Friday, January 31, 2014

Review: The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Published: July 2, 2013
Paperback, 320 pages
4 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

This is the perfect book to read in one day when you want something sweet to devour. This has everything you'd want from a YA contemporary: two people from different worlds, disapproving families, and just look at that cover! Caymen is a cute character living with her mom above the porcelain doll store they own, serving the rich they both detest. After a rich boy left Caymen's mom high, dry and pregnant, she swore she'd never deal with them again, but they do pay her bills. Caymen keeps the same attitude about them until Xander walks in to pick up a doll for his grandmother. One look at him tells her he's stinking rich, but his charming personality keeps her thinking about him long after he leaves. And when he keeps coming back and keeps walking her to school, she can't seem to stop wanting to be near him. The more time she spends with him, non dates where they practice different career paths, the more she finds herself liking him. She knows she shouldn't be hanging out with him, especially since finding out his dad owns a hotel and that he may be dating an actress, and she certainly can't tell her mom about him.

There is nothing ground breaking about this book. A story of a poor girl and a rich boy is nothing new. But the way their love plays out is so real, so enduring, that it doesn't matter. I didn't pick it up because I thought it was never done before, though there were parts near the end that surprised me an made me love it even more. Xander is your stereotypical rich kid, not wanting to follow in his father's footsteps and just wanting his own life. But he's good to her and his family accepts her and it's refreshing that this wasn't part of the sub plot. It's the opposite of what you'd expect really, it's Caymen's mom that doesn't want her daughter dating a rich boy. She'd rather Caymen go out with the starving artist covered in tattoos. Her mom has her own reasons and Caymen soon discovers why her mom is so stressed and not eating very well. But Caymen and Xander are real to me. They grow together slowly, hanging out on the walk to school, fleeting moments that end up meaning more than they thought they would. Their career dates are a cute touch that I've never read in any other book. They find different careers to explore: gravediggers, photographers, etc. These dates bring them together, draw out a love that wouldn't have happened if he didn't walk into her shop. And that's how love works, it creeps up on you until there's no room in your heart for anyone other than them. It's not planned, it's not instant, but it's real.

Two worlds converge in one in this soft romance that shows the importance of family. You find out who is really there for you when you need them and that some people who you never thought would help can be the best resources. Xander and Caymen are sweet and adorable, their interactions feel real and the small moments between them made me smile. The secondary characters are fun and come alive off the pages and the ending was so unexpected that it gave me a whole other feeling towards this book. West is a strong writer, her words and dialogue play out like a movie and she can certainly write young first love like a champ. If you're looking for a light read with a bit of drama, a bit of tears, and a whole lot of love, this is definitely one to pick up. 

“You two are the most in-love not-dating people I’ve met.” 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Open Road Summer

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights an upcoming release that I'm eagerly waiting for.

This week it has been extremely cold here in Canada and I'm sure it's cold everywhere else too. Thinking about summer is the only way to get through this endless winter, so his week I've picked a book that I know will make me think of summer:

Open Road Summer
By Emery Lord

(summary from Goodreads)

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways

behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.

This looks like the perfect summer read, a contemporary with a little romance, a little drama, and some music to boot!

What books are you looking forward to?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Published: January 2, 2012
Hardcover, 236 pages
5 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

As soon as I found out this book was going to take place over a 24 period, I knew I'd love it. I love books like that, where so much happens in such a short amount of time that you realize each day really does count for something. I immediately loved Hadley. She's been going through a lot - her parents have gotten divorced and her dad is getting re-married. She's running to get to the airport in time for her flight to England, where her dad now lives, and ends up missing it by four minutes. Now she's stuck waiting for at least three hours, worried she'll miss the wedding and nervous about seeing her dad and meeting her new stepmom. A chance encounter with the boy who will be sitting beside her on the plane changes everything she had planned for that weekend. Oliver is from England. He's sweet, has nice eyes and a killer accent. Hadley tries not to fall for him, but it's impossible. And before she knows it, he's all that matters to her.

Insta-love isn't always my thing, but I loved it in this book. I think it was how they met that sold me on it. I've been in airports, I know the feeling you get when you're alone and see someone cute across the lobby. It's easy to strike up a conversation with someone you may never see again. It's easier to fall for them and fear never seeing them again. Hadley and Oliver were adorable from the start. Both had their own issues to deal with and found solace in each other. Hadley struggles with a lot of family problems over the course of the book. We find out how her parents got divorced and how her life has been different ever since. She has a book that her dad gave her that she hasn't had the guts to read since it's the last thing he gave her. She hasn't seen him since he moved to England and she's not sure how well this weekend will turn out. 

Smith has created a story that makes me believe in love at first sight. There are real concerns mixed in with that fuzzy feeling you get when you meet someone you really connect with. Both characters were likeable, and everything that happens from their first meeting to their last is wonderfully written. I wanted to read this all in one sitting to get the full effect of the book. I wanted to play out my life along side theirs, feeling their feelings at the same time as them. It only takes a minute to connect with someone, maybe only an hour to know you want to get to know them better. Less than a day to realize you like them. This was one of the best contemporary books I read in 2013 and I'm excited to read more from this author. 

“Love is the strangest, most illogical thing in the world.” 

“He’s like a song she can’t get out of her head. Hard as she tries, the melody of their meeting runs through her mind on an endless loop, each time as surprisingly sweet as the last, like a lullaby, like a hymn, and she doesn’t think she could ever get tired of hearing it.” 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: 2014 Debuts I'm Excited For

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where participants make lists of bookish topics.

This week's topic is: Books in 2014 by debut authors we can't wait for

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
Fates by Lanie Bross

Pointe by Brandy Colbert
The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
The Break Up Artist by Philip Siegel

Alienated by Melissa Landers
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord

I only had a few on my to-read list before this feature and now I've discovered more new books I can't wait to read. Looks like 2014 will be a good year for books! What books are you guys looking forward to?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Resolutions

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we make lists based on a bookish topic.

This week's topic is: Bookish Resolutions

1. Read 65 books. 

2. Read at least 2 classics. Specifically 1984 and Animal Farm for sure.

3. Stop being afraid of large books! I'll read something over 600 pages this year, I promise!

4. Read all the books I've listed for my 2013 TBR challenge. This will knock a lot off my to-read pile

5. Read a book I wouldn't normally pick up.

6. Read at least 5 non YA books.

7. Start a series I've been meaning to start (Shifters!)

8. Review every book I read.

9. Take the time to enjoy a book I've read before (it's looking like this will be The Hobbit this year!)

10. Read the book before I see the movie. Any movie I'm interested in that started out as a book, I read first!

So those are my goals. I hope I can accomplish them all this year. How about you guys?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 Reading Challenge: TBR Pile Challenge

I've decided to enter some reading challenges this year. I'll enter them slowly and not too many, but I think it will help me achieve some of my reading goals this year.

So the first challenge is Bookish's 2014 TBR Reading Challenge. The point is to read any books on you to-read shelf that were published in 2013 and earlier. I've got quite a few on there so it's perfect.

The level I'm planning to achieve is: 21-30 First Kiss and some of the books I plan to read for it are:

The House of Hades - Rick Riordan
Champion - Marie Lu
Hunting Lila - Sarah Alderson
This is What Happy Looks Like - Jennifer E. Smith
Attachments - Rainbow Rowell
Fire with Fire - Jenny Han
The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson
Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor
The Rivals - Daisy Whitney
Dance of Shadows - Yelena Black
Uglies - Scott Westerfield

Here's hoping I can accomplish this as well as some of the other challenges I plan on entering. If you're interested in joining, head over to Bookish. Good luck to everyone with their challenges!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year followers! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and got a lot of reading done. I'm happy to say I completed my reading goal of 65 books and I hope you were all successful as well. Looking back over the year, I read some really great books and discovered some new fantastic authors. Here's some highlights from 2013:

Top 5 books I read:

1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
2. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
4. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
5. With All My Soul by Rachel Vincent

And some not so favourites:

1. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
2. The Program by Suzanne Young
3. Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay
4. Truly, Madly, Deeply by Hannah Jayne
5. The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

At the beginning of last year, I made some reading goals. I'm happy to say I accomplished a lot of them and I'm very proud of myself!

1. I didn't read 75 books, though I did read 65
2. I don't think I ended up reading any series I hadn't finished. I've decided that if I started a series over a year ago and all the books are out but I haven't made the effort to read them, then I'm obviously not going to. They have been removed from my To-Read list.
3. I read a lot of books that were sitting on my shelf, not all of them, but I'm getting there.
4. I read one classic novel: The Great Gatsby. So that one's good!
5. I've been really good with my reviews. I told myself to review every book I read last year. I'm not caught up, but I'm close.
6. I've definitely been good with reading books off my To-Read list before buying others. This is going to be another goal of mine this year, I want to get that list down!
7. I did not read the Shifters series yet. I haven't even started it. It's on my shelf waiting for me. Hopefully I'll get to it this year.
8. I finally re-read a series. I read The Hunger Games again for pure enjoyment. I included it in my goal, but I loved reading something I already know I'll enjoy. I loved it even more the second time around.
9. I did not read a book longer than 500 pages. Maybe this year.
10. I read a few books I wouldn't normally have picked up. Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore and Dark Places were both out of my genre. I loved Mr. Penumbra's, it was clever and charming, but Dark Places took me a long time to read and it just left me disturbed. At least I tried!

I'll be making new goals this year and hopefully will be able to accomplish the ones I couldn't last year. How did you guys do with your reading goals? Anything special you want to accomplish this year?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Review: The Infinite Moment of Us

The Infinite Moment of Us
Author: Lauren Myracle
Published: August 27, 2013
Hardcover, 316 pages
3 Gold Stars

(summary from Goodreads)

For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now... not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?

Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.

And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them...

I'm not going to lie, I judged this book by its cover. The stars in the night sky, the couple silhouetted kissing, everything about it screams magic! The title is beautiful and the font sprawls across the cover, enticing me in. So I took hold of this book and dived in, but right off the bat I knew it wasn't going to meet the exceptions I had put on it. The writing sounded juvenile and nothing about the plot stuck out in my mind. I don't want to sit here and beat up on this book, it's just not what I expected it to be.

Wren and Charlie are from two different worlds. Wren has a bright future ahead of her: she's been accepted to a good school, she just got a new car, and her parents will do anything for her - that is, as long s it fits into their schedule. So when Wren decides she wants to take a year off and do some community service in another country, she doesn't know how to bring it up to her parents, knowing they will disapprove. Charlie has had a rough life. Moving from foster home to foster home, he never thought he'd belong anywhere until he found his newest family. Scared to get to close though, he keeps his distance. He's noticed Wren forever and one day, she finally notices him back. Over night, suddenly, their lives collide and the summer before either of them have to make any decisions becomes the best summer either has ever had. They fall in love fast and hard, a whirlwind romance just asking for disaster. With both of them set for different paths, how will they find a way to make this love last?

If I've ever read a story of insta-love, this is the biggest one. A fleeting look across a school hallway is the beginning of something that turns into everything in a matter of days. What starts out as sweet observations between them quickly becomes R rated when there is mention of things stirring. Their sweet kisses quickly become making out in the backseat of a car. It was only a matter of time before their relationship went full spin and the author didn't leave anything out. The story itself is reminiscent of The Notebook, a crazy fast love story that seems like it may not have a happy ending. Unfortunately, I was much more drawn towards Allie and Noah than Wren and Charlie, but I still read the whole thing through and the ending was satisfiying. It was an easy read, and there were quiet moments where I smiled. A nice read that I'm sure many will enjoy more than I did. 

“He leaned in and kissed her, because now that he knew he could, he planned on kissing her every chance he got.” 

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