REVIEW: The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt

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The Distance from A to Z

Natalie Blitt

January 12th 2016

Young Adult > Contemporary

316 pages (Kindle edition)

 

3★★★1/2

 

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Seventeen-year old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight.

That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to exclusively wear baseball caps and jerseys.

But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between the distance between who she is and who he is, is worth the risk.

 

REVIEW:

 

I’m not in love with this book as much as everyone else seems to be but it’s still good nonetheless.

The MC, Abby, is a bit judgmental so I had a hard time liking her. There were times when I thought I finally liked her and then she would go back to being annoying so of course we’re back to square one. Also, I’m glad that her aversion to baseball was addressed because it really grated on my nerves and part of me actually thought she was overreacting about it.

The love interest, Zeke, wasn’t as swoon worthy as I hoped he would be. I don’t know. Maybe because like Abby, I had a hard time liking him too? He was okay at first but then he kept some things that bothered me as much as Abby did but for a whole lot of different reasons. It was because it’s like I never saw the real him. The whole book is on Abby’s POV so it was harder for me to connect with him, I guess. He has these two separate versions of himself–Zeke in English and Zeke in French. The Zeke in English who parties and hooks up with other girls and has all these secrets as opposed to Zeke in French who’s just so utterly adorable and nice. It made me really wonder how Abby and Zeke could ever work out once their summer program is over but maybe it’s just the cynic in me talking.

I do love how amazing the friendship is here though. I just wanted to scream ‘forget the romance, here is a friendship I’ve been dying to read and have for myself in ages!’ Alice wasn’t treated as a mere plot device but her friendship with Abby played a big role in Abby’s growth as much as Alice’s. It’s real and it’s strong and I want it for myself. It’s one of my favorite things about this whole book actually. Along with the French language and how it was incorporated in the story. I took a French class sophomore year and needless to say, I learned more here than I ever did in that class.

Overall, The Distance from A to Z is a nice and heartwarming book that’s not all about the romance but also about friendship, growth and taking chances.

MARLAhbt

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Darkest Dawn by Katlyn Duncan

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Darkest Dawn (Willows Lake #1)
Katlyn Duncan
Published September 17th 2015 by HarperCollins Publishers, Carina UK
YA >Fantasy | Paranormal
 
 
 
Purchase links:
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One desperate journey for the truth
Returning to Willows Lake eleven years after her mother’s tragic death, Sloane Baker knows she will finally get the answers she needs! She always suspected that there was something more sinister at the heart of the accident that claimed her mother’s life, but a cryptic note could be the key to her past…
Two lives changed forever
The small town has always seemed safe to Brianna Taylor – until a mysterious new girl arrives who looks exactly like Bri! Now everything Bri knew has been thrown into question and Sloane’s arrival has changed the world of Willows Lake forever.
Strange things are happening in Willows Lake. But when they turn deadly, Bri and Sloane must find a way to save each other or risk losing everything they hold dear…
 
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[tour schedule

 

 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

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Katlyn Duncan was born and raised in a small town in western Massachusetts. Her overactive imagination involved invisible friends, wanting to be a Disney Princess and making up her own stories. Her bibliophile mom always encouraged her love of reading and that stayed with her since. Even though she works full time in the medical field Katlyn has always made time for books, whether she is reading or writing them.

Katlyn now lives in southern Connecticut with her husband and adorable Wheaten Terrier and she is thrilled to finally share her stories with the world.

 

 

 
   

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BOOK SPOTLIGHT: A Step Towards Falling by Cammie McGovern

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A Step Towards Falling

Cammie McGovern

Expected publication: October 6th 2015 by HarperTeen

YA >Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

 

 

 

 

Purchase links:

Amazon | B&N

 

 

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Cammie McGovern follows up her breakout young adult debut, Say What You Will, with this powerful and unforgettable novel about learning from your mistakes, and learning to forgive. Told in alternating points of view, A Step Toward Falling is a poignant, hopeful, and altogether stunning work that will appeal to fans of Jennifer Nevin, Robyn Schneider, and Jandy Nelson.

Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing—until one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. Inexplicably, she does nothing at all.

Belinda, however, manages to save herself. When their high school finds out what happened, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are required to perform community service at a center for disabled people. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they’re starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most?

 

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AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Website

 

Cammie McGovern was born in Evanston, Illinois, but moved to Los Angeles when she was seven years old. She is the author of three adult novels, The Art of Seeing, Eye Contact, and Neighborhood Watch. Say What You Will will be published by HarperTeen in June, 2014. She currently lives in Amherst, MA, with her husband and three sons, the oldest of whom is autistic.

 

 

 


   

GIVEAWAY:

 

One winner will get 2 copies of A STEP TOWARD FALLING by Cammie McGovern, one for themselves and one to give to a friend.
Must be 13+ To Enter |Ships in US only | Winner will be asked to provide contact info for friend so we can gather their shipping info and mail directly.

 

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ARC REVIEW: Last Train To Babylon by Charlee Fam + Giveaway!!

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TITLE: Last Train to Babylon: A Novel
AUTHOR: Charlee Fam
PUBLICATION: Published October 28th 2014 by William Morrow Paperbacks
GENRE: NA > Realistic Fiction
PAGES: 352pages (paperback)
SOURCE: arc via publisher
RATING:
 
 

 4 ★★★★1/2

 
 
You can buy the Book here:
 Amazon | Barnes | iBooks | Kobo
 
 

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Fans of Alice Sebold and John Green will be transfixed by this sophisticated, edgy debut novel packing dark humor, biting wit, and a lot of Jack Daniels
Who put the word fun in funeral? I can’t think of anything fun about Rachel’s funeral, except for the fact that she won’t be there.
Aubrey Glass has a collection of potential suicide notes—just in case. And now, five years—and five notes—after leaving her hometown, Rachel’s the one who goes and kills herself. Aubrey can’t believe her luck.
But Rachel’s death doesn’t leave Aubrey in peace. There’s a voicemail from her former friend, left only days before her death that Aubrey can’t bring herself to listen to—and worse, a macabre memorial-turned-high-school reunion that promises the opportunity to catch up with everyone… including the man responsible for everything that went wrong between she and Rachel.
In the days leading up to the funeral and infamous after party, Aubrey slips seamlessly between her past and present. Memories of friendship tangle with painful new encounters while underneath it all Aubrey feels the rush of something closing in, something she can no longer run from. And when the past and present collide in one devastating night, nothing will be the same again.
But facing the future means confronting herself and a shattering truth. Now, Aubrey must decide what will define her: what lies behind… or what waits ahead. 

 

 

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[click here for tour schedule]

 

 

REVIEW:

 

My mouth is literally hanging open when I finished this novel and I don’t even know what to feel. For real. I was angry, sad.. I wanna cry, and I want to hug someone too. I just don’t know!! But one thing is for sure, I was surprised. This book snuck up on me and totally squeezed my heart. It gripped me from the very first chapter and I never thought I’d like Aubrey so much. If you read this, you’ll be surprised.

You see, Aubrey is a b*tch. I’m sorry, but she is. According to her,she’s incapable of having feelings, which I thought was true until her story started to unravel. We found out that Rachel, Aubreys ex-bestfriend, has committed suicide. Now as Rachel’s ex-bestfriend, her mother is obligating her to go.. even if she really don’t want to. At first, I was a little confused. I mean, if you don’t want to go then don’t. But Aubrey still went home, not for Rachel, but for herself.

Aubrey must be one of the most cold hearted protagonist I’ve ever encountered. But god, my heart breaks for her too. I adore her actually for being so strong and for..surviving her tormentors in her life. I was shocked on how indifferent she feel when she found her Rachel died. And she’s so mean! She drinks a lot and yes, she’s also having suicidal thoughts, Rachel just beat her to it.

This is also one of the best beautifully written book I’ve read that deals with dark themes. Charlee Fam’s words slays. It literally cuts through you and her words just makes you.. feel. It doesn’t even matter what kind of feeling is that, whether its anger or happiness, as long as the protagonist is feeling it and Charlee Fam is describing it, you’ll definitely feel it. Charlee Fam is a brilliant author! I can’t believe this is her debut novel, it makes me excited for her upcoming books.

Last Train to Babylon is a very gritty and heartbreaking novel. Its about a woman’s journey to realizing that your past may not be the most beautiful one out there, but it doesn’t have to hold you back. Past mistakes are made to help us shape who we are right now and yes, whether we want it or not, we are gonna lose some people along the way. Especially if those people are the ones holding you back and reminds you of that past. They’re not helping, so just let them go.

Its beautiful and sad. Heartbreaking and moving. Last Train to Babylon is a wonderful debut novel!
 

 

 

 

 

THE AUTHOR:

 

Charlee Fam ap1

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

 

CHARLEE FAM is a twenty-something novelist living in New York City. A Long Island native, Charlee graduated from Binghamton University in 2010 with a degree in creative writing and several awards to her name. LAST TRAIN TO BABYLON is her first novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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REVIEW: Tape by Steve Camden & The Lost Boys by Lilian Carmine a.k.a grand can-YAWN.

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TITLE:Tape
AUTHOR:Steven Camden
PUBLICATION: Published January 30th 2014 by HarperCollins Children’s Books
GENRE: YA > Contemporary | Romance
PAGES: 363pages (Hardcover)
SOURCE: arc via publisher (edelweiss)
RATING: 2 ★★

 

 

 

 

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Record a voice and it lasts forever…

In 1993, Ryan records a diary on an old tape. He talks about his mother’s death, about his dreams, about his love for a new girl at school who doesn’t even know he exists.

In 2013, Ameliah moves in with her grandmother after her parents die. There, she finds a tape in the spare room. A tape with a boy’s voice on it – a voice she can’t quite hear, but which seems to be speaking to her.

Ryan and Ameliah are connected by more than just a tape.

This is their story.

 

 

REVIEW:

 

Have you ever seen a book that you desperately WANT to like? Yeah, its TAPE for me. I’m big at books that includes music and/or time traveling plot. This one doesn’t have the music aspect, but the time traveling (sort of) aspect is very much present.

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Ameliah and Ryan is connected more than a tape. Ameliah is from 2013 and Ryan is from 1993. But they found a way to talk to each other.. and how is that? I DO NOT KNOW BECAUSE IT WASN’T EXPLAINED VERY WELL. IT MUST BE MAGIC. Anyway, the bigger question here is.. What’s the connection between Ameliah and Ryan??

I was close to the middle part when I already figured it out! I know, I’m smart like that! or…. maybe the book is just too dull to keep me guessing. Or….. the book is too predictable. I was so tempted to DnF this but I promised myself to play nice to books now. I don’t wanna DNF BOOKS ANYMORE AND I want to be a changed Book Reviewer. HA. So as a result, I WAS BORED to tears.

First of all, it was really slow to start. Like, I know we have to be introduced to the characters, but seriously..we have to get passed that! The characters, even though they did nothing but blab out their life to me, I still feel unattached to them. I ACTUALLY FORGOT THEIR NAMES while I was reading it.

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The romance was not believable at all. OF COURSE, its insta-love. They met, had an eye contact and suddenly they’re soulmates???????

BS.

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And as I mentioned above, the plot itself was not explained thoroughly. There’s a lot of unanswered stuff that really bothered me. And yeah, I WAS NOT SATISFIED.

Hmmm, TAPE has a 3 good things though:

1. The cover has Tape in it. SEE?
2. The cover is yellow.
3. The cover is yellow… and HAS A TAPE IN IT.

THAT IS ALL.

 

 

 

 

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TITLE:The Lost Boys (The Lost Boys #1)
AUTHOR:Lilian Carmine
PUBLICATION: Published October 24th 2013 by Ebury Digital
GENRE: YA > Romance | Paranormal
SOURCE: e-arc via (netgalley)
PAGES: 512pages (kindle edition)
RATING: 1 ★

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fate has brought them together. But will it also keep them apart?

Having moved to a strange town, sixteen-year-old Joey Gray is feeling a little lost, until she meets a cute, mysterious boy near her new home.

But Tristan Halloway is not what he seems. And there’s a very good reason why he’s always to be found roaming between the gravestones in the local cemetery…

 

 

REVIEW:

 

“..I thought about how odd it was being sad at the idea of not seeing someone I’d just met two days ago, someone I barely knew. Tristan had made such a big impact on my life already

 

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“…someone I barely knew..”

 

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“…two days ago…”

 

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This book really has potential. And it was wasted. Because of this: !!!!! And this: !!!!! and a lot more of this: !!!!!!!!

The Lost Boys a.k.a The abundance of !!!! The repetition of very bugged me too. I guess very is the author’s favorite word.

This is an example of Insta-Love gone wrong (okay what’s new with that) well, this went horribly wrong.

 

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HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW THE GUY (even if he’s cute or not) YOU DO NOT FOLLOW LIKE A PUPPY, BECAUSE IDK, YOU MIGHT GET KILLED OR SOMETHING. But of course our protagonist, Joe, is a smart and genius girl who doesn’t listen.

“My resolve to get the hell away from him faltered and vanished in the brightness of his smile”

 

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I still gave Joe a chance though, I’m not that ruthless. And I admit that the plot is really mystifying. When I’m trying to ignore the abundance of exclamation marks and Joe’s losing brain cells, I focus more on story. I really want to know the guy’s secret and how did he become a ghost. The book also said that Joe was kind of a witch so that aspect should be exciting but it still failed to deliver. I understand that this is a first in a series but I can’t ignore that the teen drama was taking over the whole book.

Character development was Nada! in this book. Which sucks because it was badly needed. The characters were all over the place. It’s like the author don’t have a concrete idea on how her characters should act. I wasn’t impressed on how things ended too so NO, I won’t be reading the second book. I’m doing it for my own good.