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  • 9
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  • To All the Boys I've Loved Before

  • By: Jenny Han
  • Narrated by: Laura Knight Keating
  • Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,666
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,347
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 3,338

Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control in this heartfelt novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series. What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them…all at once?

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A YA for Rom-Com fans

  • By The Reading Date on 07-02-14

Take a Chance on Me

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-18

NOOOOOOOWAY NOT A CLIFFHANGER!!
*Checks that the sequel is available*
Whew, crisis averted ;)

OMG you guys this was SO GOOD!! I was not expecting... well any type of gravitational pull toward a contemporary romance (let alone fall in love with one) and I’m so happy right now!

Sure I watch rom-coms, but I don’t really ever want to read those stories. It takes me way way longer than 90-120 mins to read a book so I’ve effectively used that time for other interests (namely magic and myths of course). It’s no surprise then, that I get hives while walking down the adult or teen contemporary, romance, erotica, or “chick-lit” isles in the library or bookstore. Fast forward to me signing up for a free month of audible romance package and I immediately broke out.

*Facepalm*
Why in hell did I sign up for this anyways?!
*Checks forehead temperature*

It’s summer, people like fluffy summer reads, right? I like rom-com films, so it has to be an irrational fear... it must be. So I decided to challenge my comfort zone, because Why NOT?! My pros and cons list was becoming clear: the potential to gain a new favorite genre outweighed my severe adverse reactions. Crazy? Probably. But this book is proof that I’ve been so wrong for far too long about this genre!!

*Cue high-pitched squealing while running in circles*

Cliff notes version: I might be jumping the gun but... *whispers* I’m a new fan of contemporary romance!! (When done well—I’m still working on the hives haha)

Now to the nitty-gritty about why I love “To All the Boys I Loved Before” so much! I finally get it! I understand the joy of the warm-fuzzies and heart flutters (that are not due to my ventricular arrhythmia). The characters are well fleshed out and I cared about all of them and their varying relationships with each other.

I especially loved the sister relationships—they were SO relatable! I am a kid sister, so I know what it’s like to crush hard on the same person as my older sis. Luckily in my case, all of my sister’s actual boyfriends were NOT remotely for me, whew! I think it would have turned out similar to Lara Jean and Margot if we weren’t so fortunate. The message of “no matter anything she’ll always and forever be your sister” was spot-on!

Now for the main event: I love the fake dating trope!! I’m a sucker. It’s my jam. But, I also know it’s a great and convincing story when I don’t like someone initially and then I’m shipping them so hard I’m about to burst! :):):)

I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll leave you here—just know that I was LOLing and choking up and I’m not typically an emotional reader. I love it, and you might too... even if you tend to get hives :D

  • Geekerella

  • A Novel
  • By: Ashley Poston
  • Narrated by: Eileen Stevens, Tristan Morris
  • Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,352
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,278
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 1,276

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck and her dad's old costume, Elle's determined to win - unless her stepsisters get there first.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fresh new take on the Cinderella tale

  • By Kathleen Y. Danis on 05-02-17

Get Your Geek On

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-18

All the stars in the cosmos for the amazing amount of GEEK packed into this! I was living for it!! That... and Sage ♡ Why doesn’t she get more attention around here anyways? Sage was the highlight of the book: strong, loyal, funny, and an awesome lgbtqia+ rep!

“We’re all geeks here” ;)

AND that’s about it!


Ha... okay, maybe I have some venting to do about the rest. WARNING unpopular opinions ahead!

The main romance was... meh? I don’t know. I’m definitely in the minority, but it was only a subpar Cinderella fairytale retelling imo. Ella was annoying, then I loved her, then I was back to hating on her until I ultimately didn’t care... she strikes me as one of the weakest Cinderella’s I’ve encountered. Darien was actually fine as Prince Charming but I was bored having to follow him in every. other. chapter. I get that celebrity=royalty in a contemporary, so this is a “It’s not you, it’s me” issue but I would have preferred him as the popular jock/secret geek trope instead.

It took 60% of the book before I wasn’t going to put it on my DNF shelf. It’s no surprise that I didn’t care about the “relationship” between Ella and Darien. This is not because I think someone cannot find meaningful relationship(s) across LTE/WiFi (quite the opposite actually). However, I was not convinced by the back and forth superficial short messages presented in the book. (I’m saying this while having the ability to recite every line from You’ve Got Mail by heart, so yes I love the mystery pen pal to lovers trope. It just has to be done well.)

Audiobook Performance: Do your ears a favor and just skip it! I shouldn’t have to listen at 3x... no one naturally pauses between every. single. sentence.

  • Since You've Been Gone

  • By: Morgan Matson
  • Narrated by: Suzy Jackson
  • Length: 12 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 548
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 489
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 490

Before Sloane, Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, and she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend - someone who yanks you out of your shell. But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just...disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There's just a random to-do list with 13 bizarre tasks that Emily would never try. But what if they can lead her to Sloane? "Go Skinny Dipping?" Um...

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Took a while but I loved the ending!

  • By Brittany on 09-24-15

It’s Officially Summer!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-18

I loved this!! I instantly fell in love with Emily, but I’m still a bit perturbed by Sloane’s actions, even with an (anticlimactic) explanation. “Since You’ve Been Gone” is an amazing coming-of-age summer read!

Emily develops immensely and I’m so happy that I was able to go on the journey with her. Although ‘the list’ is what coaxed Emily out of her comfortable introverted shell and into a strong and confident young woman, it was all with her own initiative. Sloane wasn’t the one pushing her to do anything, instead she simply left without a word and refused to answer any phone calls, text messages, or emails. I still have a bitter taste in my mouth for her, but it ended happily so I’ll eventually let it go.

I also had trouble with the main love interest, Frank, since he was with his girlfriend throughout the entire book. (Long distance or not doesn’t matter—He was with her. Full stop.) Besides that, I really like Frank as a person, a friend, and a love interest when he’s flying single. The side characters, Collins and Dawn, were a lot of fun and made everything more enjoyable. I was laughing out loud and tearing up at all the right times. Mistakes were made, hearts were broken, but everyone turned out okay. Go read it—you might just like it too!

Side note: My main quibble when reading was the excessive use of writing tics rather than coming up with creative ways to express emotions. I developed an eye twitch every time a character “let out a breath” or “furrowed or raised their eyebrows”. The noted breathing is practically a prerequisite for YA, but there’s still a line that shouldn’t be crossed into utter annoyance and distraction.

  • When Dimple Met Rishi

  • By: Sandhya Menon
  • Narrated by: Sneha Mathan, Vikas Adam
  • Length: 10 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 873
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 806
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 799

Now that Dimple Shah has graduated, she's ready for a break from her family - especially from Mamma's inexplicable obsession with her finding the Ideal Indian Husband. Ugh. But Dimple knows that her mother must respect that she isn't interested in doing that right now - otherwise she wouldn't have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers, right?

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Let's say it together...Awe!

  • By Dee on 07-03-17

Shockingly Obtuse

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-18

“If you have nothing nice to say...” Well, I have to say something, but since I’m wading out here in the minority opinion pool, I’ll keep it to a concise list :-)

The Good:
➸ The Indian rep was a gift
➸ Rishi’s brother
➸ The premise for the entire storyline

The Bad:
➸ For the summer before college, the characterizations across the board were really immature
➸ Where was the STEM fun I was promised?!
➸ Rishi... he’s a bit too clingy for my taste (I guess I don’t like cinnamon buns haha)

The Ugly:
➸ Dimple... her girl hate was palpable
➸ Actually, the sheer amount of general hate that dripped from the pages
➸ D+R’s relationship... Nope.Nope.Nope. Rishi deserves a kinder partner.


Audiobook Performance: I don’t think I get on well with “his and her voices” audiobooks at this point. I always end up preferring one over the other.

  • Alice in Zombieland

  • By: Gena Showalter
  • Narrated by: Natalie Gold
  • Length: 13 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 618
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 578
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 579

She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever. Had anyone told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat. A blink, a breath, a second, and everything she knew and loved was gone. Her father was right. The monsters are real.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fun! Actually something new!

  • By Linda B on 10-06-12

0.5 Stars

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-18

*walks up to mic*
*tap*tap*tap*
*clears throat*

Are you ready for this??? Are you absolutely certain?! Because I don’t even have a ½ star defined on my rating system...

◈ ▹▹▹ <b>WARNING: RANT AHEAD!</b> ◃◃◃ ◈

What I was anticipating:
-» Zombies!
-» An “Alice in Wonderland” retelling
-» A Harlequin Teen romance

What I was given:
-» Lies!Lies!Lies!

“She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.”

Oooooookay, let’s address the giant elephant first. Whoever is responsible for the description did NOT read this book. There are NO REANIMATED WALKING CORPSES—therefore there are NO ZOMBIES in “Alice in Zombieland”. Books go through an editing process right? I’m thinking some must slip through the cracks...

I’m all for a new spin on a zombie tale, but come on people... call them what they are in this case: demonic spirits. Calling the spirits “zombies” simply because you want to is a misnomer, NOT a new twist. A new twist would be traits or actions of zombies, how to kill or fight them, what they eat, where they’re located (you know, like Zombieland?!), the ability to control them, etc. etc. On the other hand, a new twist is NOT evil spirits that smell like rotting corpses and have a classic zombie appearance (a.k.a. Mfugly spirits).

For all I know, in the spirit realm there the same malevolent spirits that take the form of vampires and the whole range of humanoid myths. Clearly they have to be zombies in the book then, because she said so. Anyone know the Haitian zombies? Right, so we’re back to zombies being reanimated corpses. Whew, my argument stands. The undead are soulless physical humanoids—often demonic, but some shine like diamonds in the sun (hahaha).

Now, don’t even get me started on the massive holes in the descriptions of these demon spirits. Okay just one, because I’m here for a rant-a-tant I’ll let you know my favorite conundrum: The evil spirits can ONLY attack the slayers while the slayers are in the out-of-body spirit realm and vice versa... BUT those same evilette spirits can attack a non-slayer’s spirit without their knowledge while in the physical realm until they croak and become one of them. On that point (I guess I lied too) there was ONE CORPOREAL ZOMBIE after all *GASP* but it still could only be killed in the spirit realm. Let me know when you’ve figured that out...

Moving on to the “Alice in Wonderland” retelling... lmao! What? Did I miss it? Just because there’s an ominous cloud rabbit (yes, you read that correctly), a little madness, and themed chapter titles DOES NOT equal a retelling. Someone tell me if they continued the series and Ali has since fallen down the rabbit hole and met the Queen of Hearts. Honestly, the story is more reminiscent of “Frankenstein” or “Jekyll & Hyde”. If you want a good YA Alice retelling, the “Splintered” series is decent! :D

Annnnnnnd the romance... Where do I even begin? It’s gawdawful on so many levels and not a romance. The main pair just want to fuck. There I said it. Romance and sex are not the same thing. Stop befuddling the two writers! Nothing but hormonal lust was established—except if you count the controlling toxic masculinity.

For those of you who DNF this book because the first “meet cute” for Ali and whatshisname was that they locked eyes, went into a shared dreamscape, and basically had sex right there... You made the right choice because it didn’t get any better. Turns out this happens every day when they first lock eyes. ’Scuse me while I loose my cookies in my handbag. I signed up for a romance. It could have even been instalove and I wouldn’t have minded so much.

This however, was not a romance story. Drama, yes. Before the 50% marker, Ali thought they broke up even though she admitted they were never actually together. By the 80% marker they were hot and heavy again... but hell if they were actually going to have sex. This is ironic considering they almost did it in the middle of the dance floor. Oh and there was a hilarious attempt at a triangle that failed miserably so I almost forgot to mention that sore thumb.

P.S. Kat was awesome even though I’d probably find her annoying irl ;)

Audiobook Performance: Decent, however there was very little voice differentiation between characters. The writing style (which was repugnant) made it almost impossible to listen to without the physical book and keep straight what was said out loud vs. in Ali’s head.

*mic drop*
*walks off*

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Openly Straight

  • By: Bill Konigsberg
  • Narrated by: Pete Cross
  • Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 751
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 714
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 713

Rafe is a normal teenager from Colorado. He's been out since 8th grade, accepted by his peers & championed by his progressive parents. And while that's important, all Rafe really wants is to be a regular guy. To have his sexuality be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time. So when Rafe transfers to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret - not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Beautiful story

  • By Jacob on 04-09-18

O Captain! My Captain!

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-07-18

“Openly Straight” was an enjoyable summer weekend read. It has massive “Dead Poets Society” vibes and I loved it for that. Also, I wanted to hug and protect Benny Bear so badly!!

Unfortunately, I didn’t like the mc, Rafe, AT ALL. This is why I liked the book, but couldn’t fall in love with it. The story went from Rafe not wanting to have a label anymore to outright lying with a snowball effect. I understand that he didn’t want to carry the burden of being the poster child for gay when he changed schools from Boulder, CO to New England. He wanted to figure out who he was beyond his sexuality. In actuality though, he just wanted to be able to fit in with who he perceived as the “in-crowd jocks” and ended up acting like a prick. Rafe was super judgy of his roommate and his roommate’s best friend, who were only ever kind to him from the start.

The all-boys boarding school out East had an established LGBT+ support system in place, but Rafe wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. He was also scared as shit to stand up for the out LGBT+ boys because he didn’t want to be outed himself. This, coming from someone who has been out for years in Colorado and doing inspirational speeches for LGBT+ youth was just ridiculous. When he kept silent, he endorsed the homophobia.

While these are completely human flaws and growing pains for Rafe to have, I was still wishy-washy over my feelings for him. I was glad to see that he did show development, but it was too little too late. If you’re looking for a happy ending you will have to read the sequel... and let me know if it’s there.

  • The Distance Between Us

  • By: Kasie West
  • Narrated by: Jorjeana Marie
  • Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 370
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 342
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 343

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. And after years of studying them from behind the cash register of her mom's porcelain-doll shop, she has seen nothing to prove otherwise. Enter Xander Spence-he's tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and the fact that he seems to be one of the first people who actually gets her, she's smart enough to know that his interest won't last.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • I loved it

  • By Morgan on 07-07-15

A Homage to Gilmore Girls

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 08-06-18

Wow! I thoroughly enjoyed The Distance Between Us! First of all, this has ‘fanfic’ written all over it. As a massive Gilmore Girls fangirl myself, this actually made me happier rather than upset, so it was a complete guilty pleasure!

*Sheepishly grins from ear to ear*

Caymen (Rory) - is extremely close with her mom, but things have been stressful financially lately (always). She attends the local public school and has been taught that the rich are a certain breed you don’t want to get messed up with. She’s studious and into STEM, particularly on the path for crime scene investigation, but she plans to defer to help out her mom.

Xander (Logan) - is the filthy rich love interest that Caymen begins to hang out with behind her disapproving mom’s back. He’s being groomed to take over his father’s hotel dynasty in after college, which of course he’s trying to rebel against. He attends the exclusively rich private school named after his Grandmother.

Skye (Lane Kim) - is the amazing best friend who is dating a band guy and attends all of his gigs. I absolutely love her!!!

Susan (Lorelai) - had Caymen out of wedlock in her teens and the baby daddy left her to fend for herself. Her parents disowned her, but her baby daddy’s parents gave her guilt money to start up a business. She now lives a stressed life of trying to make ends meet in her porcelain doll shop that she lives above in a tiny apartment with her daughter.

Vivian (Emily) and Sean (Richard) - are not in the picture until later on as they disowned their pregnant teenage daughter. They haven’t seen their granddaughter for her entire life, but step up in a well intentioned way before it’s too late.

Unfortuately all the other amazing characters as well as copious amount of coffee are missing... but then again it was 300+ pages, not 7 seasons :D

1 of 1 people found this review helpful