REVIEW: The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt

wpid-21424692

The Distance from A to Z

Natalie Blitt

January 12th 2016

Young Adult > Contemporary

316 pages (Kindle edition)

 

3★★★1/2

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

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

REVIEW: Blast From Two Pasts by Kristel Villar

11

Blast From Two Pasts

Kristel Villar

Published April 1st 2014

NA > Contemporary | Romance

Purchase links: Amazon | Smashwords 

 

3 ★★★1/2

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Fate’s been playing tricks on Cara Nicolas lately. She agrees to go on a blind date with her best friend’s fiancé’s cousin, only to discover that the guy is her first love from high school, Lucas Lobregat. Now that would have been a charming story, except that the date turns out to be one of the worst ever. And they can’t even pretend it never happened, because they’re both suddenly part of the wedding preparations.

Just as she is starting to get to know more about the boy she used to love, Oliver Sta. Maria, an old flame who owes her some closure, surprisingly shows up. With two pasts resurfacing, which will Cara choose to rekindle? Or can she have the chance to choose at all?

 

 

 

REVIEW:

 

 “First love. Is it possible for someone that young to fall in love?”

 

Just when you thought your heart already found its peace and you have moved on.. Cara finds herself in a complicated situation when her best friend thrusts her in a blind date that she never wanted and when a person from her past that she already buried starts resurfacing again. Nothing is easy about Cara’s situation but I like how everything turned out in the end. I love that there is nothing cliché about this book and although the whole ordeal is complicated, the point is it happens in real life and Kristel Villar writes in a very realistic way.

Cara is a likeable character and it’s admirable that she acts her age most of the time when it comes to making decisions. I admit that there are moments that I want to scream at her but overall, she’s a well written protagonist. I love her voice and although we are not from the same group age, I can relate to her. We all had those first love/crushes, right?

I like the characters, the whole bunch of them! But I must say that Lloyd is my favorite. That friend who punches you with a verbal fist because YOU NEED IT. The author really made a set characters that are unforgettable and hilarious in their own different way. The love interest(s) are both swoony but each has a different trait that makes them charming. It was indeed hard to be in Cara’s situation. Good thing she have her friends with her.

Blast From Two Pasts isn’t exactly a story about love triangle, if that’s what some of the readers are worried about. It is a little short from what the books I usually read and the pacing moved faster than it should, in my opinion. But overall, Blast From Two Pasts is such a sweet and delightful book to read. Perfect for any romance junkie. No matter how old you are! 

 

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Twitter | Website | Goodreads

Kristel S. Villar covers sporting events for a national broadsheet by day and tries to write fiction by night. In between, she takes care of her husband and son. She is addicted to books, movies, American TV shows, and coffee.

Blast From Two Pasts is her first contemporary romance novella. She has also penned “The Rumor About Me”, a short story for the young adult book anthology, Kids These Days: Stories From Luna East Arts Academy Vol. 1. Her second short story for Luna East Arts Academy, “One on One” is currently featured in Clara, a quarterly romance online journal (www.clararomance.com)

 

 


   

GIVEAWAY:

Blast from Two Pasts Paperback Copy

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR HOST:

BIBLIOPHILES UNPLUGGED TOURS

Paula

ARC REVIEW: Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

11

Shallow Graves

Kali Wallace

Expected publication: January 26th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books

YA > Fantasy | Paranormal

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD 

 

3 ★★★1/2

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Breezy remembers leaving the party, the warm, wet grass under her feet, her cheek still stinging from a slap to the face. But when she wakes up, scared and pulling dirt from her mouth, a year has passed and she can’t explain the necklace of bruises around her neck. She also can’t explain the man lying at her grave, dead from her touch.

Returning home seems impossible. Her parents and sisters have clearly grieved and struggled to move on, and Breezy can’t begin to answer their inevitable questions. Her heartbeat comes and goes, she doesn’t need to eat or drink, she can see the inky memories of murderers, and she can somehow pull on this dark guilt to kill them. Haunted by the happy memories from her life and disgusted by the half-dead creature she’s become, Breezy embarks on a reckless quest to find answers and a dangerous healing magic…but the cure is as dark and terrible as the disease.

Set in a gorgeous, terrifying world, Shallow Graves is a stunning novel about the heartbreaking trauma of a girl’s life cut short and her struggle to reconcile her humanity with the creature she’s become.

 

1

[tour schedule

 

 

 

REVIEW:

 

tumblr_inline_nz8iwlgxqx1t523lt_540

Do you want a book that take a hold of your full attention from the first chapter until the end? Then Shallow Graves is for you. This novel is not at all what I expected. I was in a kind of roller coaster ride while I was reading throughout the book. There were a lot of stuff that I really liked and made the book standout but there are certain things that left me confuse as well and it’s making me demand for a sequel.


Breezy was a such a refreshing character.
I’m gonna be honest here, everytime I am about to read a fantasy/paranormal book, I tend to condition myself to be patient because I know there’s a chance that I’ll encounter a whiney and irritating heroine. Add a bunch (yes, a bunch) of hot boys that fights over the love interests affection, and there you go. That is where the story revolves. Thank the book gods the book wasn’t like that, and most importantly, Breezy is not that kind of character. She will make you interested and curious. She’s a great narrator and you will really find your self wrapped up in the story because of her mysterious voice. 

Speaking of mystery, that’s what I really liked the most in this story. Shallow Graves is full of unresolved and thrilling events that will make you glued in to every page. I was torn between reading it slow because I’m really enjoying the atmosphere of the book and reading it fast so I can find out what happens next. The plot of Shallow Graves is not really something I usually read and I love Kalli Wallaces take on cults, monsters and other mythical creatures. She didn’t stick to the cliché but instead, she made her own thing. I wished that I explored more of Breezy’s world, that’s why I can’t help but ask for a follow up story. I feel there’s still so much more that needs to be explained.

There’s not much of a romance side in this book but you will hardly notice it because Breezy’s adventures will take your mind off of it and honestly, I think a romance isn’t necessary for this story anyway. I mean sure, I’m already shipping Breezy with someone (because I can’t help it) but if ever the author makes a sequel, I’d be fine with whatever road she’ll decide.

Shallow Graves will captivate you from the very start. You’ll find yourself at the edge of your seat, biting your fingernails and turning the pages quickly because you want to find out answers. The atmosphere of the book is so impressive for it will really hypnotize you to read the book until the end. With Kalli Wallaces enthralling writing, Shallow Graves will surely linger in your mind for a long time!

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Twitter | Website | Facebook | Instagram

Kali Wallace studied geology and geophysics before she decided she enjoyed inventing imaginary worlds as much as she liked researching the real one. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, F&SF, Asimov’s, Lightspeed Magazine, and Tor.com. Her first novel will be published by Katherine Tegen Books in 2016. She lives in southern California.

 

 


   

GIVEAWAY:

 

2

Win (1) hardcopy of SHALLOW GRAVES by Kali Wallace (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

TOUR HOST:

THE FFBC TOURS

Paula

ARC REVIEW: Bookishly Ever After (Ever After #1) by Isabel Bandeira

11

Bookishly Ever After (Ever After #1)

Isabel Bandeira

Published January 12th 2016 by Spencer Hill Contemporary

YA > Contemporary | Romance

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD 

 

3 ★★★1/2

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing?

 

1

[tour schedule

 

 

 

REVIEW:

5c4c5a941f9bfcb8eadd910a7b050061

 “Fiction is the best kind of reality.


Nothing truer has been said in the history of truths. Bookishly Ever After is one of my most anticipated release for this year. I remember the agonizing wait for it and it just intensified when the book cover came out. I didn’t know it before but the cover is as adorable as the story. It’s an amazing feeling when the book you have been waiting for so long didn’t disappoint you. Sure, there are some things I expected that I thought will happen but I still love the book with all my heart. This one will go to the forever-favorite shelf.

Phoebe is the complete treasure of this story. I don’t even know what to say to make YOU realize how relatable Phoebe is as a girl, as a reader and as a hardcore fangirl. She is US. I can’t stop giggling and loving her throughout the story. The scenarios are just déjà vus. For me at least. It’s either I’VE BEEN THERE or I KNOW WHAT YOU FEEL FEEBS. Bandeira did a perfect job in creating a genuine and authentic character that any fangirls can relate to. You won’t help but sympathize with her and feel whatever she’s going through. Her excitement over the book she’s reading will rub on you and you’ll find yourself fangirling with her as well.

The romance, which was a huge part of Bookishly Ever After, was as awkward, sweet and swoony as I thought it would be. Oh young love! Oh those awkward high school days! Dev was an absolute guy. Charming, kinda confusing and totally swoon worthy. I would’ve wished the we get to hear some of his thoughts too because he’s such a closed character, but I understand what the author is trying to do. And besides, he’s one of those guys you root for despite his flaws and kinda stupid decisions. I liked Dev’s and Phoebes awkward exchanges and witty banters but somehow I still feel like I want more! It was said in Goodreads though that this will be a series so maybe my wish would be granted in the upcoming books!

Reading is great and being a fangirl is fun. But just like what I learned from Phoebe and her books-to-life missions, it’s really not so bad to face reality sometimes. It’s required and kinda sorta fun.

Bookishly Ever After is written for everyone who turns to reading when you’re not into facing reality. Phoebe understands! With Bandeiras humorous and realistic way of writing, readers will be charmed. A book made by a reader for her fellow readers. Bookishly Ever After is a complete gem that I’ll forever recommend! 

 

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Twitter | Website | Blog | Instagram

Isabel Bandeira grew up surrounded by trees and lakes in Southern New Jersey, right on the edge of the Pine Barrens. Her summers were always spent in Portugal, where the cathedrals, castles, and ancient tombs only fed her fairy tale obsession. Between all those influences and her serious glitter addiction, it wasn’t a surprise when she started writing stories of her own.

In her free time between writing and her day job as a Mechanical Engineer who designs and develops medical devices, she reads, dances, figure skates, and knits.

Isabel lives in New Jersey with her little black cat, too many books, and a closetful of vintage hats. She is represented by Carrie Howland of Donadio & Olson. BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER is her debut novel.

 


   

GIVEAWAY:

 

2

Win (1) finished copy of BOOKISHLY EVER AFTER by Isabel Bandeira (US Only)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

TOUR HOST:

THE FFBC TOURS

Paula

ARC REVIEW: For the Record by Charlotte Huang

wpid-21424692

For the Record
Charlotte Huang
November 10th 2015
Young Adult > Contemporary
320 pages (Kindle edition)
eARC via Netgalley

 

3★★★1/2

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like… until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything .
Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.
Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule… Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

 

REVIEW:

 

For the Record is a fangirl’s dream come true. This book is a story about a girl who’s suddenly thrust into the spotlight when one phone call changed her life and made her the lead singer of a famous rock band. Getting away from her small town? Yeah, that’s a good thing since they never seemed to care about her anyway. But how is living in close quarters with three guys who could barely tolerate her any different?

I flew through this book from the very first page and if it weren’t for school taking up my priorities, I’m sure I would’ve devoured this in one sitting. Through Chelsea’s eyes we see behind the scenes of what life is for a rock band, the dynamics of it, and how life is on tour. True, I was a bit wary at first that the author wouldn’t pull off giving us authentic rock star feels but then thank God I always read the acknowledgments first and found out that she knows someone who has experience in the music industry so I knew right then that this book and I are in safe hands.

What I loved most about this is that this book is just brimming with personality. Each and every one of the characters have their own characteristics that sets them apart from the others. I appreciated how the author made them so unique that I couldn’t help but want to know them more. There’s Pem who is the band’s resident grouch, completely anal about everything and all about the artistic merit – the yin to Beckett’s yang. Beckett is the one who you would just want to hang out with for hours, talk about life and music and never get bored. And then there’s Malcolm – the fun-loving, charming laid-back drummer of the band who’s all about the good time. All of them served their purpose in the story and in no way were they resorted to the background but instead they helped us in getting to know all the layers of Chelsea’s character.

Chelsea is a flawed person and yet I found it easy in me to understand her. Yes, I got frustrated with her and the decisions she made but I get where she was coming from. I love flawed characters who eventually grow up and learn from their mistakes. There were times – especially near the end – that I felt like there’s more in her that still needs some growing up to do. I don’t know why but even though that is the case I’m much more forgiving with Chelsea as opposed to other YA characters that I’ve encountered before. She’s complicated but I kept telling myself to give the girl a break. Not only is she still adjusting to being famous, she’s also juggling the task of making her band mates love her. Who says the life of a rock star is ever easy?

I guess the only major quibble I have is the lack of solid friendship. I get why Chelsea’s band mates may be aloof towards her at first and I didn’t expect them to suddenly be BFFs with her. But Mandy, who’s supposedly her best friend didn’t really seem capable to that task. She was shallow, insensitive and ungrateful. I know she was the only one who stuck with Chelsea when everyone in their school seemed to hate her but a true friend wouldn’t hold it in your head just to guilt you in doing something you have no control over. She made bad decisions and she just expected Chelsea to fix the consequences for her. And when Chelsea couldn’t deliver, she betrayed her. If it were me in Chelsea’s place, I would certainly not find it easy in me to be that forgiving.

For the Record‘s ending is open-ended and I’m still hoping against hope that a sequel – or even just a novella – about what happens next to the characters is a possibility. All in all this is a great book filled with great characters who feel incredibly real, you won’t want to let go. Time flies so fast when you’re reading a good book, that’s for sure.

MARLAhbt