Venturess, by Betsy Cornwell


If you haven’t read Mechanica – the feminist, steampunk Cinderella retelling – yet, what are you waiting for? Seriously, it’s so so so good. I’m obsessed with Cinderella retellings and it’s my second favorite one of all time (Ella Enchanted will ALWAYS be number one to me, sorry Betsy!). If you have read Mechanica, then I’m guessing you are already so enchanted by the amazing world building and nuanced characters that you don’t need me to tell you to read this sequel. But I had some thoughts I wanted to write out and this is my blog, so … here we go!

Also there will be some necessary SPOILERS for book one in this series. Proceed with caution.  Continue reading “Venturess, by Betsy Cornwell”

Love and Other Theories, by Alexis Bass

18480081I’ve been reading a lot of books in the last month and I’ve really liked a lot of them. But Love and Other Theories, by Alexis Bass, stands out in particular. The back of the books makes the story sound like it’s going to be perfectly straight-forward YA contemporary romance. Seventeen-year-old Aubrey and her friends have figured out the secret to dating in high school. Not dating. Hooking up. Seeming un-interested and unavailable. Sticking to a mutually agreed upon set of rules. Sharpening their cynicism like it’s a sword their about to go into battle with. And that works until earnest, new boy Nathan throws Aubrey off her game.

It sounds like a book I’ve read at least ten times before. It also sounds like a book I’d like, which is why I bought it. But honestly, it’s more than a girl meets boy, girl likes boy, girl loses bitterness kind of story. Way more.  Continue reading “Love and Other Theories, by Alexis Bass”

When We Collided, by Emery Lord

25663637I really liked Open Road Summer, Emery Lord’s first novel. And I loved The Start of Me and YouBut I whatever the next step in positive emotion is (am obsessed with, love love love, couldn’t put down, etc.) her newest novel When We CollidedSeriously, I started it in the morning expecting to read for thirty minutes at most and instead read whenever I got the chance all day, finishing around 2am that night. If I had to write a review in five words or less I’d write. So romantic. So heartbreaking. Everything. But I get more than five words to write this review, so I’ll expand upon those thoughts at least a little bit.

Vivi is staying in a small, coastal California town for the summer. Jonah has lived there his whole life, but is trying to hold his family together after the tragic death of his father. Vivi is exuberant, flighty, and adventurous. Jonah is stable, dependable, and shy. They are both exactly what the other person needs … until, maybe, they both need more.  Continue reading “When We Collided, by Emery Lord”

Extraordinary Means, by Robin Schneider

23149128I read this book in one sitting, in one night, in a yurt in Southern Oregon. When I picked it up I expected to read a few chapters an go to bed. But Rob Schneider had different ideas. With familiar, but well-drawn, characters and a pretty unique premise, this book hooked me. The book mixes a few of my favorite things together. (1) A unique, near future, slightly apocalyptic vibe. There’s a new strain of completely drug resistant TB. People with it are being shipped off to sanitariums – to try to heal, but also to keep them from spreading the disease to others. (2) Boarding school books. A sanatorium for teenagers is basically like a boarding school, but without much emphasis on school. Even though they have a terminal disease, that doesn’t stop the teenagers in this book from getting up to antics that don’t seem all that different from Looking for Alaska, by John Green. (3) Romance. Lane goes to Lantham House with two goals in mind – healing as fast as possible and keeping up with his AP classes while he’s away. These goals, and his entire life, will change when he meets Sadie. Let me tell you this book is swoon city.  Continue reading “Extraordinary Means, by Robin Schneider”

Bookishly Ever After, by Isabel Bandeira

21018154I was really excited to get my hands on an ARC of Bookishly Ever After, by Isabel Bandeira. The book was released earlier this month and I think it will appeal to lots of YA book lovers for one reason -it’s all about being in love with books. Genius! There are things I loved about the book and things that bothered me. To be totally honest, the formatting of the ARC was really wonky, which I think could have messed up my reading experienced. But I’m trying not to let that biased me. But before I give more of my opinions, here is the book blurb: In a perfect world, sixteen-year-old Phoebe Martins’ life would be a book. Preferably a YA novel with magic and a hot paranormal love interest. Unfortunately, her life probably wouldn’t even qualify for a quiet contemporary. But when Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. Phoebe overhauls her personality to become as awesome as her favorite heroines and win Dev’s heart. But if her plan fails, can she go back to her happy world of fictional boys after falling for the real thing? Continue reading “Bookishly Ever After, by Isabel Bandeira”

Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella

23305614 (1)As a teenager I was a chick lit queen, and I love love loved the Shopaholic books by Sophie Kinsella. So naturally I was excited and intrigued when I heard about her first YA novel, Finding Audrey, which came out over the summer. Because the description from goodreads is both concise and better than anything I could write, I’ll include it here: An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family. The anxiety disorder, the fact that Audrey is only fourteen, and (of course) the romance with a boy named Linus only intrigued me more. Here are my thoughts after reading the book!  Continue reading “Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella”

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

18304322Body Issues. Beauty Pageants. And a complicated romance with a boy named Bo. This is what I knew about Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, before I picked it up and it was definitely enough to hook me. What I found in the pages was a whole lot more. As the cover copy will tell you Willowdean is a self-proclaimed fat girl. And believe me she owns that title. When her thin and beauty pageant obsessed mother tries to get her her on fad diets, Willowdean refuses. When people make comments at school, she tells them to go to hell. She refuses to hide behind boring clothes or a quiet personality. She owns her body. So it’s a huge surprise when her crush (Bo!) showing signs of liking her back cracks and crumbles the body positivity she’s built up over a lifetime. The answer? Entering Miss Clover City pageant. This inspires a whole slew of other unlikely candidates and forces Willowdean to think about her body, friendship, and standards of beauty in lots of new and different ways. Continue reading “Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy”

Fans of the Impossible Life, by Kate Scelsa

24039396 (1)When I finished Fans of the Impossible Life, by Kate Scelsa, all I could think was wow. I wasn’t sure what I thought about the characters – even though they were unique and fully drawn. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the ending. I was sure that I was incredibly impressed with this book.

The story switches perspectives between Jeremy, Mira, and Sebby, three teens with hard pasts who find an escape in friendship (and sometimes more than friendship!) with each other … at least for a little while. As Mira starts over at a new school, Sebby (Mira’s gay best friend) tries to work through family issues, and shy shy Jeremy gets drawn into their co-dependent friendship the three learn about the secrets and stakes involved in the quest to live what they deem “the impossible life”.  Continue reading “Fans of the Impossible Life, by Kate Scelsa”

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon

18692431The first word of the review I left on goodreads for this book was whoa and I’m not sure I can do much better here. This book is seriously good (in many different senses of the word) and left me equally enchanted and disarmed. It’s easy to see why this novel is going to debut as a #1 New York Times Bestseller (all the more impressive considering this is Nicola Yoon’s first novel). It’s easy to see why people are picking the book up. The cover is beyond gorgeous and the flap copy instantly intriguing: My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster. Continue reading “Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon”

Book Review: Mechanica, by Betsy Cornwell

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*** I originally posted this in April, but since the book came out this week wanted readers who might have missed it to get pumped for this fantastic, feminist Cinderella retelling … also I’m still on vacation and didn’t want to write a new review. Hope you enjoy!***

As some readers (especially those that knew me when I was ten) know, Ella Enchanted, by Gail Carson Levine, is pretty much the most important book I ever read. It totally converted me from from being a kid who could barely read, and absolutely hated it, to someone who LOVED books (not just with a capital L, but with capital O, V, E, and D as well). It solidified my interest in fairytale retellings, especially ones focused on Cinderella. So as you can imagine, when I found out my friend Betsy Cornwell’s Cinderella retelling Mechanica was coming out this year, I was beyond excited. And even though it can’t take the place of Ella in my heart, it is now definitely my second favorite Cinderella story … and I’ve read a lot a lot of them. Here’s why (and it’s not because Betsy is so nice and funny and blogs about important things like writing and PTSD, being a friend to yourself, and making goat cheese): Continue reading “Book Review: Mechanica, by Betsy Cornwell”