Saturday, July 7, 2018

Until Friday Night (The Field Party #1) by Abbi Glines

Hey Everyone!

I'm on a roll!  Third book in the last month!  Not bad for me!

I received some books from my amazing husband for my birthday on Monday.  I had had this one, and the three others he got me, on my Amazon wishlist; I add books once in a while usually to get myself when I want something to read.  He really is amazing!! 💖💖.

From Goodreads:

To everyone who knows him, West Ashby has always been that guy: the cocky, popular, way-too-handsome-for-his-own-good football god who led Lawton High to the state championships.  But while West may be Big Man on Campus on the outside, on the inside he's battling the grief that comes with watching his father slowly die of cancer.

Two years ago, Maggie Carleton's life fell apart when her father murdered her mother.  And after she told the police what happened, she stopped speaking and hasn't spoken since.  Even the move to Lawton, Alabama, couldn't draw Maggie back out.  So she stayed quiet, keeping her sorrow and her fractured heart hidden away.

As West's pain becomes too much to handle, he knows he needs to talk to someone about his father -- so in the dark shadows of a post-game party, he opens up to the one girl who he knows won't tell anyone else. 

West expected that talking about his dad would bring some relief, or at least a flood of emotions he couldn't control.  But he never expected the quiet new girl to reply, to reveal a pain even deeper than his own -- or for them to form a connection so strong that he couldn't ever let her go...

My Thoughts:

So....I have very mixed feelings about this book.  This is a book that I would have absolutely swooned over when I first started The Romance Bookie, almost 8 years ago.  To be fair, I was also 19 years old.  Having just turned 27 this past Monday, you could say I have grown quite a bit since that time.

I liked the premise of this story.  It was cute, sad, and made me smile throughout.  However, overall the book felt it was just...convenient.  The whole story seemed to be written to convenience the author.  When something came up in story, the author seemed to have it solved within five pages.  Everything seemed rushed, and at times very unrealistic.  This entire story takes place over about two months.

That being said, it was still a guilty pleasure book.  I read the 326 pages pretty quickly, and did want to know what was going to happen next throughout.  But I also always seemed to want more.

I know this is the author's story to tell, so remember this is just my own personal opinions.

But Maggie's character for instance.  Hasn't spoken in TWO YEARS! She witnessed the most horrible thing that anyone could ever witness, her mother being killed by her own father.  She hasn't spoken to anyone.  And because West is going through losing a parent too, she decides to just speak to him?  And within only having a couple of run-ins with him over like 48 hours??!!

West, poor sweet West.  He is going through something horrid himself.  Losing his father, right in front of him.  His hero.  It was tough to read.  I cried.  However, goodness is he controlling!  Like I said, the book spans over like two months, and nothing truly happens between Maggie and him until about half way through, and he already starts showing some pretty alarming controlling tendencies.  Which makes me wonder how that will play out over the time of their relationship.

I don't want to spoil anything for you, but overall, I just felt this book seemed REALLY rushed!  I wish it took place over like a year.  It was hard to imagine progress between Maggie and West's relationship, because there just wasn't enough time for that to happen.

Overall rating:

Let's say two and a half, because I liked the stories idea, and it kept me reading.  But I just was unsatisfied throughout.  The writing seems forced, the characters needed more explaining at times, and overall the whole story like needed way more time.

I have the other two books in the series too, and I am hoping to read them in the near future.  There is also a fourth book coming out next month.  The other books are the in point of view of other characters in the story.

The Romance Bookie :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before #1) by Jenny Han

Hey Everyone!

Finished another book!  Second one in less than two weeks!! I'm pretty excited right now! I've been really trying to get back into reading, because it used to relax me so much, and I really miss that!!

I've been trying to read this one for a while (to be fair, that's a lot of books at this point), but I finally read To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han!  I've met Jenny Han quite a few times now, I want to say at least three times, if not more; because I believe she has been Ya'll West every year I've been, plus I believe I've seen her in the past at Festival of Books.  Since 2015, I have seen a ton of copies of To All the Boys I've Loved Before, being held in the signing lines.  It looked liked a book I would really like.  Well I finally bought a copy, before this year's Ya'll West, and got it signed.  And because it is being released as a Netflix movie next month, I knew I needed to read it ASAP, so I could watch the movie when it was released!

From Goodreads:

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them...all at once?

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song 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 pours out her heart and soul and says 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.  

My Thoughts:

This was a cute book!  It was a I-Want-to-escape-and-not-have-to-think-about-things kind of book!  I love these types of books.  I have been finding myself growing out of them a little, but this one was cute.  I even ordered the second one right away after finishing it.  Which now means, I hopefully can meet Jenny Han again one of these years, so I can complete my signed collection ;).  I am really looking forward to how Netflix will adapt the book into a movie, it should be cute!  I recently watched The Kissing Booth, which was also a book adaption, so I'm hoping that Netflix continues making Young Adult books into movies, because I will be all over that!!!  Let's keep it up-beat though, because 13 Reasons Why has been bringing me down, which is why I haven't brought myself to watch past episode 2 of season 2.

Anyway, back to the actual book on hand here!

I'm looking forward to seeing how the story plays out, because the first book ended uncompleted, and there are still a few letters out in the world, so I'll have to see if Lara Jean ends up interacting with those boys.  There should still be two letters out there, if I'm not mistaken!

If you like young adult contemporaries, set in a high school character's point of view, I think you check this one out! :)

The Romance Bookie :)

Wonder by RJ Palacio (Audiobook Review)

Hey Everyone!

Finished another audiobook on my way to work!  This time it was Wonder by RJ Palacio.

I have been seeing Wonder on store shelves for years now.  It caught my eye after a while, because I was just constantly seeing it everywhere! It's been on my radar for a while now.  I used to work at an elementary school, and one of the fifth grade teachers, read this book out loud to her class, so made me gain even more interest.

It turns out this book has been popular for good reason!

From Goodreads:

I won't describe what I look like.  Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school.  Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid -- but his new classmates can't get past Auggie's extraordinary face.  WONDER, now a #1 New York Times Bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie's point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others.  These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community's struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

My Thoughts:

I loved listening to this book on my way to and from work.  It really was a beautiful story.  I've been reading a little more and more recently, in fact I've actually read two paper books in the last couple of weeks, which is a real accomplishment for me in recent years.  I wish I would have read the actual paper copy of Wonder, but I ended up liking the audiobook too.

First I'll talk about the overall story though.

I loved it.  It was such a beautiful story about acceptance, and understanding that the world is not always such a great place, and that there are people who sometimes may not understand, but there are people who do.  Auggie was such a special character.  The things this child has gone through, and for him to have such high spirits and just total understanding about the mean things said about him, was so beautiful!

The different point of views were really good.  I was thinking we would get perspective's from his family more, like his mom and dad, but no, it turned out to be from people inside Auggie's life, that are more his peers.  Which I ended up understanding why the author chose to do that; I imagine it is to make a little relatable for readers.  It worked really well!

Now with the audiobook, overall I liked it, but I have one complaint about the production.  This has nothing to do with the writing or storyline, but my one complaint is that I wish the production company of the audiobook would have picked all different people for the different perspectives.  I believe the book had three different readers, and they were doubling up on characters, so when there was a character switch, it was sometimes really hard to tell, because the voice would sound exactly the same.

However, Book review I give it...

On a sole rating of the audiobook, I would give it 3.5.

But I'm not here to rate the audiobook, because I have never read this book; and I really must say I was not disappointed about the story.  It was very heartwarming!  I am very much looking forward to seeing this movie soon; and once I do, I'll be sure to give it a review on The Romance Bookie. :)

Thanks everyone!  I hope you are having a great start to your summer!

The Romance Bookie :)

Friday, June 22, 2018

That's Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger (ARC Review)

Hello Everyone,

I want to tell you about a moment of human kindness that I happened to me a couple of months ago.  Something that I haven't experienced in a while from a stranger.

I was YA'll West, in Santa Monica, and in line for an author signing.  This was my third year attending, and I was a bit disappointed by how the event was going.  Don't get me wrong, I still had a great time, and got to add quite a few signed copies to my collection.

But when I first started going to YA'll West, it was only in it's second year, here on the West coast.  It was a two day event, with so much to do, easy to get around, SOOOOOOO many giveaways (which were not the main reason I was there, but a wonderful bonus!), and you could literally just walk up to 80% of the authors without waiting in line, to get your books signed.

This year, my husband and I got there at opening.  We went in, the first giveaways had already been given away, before anyone could even get in line.  We were turned away from signings, within ten minutes of the signing starting.  It got cut down to a one day event, with about three times, if not more, of the amount of people during my first year attending.

When I went this year, my goal was obviously the signings, but I had just heard that Kody Keplinger was going to be there, and that she was releasing a new book this August, which meant there was a really good chance they would be giving away Advanced Copies this year.  So I was REALLY hoping to get my hands on one.  My first year, in 2016, my husband and I were literally able to walk up to the giveaway table, NO LINE, and they handed me a free copy.  This year, within half an hour of the event starting, the giveaway had happened, with no word, just people being there at the right time, and getting their hands on the book. This is not me saying I felt entitled to a free copy, but just trying to give you an idea of how crowded this event has gotten; because my first year everything had been so nicely scheduled out.

Anyway, flash forward to later on in the day.  I'm waiting in line for a signing.  I start talking to the people in line with me, as you should totally do at book events, because it is really fun!  We were talking about our favorite authors and books, and how the event was going for each of us.  I ended up mentioning how I was having fun, but I was little bummed that I wasn't able to get a copy of Kody Keplinger's latest book, because I've been such a fan since the beginning, and would have loved to read it over the summer, before my work schedule picked up again in the fall.

That was when the girl next to me, reached into her HUGE crate that she wheeling around, and pulled out THE book!  She said, "Do you mean this one?"

"YES! Oh my God, you got so lucky!! She is one of my favorite authors, so I'm sure it will be good!"

Then she did the unthinkable.  She reached out with the book in her hand, and said, "Well, here you go, enjoy!"

If she told me her name, earlier in the conversation, I unfortunately don't remember, I really wish I did!  I wish I could reach out to her, and tell her, that what she did was the kindest thing that a stranger has done for me in a really long time, and that it meant a lot to me.  As some of you may know, I have been having a hard time in the last couple of years, and this just meant so unbelievably much to me.

Anyway, end of story.

I ended up reading That's Not What Happened this week.  First book I have picked up all year.  And I read it in a week.  Something I haven't done in quite a while.

From Goodreads:

It's been three years since the Virgil County High School Massacre.  Three years since my best friend, Sarah, was killed in a bathroom stall during the mass shooting.  Everyone knows Sarah's story -- that she died proclaiming her faith.

But it's not true. 

I know because I was with her when she died.  I didn't say anything then, and people got hurt because of it.  Now Sarah's parents are publishing a book about her, so this might be my last chance to set the record straight... but I'm not the only survivor with a story to tell about what did --- and didn't -- happen that day.  

Except Sarah's martyrdom is important to a lot of people, people who don't take kindly to what I'm trying to do.  And the more I learn, the less certain I am about what's right.  I don't know what will be worse: the guilt of staying silent or the consequences of speaking up...

My Thoughts:

***Disclaimer:  I did receive an ARC of this, so there may be changes to actual release copy on August 28th, 2018***

Like I mentioned above, I had a hard time putting this book down.  I know a week for some of you may seem like a good while to read a 300 page book, but for the fact that I have a read a total of like three physical books in the last year, tells you I don't read very often.  So reading a book in a week, for me, is incredible right now.

I have read all of Kody Keplinger's book.  I have truly enjoyed each one of her books, The DUFF being my favorite.

That Is Not What Happened may now be my absolute favorite by Kody.  I'm not sure if this is one I will be able to reread as much as I have The DUFF, but this book really showed growth in Kody's writing and story telling.  Her last book, Run, already had been quite a bit different than her original releases, but this really changed the game I feel.

School shootings.

I think we can all agree, a sensitive subject right?  The main subject school shootings usually bring up is, gun control.  That is what the media focuses on.

Kody decided to take the total opposite stance on this, and focus on the point-of-view of the victims.  The ones who actually had to suffer from the tragic event.

This book, I felt, was not a rant on gun control, it was not preachy on political matters.  It just wanted to portray the other sides of the stories that the media don't consider, when reporting.

This book is on a really tough subject matter, and as someone have mentioned online, this may be a book that could be a trigger for trauma for some people.  So be cautious when considering to read this.  However, if you can, I do recommend reading it, because it was a really good read.  It was not detailed, in that she talks about the bloody aspect of the shootings, or dead bodies; it was just about people attempting to cope with something that a majority of this world will never truly understand, because it will never happen to them in their lifetime.

I am someone, who doesn't truly understand, I have always known that.  I know people who were at the Route 91 shooting last year, some went into semi-detail about happened to them and what they saw, and some just kept quiet.  I just remember thinking, "Oh my God, I can't imagine."

With all of the crap going on right now in this country, and the world, I, myself, have struggled with being in crowds.  Shootings scare the living crap out of me.  It is a legit nightmare of mine...that an being bitten by a snake.

But Kody's book, That's Not What Happened, really made me consider once again, that I will never (hopefully) know how these people, who have through such a tragic event, feel.

I really hope to never know.  And that's the scary thought, isn't it?  The fact that it COULD happen to anyone, including yourself, me, your friends, family...anyone!


Really great read.  Highly recommend it.  But just remember if this is a subject matter that is troubling for you read about, then be careful when deciding to read That's Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger.

The Romance Bookie :)

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Coming Up For Air by Miranda Kenneally (Audiobook)

Hey Everyone!

Finished listening to Miranda Kenneally's Coming Up for Air during my drives to work!  I have had this book sitting on my night stand since last summer when it was released, but my head has just not been able to get into reading a book, so I figured out the next best thing...audiobooks!

From Goodreads:

All of Maggie's focus and free time is spent swimming.  She's not only striving to earn scholarships - she's training to qualify for the Olympics.  It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and that he cheers her on, but he's already earned his Olympic tryout, so sometimes his presence creates more pressure.  If that wasn't stressful enough, life become even more complicated once Maggie goes on a college visit.  There, she realizes how much of the typical high-school experience she's missed out on by being in the pool.  Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to try to squeeze the most out of her senior year while still training.  First up?  Making out with a guy.  Maggie figures that Levi could be the perfect candidate - after all, they already spend a lot of time together.  But as Maggie starts to discover her own feelings for Levi, she must decide how much she's willing to sacrifice int he water to win at love.

My Thoughts:

So first off, I want to say I did not read this book, I listened to it, which I feel sometimes makes a difference on your perspective of a book, because you listen to how a certain person would read the book; instead of being able to make up that perspective on your own.

That being said, I was not a fan of this storyline; which no matter the perspective you still get the gist of when reading or listening.

I really wanted to like it, I mean Miranda Kenneally has written a few of my favorite books!  I don't know if it is because my perspective has changed, or I'm getting to old for YA, but there were a few things that kind of ticked me off about this book.

1. Maggie.  What a privileged child!

Someone has to be pretty full of themselves if they can just out into the world, from one day to the next, and be like.... "I am going to find a guy to make out with today, party, and get rid of my virginity!"

I'm sorry, I don't mean to be mean, but not everyone has had the luxury to just put on a sexy outfit and find the first "hot" guy they see and "choose" them to make out with.

Must be nice!

Now I know this probably sounds like it is coming from a pretty bitter person, but you know what no!  I am happily married to someone that is my best friend and who I plan on spending the rest of my life with happily!

As I was reading this, I just couldn't help but looking back at the people I went to high school with, and remembering the person who was like Maggie...and let me just tell you, she came off as a real conceded "mean girl" sometimes.

I mean I get it.  Some people are just lucky.  Cool.  Good for them!  That doesn't mean I have to like them.

2. Maggie's "arrangement" with Levi.

The second you hear it, you know something like would never work.  Maggie near the end bothered me, because what did she expect????!!!!  It was HER IDEA!!  I got frustrated a few times in the car, as I heard her bitching.

3.  Overall, I guess I'm just disappointed by how this storyline went.  Now, I don't want to make it look bad for everyone else.  I have the utmost respect for Miranda Kenneally, like I said, I love her books! In fact, I own all of them!  They are all sitting very nicely situated in my book shelf, which since moving in with my husband three years ago, I have had to cut my books down to one shelf, and put the rest into storage, so to have a book on my shelf that I have already read, means that I must really like that author or book!

So Overall Rating:

So there were quite a few things I didn't like about this one.  I probably would never reread it, and I probably would not recommend it to anyone, unless it sounded like something that would to their liking (because after all, something I may have not liked, someone else may love it!  I am not here to judge readers, just getting out into words how I feel about the books I read!  

The Romance Bookie :)