Seriously Series Challenge – First Check-in

April 9, 2014 Challenges 4

Reading the Paranormal - 2014 Seriously Series Reading Challenge

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling with reading and reviewing this year. Thankfully this challenge doesn’t require reviews! I’m still a bit behind though – it turns out that this is the year I decided to start reading stand-alones! Here’s my progress for January – March (you can see all of my goals here).

Series Started Before 2014:

Started Before 2014
2/10 series
  1. Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
    • The Fiery Heart (series complete until next book comes out)
  2. House of Night by PC & Kristin Cast
    • Revealed (series complete until next book comes out)

Series Started In 2014 (in Progress):

Started in 2014
0/5 series
  1. The Farm by Emily McKay
    • The Farm

Series Rereads (in Progress):

Rereads
0/3 series
  1. The Hollows by Kim Harrison
    • Dead Witch Walking

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Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg – Review

April 9, 2014 Review 3 ★★★★

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg – ReviewRelease Date: February 25, 2014
Title: Better Off Friends
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Pages: 288
Publisher: Point
Source: NetGalley
Available: Barnes and Noble | Kobo | iBookstore | The Book Depository | Powell's
From the Publisher: WHEN HARRY MET SALLY . . . for teens, from romantic comedy star Elizabeth Eulberg.

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can't be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan's friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they're best friends -- which wouldn't be so bad if they didn't keep getting in each other's way. Guys won't ask Macallan out because they think she's with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can't help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again -- and one kiss away from true love?
4 Stars

*Spoilers Below*

I have to admit, I’m a bit torn about this book.

I enjoyed the story. And the characters. I always do when it’s by Elizabeth Eulberg. She writes Contemporary YA like nobody’s business.

But this book was one of those cases where I went in expecting one thing and ended up getting something completely different.

The book is called Better Off Friends. But the moral of the story is not that Macellan and Levi are better off friends. It’s that all along they were perfect for one another and they just couldn’t see it because of their friendship.

As a romance, it’s a fantastic book. But I was expecting a story about how a guy and girl can be best friends and love each other in a non-romantic way. That’s why it lost a star. We need more books that focus on friendship rather than romantic entanglements.

But I promise you this: you will fall in love with Macellan and Levi. We get to know each of them pretty intimately because the story is told in dual POV. At times I wanted to smack both of them. But in the end, I was feeling so giddy and freaking happy at the turn of events that the rest was simply the story that needed to be told to get to HEA.

Need More Information?

  • Paper RiotI adore everything about this book, especially how close these two characters become. While it does seem a bit far-fetched that two kids in junior high could be as mature as Levi and Macallan are in Better off Friends, Eulberg writes the story and the dialogue in such a way that it doesn’t seem awkward or forced.
  • Readers in WonderlandBETTER OFF FRIENDS was not the novel I was expecting based off the synopsis, but it was still a good book. If you are a fan of contemporary YA, you will find yourself enjoying this one easily.
  • CuddlebuggerySo basically, I don’t know why you’re wasting your time not reading this book. Because I really, really want to discuss it with anyone and everyone right meow.

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Waiting on Wednesday 4.9.14

April 9, 2014 Fun Stuff 14

 

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

thetreatmentTitle: The Treatment (The Program #2)
Author: Suzanne Young
Release Date: April 28, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Summary: 

Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”

How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

I finally read The Program last week, and I really liked it! I’m dying to find out what happens to Sloane and James, and really hope they end up getting their happily ever after.

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Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison (The Hollows #1)

April 7, 2014 Challenges, Fun Stuff 1

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison (The Hollows #1)

I recently finished re-reading the first book in Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series. I was struck by how young all of the characters seemed! I had forgotten how Rachel and Ivy struggled with each other in the beginning. I had forgotten that Jenks hadn’t always been a part of Rachel’s team. I had forgotten Rachel met Nick at the rat fights. And most of all, I had forgotten how mean Trent was!

It all felt as if it were a lifetime ago.

Dead Witch Walking sets up the series. We’re introduced to a lot of characters. Rachel and Ivy both leave their jobs at the I.S. and start their own agency. It’s this agency that is the foundation for the whole series. This book also sets up the world that Rachel lives in: 40 years after the angel virus mutated through genetically modified tomatoes and wiped out a third of humanity, supernaturals (Inderlanders) are no longer hiding. The world wouldn’t have been able to function and regrow if they hadn’t stepped forward.

Rachel gets into a lot of trouble, not only because the I.S. has a contract on her head for leaving, but because she’s just… Rachel. Getting into trouble is what she does. And she does it very well.

It felt kind of surreal re-reading this one not long after reading the most recent release The Undead Pool. The characters have grown and developed SO MUCH over the years.

I definitely enjoyed going back to the beginning

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If you’re participating in The Hollows Reading Challenge, don’t forget to add links to your posts on the Month 1 Linky.

If you haven’t signed up yet, make sure you do! Not only is this series a must-read series for all Urban Fantasy fans, but there are TONS of great prizes!

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Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum – Review

April 7, 2014 Review 0 ★★★★

Big Fat Disaster by Beth Fehlbaum – ReviewRelease Date: April 18, 2014
Title: Big Fat Disaster
Author: Beth Fehlbaum
Pages: 288
Publisher: Merit Press
Source: NetGalley
Available: Barnes and Noble | The Book Depository | Powell's
From the Publisher: Insecure, shy, and way overweight, Colby hates the limelight as much as her pageant-pretty mom and sisters love it. It's her life: Dad's a superstar, running for office on a family values platform. Then suddenly, he ditches his marriage for a younger woman and gets caught stealing money from the campaign. Everyone hates Colby for finding out and blowing the whistle on him. From a mansion, they end up in a poor relative's trailer, where her mom's contempt swells right along with Colby's supersized jeans. Then, a cruel video of Colby half-dressed, made by her cousin Ryan, finds its way onto the internet. Colby plans her own death. A tragic family accident intervenes, and Colby's role in it seems to paint her as a hero, but she's only a fraud. Finally, threatened with exposure, Colby must face facts about her selfish mother and her own shame. Harrowing and hopeful, proof that the truth that saves us can come with a fierce and terrible price, Big Fat Disaster is that rare thing, a story that is authentically new.
4 Stars

I have issues with food. I don’t talk about them often – or ever, really. But they lurk under the surface, and even when I’m working really really hard to overcome them and build healthy habits they can derail me. Today was one of those days. And today was the day I read about Colby.

I didn’t expect her story to end up the way it did, but it didn’t surprise me. I did spend a bit of time thinking that there’s no way anyone’s mom would ever treat their daughter the way Colby’s mom treated her… but yes they do. And even without her mom as a motivating factor, everything else Colby was dealing with would have been enough to trigger the depression and self-loathing.

I have a mom who loves me very much and I still struggle (at 31) with self-loathing. There are times I self-medicate with food. There have been many days where I didn’t want to be on this earth anymore because the pain I felt inside was so bad.

When I read Colby’s story, I felt very connected to her.

At the end, the author reveals that she’s struggled with binge eating and knows exactly what kinds of emotions can come with it.

Big Fat Disaster wasn’t easy to read, but I’m glad I did. It was authentic, painful, yet still uplifting. Though I’ll warn you – most of the characters are unlikable and have zero redeeming qualities.

If you – or someone you know – are having thoughts of self-harm, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 

Need More Information?

  • Chiquita BloggerThis book touched me in so many ways that all I wanted to do was reach through the pages, give Colby a hug, tell her she’s most DEFINITELY not alone…
  • Howdy YALI do not recommend this book to anyone.  Not even my worst enemy.  You’ll feel horrible after reading it.  It makes you hate humanity.
  • Sunk TreasureBig Fat Disaster will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen, John Green, and Maureen Johnson. It would be great as a book club selection; there’s so much in this book to discuss and build on.

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