Review: Finding Felicity

35297521

Finding Felicity by: Stacey Kade

My Rating: 4 Stars

Felicity meets Fangirl in this contemporary novel about a young woman who must leave behind her fantasy life—inspired by her favorite WB show from the 1990s—and create a real one at college.

Caroline Sands has never been particularly good at making friends. And her parents’ divorce and the move to Arizona three years ago didn’t help. Being the new girl is hard enough without being socially awkward too. So out of desperation and a desire to please her worried mother, Caroline invented a whole life for herself—using characters from Felicity, an old show she discovered online and fell in love with.

But now it’s time for Caroline to go off to college and she wants nothing more than to leave her old “life” behind and build something real. However, when her mother discovers the truth about her manufactured friends, she gives Caroline an ultimatum: Prove in this first semester that she can make friends of the nonfictional variety and thrive in a new environment. Otherwise, it’s back to living at home—and a lot of therapy.

Armed with nothing more than her resolve and a Felicity-inspired plan, Caroline accepts the challenge. But she soon realizes that the real world is rarely as simple as television makes it out to be. And to find a place where she truly belongs, Caroline may have to abandon her script and take the risk of being herself.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I have read Kade’s series and enjoyed them. Naturally Kade has been on my radar and I constantly keep a look out for her new releases. In 2016 Kade started writing contemporaries. Before reading Finding Felicity I was nervous, as I didn’t enjoy her previous contemporaries. I am happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed Finding Felicity!

Caroline has finally graduated high school. Her mother and her celebrate by going to their favourite restaurant. Once they reach home her mother reveals a surprise party and encourages Caroline to invite her friends. Only Caroline’s ‘friends’ don’t exist. Of course Caroline has to confess to her mother. Caroline’s mother is in shock and suggests that she see a therapist.

Dr. Wegman doesn’t give Caroline a diagnosis but instead suggestions for college. Caroline sees him for the whole summer before school. He also has her make arrangements to communicate while she’s at Ashmore University. Caroline has a semester to prove that she can thrive and make real friends. Otherwise it’s game over.

I’m really happy that I enjoyed Finding Felicity! I’ve been on a roll of reading underwhelming books. Finding Felicity ended that record. As per usual the writing style was good! Finding Felicity is narrated in first person focusing on Caroline’s point of view. There were chapter numbers.

First off you don’t have to watch Felicity to read this book. Caroline explains the general plot, giving readers enough information to understand everything. I liked how there were so many tv show references! And for once I actually understood them all.

I was so happy when I heard that Finding Felicity is a YA college book! Usually book’s with college are NA. I really appreciated it. And it remained me off my college days. There was some diversity here and there! Caroline’s RA was a Pakistani muslim. And one of the counselors was half-black.

As mentioned in the synopsis Caroline took the characters from Felicity and told her mother she had ‘friends’. There is actually a specific reason Caroline chose this particular university to attend. Caroline has a crush on Liam. They went to high school together, but she couldn’t really bring herself to talk to him and Liam had a girlfriend.

Like in Felicity Caroline plans to get with Liam whom she believes is her Ben (one of the characters in Felicity). In order to accomplish this plan Caroline reinvents herself. She buys a whole new wardrobe and puts on a bubbly persona. This was obviously omitted from the synopsis because it sounds very cringey. And most people wouldn’t read it.

I’m not gonna lie when I heard about this, I was planning on canceling it. I changed my mind as I’m sure there are some girls who would carry it out Caroline’s plan in reality. Thanks to media plenty of girls believe that if they have the right wardrobe and persona, people will like them and they’ll get the guy. I liked how the author through Dr. Wegman and people in Caroline’s life address this.

Caroline doesn’t really know Liam. She’s just built up this whole image about him based on the few interactions they had in high school. And Liam was not end game. There were subtle hints throughout all their interactions that Liam wasn’t who Caroline thinks he is. I appreciated Caroline standing up for herself when it came to Liam.

In so many contemporary novels authors write their heroines with the abusive love interest. There is another romance which was very subtley hinted. I liked Del a lot better and it was cute to think of them as eventually starting a relationship. 

Caroline’s growth was so well done! She actually made some friends and was happy to be at Ashmore. She made a change in herself, without Liam. Liam was certainly a part of Caroline’s growth but not in the same magnitude as she initially thought. And minus the whole stalking Liam to college, Caroline was a pretty smart and mature girl.

I related to Caroline quite a bit. When I was growing up I didn’t have any real friends. And because of that school life sucked. I definitely had it easier because I have siblings and we’re close. I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done if I was an only child like Caroline. Lying about ‘friends’ certainly wasn’t smart but I understand why she did it. And honestly who doesn’t do stupid things from time to time?

I loved the relationship that Caroline had with her mother! Her mother cared so much about Caroline and blames a lot of Caroline’s problems on herself. Caroline previously lived in New York. Then her parents divorced and the two of them moved to Arizona. I enjoyed reading about her mother’s advice! Her mother was actually a huge part of the story and Caroline’s life. Which is another rarity in YA. Their make-up at the end was written beautifully!

I was actually quite surprised by Caroline’s roommate Lexi. Lexi was not exactly appealing in the beginning. But her character was a huge part of Caroline’s development. I enjoyed getting Lexi’s back story and reading their interactions. And through some of Caroline’s influence Lexi’s character also grew. They made such great friends!

Dr. Wegman played a huge role in Finding Felicity. Caroline refers to their therapy sessions throughout the book. And she started realizing how wrong she was, Dr. Wegman was mentioned. I really liked how their was a positive therapy rep throughout the book.

Overall I really enjoyed Finding Felicity! I recommend it for everyone as I’m sure you’ll all find something to relate to.        

Advertisements

Monthly Wrap-Up: February 2018

February 2018 2

This month I read 15 books. GR links for the books that I didn’t review. There will be a note attached to the books that I did mini and full reviews for. GR and WordPress links included. Please note that links are only provided for the book title. Let me know in the comments what you read!

 

Book(s) That I DNFed (0-2 Stars):

26105581 30833837 36476354 36600906 36978923 31932879

  1. The Final Empire by: Brandon Sanderson
  2. Proof of Lies by: Diana Rodriguez Wallach-Mini review
  3. Song of Blood and Stone by: L. Penelope
  4. The Oddling Prince by: Nancy Springer
  5. Furyborn by: Claire Legrand-Mini review
  6. The Cruel Prince by: Holly Black-Mini review

 

Books That I Really Didn’t Like (2-3 Stars):

21825764 36801492 32941343 36597702

  1. Busted by: Gina Ciocca-Wordpress review
  2. Fade to Us by: Julia Day-Mini review
  3. Unearthed by: Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner-Mini review
  4. Sky in the Deep by: Adrienne Young-Mini review

 

Book(s) That I Enjoyed (3-4 Stars):

37646330 29613867 34930815 32333296 9917957

  1. Keeper by: Kim Chance-Mini review
  2. #Prettyboy Must Die by: Kimberly Reid-Mini review
  3. Wires and Nerve Volume 2: Gone Rogue by: Marissa Meyer
  4. Stay Sweet by: Siobhan Vivian
  5. Drink, Slay, Love by: Sarah Beth Durst-Wordpress review

Book Haul: February 2018

February 2018 1

Book Haul is when you share books that you bought from the bookstore, ebooks/kindle, borrowed from the library or a friend, books you won through giveaways, and books for review purposes. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you hauled!

 

Library:

9917957 32941343 34930815 31932879

  1. Drink, Slay, Love by: Sarah Beth Durst
  2. Unearthed by: Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
  3. Wires and Nerve Volume 2: Gone Rogue by: Marissa Meyer
  4. The Cruel Prince by: Holly Black

 

E-book/Kindle/Kubo:

22734494 36285677 36446793 35439559 25430278 38616475

  1. Chihayafuru Vol 8 by: Yuki Suetsugu
  2. Tsuredure Children Chapter 7 by: Toshiya Wakabayashi
  3. Living Out Loud by: Staci Hart
  4. Graevale by: Lynette Noni
  5. Up to this Pointe by: Jennifer Longo
  6. Chihayafuru Vol 9 by: Yuki Suetsugu

 

Netgalley:

30833837 32333296  36597702 36600906 36476354

  1. Proof of Lies by: Diana Rodriguez Wallach
  2. Stay Sweet by: Siobhan Vivian
  3. Sky in the Deep by: Adrienne Young
  4. The Oddling Prince by: Nancy Springer
  5. Song of Blood and Stone by: L. Penelope

 

Received from author:

Swag for The Dark Divide

Picture taken by Danika Stone.

  1. The Dark Divide by: Danika Stone

 

Bookstore:

February 2018 3

  1. Reign of the Fallen by: Sarah Glenn Marsh
  2. American Panda by: Gloria Chao
  3. Banished by: Betsy Schow
  4. Blood of a Thousand Skies by: Rhoda Belleza
  5. Interlude by: Chantele Sedgwick

 

Review: Drink, Slay, Love

9917957

Drink, Slay, Love by: Sarah Beth Durst

My Rating: 3 Stars

Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire… fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil… until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don’t exist), and they’re shocked she survived. They’re even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl’s family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King’s feast—as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl’s starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she’s definitely dead if she lets down her family. What’s a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

Beware spoilers ahead!

I remember how back in 2011 I saw this book circulating everywhere. That was around the time when vampires were still popular. A friend of mine had highly recommended another book by Durst, Vessel. Having read and enjoyed The Queen of Blood I decided to give Drink, Slay, Love a try. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

Pearl is 16, a vampire, and simply fabulous! She is apart of the Family (a biological coven), has an extremely attractive betroth, and is soon to be an adult vampire. This all changes when a unicorn stabs her. Somehow Pearl is able to walk in the sunlight. Her parents use this to their advantage to gain some food (humans) to the upcoming King’s feast. Wherein Pearl will be an adult vampire. To accomplish their goals the parents enroll Pearl in high school.

Drink, Slay, Love was such a blast to read! Pearl was so funny! The highlight of this book was definitely Pearl observing and coming to understand high school. Pearl coming into her emotions and growing throughout the book was well done. 

Pearl was such a breath of fresh air! She was extremely confident in everything she did. She was a no-nonsense character. Pretty much everything she noted about high school was so true! It was interesting to see her in that setting.

There were quite a few female’s in this book. For the most part Pearl was basically friends with everyone. I especially loved her interactions with Bethany, Tara, and her track team. It was nice that Pearl wasn’t just friends with one girl but a majority of them.

I loved how for once the queen bee wasn’t a terrible person (or a blonde)! Tara was such a joy to read about. She was actually nice while also running the whole school. She wasn’t popular based on fear, but compassion and of course confidence.

Bethany was the opposite of Pearl and Tara. She had quite a few self-esteem issues stemming from her abusive family. For this reason alone Pearl and Bethany got along very well. Pearl’s family is also quite abusive but unlike Bethany, Pearl had excellent self-esteem and confidence in herself. Amongst all the characters Bethany was able to relate to Pearl and was such a good support. In return Pearl stood up for Bethany and gave her a confidence boost here and there. 

Let me clarify that there is no love triangle. Pearl doesn’t really care for Jadrien other than the fact that he’s good looking. Pearl instead comes to care for Evan whose Bethany’s best friend. Evan was an all around good guy. So much so that he spent most of the book trying to be Pearl’s hero. He has a large hero complex. It was annoying at first but I grew to like it.

Vampire society as a whole was very abusive. Pearl didn’t have good relationships with any of her family members. Save for her father who was barely there. There was a lot of mind games and competitions off who was the better and stronger vampire amongst her cousins.

I liked how the author poked around with all high school and vampire stereotypes. One of Pearl’s cousins wore lots of pink but was still totally terrifying. Especially that last conversation between Evan and Pearl.   

The plot twist with Bethany and Evan in cahoots was completely unexpected! Evan and his family are all were-unicorns whose main job is to hunt vampires. Bethany has Evan stab Pearl in hopes of her gaining emotions and being good. This also helped tie into Evan’s parents plan of trying to stab a majority of the vampires at the ceremony.

What was even more unexpected is that Pearl enlists the help of her classmates to stop the King’s feast. She actually told select classmates that she’s a vampire. And laid out the King’s plan to kill all the students attending prom. The classmates for the most part took it surprisingly well. And together they all (Evan’s family included) came up with a plan. Which was awesome! And so much fun to read about. 

However I did have some problems. I actually skimmed the beginning because Pearl’s family (and all vampires) had such an annoying speech pattern. It actually put me to sleep. I felt that the explanation Evan’s family gave about unicorns was rushed and could’ve been handled better. Maybe with more page time.

Overall I really enjoyed Drink, Slay, Love! I highly recommend it as it was a unique and original vampire story.   

Review: Busted

21825764

Busted by: Gina Ciocca

My Rating: 2 of 5 Stars

Marisa wasn’t planning to be a snoop for hire—until she accidentally caught her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. Now her reputation for sniffing out cheaters has spread all over school, and Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

But when ex-frenemy Kendall asks her to spy on her boyfriend, TJ, Marisa quickly discovers the girl TJ might be falling for is Marisa herself. And worse yet? The feelings are quickly becoming mutual. Now, she’s stuck spying on a “mystery girl” and the spoken-for guy who just might be the love of her life…

Beware spoilers ahead!

I’ve had Busted in my TBR for awhile. The original pitch really spoke to me. I liked the idea of the main character going after cheating boyfriends. I was generally excited for it! I did not enjoy Busted.

You can assume that based on the synopsis that Marisa has been busting boys for awhile. That is actually not what happens. The book begins with Marisa stalking her best friend’s (Charlie) boyfriend. Perched on the back of his house, Marisa takes a picture of the guy and the other girl. Of course she goes to Charlie and shows her the picture.

From here on out Marisa has gained a reputation for catching cheating boyfriends. The plot furthers when she meets her old friend Kendall. Kendall goes to the same school as Charlie and overheard the situation with said cheating boyfriend. Kendall then enlists Marisa’s help with her ‘cheating’ boyfriend TJ.

Let me start off with saying what I liked. TJ’s character was nice to read about. Yay for nice guys! I adored Marisa’s family and her relationship with them. I was actually liked that Charlie starts to date Marisa’s brother. Charlie and Marisa’s friendship was supportive and well written! We seriously need more positive female friendships in all genres. And that would be it.

Pretty much all of my dislikes are going to have a lot of spoilers. Like the whole plot. I was honestly surprised that Marisa starts her reputation in the beginning of the book. The synopsis seemed to imply the opposite. Then I heard someone say that the initial pitch compared Busted to Veronica Mars. Marisa was no sleuth, she was just really lucky with a dose of stupid.

Marisa and TJ were in the (I think) newspaper together. So that definitely made it easier to get close to him. In the paperback synopsis it is implied that there is more than one specific type of cheating. I don’t know why this isn’t mentioned in the GR synopsis. This definitely would’ve saved a lot of readers. Including myself.

TJ was in fact not cheating on Kendall. He had broken up with her months prior to the book. Despite this he still cared for her and stayed friends. Kendall seemed to be in some sort of denial about the whole situation. Kendall and a few other classmates were actually running an underground cheating ring (tests). Fearing that TJ would find out Kendall asked for Marisa’s help. 

I do not like a ton of drama in my contemporaries. I like them comedic, relatable, and important. Busted was none of that. As someone whose been through high school I can tell you it is not this dramatic. I was actually reminded of Gossip Girl while reading this. I personally felt that there was a lot of unnecessary drama between the characters.

Onto some other issues that bothered me. Seriously I don’t understand why Marisa and TJ repeatedly forgave Kendall (in the beginning). Kendall obviously had some pride issues, held grudges for a very long time, and man does she like getting back at people. A lot of the things she did were horrible and while there were signs in the beginning, TJ and Marisa still held on.

Also unless you were Kendall and her posey you got away with everything and didn’t have any consequences. Charlie knew the girls that were bullying Kendall. And rather than do anything about it she remained silent. I know that a lot of people do this due to fear and whatnot. But Charlie had a way to stop this without anyone knowing. Her mother is a teacher at the school. All she had to do was tell her and a lot of the plot could’ve been avoided.

For the most part Charlie does get away with this as both girls decide to shift full blame on Kendall. Despite Marisa’s ex cheating on her, she certainly didn’t have many qualms of participating in cheating. Keep in mind that for a majority of Marisa and TJ’s interactions, she thinks that he’s dating Kendall. They do kiss early on as well.

Then came the website drama. Kendall set-up a website for Marisa’s services. And of course when things got bad she ruined (Kendall had the password) Marisa on said website. Thus began the prank phone calls and the trolls. Marisa’s ex was actually plot important and man was it annoying! Like was any of that drama necessary?! It took up so much of the plot. Wasted page time.

The ending is a typical dance. With apologies and everything seemingly back on track with the main characters. Marisa forgive’s her ex and starts a real relationship with TJ. Charlie is dating Marisa’s brother. Kendall and co have been exposed and are awaiting punishment. All’s well that ends well.

Overall I didn’t enjoy this book. I do not recommend.