No Place Like Here by Christina June

GoodReads Summary:
Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.
The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope.
With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.
No Place Like HereReview:
No Place Like Here really hit me right in the heart. I was not expecting to like this book as much as I did. We started off with Ashlyn as a kind of an unlikable character. She won’t tell her mom and dad what she wants and instead lets them make plans for her and just goes along with it, even if it’s something she doesn’t want.
So this is how she ends up staying with her aunt and uncle she barely knows and working with her cousin at a corporate camping retreat. My favorite thing was Ashlyn’s growth. She starts off not making great choices, but the further into the book the better choices she makes. She gets closer to her cousin and the two of them are a great team.
While this is going on, she’s struggling with her dad being in jail and her mom being in rehab working on managing her depression better. I thought these topics were handled really well. My mom did some time in jail and it was really hard on me. I thought this aspect of the book was portrayed thoughtfully and I could relate to the things that Ashlyn was feeling and going through.
I loved the way things ended in this story. Hopeful for better things, with Ashlyn and her mom reunited and trying to be more of a team. I loved the friendships and familial relationships. I will definitely be reading more of this author’s work.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Echoes Between Us by Katie McGarry

GoodReads Summary:
Veronica sees ghosts. More specifically, her mother’s ghost. The afterimages of blinding migraines caused by the brain tumor that keeps her on the fringes and consumes her whole life haunt her, even as she wonders if it’s something more…
Golden boy Sawyer is handsome and popular, a state champion swimmer, but his adrenaline addiction draws him to Veronica.
A girl with nothing to live for and a boy with everything to lose–can they conquer their demons together?
Echoes Between UsReview:
What to say about Echoes Between Us? We follow two characters, Veronica and Sawyer. I really liked that both of them showed us that what others think does not dictate who we really are. Both have secrets and both are more than their reputations.
I honestly don’t know how to explain the characters. Veronica is feisty and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. She is unapologetically herself and dares others to say something about it. She has a loyal group of friends, though they sadly aren’t in school with her. I loved her and her friend group.
Then there’s sawyer who is seen as the rich popular kid, but there’s so much more to his story. He’s an adrenaline junkie but is filled with so much guilt when he gives in. He takes care of his sister and his mother in more ways than he ever should have to. I really felt for him because I have family members that struggle with drinking.
This book was filled with tough topics and strong emotions. I think the author covered these topics, addiction, illness, and the like, so well. She really succeeded in making me feel all the things. I definitely will be picking up more books by this author in the future.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

GoodReads Summary:
From Morgan Matson, the bestselling author of Since You’ve Been Gone comes a feel-good story of friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans.
Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.
Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.
So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.
Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?
The Unexpected EverythingReview:
I picked this book up for the latest round of Tome Topple. I thought this was a fun contemporary but nothing that blew me away. As with any book, there were things I liked and things I didn’t.
I mostly liked Andie. Sometimes she was a little annoying, but mostly I liked her. Once she really started to enjoy dog walking and where summer might take her I liked her more and more. I wanted her to pull her head out of her ass when it comes to relationships though. I didn’t like her serial dating and occasional hookups.
I loved her friends. I thought they were such a fun friend group. I definitely want to have a scavenger hunt now because of this book. I think their dynamic was such fun. I also thought the conflict was realistic, though sucky. I didn’t like that there wasn’t really reconciliation in this area, but we can’t get everything we want in life.
The romance was enjoyable. I loved having a writer as the love interest. It made me want to stop reading and go to work on my own book. I think Clark was my favorite character because he was the one I personally related to the most. I’ve been through the same struggles we see him deal with within this story.
Overall, this book was fun and despite its size, a quick read. I definitely think this would be a good beach read.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Jackpot by Nic Stone

GoodReads Summary:
Meet Rico: high school senior and afternoon-shift cashier at the Gas ‘n’ Go, who after school and work races home to take care of her younger brother. Every. Single. Day. When Rico sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket, she thinks maybe her luck will finally change, but only if she–with some assistance from her popular and wildly rich classmate Zan–can find the ticket holder who hasn’t claimed the prize. But what happens when have and have-nots collide? Will this investigative duo unite…or divide?
Nic Stone, the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out, creates two unforgettable characters in one hard-hitting story about class, money–both too little and too much–and how you make your own luck in the world.
JackpotReview:
I loved Stone’s other novel, Dear Martin, so I was excited to read Jackpot when I picked it up at Target. Sadly, I didn’t love it. I liked it well enough, but there were some things that I didn’t enjoy.
Overall, I just really didn’t like Rico. I understand what it’s like to be poor, but she just complained about it and made Zan out to be a bad guy because his parents have money. Sure he doesn’t really get what she’s going through, but there are lots of poor people that don’t automatically dislike people with money just because they have money. She was really judgmental and I just didn’t like her very much.
I did, however, totally adored her little brother. He was so happy all the time despite the fact that his family was poor. He always had a smile on, even when he was sick.
Zan was definitely a little savior-ish, but he had good intentions and that was clear. I liked him right up until the big reveal about the missing lottery ticket. That really made me mad.
I enjoyed reading this book while I was reading it, but there were some things I didn’t like. I did like the diversity in this book. I liked the overarching theme, but Rico annoyed me and so did the ending.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith

GoodReads Summary:
Divya Sharma is a queen. Or she is when she’s playing Reclaim the Sun, the year’s hottest online game. Divya—better known as popular streaming gamer D1V—regularly leads her #AngstArmada on quests through the game’s vast and gorgeous virtual universe. But for Divya, this is more than just a game. Out in the real world, she’s trading her rising-star status for sponsorships to help her struggling single mom pay the rent.
Gaming is basically Aaron Jericho’s entire life. Much to his mother’s frustration, Aaron has zero interest in becoming a doctor like her, and spends his free time writing games for a local developer. At least he can escape into Reclaim the Sun—and with a trillion worlds to explore, disappearing should be easy. But to his surprise, he somehow ends up on the same remote planet as celebrity gamer D1V.
At home, Divya and Aaron grapple with their problems alone, but in the game, they have each other to face infinite new worlds…and the growing legion of trolls populating them. Soon the virtual harassment seeps into reality when a group called the Vox Populi begin launching real-world doxxing campaigns, threatening Aaron’s dreams and Divya’s actual life. The online trolls think they can drive her out of the game, but everything and everyone Divya cares about is on the line…
And she isn’t going down without a fight.
Don't Read the CommentsReview:
Thank you to NetGalley for approving me for this ARC. I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. I follow Eric Smith on twitter and he’s just someone I think I’d get along really well with, so I wanted to check out this book.
I loved D1V right from the start. She’s just a girl that streams her games and has ended up getting sponsorships and other sorts of things. She uses these things to support herself and her mom. Her mom’s trying to finish graduate school at night and is almost done. I loved that her motivation was to help her mom. It was so sweet. I also loved that she stood up for what was right and didn’t back down when she started to get attacked by the horrible Vox Populi. I also totally loved her best friend Bekah. I adored Bekah naming things in the game after popular YA books she loved (Like Heart of Iron and This Savage Song).
Then there’s Aaron. I liked that he sort of had a savior complex because it allowed his best friend to stand up and tell him to chill out and take his complex somewhere else. I also liked that he wanted to follow his dreams, even if that might be disappointing his parents. I hated his friends (other than Ryan). They were selfish and horrible.
I thought this book was nerdy and important. It talks about important things. The dangers of having a prominent place online. The things trolls will do and say to people they don’t like or that have a certain gender or skin color. I think it discussed these topics very well.
Overall, this book will be beloved by the nerd community. I can already see it. I loved the characters and their development. I loved the incredibly important topics it covers, from assault to cyber bullying, and it does it well. I think this book is going to be a hit, so, preorder it, request that your library buys it, because you don’t want to miss this one.

Quotes:

“In my opinion, if you associate with trash, you should get thrown out with the rest of the garbage.”

“I think if you’re going to be a monster, you should at least have the courage to tell the world that you are one.” Ryan comments, scratching away at something with a pencil. I look over his arm and notice that he’s working on some king of dragon-type creature. “If you’re so proud to have twisted views that you go out and act on then in public, against people, you should show your face.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

GoodReads Summary:
Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.
Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.
All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.
As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
Tweet CuteReview:
I loved literally everything about this book. Tweet Cute was so adorable and funny and heartwarming. I have to give a huge thank you to Meghan Harrington with Wednesday Books for reaching out to be a part of the blog tour for this book. I’m so happy to be a part of the team shouting about this book!
Pepper is a girl with tons of parental pressure. The pressure to help run her family’s corporate Twitter (even though they literally have an employee that’s supposed to do it) and get good grades on top of that at her elite prep school. She also runs a baking blog with her sister (so yes, I will be trying to make one of their creations for an installment of Books & Baking.) Her desserts sound so freaking yummy.
Then there’s Jack, living in his twin brother’s shadow. He spends his time either diving with the school’s team or working at his parent’s restaurant. So, when he sees that Big League Burger has released a new grilled cheese that even has the same name as the one his parent’s restaurant, Girl Cheesing, is known for, he tweets from the Girl Cheesing account. It’s the tweet that launches a twitter war between the two.
I loved the banter between the two twitters. But even more, I loved the banter between Pepper and Jack. I’m one million percent team PepperJack forever. I really appreciated that Pepper wasn’t really comfortable with the whole thing and acknowledged that to her mom, though her mom pressured her to continue tweeting anyway. I thought it was great that once Jack found out that it was Pepper on the other side of the Big League Burger tweets they made it into a fun sort of game.
There was so much I loved about this. The baking, the banter, and the realizations. The development of the characters as individuals was so well done. They learn more about themselves, they talk with their parents and learn more about them, and they develop together as well. I thought it was all just done so well. I will be shouting about this book from the rooftops for the foreseeable future. So, just do me a favor and read it as soon as it is released.

Quotes:

“But sometimes even shouting into a void feels better than just staring into it.”

“It’s weird, how you have no idea how far you’ve come until suddenly you can’t find your way back.”

“Do you ever feel like someone just took something from you?” Yes, I want to say. Sometimes it feels like it’s been four years of this place taking and taking, and I’m all out of pieces to give—like I don’t even know the shape of myself anymore.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

fullsizeoutput_238b

GoodReads Summary:
Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.
Jack is charming, wildly attractive, and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in her family’s closet tear them apart?
The Anatomical Shape of a HeartReview:
If you’ve been following me for a while, this will be no surprise to you because I’ve read, reviewed, and loved all of Jenn Bennett’s other books. The Anatomical Shape of a Heat was sweet and wholesome, but also realistic and included important things.
I love Bennett’s books because the characters are always incredibly interesting and unique. Bex is trying to win a contest so she can go to school to make art for medical textbooks and such. She goes to a local college and spends time drawing medical cadavers. This was beyond interesting. I loved that it wasn’t just something easy for Bex to do. It was harder than she thought it was going to be.
Then she meets Jack. I adored Jack. He was kind and caring. He was mysterious and I loved it. I loved his family background and the struggles they’d been through.
I thought this pair was so cute together. They encouraged one another and I totally adored their relationship.
Overall, this was such a fun book. The characters were loveable and interesting. Their families were complex and compelling. The story was enjoyable and quick to read.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.