW THERE ARE NO MORE EVER ....




When you get sucked into a vortex of hell between booths and literally cannot move ....




When someone dressed as a fairy randomly showers you in gold glitter ....




When you realize your schedule has you in 5 lines in the same 30 minute window ....




When you meet that friend face to face that you've only ever talked to online ....




When you realize you survived your first day of BEA ....




When you realize you still have another 2 days of this ....




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