ARC REVIEW: Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

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Future Perfect

Jen Larsen

Expected publication: October 6th 2015 by HarperTeen

YA >Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

 

 

 

3 ★★★

 

 

Purchase links:

Amazon | B&N  | TBD | iTunes | Kobo 

 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.

Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.
But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.

As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?

Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.

 

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REVIEW:

 

 

 

 

“I am the sum of my parts. Everything I’ve ever done and everything I’ve ever achieved and everything I have ever been. Fat and smart and afraid and fierce and angry and brave all together right here, and every piece of the puzzle fits the way it’s supposed to and I can’t pretend anymore. It’s always been true, no matter what I’ve told myself or hoped or tried to believe.”

 

That was a surprise. Future Perfect is such an empowering read! First of all, I wanna banish the thought that books that are about fat protagonists is meant for people who are experiencing the same thing only. NO! I actually think that books like this are meant for everyone! Every gender, age group or whether you’re experiencing the same thing or not. Everyone will finish this book with a powerful message received. And that is simply being happy and finding acceptance. That may seem very simple but Jen Larsen written it all in the most beautiful way.

Ashley is very refreshing. Its great to be inside the head of a fat protagonist that is not unhappy or not feeling bad about the way she look. Ashley is smart, driven and most of all, she’s real. She’s like an eye opener to everyone who thinks that all fat people are miserable or sad about their life. Ashley tends to ramble though which is my least favorite thing because it makes the book slower for me to read. But other than that, Ashley is nothing but inspiring. She’s admirable in every way and her character growth is just superb!

Other characters are completely well done as well and their subplots played a huge role in the story. Her grandmother which seems mean and the villain of the story is one of my favorite character. She’s just so complex. I am really impressed by Jen Larsen’s characterization and her writing. The story was set in a pace where you feel like you’re jut there… with Ashley. You will sympathize, you will feel and you will also learn.

Romance wasn’t a huge part of the story but it was still there. I can’t really say anything anymore except that it was not cliche and that it was just all…real.

Overall, I highly recommend Future Perfect. It doesn’t matter what kind of reader you are or that you feel like you’ve already read books like this before, YOU NEED THIS BOOK in your life.

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr 

 

Jen Larsen is the author of Future Perfect and Stranger Here: How Weight Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed With My Head. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of San Francisco and currently lives in Madison, WI. Find her at jenlarsen.net.

 

 

 

 
   

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SNEAK-A-PEEK: Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

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Romancing the Dark in the City of Light

Ann Jacobus

Expected publication: October 6th 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books

YA >Contemporary | Realistic Fiction

 

 

 

 

Purchase links:

Amazon | B&N | TBD | Kobo | iTunes

 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

A troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys, one of whom encourages her to embrace life, while the other—dark, dangerous, and attractive—urges her to embrace her fatal flaws.

Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.

Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can’t shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.

When Summer’s behavior manages to alienate everyone, even Moony, she’s forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living. With an ending that’ll surprise even the most seasoned reader, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.

 

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EXCERPT:

 

Kurt says, “I have a treat for you tonight. An unusual outing. I think you’ll… get a kick out of it.”
“Let’s see,” Summer says. “How could you possibly top the sewers? The city morgue?”
“No. Much more lively.”
“Nascar racing?”
“No, more intimate than that.” He’s laughing.
“Nude mud wrestling?” She’s feeling downright loose and light. Sexy and funny. Thin and beautiful, and healthy and alluring.
“Ha. Drink up. Let’s go.”
“But you just got here.” She drains her vodka.
 “Waste not want not.” He smiles. “It’s time.”   

 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Website | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook

 

Ann Jacobus earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lived with her family for many years in the Arabian Gulf and in Paris, France. She now lives in San Francisco where she writes, reads, volunteers weekly on a suicide crisis line, and frequently resorts to crock-pot meals of canned soup, fowl and whatever’s in the fridge.

 

 

 


   

GIVEAWAY:

 

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Win (1) ARC of ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT by Ann Jacobus (US Only)
Win (1) finished copy of ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT by Ann Jacobus (US Only)
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Win (1) of (2) ROMANCING THE DARK IN THE CITY OF LIGHT swag packs (US Only)

 

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SNEAK-A-PEEK: If You Wrong Us by Dawn Klehr

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If You Wrong Us

Dawn Klehr

Expected publication: October 8th 2015 by Flux

YA >Contemporary | Thriller

 

 

 

 

Purchase links:

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

 

 

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“An intricate psychological page-turner that explores the darker side of vengeance and reads like Gone Girl through a teen lens.” – Kirkus Reviews

Becca and Johnny become entangled after a car crash steals the lives of two people they love. Officially, the crash is an accident. But Becca and Johnny are convinced: someone did this.

As they plot revenge against the person responsible, a bond—intense, unyielding, and manic—takes hold of them. And in an unexpected turn of events, they fall for each other.

Or so they think.

In an upside-down world where decay is beautiful and love and hate become one, Becca and Johnny find themselves grappling with reality. Nothing is exactly what it seems, including what they’ve come to believe about the crash. Question is: will they learn the truth before it’s too late?

No. The question is: when they learn the truth, will they care?

 

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EXCERPT:

 

I left the room first. I couldn’t stand to be in there any longer. The florescent lights; the stale ammonia scent; the look on my parents’ faces.
Down the hall and around the corner, the special waiting room was empty and the refrigerator was full of juice boxes. They’d become a comfort for me in here—something sweet to coat all the bitterness rotting my insides. I closed my eyes and tried to block out everything. I tried to forget, until light footsteps caught my attention. I kept my eyes closed because I didn’t want anyone to bother me.
Please, please just go away.
“Becca?” a small soft voice called out. It was a voice in between—deep and crackling, yet still high enough to sound feminine.
Ethan Kent.
He walked over to me carrying a bouquet of daisies. It was like a scene out of a Disney movie: a just-pubescent boy with short sandy hair and proper manners making a kind gesture to set everything right.
“I brought these for your sister,” he said.
He handed the flowers to me; I didn’t take them. They were bundled together in that cheap plastic wrap, devoid of all smell. They reminded me of Travis. Appealing on the outside, but nothing of value on the inside.
“I’ll just set them here,” he said, putting them on the seat next to mine.
“Is this some kind of joke?” I asked him. “Did your perverse brother put you up to this?”
Ethan didn’t need to answer. I knew Travis had sent him here to show me he was in control, that he could do whatever he wanted. But this time, he’d messed with the wrong person. I’d been under my sister’s thumb for as long as I could remember, and I wasn’t about to be controlled again. Never again.
That day, a fire ignited in me. Heat that had been there under the surface, waiting. This move by Travis was the match that set it ablaze.
“What do you mean?” he asked, taking a step backward.
“She’s dead. She’s dead! ” I jabbed his chest with my finger.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “We didn’t know. Travis didn’t think you’d see him, so he sent me.
He’s worried about you.”
“He should be worried about me.” I stood up, physically unable to be still. “He should be very worried.” Ethan’s face twisted into something less Disney and more Stephen King. He trembled as his eyes cast down.
“Don’t say that,” he said.
I smiled. Ethan was scared of me. I stood a little taller, taking up more space in the room. He took another step back. I put on this new role like a welcome down jacket in a frigid Detroit winter. It was warmth and safety. I was finally the person on the offense rather than defense. I was in control and it was a heady feeling. One I’d eventually become hooked on.

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

 

Dawn Klehr is the author of the young adult thrillers: The Cutting Room Floor and If You Wrong Us.

She began her career in TV news and though she’s been on both sides of the camera, she prefers to lurk behind the lens. Mostly, she loves to get lost in stories – in film, the theater, or on the page – and is a sucker for both the sinister and the sappy. She’s currently channeling her dark side as she works on her next book.

Dawn lives in the Twin Cities with her funny husband, adorable son, and naughty dog. You can find her at: www.dawnklehrbooks.com, @dawnklehr, or www.facebook.com/dawnklehrauthor.

 


   

GIVEAWAY:

 

One (1) lucky grand prize winner will receive a $25 Gift Card for Amazon or B&N (winner’s choice) and two (2) runner-ups will win an eBook copy of Dawn’s young adult psychological thriller The Cutting Room Floor!

 

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ARC REVIEW: For the Record by Charlotte Huang

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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

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

 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

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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