Review: Just Listen

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Just Listen by: Sarah Dessen

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store.

This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Last year I read my very first Sarah Dessen book Saint Anything. I loved it and continued to look for more book by Sarah Dessen! Out of all her books the synopsis of Just Listen appealed to me the most. Which is why I decided to read this before the rest of my Sarah Dessen books. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Annabel watching a commercial she was in. She turns off the tv and mentally prepares herself for school. Annabel has been dreading going to school for months now. After the argument with Sophie and avoiding everyone in school she’s not sure what she’ll find when she reaches school.

When Annabel reaches school she sits in her car for a few minutes just to think everything through. As she gets out of her car she and Sophie came face-to-face. Sophie swears at her and leaves. It becomes evident that there is no way to salvage their friendship and for the rest of the year Sophie will consistently pick on her.

The first day goes by in a blur. As Annabel tries to make conversation with other people they don’t talk to her. Last May she wanted nothing to do with other people now she’s getting just what she wanted. During lunch she sits alone. Apparently Emily is choosing to sit with Sophie even though Annabel was friends with her first. Annabel’s former best friend Clarke clearly wants nothing to do with her. And then there’s Owen. Who seems intimidating and closed off. While she’s eating lunch she sees Will Cash pass by. She freezes up and once he leaves she vomits in the bush.

The next weeks continue normally. Sophie will call Annabel names when she least’s expects it. Annabel eats lunch alone and keeps to herself. While Annabel is leaving school Will Cash catches her eye and talks to her. Annabel manages to get away quickly. Sophie confronts Annabel and threaten’s her for talking to Will who is apparently Sophie’s boyfriend. Annabel snaps and pushes Sophie. Annabel runs away and vomits in the bush again. Owen is yet again there to witness and helps Annabel. After that day the two of them become friends.

Wow this was such a good book! In the beginning I thought that it would be a 3 star but as I read on I found myself really enjoying it! This book is written in first person in Annabel’s point of view. There are quite a few flashbacks but it ever became overwhelming.

I loved the family aspect in this book! Annabel’s older sister Whitney was diagnosed with Anorexia. For the past few months it’s been difficult for Whitney and her family. In the beginning Whitney didn’t acknowledge that there was something wrong. That what she was doing wasn’t healthy. She didn’t see it that way.

Their oldest sister Kiersten noticed (they lived together) but Whitney claimed that Kiersten must have been jealous of her as Whitney got more modeling opportunities than Kiersten. Once the family caught on they continued to support and be there for Whitney. The eating disorder was very well done! Whitney didn’t get better in one day she took time but she got there. I liked the entire family in general. My favourite was definitely Kiersten. 

Annabel and Sophie’s relationship was complicated. In a sense it was an abusive relationship. Unhealthy. Sophie spent most of her time bullying Annabel into what she wanted. Annabel gave in because she was scared off crossing her. Plus Sophie was the reason she was popular and gained most of her experiences from. Once they stop being friends Annabel realizes that she shouldn’t have stuck around Sophie. She already lost Clarke and now she wants to make it up by being friends with Owen.

While I haven’t been in the same situation as Annabel I could relate and empathize with her. I understood why she was scared of Sophie and why she kept that night a secret. It didn’t bother me at all. It made perfect sense and was handled well. Annabel lies quite a bit. Not because she enjoys lying but because she’s afraid that if she tells the truth she’ll hurt the people she cares about. It’s her way of maintaining peace in her life.

This all changes when Annabel meets Owen. Owen went to juvie for getting in a fight with a guy in the parking lot. Since then he has had to take Anger Management and vows to be honest in every aspect. Owen is extremely passionate about music and tries to educate Annabel in it. Owen also gets Annabel to be honest with everything she has to say. Surprisingly Annabel does so because it’s easy being honest with Owen. I found Owen to be a refreshing character! I really liked reading about him! The romance is slow burn and it was done well! 

It was nice reading about Annabel’s character development! Being around Owen has made her more confident and honest. She’s actually happy with her life when she wasn’t earlier. Annabel also learns so much from Whitney and admire’s her strength for overcoming everything.

I didn’t have any problems with Just Listen. I simply didn’t love it hence the rating. Note there is abuse in this book. If you are a sensitive reader you might not enjoy this book. I would suggest reading another contemporary.

Overall this was a really good book! I recommend it to fans of the author and contemporary fans. 

Review: All the Feels

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All the Feels by: Danika Stone

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life…and her last tangible connection to her deceased father. Thus, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.

Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinare, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a call that ignites the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life, and her disapproving mother’s new boyfriend. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to get away from it all… and figure out what (and who!) she really wants.

Beware spoilers ahead!

I received this E-ARC via Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating in the Sunday Street Team for this book. 

I had heard about this book through GR. At the time I didn’t really pay attention to it. Then when I joined the Sunday Street Team for the author’s other book Edge of Wild I noticed that the author was having another book coming out this year. Honestly the first time I read the synopsis I thought I would hate this book because at the time it sounded really dumb. But I decided to give it a shot. There are a lot of books that I now love and at one point I thought I would hate. I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book!

The book begins with explaining us a movie. The only thing you know is that it’s an alien movie. The main character whose name is Spartan is trying to kill the aliens. With him is a little girl who is attempting to help him. When the two reach an escape pod Spartan tells the girl to run while the countdown is going off. The girl is able to reach the pod and escape. Meanwhile Spartan dies in the explosion.

We are then taken to Liv and Xander. The two are both in shock. Although Liv is in much worse shape. Xander gently tells her that they need to leave the theater and guides her out. He goes to get the car meanwhile Liv waits inside. She has an emotional outburst and takes it out on the workers. Eventually she leaves still very upset. The minute she reaches her house she goes to Twitter and tells some of her friends that Spartan died. Spartan could have made it out  as there was one more pod left.

The following week Liv remains depressed. Xander has tried his utmost to help her and get her out of the house. Her mother has tried to same although she doesn’t do it very nicely. Then one day when her mother’s boyfriend comes over and Liv’s mother wakes her up. Liv changes and goes downstairs to find her mother and her boyfriend going out somewhere. Liv’s mom asks her to tag along but Liv declines noticing that Gary (the boyfriend) doesn’t want her to come. They leave and she opens the fortune cookie’s they left her. Taking the fortune as a sign Liv comes up with #SpartanSurvived and enlists Xanders help.

Wow I seriously did not expect to enjoy it that much! The book is written in third person which I found surprising considering it’s a contemporary book. But luckily I liked the writing style! I found that it suited the story. It is divided into two parts. Before Dragon Con and during Dragon Con. There are text messages, twitter conversations, and some fanmade pictures! This was really cool! I’ve never read a book that’s formatted this way. The chapter titles are quotes from things like Harry Potter and Doctor Who. I think that added a nice touch the to overall story.

I completely understood where Liv was coming from! While I haven’t been an active member in fandoms I have loved so many tv shows and books, and mourned the characters that died. While I never let it take over my life I can see why some people would.

Liv’s only connection to her father was through the Starveil films and when Spartan died her whole world feel apart. It wasn’t much help from her mother who viewed fandoms to be dumb and also internet friends. She isn’t close to her mother because of this. Xander and his girlfriend Arden helped whenever they could. 

Xander and Liv’s friendship was adorable! He was so sweet to her and understanding. He agrees to help her with #SpartanSurvived and eventually gets sucked into the fandom. This in particular was amusing to read about. I was really glad that for a majority of the book they remained friends. The romance was really slow burn but I liked it.

I thought it was brilliant when Liv came up with #SpartanSurvived and it was awesome watching it grow and become such a big deal to the fans that Liv talked to! I would never have come up something like that. And I absolutely loved reading about Dragon Con! It was amazing and I so need to go there one day!

The author did an excellent job writing about being in a fandom! It was so much fun reading and it reminded me about how I converse with my friends on GR! While Liv loved Starveil Xander loved steampunk and cosplays. The author did a good job fleshing out the two different fandoms.

The characters in this book was realistic! Liv eventually finds the confidence to get out there and explore the real world and try to make friends with people in her classes. Xander was her support system as was the other fans of Starveil. She grew into a strong and likable character! Xander was a doll! I loved how he said things like ‘dearest’. He’s so different than the other male love interests. It was refreshing reading about him.

I only had three problems with this book. I would have liked to see her of Liv and her mothers relationship. When she goes to Dragon Con you’re not shown her mothers reaction and I really wanted to read about that. And when she reached Dragon Con Liv only called her mother once. I’m surprised that her mother never called her. And like most contemporaries Xander and Liv get into a bit of a fight which I didn’t understand. Thankfully it was resolved quickly. While the epilogue was sweet I felt that it was rushed and somewhat unnecessary. Nonetheless I still liked this book!

Overall I enjoyed this book! I recommend it to all fangirls and fanboys. And anyone trying to understand fandoms.   

Review: How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True

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How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by: Sarah Strohmeyer

My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars

From Sarah Strohmeyer, author of Smart Girls Get What They Want, comes this romantic comedy about one girl’s summer job from hell. Think The Devil Wears Prada set in Disney World.

When cousins Zoe and Jess land summer internships at the Fairyland Kingdom theme park, they are sure they’ve hit the jackpot. With perks like hot Abercrombie-like Prince Charmings and a chance to win the coveted $25,000 Dream & Do grant, what more could a girl want?

Once Zoe arrives, however, she’s assigned to serve “The Queen”-Fairyland’s boss from hell. From spoon-feeding her evil lapdog caviar, to fetching midnight sleeping tonics, Zoe fears she might not have what it takes to survive the summer, much less win the money.

Soon backstabbing interns, a runaway Cinderella, and cutthroat competition make Zoe’s job more like a nightmare than a fairy tale. What will happen when Zoe is forced to choose between serving The Queen and saving the prince of her dreams?

Beware spoilers ahead!

Last year I had read the authors book Smart Girls Get What They Want and fell in love with the story and the characters! I was quite happy to see that How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True was in my library. While I didn’t like it as much I was hoping to I still enjoyed it!

The book begins with a prologue. Zoe is walking the Queen’s dog Tinker Bell. Tink has managed to run off and Zoe is attempting to find her. Zoe crosses into a forbidden area and gets stuck in quicksand. With Tink nowhere in sight and with Zoe sinking she has no idea what to do. Then one of the princes comes to her rescue. Zoe can’t tell which one of the princes because she has her back to him. The prince comments that Zoe is stuck but he can’t help her because she’ll tell the Queen and he’ll get disqualified. Zoe promises not to tell the Queen and that if he helps her she’s in his debt. He manages to find Tink and saves Zoe. When Zoe turns around to thank him, he’s gone.

We are then taken to the first chapter in which Jess and Zoe are on their way to Fairyland. Their quite excited for their summer! A year and a half ago Zoe’s mother passed away. She died of some sort of cancer. Jess (Zoe’s cousin) was there for Zoe. Unlike Zoe’s boyfriend at the time who wanted to dump her at the funeral but didn’t because his parents told him not to.

Over time Zoe started noticing changes in Jess as well. When Zoe asked what was going on Jess said that her parents lost their job. And they’ve blown through her college fund. So now she can’t go to that arts school she wanted to go in. Jess feels to guilty to ask her parents to work out a way to send her to college. The advantage of getting the internship at Fairyland is the Dream and Do Grant. A girl and a boy will win $25,ooo. Zoe is hoping that Jess will win and she intends to help her in any way she can.

When they reach Fairyland they are told by the interns that there internship starts tomorrow. A guy announces all the cast members. Jess gets Red Riding Hood 2. But Zoe’s role is not announced. She tells as much to Andy and he mentions that she is a Lady-In-Waiting assigned to work with the Queen. The way he mentions this scares Zoe. Andy gives her a list of what to do and what not to do. Then sends her off to meet the Queen. Upon meeting the Queen Zoe is surprised because she is not all that bad. The Queen gives Zoe a list of instructions and sends her on her way.

I was definitely expecting more out of this but nonetheless I enjoyed it! This book is written in first person in Zoe’s point of view. And it takes place within the summer.

I liked reading about Zoe and Jess’s relationship! I loved how close they were and how much they supported each other. Fairlyand was fun to read about. I actually felt like I was there! I liked how it’s mentioned that Zoe saw a grief therapist and it was mentioned in a positive light. Reading about her therapist was interesting and sometimes you were told about their conversations. I also liked the relationship between the Queen and Zoe. The Queen wasn’t all that bad. She just had a very long list of likes.

When the synopsis mentions the ‘cutthroat’ competition it was very accurate. It felt like the only reason half of the people were there was because of the Dream and Do Grant. Yes I understand winning money would be really cool. But what about the experience? They got to dress up as fairy tale characters and entertain little kids. That sounds like fun to me.

I enjoyed reading about Zoe’s growth. I felt that in the beginning she wasn’t as confident until she started working for the Queen. It was also nice how she found a way to move on with her life after her mother’s death.

The romance was well done!  It was slow burn. Zoe and Ian started out as friends and then became something more. I liked how it didn’t  take away from the plot. And when Ian found out about Zoe’s mom he didn’t force himself on her. He was willing to give her time and space to figure everything out.

There was the mystery of the about the mysterious prince that saved Zoe and some other things at Fairyland. I suppose now that I think about it the prince was kind of obvious. The twist at the end was unpredictable. I so didn’t see that coming. I liked that ending and the name really fits that book quite well.

I only had two problems with How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True. I was expecting the Queen to be a lot worse. I thought that she would treat Zoe terribly but she didn’t. I also would’ve liked to read about the other characters a bit more. A lot of this book was Zoe doing some ridiculous things for the Queen. For example walking Tink at dawn. Nonetheless I still enjoyed it!

Overall this was a cute book! I recommend this to fans of the author and contemporary fans.

Review: One Tiny Lie

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One Tiny Lie by: K. A. Tucker

My Rating: 1 of 5 Stars

Livie has always been the stable one of the two Cleary sisters, handling her parents’ tragic death and Kacey’s self-destructive phase with strength and maturity. But underneath that exterior is a little girl hanging onto the last words her father ever spoke to her. “Make me proud,” he had said. She promised she would…and she’s done her best over the past seven years with every choice, with every word, with every action.

Livie walks into Princeton with a solid plan, and she’s dead set on delivering on it: Rock her classes, set herself up for medical school, and meet a good, respectable guy that she’s going to someday marry. What isn’t part of her plan are Jell-O shots, a lovable, party animal roommate she can’t say ‘no’ to, and Ashton, the gorgeous captain of the men’s rowing team. Definitely him. He’s an arrogant ass who makes Livie’s usually non-existent temper flare and everything she doesn’t want in a guy. Worse, he’s best friends and roommates with Connor, who happens to fits Livie’s criteria perfectly. So why does she keep thinking about Ashton?

As Livie finds herself facing mediocre grades, career aspirations she no longer thinks she can handle, and feelings for Ashton that she shouldn’t have, she’s forced to let go of her last promise to her father and, with it, the only identity that she knows.

Beware spoilers ahead!

DNF

I heard about this book through GR. I’d seen that a couple of friends had read it and given it good ratings. I saw that it was in my local library so I put it on hold. Unfortunately I did not enjoy this book. 

The book begins in June. Livie is talking to her sister Kacey. Kacey mentions that Livie is too perfect and she feels responsible for robbing Livie of a proper childhood. Kacey says that she’s talked to her therapist about this and that he’ll be calling Livie soon. Livie doesn’t think she needs any sort of help but gives in because of Kacey.

Much to Livie’s surprise the phone calls continue. The therapist (I forgot his name) puts Livie through some weird stuff. She actually speed dated over the summer. One the first day of college Kacey helps her move in and encourages her to drink in order to let loose. 

The reason I didn’t finish this book is because I didn’t agree with Kacey and the therapist way’s to get Livie out there. You don’t just insistently get a life and friends by speed dating and getting drunk. Once college came she could’ve just joined some clubs and had some group study sessions. That works as well. And honestly Livie wasn’t even that bad. I found her to be focused and she reminded me of Harper from Rebel Belle

Overall I did not enjoy this book. But I still recommend it to fans of NA contemporary. 

Review: The Art of Lainey

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The Art of Lainey by: Paula Stokes

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they’re sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few “dates”, it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What’s a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you’re meant to be with if you’re still figuring out the person you’re meant to be?

Beware spoilers ahead!

I had heard about this book through GR. It sounded really sweet! After a few weeks of contemplating I decided to add it to my shelf. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Lainey working at her family’s coffee shop. As she’s getting a girl’s order ready she notices her boyfriend Jason coming. Once the girl’s order is ready Lainey goes over to Jason. Something is screaming in her brain that Jason is off. But she ignores these voices and continues to talk to him. When it becomes clear that there is really something wrong with him she asks him what’s bothering him. He says that he needs a break and basically breaks up with her in her family’s store.

Lainey is in absolute shock and heartbroken. She goes to take a break so that she can have a minute to herself. One of her coworkers Micah comes in the office to get a recipe. He attempts to comfort her. Lainey being in a bad mood brushes it off. Eventually she has to get back to work.

Lainey and her best friend Bianca ‘Bee’ go to Lainey’s house after work. Lainey contemplates for awhile as to why Jason broke up with her. Freaking out Lainey texts Jason asking if he broke up with her because of his father coming back. Bianca tells Lainey that she can’t text Jason. The two of them pull up some websites and find that the best thing to do is ignore him for a week. Lainey doesn’t think that she can do it but tries anyways.

Bianca also suggests using The Art of War for some strategies to help win Jason back. Lainey is completely against the idea. But keeps the book anyways. Surprisingly Lainey does continue to read The Art of War thinking it might actually help her.  

A week has passed since Jason broke up with Lainey. Thanks to Bianca Lainey was able to avoid stalking him and texting him. The two of them plan for Lainey to ‘run’ into Jason with the purpose of returning his DVD’s. Lainey gets all dressed up and brings some food with her. When she reaches her destination she sees Jason with another girl. At first she thinks that the girl is carpooling, but then she sees them kiss.

Lainey shares the news with Bianca and the two of strategize using The Art of War. Bianca realizes that in order for this plan to work Lainey will need to date someone to send the point home. Lainey mentions yet again that she doesn’t want to date anyone as that would be leading said guy on. Bianca then suggests that Lainey needs to find a fake boyfriend. Just then Micah and another coworker pass by. Lainey then remembers that Micah mentioned breaking up with his girlfriend. Lainey asks Micah to be her fake boyfriend and tells him this will benefit him as well. After a week Micah agrees and they make a plan. 

I am so happy that I enjoyed this! I was scared that I wouldn’t like it considering how rude and judgmental Lainey was in the beginning. The book is written in first person in Lainey’s point of view. I liked the writing style. It was also really cool how every chapter there was a quote from The Art of War. 

I loved the friendship between Lainey and Bianca! It’s nice to read about awesome female friendship. I also loved the tibits of the family. Micah was very close with his sister Trinity and his mother. Lainey’s mom read tea leaves! This is literally the only book in which the parent can read tea leaves. Her mother would give predication’s every now and then. Lainey also emails her brother and gets advice from him. Her father doesn’t come in that much but whenever he does he’s always nice.

I found it interesting how the author tied The Art of War aspects into the ‘Get our exes back’ plan. While it was probably obvious what they would need to get and how they would do it, I still looked forward to the progresses in their plan. It was also nice that Lainey and Micah had a lot of help.

 I really enjoyed reading about Lainey’s character development! She really grew throughout the book. In the beginning Lainey was popular and judgmental. She judged her coworkers based on the fact that they had tattoos and how one of them was bald. She was your typical popular girl who only thought about herself. Lainey wasn’t always like that though.

When she was younger she was friends with Micah. But then she met Kendall and her brother Jason. Kendall made her popular and Lainey never wanted to feel invisible again. While Kendall is away filming a show and Jason has broken up with her, Lainey now has some time to think about who she wants to be. She realizes that she doesn’t like who she was earlier and now wants to change. Micah contributed to some of that change.

 Micah stopped being friends with Lainey after his father was killed in a convenience store. Micah blames himself for what happened because he asked for a drink. Then of course Lainey became popular and he had his own life to deal with. 

I enjoyed reading the relationship between Micah and Lainey. I liked how Micah teased her and in the end understood her better than Jason did. Despite Micah continuing to tease Lainey he did care for her. It was a slow burn romance. And definitely one of my favourites.

I loved how every character was realistic! Even characters like Kendall who was the mean girl of the book. While yes at times Lainey was annoying she was realistic as you do meet girls like her in life. I also liked the ending. I felt that it was a good conclusion to everything. 

I didn’t have any problems. I simply didn’t love it which is why I rated it 4 stars.

Overall this was a fun book! I recommend it to contemporary fans and fans of the fake relationship trope. 

Review: No Love Allowed

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No Love Allowed by: Kate Evangelista

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

It’s all fun and parties until someone falls in love in this modern fairy tale from author Kate Evangelista.

Caleb desperately needs a fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties for his father’s law firm with a pretty girl on his arm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he’s not ready for and isn’t sure he wants. And sadly, the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, recently fired waitress and aspiring painter, is open to new experiences. As the summer ticks by in a whirl of lavish parties, there’s only one rule: They must not fall in love!

Beware spoilers ahead!

This book was recommended to me by Irena! Click on her name to read her review. 

I had heard about this book through Netgalley. I tried requesting it but got denied. Back in 2015 I went on the Swoon Reads website and read the sample. It was around 48 pages long. At the time I found that I didn’t really like it. While it was engaging and I liked the characters I didn’t like the writing style. I saw Irena’s review and decided to give it another go. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book begins with Caleb dumping his girlfriend Amber. When they started dating he made it very clear to her that he wanted a no strings attached relationship. At the time Amber agreed and they begun dating. Then at a party Amber tells Caleb that she loves him. Caleb realizes that he needs to act fast. So he told her to meet him at a restaurant. The break up isn’t really going well. Amber has burst into tears  And now everyone is looking at him. To calm things down Caleb asks for water.

Diana ‘Didi’ is not having a good day. Her mother forgot to pay the electricity and her alarm clock didn’t go off. Waking up late she couldn’t find her lucky boots and took some clothes that looked relatively clean. And the bad day seems to continue. That rich brat has successfully caused that girl to cry.

While Didi is giving them their water she hears her name being called. She turns around and trips on her untied shoe laces sending the water tumbling down on the girls head. The girl makes a big show of calling Didi names and shrieking. Blissfully she leaves. This leaves Caleb and Didi together to clean up the mess. Didi’s worsens and she angrily quits.   

Caleb decides to take a smoke break. He runs into Didi and she takes a drag. Then all of a sudden Didi jumps into the water. Terrified Caleb jumps after her and the two talk. After a very personal conversation the two go their separate ways.

When Caleb arrives home his father surprises him. Now of course his father is usually very angry so that’s not out of the ordinary. It’s what his father says that surprises him. Apparently after the break up Amber ran straight to her father. Who then called Caleb’s father. Caleb’s father tells him that this is the last straw and that he won’t allow Caleb to take his gap year across Europe.

Caleb has been looking forward to taking his gap year because he can take a break from responsibility and going to law school. Caleb then negotiates with his father. He explains that he can’t change what happened with Amber but he can do whatever his father asks to make it up to him. Caleb’s father then says that he wants to have Caleb intern at his firm. And on top of that Caleb will have to attend all the functions.

Caleb calls an emergency meeting with his cousin Nathan and their friend Preston. As the three of them talk, Preston points out that the only reason Caleb’s father is only caring about Caleb’s date record because Amber’s father is one of his clients. He’s afraid of losing an important client. Caleb realizes that because he is single all the women will try to set him up with their female relatives. Nathan offhandedly mentions that Caleb needs to find a fake girlfriend. Caleb decides to ask Didi. 

I honestly did not expect to like it this much! When I read the beginning for the second time I thought that I would rate this three stars. The book is written in third person, switching between Didi and Caleb’s point of view. It’s written in third person for the sake of being vague. Specifically with Didi’s character. The second time around I actually liked the writing style. 

The only reason Didi agrees to be a fake girlfriend is because she was bored and wanted to get a glimpse of Caleb’s world. Didi isn’t exactly poor but her family aren’t rich either. Her father left her and her mother when she was eight years old. Her mother juggles many jobs to pay for Didi’s medicines. Didi works as well but for the duration of the book she doesn’t have a job. It is implied for a majority of the book that Didi has a mental illness. But it isn’t until the end where it’s revealed what her mental illness is. Didi has an excellent relationship with her mother; they’re close. 

Caleb is rich. He’s got life pretty easy. When he was 12 years old his mother committed suicide. He doesn’t know what happened his father refuses to talk about it. Since then his father has buried himself in his work. He became cold and ignored Caleb. Caleb has vowed to never fall in love least he turns out like his dad. While Caleb isn’t close with his father he is close with his cousins Nathan and Natasha. And their mutual friend Preston.

I really loved how No Love Allowed focused on family relationships! I loved Natasha and Nathan! Whenever they came in I started laughing. I liked Preston even if he was very quite. And Didi’s mom was sweet.

I enjoyed reading about Didi and Caleb’s relationship and their characters! I liked how honest and loyal Caleb was. And I liked how Didi wasn’t afraid to speak her mind and let her emotions show. Even if she was surrounded by the very rich fake crowd. Their friendship was sweet and I liked seeing them becoming something more.

I only had two problems with No Love Allowed. I wish that Didi’s mental illness was revealed earlier so that I could learn about it and see more of Didi’s growth. And I didn’t like how things ended with Caleb and his father. They got into an argument but Caleb’s father actually started being nice to him and you never see where that goes.

Overall this was a really fun book! I recommend it to contemporary fans.  

Review: It’s All Your Fault

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It’s All Your Fault by: Paul Rudnick

My Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

My name is Caitlin and up until forty-eight hours ago I had never:

Tasted alcohol, kissed a boy, sang in public at the top of my lungs, kidnapped anyone or—WHAT? STOLEN A CONVERTIBLE?

Now I’m in jail and I have no idea what I’m going to tell:

The police, my parents, the mayor, all of those camera crews and everyone on Twitter.

I have just noticed that:

My nose is pierced and I have—WAIT? IS THAT A TATTOO?

I blame one person for this entire insane weekend:

My famous cousin.

Who is also my former best friend.

Who I have HATED for the past four years.

Who I miss like crazy. NO I DON’T!!!!

IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT, HELLER HARRIGAN!!!!

Beware spoilers ahead!

This book was recommended to me by my GR friend Anna! Click on her name to read her review. 

I had heard about this book in the beginning of the year. It was one of those books that for the most part went unnoticed. While the synopsis sounded hilarious it didn’t grab my attention. Then a few weeks back on Anna’s blog, her co-bloggers were putting books that they recommended. I saw It’s All Your Fault and found out that it was in my library. I thought ‘Why not’ as I’m always in search of hilarious books. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it! 

The book begins with Caitlin in jail. She explains what’s mentioned in the synopsis. Two more chapters of rambling and we’re then taken to beginning. Caitlin hasn’t been in contact with her famous cousin Hellar in four years. Much to Caitlin’s surprise her Aunt Nancy is over.

Aunt Nancy explains that over the past year Hellar has spiraled out of control.  Hellar developed an addiction and was sent to rehab. The next day Hellar would be released to do interviews and whatnot for her lasted movie Angel WarsAngel Wars is an extremely popular book series and everyone’s counting on Hellar not to screw up.

In order to ensure that Hellar doesn’t epically  screw up they want her to get some body guard. Aunt Nancy doesn’t want some random nobody guarding her. She asks Caitlin to be said bodyguard. Aunt Nancy explains that Hellars people don’t trust her and what better person to ask than Caitlin who is obedient and determined. At first Caitlin is hesitant because the last time she saw Hellar things didn’t end well. Caitlin agrees deciding that this is her mission from God. 

When Caitlin runs into Hellar again she realizes that her mission is much harder than she thought it would be. But nonetheless Caitlin continues on having faith in God and herself. While Hellar spends most of her time mad at Caitlin for ruining her fun, Caitlin carries on. That is until Hellar goes to meet a child with cancer for a Make-A-Wish program. Sophie (said girl) has this list of three things she wants to do. All of which include illegal activities.

Throughout this journey Caitlin and Hellar work together to make Sophie happy.Caitlin gets a glimpse into the life of a movie star and overcomes several of her fears. She also has a few sweet moments with Hellar and eventually the of them make up. Caitlin gains several new experiences. Some good most bad but comes to a conclusion about how she leads her life. 

I did not expect to enjoy this book! I thought that it would be a three star rating. This book surprised me in a good way! The book is written in first person in Caitlin’s point of view. There are chapter numbers and titles. Which was unique as I’ve never read a book formatted as such. It’s quite a small book with a large font. Note that I am talking about the hardcover edition. The writing style is good. I got a good understanding of all the characters. 

Caitlin is home schooled. Due to this she lacks a lot of understanding in social interaction. She’s also not that good at taking ques from people. What’s interesting about Caitlin is that she has anxiety. Throughout her life and the book she lets her anxiety define her. She doesn’t get out much because she’s too scared to. Which is why she doesn’t get along with Hellar. Hellar has a larger than life personality and lives her life to the fullest. This includes constantly doing reckless things to gain new experiences.

In the beginning to relationship between Hellar and Caitlin is quite tense. Throughout Caitlin’s body guard duties the two of them try to ignore what happened between them that ruined their relationship. When it comes time to talk they end up fighting. After having some time to think things through, the two do make up.

I really loved how the anxiety was dealt with in this book! I’ve never read about anxiety literally controlling someone’s life. It was interesting and well done. I found it so interesting how Caitlin needed to say tap an object three times otherwise nothing in her life would be alright. It was well researched and interesting to read about.

All the relationships were well done! Especially Hellar and Caitlin. They had so much history that it was hard for them to interact with one-another. I thought that I would dislike Hellar but I had no problem with her. She had a pretty hard life and did a well job pulling through. I liked reading about Hellar’s Hollywood life. I’ve never read about an actress before so it was really interesting. I will definitely keep a lookout for more books focusing on Hollywood.

While Caitlin was judgmental throughout the book I didn’t mind her either. I liked reading about how her faith in God pushed her through. Never once did she think about giving up. Instead she rationalized that nothing in life is easy so she plowed through. Their are several mentions about Christianity but it never bothered me. It intrigued me and I admired Caitlin. Caitlin also learns that no one can be perfect even in terms of religion. Which I think is an important lesson and I’m glad it was in the book.

The journey that Hellar, Caitlin and Sophie took was wild and completely crazy! But at the same time it was refreshing and fun to read about! I was never once annoyed instead I had a ball reading about the crazy things they did.

This book has a larger focus on the characters and the relationships with one-another. It has literally no romance which was refreshing to read about. I really appreciated how the larger focus was put on family.

I only had three problems with It’s All Your Fault. Some things that happened were completely unrealistic. The sentences were really long and almost run-on sentences. There were times that I just skimmed the sentences. And there were a lot of caps lock to express the characters shock or anger. Nonetheless I had tons of fun reading this book!

Overall this was a fun read! I recommend this to everyone because it’s a unique contemporary book.