June 25, 2015

Book Review: Like It Never Happened by Emily Adrian

June 25, 2015
Like It Never Happened
by Emily Adrian
Series: Standalone
Publication: Dial Books on June 2, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama

Rebecca Rivers wishes she were known only for being a great actress, and not for the (untrue) rumors that have followed her since middle school.  Landing the lead in her school's play changes everything: Rebecca casts off her old reputation; grows close with her four rowdy cast-mates to form the "Essential Five"; and gets to kiss the extremely handsome Charlie Lamb onstage.  Even Mr. McFadden, the play's critical director, can find no fault with Rebecca.

Though the Essential Five vow never to date each other, Rebecca can't help her feelings for Charlie.  But the on- and off- stage theatrics of the cast are eclipsed by a life-altering accusation that threatens to destroy everything . . . even if some of it is just make-believe.

Love, drama, and destructive gossip collide in this whip-smart story about stereotypes and standing up for the truth.

"I had thought that falling in love was a decision.  Like first you noticed a boy was cute and smart and had good taste in movies.  He kissed you and it occurred to you to love him.  If a certain amount of time passed and nothing went wrong, then congratulations: love.

But apparently that was not how it worked at all.  Apparently love happened accidentally, and without warning, and at the exact moment you were supposed to get out of the car."

June 21, 2015

Library Book Haul: New 2015 Releases (and then some)

June 21, 2015
So last week after summer school, I had a couple of hours on my hands to kill.  Of course, the only logical place to spend my time was at the library.

Libraries are pretty much the best creations in all of existence.  And whenever I make a stop at my local library, I always, without fail, return home with arms filled.

Here's what I picked up this week:

1. All the Rage by Courtney Summers
I actually already finished reading and reviewing this one.  Check out the review here.

2. The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
I have absolutely no idea what to expect for this book.  I can deduce its a romance just by glancing at the cover, but for the most part I'll be diving into the story without any preconceived notions.

3. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Yup, I finally found a copy.  I can't wait to get reading.

4. Wildlife by Fiona Wood
Not a 2015 release, but a librarian recommended it to me.  Melina Marchetta, (one of my favorite authors . . . like, ever), has her praise written on the front cover.  If she enjoyed it, I'll enjoy it.  I'm really hoping for a five peach worthy read.

5. We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach
Just the cover gets me.  It captured my attention from the very first time I saw it.

6. Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay
The library was giving away new 2015 releases for free!  (Yet another reason to absolutely love the library.)  It took quite a bit of self restraint on my part to only walk away with one, but here's the book I chose.

7. Like It Never Happened by Emily Adrian
Okay.  I almost DNF this one, but I powered through until the end just last night.  Um, I hate to say this, but can we pretend I didn't read this?  Can we pretend like it never happened?  Oh boy, watch out for a book review to come . . .

8. Pivot Point by Kasie West
Again, another book that isn't a 2015 release, but come on, it's a Kasie West.  I've read and loved all of Kasie's YA Contemporary Romances, but I haven't yet had a taste of her other works.  I had to pick this one up.

9. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
I don't know much about this one, but I recall seeing it on a few book blogs before.  Hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised.

And that's all.  Hopefully I'll be able to read and review all nine before the three week due date.

Did anyone else borrow books from the library recently?  Has anyone read any of my picks?  If so, let me know what you thought of them!

June 20, 2015

Book Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

June 20, 2015
All the Rage
by Courtney Summers
Series: Standalone
Publication: St. Martin's Griffin on April 14, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 321 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Realistic Fiction, Abuse

The sheriff's son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact.  Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything - friends, family, and her community.  After she's been branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy's only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town.  No one knows her name of her past there; she can finally be anonymous.  But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn't speak up.  Nobody believed her the first time - and they certainly won't now - but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women in a culture that refuses to protect them.

All the Rage will knock you out.  A heavy, highly emotional read, this well-written 2015 standalone by author Courtney Summers manages to tackle and put out in the open what's often left unsaid.

June 16, 2015

Series Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before & P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

June 16, 2015
To All the Boys I've Loved Before
by Jenny Han
Series: To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1
Publication: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on April 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover, 355 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Family, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary

Jacket copy:
Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her.  They aren't love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she's written.  One for every boy she's ever loved - five in all.  When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only.  Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

This book review was originally written in 2014, prior to my blog's creation.  However, with the recent May 2015 release of To All the Boys I've Loved Before's sequel, P.S. I Still Love You, I decided to post both members of the series together as one compilation.  Here goes:

June 15, 2015

Kauai Coconut Diaries: Day 3 (and a half)

June 15, 2015
Our final (full) day was spent exploring the south and west sides of the island.  The five of us (for the last time) piled into the rental car, buckled up, and embarked on our daylong drive.

Little Fish Coffee

In the charming town of Hanapepe, we made a pit stop for morning coffees at this cute cafe find.

With our caffeine levels restored and our personalities a bit more buzzed, it was back onto the road for us.

The cemetery.  Since we were in town, my grandparents felt a visit necessary.  

It was especially sad to see my grandpa hobbling up and down the aisles looking for his friends.  I'm glad, however, to have met those who've made my grandparents so happy in the past.

June 12, 2015

Kauai Coconut Diaries: Day 2

June 12, 2015
Day two of my family's vacation in Kauai was kicked off with Kauai Backcountry Tubing Adventures through the irrigation system of the former Lihue Plantation.

Kauai Backcountry Adventures

Bright and early, my mom, brother, and I, all piled into vans and headed off for three full hours of tubing fun.

Mount Waialeale

During the (extremely bumpy) ride over to the tubing site, we took a little pit stop at a scenic overlook of Mount Waialeale, the rainiest place on Earth.

"Does anyone know what Mount Waialeale is famous for?" asks our friendly, smiley tour guide, Lexie.
"The wettest place on Earth!" I answer without a moment's thought.
"No!" she laughs.  "That's the ocean.  Mount Waialeale is the rainiest place on Earth."

Then, a short nature walk.

And then finally, finally, after much talk of dos and don'ts, we got into the tubes.

"Does anyone have a question for me before we get into the tubes?" asks Lexie.
"How cold is the water?" a tuber shouts from the back of the pack.
She's all smiles as she replies through laughs, "Brisk and refreshing!"
We laugh in response.

June 9, 2015

Kauai Coconut Diaries: Day 1

June 9, 2015
Hey everyone!  So I've been in Kauai these past couple of days, but due to some technical difficulties with the blog, I've only had the opportunity to post now.

My family arrived on the island after a very brief flight over from Honolulu.  From Lihue Airport, the five of us piled into a rental car and began our journey through the Garden Isle.  This first day was mainly spent sightseeing and driving through history as my Grandpa Harry, Kauai born and raised, showed the family where he grew up as a boy.

First stop?
Tip Top Motel & Cafe

When my grandpa was a teenager, he delivered farm produce from his father's farm, making the drive from Kalihikai to Waimea.

"Especially watermelon!" my grandpa declares.  "My father's watermelon was famous on the island of Kauai."

A regular stop on his delivery runs was Tip Top Motel & Cafe, owned by a close family friend.  According to my Grandpa Harry, the place had a big patio and good food.  He often spent the night there and always made sure to fill up on the ono grinds.

"Eat, drink, be happy, sleep," grandpa tells me.

I ordered a Hawaii favorite: The Loco Moco (a bed of rice, a juicy hamburger patty, two eggs, and warm gravy to top it all off).

Driving . . . the main scenery?  Greenery.

After our bellies were warm and content, we piled back into the car to visit my grandma's cousin, Uncle Bobby.

We conversed briefly as we exchanged gifts, smiles, and memories.  Uncle Bobby, a kindly, generous man, also shared some of his original art pieces with us.  A former golfer, Uncle Bobby explains he decided to put down the golf club and instead pick up a paintbrush with his old age.

"How often do you go to art class?" my mom asks.
"I don't go to art class," Uncle Bobby smiles.  "I'm self taught."

We were all rather impressed.

The ladies, (grandma, mom, and me), decided to go for a bit of shopping.  The boys?  They decided to take a nap in the car.

June 5, 2015

Book Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

June 5, 2015
The Start of Me and You
by Emery Lord
Series: Standalone
Publication: Bloomsbury on March 31, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Death

Jacket copy:
It's never too late for a second chance . . .
It's been one year since it happened - when Paige Hancock's first boyfriend died in a swimming accident.  After shutting out everyone except for her family and three best friends, Paige has decided it's finally time to rejoin the real world . . . and she has a plan:
1. Date a boy: Her old crush Ryan Chase is the perfect path to normalcy.
2. Attend parties: With her friends by her side, doable.
3. Join a club: Simple, it's high school after all.
4. Travel: Well, a girl can dream.
5. Swim: Terrifying. Yet possible?

The new Paige feels ready for anything, but when Ryan's sweet, nerdy cousin Max moves to town and recruits Paige for the QuizBowl team (of all things!), her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop.  Starting over isn't easy, but Paige knows the scariest things are usually the most difficult.  Can she face her fears and finally open herself up to life and love again?

June 3, 2015

In The Print: And . . . We're Back!

June 3, 2015
Hello, hello, hello, my bookish friends.  It's been quite some time, yes?  I'll have to apologize for my weeklong blog hiatus.  I know I have some explaining to do.

Maybe you're wondering, Julia, what the heck were you doing for an entire week?!  (If not reading and blogging?!)  Hey, even if you're not, I'll tell you.  Believe it or not, I manage to kick my butt into gear once in a blue moon and get out into the real world.

Well, this past week was the infamous FINALS WEEK.  And although I only had two finals to (attempt to) study for, the week was nonetheless . . . unpleasant.  And emphasis on attempt, as in actuality, my studying looked more like this:

(Plus about 100+ cups of coffee littering the floor.)

Hey, but the good news is I survived.  Today marked my last final (aka my freedom).  And now, yes, I'm glad to say it's official: IT'S SUMMER.

*cue ridiculously happy dancing*

And besides finals, there's a whole lot of other updating to do, so let's get to it.

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