Review: Kissing in America

Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

Kissing in America

Publication date:  May 26th 2015

Publisher: Harper

Number of pages: 400

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Received in exchange for review. This has not influenced my review.

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Goodreads synopsis:

“Wise, inspiring, and ultimately uplifting—not to be missed.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“A hilarious, thought-provoking, wrenching, and joyful quest.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Authentic and complex…This is a smart teen’s novel.”—Booklist, starred review

Acclaimed writer Margo Rabb’s Kissing in America is “a wonderful novel about friendship, love, travel, life, hope, poetry, intelligence, and the inner lives of girls,” raves internationally bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love).

In the two years since her father died, sixteen-year-old Eva has found comfort in reading romance novels—118 of them, to be exact—to dull the pain of her loss that’s still so present. Her romantic fantasies become a reality when she meets Will, who seems to truly understand Eva’s grief. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head-over-heels for him, he picks up and moves to California without any warning. Not wanting to lose the only person who has been able to pull her out of sadness—and, perhaps, her shot at real love—Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the west coast to see Will again. As they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love.

In this honest and emotional journey that National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr calls “gorgeous, funny, and joyous,” readers will experience the highs of infatuation and the lows of heartache as Eva contends with love in all of its forms.

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Review:

Cute and fun, Kissing in America makes for a great in-between kind of read. For when you need to break from the hardcore stuff.

I say this because while it was good, it wasn’t great. One of those reads for me. The good and the bad seemed to balance themselves out for me. For example, I really enjoyed the beginning but I wasn’t impressed by the end.

I actually became interested in this book first when I read a sample as part of the Buzz Books 2015 sample collection. I absolutely loved the sample and therefore the beginning. In fact the excerpts from the romance novels the main character read really amused me. Particularly the use of “man-dew”. Just wow.

Speaking of the romance novels bit, I found them to be a win-lose kind of deal. I loved reading about a character who loved those cheap, trashy books I see going ridiculously cheap in bins in department store. I thought it was cute and quirky. And I kind of relate to her in some ways, although I tend to stray from those particular types of books. But I didn’t like their influence on the story. I felt like they almost kind of made her stupid.

I know that’s a harsh thing to say. But the way she obsessed over a boy which to be honest she didn’t even know that well,from what I read in the book anyway. And it’s pretty sad that she went to such extremes to follow a crush to another city. Borderline concerning. The way she treated her best friend in that sense was pretty average.

The book was a pretty quick read for me. Particularly the first half. The second half wasn’t as good. Most of the second half was travelling actually, and that really slowed it down too much.

I don’t feel like there’s much more to say. I would recommend this book, even if it doesn’t sound like it. Maybe borrow rather than buy is what I’m saying.

3/5 comets
The Earth shook. If they thought the Leaning Tower of Pisa was leaning before…

Add Kissing in America to Goodreads

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Goodreads author bio:

Margo RabbShort bio: I love books, chocolate, cats (especially of the Edward Gorey variety), old movies, and more chocolate.

Long bio: I’m the author of the novels Kissing in America and Cures for Heartbreak, and I’ve written essays, articles, book reviews, and short stories for The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Atlantic, Slate, The Rumpus, Zoetrope: All-Story, Seventeen, Best New American Voices, New Stories from the South, and One Story, and elsewhere. I grew up in Queens, NY, and recently moved from Austin, TX to Philadelphia, PA. I write about grief a lot (my mom died when I was in my teens and my dad died when I was in my twenties). Here’s a link to an essay I wrote recently, about the death of my cat and the death of my mom (it was published, coincidentally, on the 24th anniversary of my mom’s death):

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/…

Thank you for taking a look at the stuff I’ve written–sending you some virtual chocolate as you read! 🙂

website: www.margorabb.com
Twitter: @margorabb

Review: Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

Publication date: September 10th 2013

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Number of pages: 445

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Won from Nara @ Looking for the Panacea. Nara, you’re still my favourite person on the planet. However, in no way did this influence my review.

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Goodreads synopsis:

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park.

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

“Touching and utterly real.” —  Publisher’s Weekly

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Review:

No one told me a bunny rabbit and a kitten had a love child and that love child wrote a book.

WHY NOT!?

This book was just SO cute. And SO good.

Fangirl is the story of Cath and what she has to go through when she has to uproot her life and move to college. Cath and her twin sister Wren used to be super-close and they always had eachother to fangirl with. But that was before college. Now Wren is trying to mature a little (what a weirdo) and pull away from Cath and her old life a little.

Bascially Cath is my alter-ego. Seriously. We both are extremely (EXTREMELY) shy people. I was reading this book and was basically like ‘Oh. So this is what would happen if I lived in America and therefore went to college’ the whole time I was reading it.

I love how Rainbow Rowell always knows just how to tackle an issue. It’s actually pretty amazing. She can take something cool and make it ten times cooler. And a YA book about fanfiction is pretty cool. While I don’t read fanfiction myself, it was amazing to actually learn more about it and I actually kinda understand it more now. I never realised what a big thing it was, which sounds kinda terrible. But you can tell that Rainbow Rowell has seriously done her research.

The only other book by Raibow Rowell other than Fangirl that I’ve read is Eleanor and Park, and already I can see a common theme between the two that I am a fan of: the way that the author handles the tough stuff. She really does do a phenomenal job. Not only are her books realistic in the way they are written, but also in the way that her characters act and deal with tough times.

I’d love to say that I’m freaking out over the release of the Simon Snow fanfiction book thing that the author is releasing later on this year, but I can’t really say that I’m bothered. While the fanfiction in the book was ok, it seemed a little like the same thing every time it came up. Baz and Simon fighting everytime and then a lovey dovey moment. Meh. Unless it was the actual author of actual Simon Snow books (her name might of been Gemma T. Leslie or something? I probably got that wrong), then it was just boring but at least it wasn’t always the same. However, that being said, I actually preferred Cath’s fanfiction over the actual stuff.

I actually have so many book boyfriends it’s ridiculous but I have another now. Levi. Oh my goodness. WOW. He is actually like my dream guy (well, if I was being super picky he’d have dark hair…but…that’s weird). He was cute and funny and smart and perfect and amazing. And I ran out of adjectives. But really, believe me, he’s great. Better than great, actually.

If you still haven’t read Fangirl, then what are you doing. And I actually shouldn’t be one to judge since it took me so long to read it myself but build a bridge. Sorry, that was rude. I’m getting passionate. Shoot me. But please don’t.

4/5 comets
Meteor shower. A great show.

Add Fangirl to Goodreads

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Goodreads author bio:

Rainbow RowellRainbow Rowell writes books. Sometimes she writes about adults (ATTACHMENTS and LANDLINE). Sometimes she writes about teenagers (ELEANOR & PARK and FANGIRL). But she always writes about people who talk a lot. And people who feel like they’re screwing up. And people who fall in love.

When she’s not writing, Rainbow is reading comic books, planning Disney World trips and arguing about things that don’t really matter in the big scheme of things.

She lives in Nebraska with her husband and two sons.

More at rainbowrowell.com.

All The Bright Places Inspired Outfit

Trendy Thursday

The Rules:

  • You can make an outfit that can be worn in real life inspired by an character in a book you have recently read and reviewed. If not, you can just make an outift for any book.
  • Design an outfit you think they would wear.
  • Leave a comment down below with the link to your blog.
  • Post the Trendy Thursdays sticker on your blog (or make your own) with a link to my blog (Bookcomet).
  • Try to post something for each catergory.
  • Have fun!

This week’s book is…

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

Goodreads synopsis:

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

Includes a PDF Help Line Resource Guide and a Note Read by the Author.

Add All The Bright Places to Goodreads

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The top:  (source)

The jeans:  (source)

Hair: Golden Globes 2013: Style  How To Do Loose Curls University of Birmingham (source)

Makeup:  (source)

Nails:  (source)

Shoes:  (source)

Accessories:  (source)

Review: All The Bright Places

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All the Bright Places

Publication date: January 6th 2015

Publisher: Knopf

Number of pages: 400

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Purchased. This is my honest opinion.

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Goodreads synopsis:

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

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Review:

UM.

UMM.

UMMM.

UMMMM.

It’s been days now and I still have no idea what to write. I’m sorry, ok?

But this is the point where I give you some sort of garble as to what I think I think of it. Reader beware. This is your one and only warning.

The truth is that I am disappointed in this book. I expected quite a bit more than what I got because THE HYPE. It’s ridiculous. So I did something I never do and bought the book the day it was released. And read it not long after I got it.

However, unfortunately I had some problems with it.

Perhaps the biggest one was that I felt the pacing of the book was way, way too slow. I can’t deal with slow pacing in books. I get disconnected and bored. As I did with All the Bright Places. I think a lot of stuff to do with the homework project Violet and Finch did maybe could have been cut.

The other thing was that while I loved Finch right away, I didn’t really connect with Violet from the start. Although, as her relationship with Finch blossomed, I found myself becoming more accustomed to her. I liked the way she kind of grew as a person and the way this was done gradually. Which of course the slow pacing allowed to happen. Ok, so it’s good for something.

While I wasn’t as emotionally invested as others, as I was a little detached from the story, there were a couple of those moments where you can just feel your stomach drop. Out of your feet. While I didn’t cry at all during the book I still had this very sick feeling that something was going to happen. Which I won’t share of course.

All in all, I felt like the issues dealt with in the book were handled with expertise. The characters were so realistic and the author has done a fantastic job with her book.

I really would recommend this book. I think all teens should read it – while in countries like Australia the cheerleader/jock/band geek kind of stereotyping isn’t as prevalent as it is in America, stereotyping still exists and really can wreck a person’s life.

Even days and days later the story has stuck with me and I expect it to stick with me for a long time yet.

And of course I’m looking forward to the movie.

4/5 comets
Meteor shower. A great show.

Add All The Bright Places to Goodreads

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Goodreads author bio:

Jennifer NivenBy the time I was ten, I had already written numerous songs, a poem for Parker Stevenson (“If there were a Miss America for men, You would surely win”), two autobiographies (All About Me and My Life in Indiana: I Will Never Be Happy Again), a Christmas story, several picture books (which I illustrated myself) featuring the Doodle Bugs from Outer Space, a play about Laura Ingalls Wilder’s sister entitled Blindness Strikes Mary, a series of prison mysteries, a collection of short stories featuring me as the main character (an internationally famous rock star detective), and a partially finished novel about Vietnam. I was also an excellent speller from a very early age.

In 2000, I started writing full-time, and I haven’t stopped… I’ve written eight books (two of those are forthcoming), and when I’m not working on the ninth, I’m contributing to my web magazine, Germ (www.germmagazine.com), thinking up new books, and dabbling in TV. I am always writing.

Review: Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect by Holly Smale

Picture Perfect (Geek Girl, #3)

Publication date: June 5th 2014

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Number of pages: 400

Series: Geek Girl 3#

Genre: YA Contemporary/Humour

Source: Purchased. This is my honest opinion.

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Goodreads synopsis:

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I’ll always be a geek.”

It’s the hilarious third book in the No.1 bestselling, award winning GEEK GIRL series!

Harriet Manners knows more facts that most. She knows that New York is the most populous city in the United States. She knows that its official motto is “Ever Upward”. She knows that 28% of Americans believe we never landed on the moon.

But she knows nothing about modelling in the Big Apple, and how her family will cope with life stateside. Or how to “become a brand”, as the models in New York put it. And, even more importantly, what to do when the big romantic gestures aren’t coming from your boyfriend…

Does geek girl go too far this time?

The laugh out loud follow-up to award winning GEEK GIRL and MODEL MISFIT will have you in stitches.

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Review:

Picture perfect, yeah sure. In-flight entertainment perfect? Yeah, sure. All-around amazing read? Yeah SURE!

I totally geek out over the Geek Girl series. It’s like Holly Smale has been studying me closely in a hidden laboratory for years and then suddenly decided to write a book about me. While that is incredibly unlikely (I don’t think I’m currently in a lab), you have to understand what I’m getting at. Harriet Manners is SO MUCH LIKE ME. Although, however, I refer to myself as a ‘nerd’ rather than ‘geek’.

While I don’t have an absolute favourite thing about this book, all the facts scattered throughout ranks pretty highly. They’re so interesting!

If you didn’t pick it up earlier when I mentioned that in my opinion Picture Perfect was in-flight entertainment perfection, then I will point out that I read most of it aboard an aeroplane. Just as I did with Model Misfit. Really though, it is a great book to bring with you on a plane because a) you are so absorbed that you read it super quickly (not noticing time pass on a plane is a wonderful thing), b) it can make me laugh, c) it was never boring and d) I annoyed my family to bits with facts! Great, right?

Unfortunately, this was probably my least favourite read so far of the series. But that’s not to say that I didn’t love it! It would be very hard to trump Model Misfit, which was one of my favourite books of 2013!

Do I love this series to a massive extent? Yes, yes I do. Would I recommend this series to you if you asked? Yes. Over and over again.

Super excited for the next book!

5/5 comets
Bye, bye Earth! Out of this world.

Add Picture Perfect to Goodreads

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Goodreads author bio:

Holly SmaleHolly is the Number One bestselling, multi-award winning author of the GEEK GIRL series.

She fell in love with writing at five years old, when she realised that books didn’t grow on trees like apples. A passion for travel, adventure and wearing no shoes has since led her all over the world: she has visited 27 countries, spent two years working as an English teacher in Japan, volunteered in Nepal, been bartered for in Jamaica and had a number of ear-plugs stolen in Australia, Indonesia and India.

Holly has a BA in English Literature, an MA in Shakespeare, and currently lives in London or at @holsmale.

The GEEK GIRL series has been an internationally bestselling no1. smash-hit. It won the Waterstones Teen Prize of the Year and the Leeds book award, was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and the Branford Boase award, and was long-listed for the Carnegie.

Review: True

True by Erin McCarthy

True (True Believers, #1)

Publication date: May 7th 2013

Publisher: Penguin Group USA

Number of pages: 222

Series: True Believers (1#)

Genre: YA/NA Contemporary

Source: Received in exchange for review. This is my honest opinion.

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Goodreads synopsis:

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…

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Review:

Just a slight disclaimer for myself here – yeah I know I don’t usually review NA books. I only really read YA. But I saw this on Netgalley, under the Teens & YA category (I don’t look under NA). Yes, it was also listed under New Adult, but I figured it couldn’t be too bad if it was listed under Teens & YA.

And no, it wasn’t as bad as I’ve heard a few of them are. Sure, there were some moments, but it wasn’t awful.

And even if it was, the story would have made up for it anyway. The characters were amazing. Rory was so great. She’s totally me. Except I’m better at English than human biology. So just swap Rory and Tyler’s best subjects and you have me.

Oh my goodness. Tyler was amazing. He was actually so sweet when you looked past his stereotype.

His brother’s were fantastic! This book isn’t just about a college romance. There are also some dark themes in here, like abuse and a drug-addicted parent. And also a rarer theme – like Tyler’s brother who has Down Syndrome.

I didn’t like it at one particular point near the end, but, thank goodness it changed. Seriously, it could have wrecked the story for me.

The romance was amazing. I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without talking about it properly! But yeah, it was so cute, and both characters involved were amazing. They were so devoted to each other and it was just. So. CUTE.

Anyway, if you want to try an NA book, then I think I’ve found you a starting point.

5/5 comets
Bye, bye Earth! Out of this world.

Add True to Goodreads

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Goodreads author bio:

Erin McCarthyToday and New York Times Bestselling author Erin McCarthy sold her first book in 2002 and has since written almost fifty novels and novellas in teen fiction, new adult, and adult romance. Erin has a special weakness for New Orleans, tattoos, high-heeled boots, beaches and martinis. She lives in Ohio with her family, two grumpy cats and a socially awkward dog.

Get Happy by Mary Amato

Am I the only one who finds that title a little bit threatening? Wait. Don’t answer that. I am just kind of imagining someone screaming ‘GET HAPPY NOW’ at me.

Cheezburger animated GIF  (source)

I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to actually have this effect:

happy animated GIF  (source)

BUT anyway…

Get Happy by Mary Amato

Get Happy

Publication date: October 1st 2014

Publisher: EgmontUSA

Number of pages: 256

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Received in exchange for review. This is my honest opinion.

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Goodreads synopsis:

In this poignant, realistic, contemporary YA by a state master list star, perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Gayle Forman, a young songwriter builds a substitute family with her friends in place of the broken family she grew up with.

A hip high school girl who loves music, writes songs, and is desperate for a ukelele, learns to her shock that her father did not abandon her years ago and has been trying to keep in touch. She begins to investigate him, only to discover that he has a new life with a new family, including the perfect stepdaughter, a girl who Minerva despises.

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Review:

Ahem. Attention. I have an announcement to make. I actually read this book ON MY PHONE in a day. I have an additional announcement to make. I LOVED THIS BOOK!

I actually started this one on a half hour long car trip because I wanted something to read and I didn’t bring my Kindle. I was searching through some books on my phone and then I read the first page of Get Happy and I just had one of those ‘eureka!’ moments. It was like the world stopped spinning and this beam of light shone through the window and on to my phone. That’s when I knew it was meant to be.

Ok, that was totally exaggerated. Well the last sentence anyway. Don’t judge. The thing is that I probably would have been blinded if the sun hit my phone screen and I’ve read enough dystopians to know that something majorly awful would have happened if the world stopped spinning. I like to think of myself as something of an expert on that topic.

Back to the topic. Basically what I was saying was that I was straight into the book and it was just what I was looking for.

I think my favourite thing about the book was the characters and their personalities. The main character actually had my exact sense of humour so that was great. And Finn was like the most adorable, quirkiest, funniest character ever. I love him.

And I adored the actual idea of the characters working for the Get Happy company. I love the idea of them doing parties for kids. So cool.

I am totally game to read more by this author, whether it be a sequel or a whole other book. I recommend this with all my heart!

5/5 comets
Bye, bye Earth! Out of this world!

Add Get Happy to Goodreads

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Goodreads author bio:

Mary AmatoBorn January 3, 1961, in Belvidere, IL; grew up in Libertyville, Illinois; married Ivan Amato (a science writer); children: Maxwell, Simon. Pets: Sorry, none! Favorite food: Chocolate.

I studied special education and dance at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. In graduate school, I studied fiction writing and poetry at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.