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ARC Review: Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley

Summary

Debut author Alex Evansley delivers a sweet summer romance in this inventive novel about a young heartthrob and teen author falling in love.

Teddy Sharpe is kind of famous. He might actually be on his way to being really famous, especially if he’d nailed an audition for the lead role in the movie adaption of the newest bestselling young adult book series. There’s just one problem: He totally blew the audition. And he’s stuck in a tiny North Carolina airport. And his maybe-ex-girlfriend kind of just broke up with him.

The weekend isn’t exactly looking good until Bennett Caldwell, author of the very book series he just auditioned for, takes pity on him and invites him to her family’s lake house. Away from the glitz and glam of Hollywood for a few days, Teddy starts to relax . . . and somehow he and Bennett just click. But dating is hard enough when you aren’t the subject of several dozen fanblogs, and the Internet is full of juicy gossip about Teddy and Bennett . . . gossip that Bennett might not be prepared to handle.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

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Hello, fellow readers! I’m back with another review! Today’s review is on Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley. From the blurb alone, I knew I wanted to read the book. It had all the things I liked: movies, acting, writing, YA novels, a romantic relationship between the actor and writer. But even with all these factors going for the book, I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would.

Don’t get me wrong; the beginning was pretty great. I loved reading Teddy’s perspective and seeing how nervous he was with things that mattered to him. Also, it allowed readers to delve a bit more into his character to understand the motivations behind his actions. And yeah, I didn’t always agree with his choices, but most of the time, I understood where he was coming from (except this one part where, for the life of me, I can’t wrap my head around).

And then the POV switch happened and Bennet became the protagonist. This is when things started to go downhill for me. I just felt as if Bennett’s POV was too much for me sometimes, because I didn’t understand the reason why she pushed Teddy away. Maybe it was because of trust issues or just because she’s a private person. Either way, it doesn’t explain why acted the way she did after knowing someone for two days! And what’s worse is that we know she can be witty and a joy to talk to, seeing how she was in the first half of the novel through Teddy’s POV, but by the second half, she’s pretty reclusive and is prone to biting people’s heads off. I’m not saying that protagonists shouldn’t have an off day or feel angry or lash out, because that’s the whole point to them being relatable. What I don’t like is the fact that her feelings seem too strong for barely knowing someone. But that’s just my opinion; feel free to disagree!

Well, that’s all I have to say about Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley. It wasn’t as great as I thought it would be, but overall, it was okay. If anyone wants to read it though, the book is coming out this Tuesday June 12th!

Have a nice day, everyone!

– Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz

Summary

When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

Sourced from Goodreads

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Review

My rating:

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Hi, there! Another day, another review; this one is on The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz. Now with this book, I’ve got to say, I really wanted to like it. The book sounded intriguing with the ballet premise, the mystery of what has happened to the girls to their current predicament, the Master’s past and so forth. However, it didn’t come together the way I expected, and was thoroughly disappointed because of this.

First of all, I didn’t really like how the author kept on hinting at the mystery of it all by adding phrases like “Or so she thought.” at the end of a passage, making it less of a hint and more of a shout-out (for lack of a better word). If there was more show than tell, it might have been better. Also, it was weird that while the book was centred around dance, it barely talks about it. These girls could have been easily horseback riding and it wouldn’t have made a difference. I love reading books about performance art, so you could only imagine how disappointed I was when it wasn’t really relevant to the plot.

Another thing I thought had potential was the backstory given about the Master. I’ve always liked backstories to see what motivates people to act the way they do. And while I liked the backstory given, I didn’t really understand his motives to control a whole bunch of people. Maybe when it was about revenge, sure. But after that, nope, I couldn’t understand the purpose of holding a school, especially when the other pupils didn’t even matter in the story. They were basically the backdrop for Penny’s big debut. I know that we don’t get as much info on secondary characters since first person is a limited POV, but in this case, I don’t think her fellow classmates were relevant in the slightest. There was just no camaraderie, massive tension, or even some round characters, that made me care about them at all. Again, she could have been the Master’s sole pupil and it wouldn’t have changed the story. Overall, I felt as if some parts of the story weren’t really necessary.

Now, before this gets into a true rant, I’ll quit while I’m ahead and say that The Midnight Dance was not for me, despite wanting to like it. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share about the book, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Have a nice day, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Review: All the Feels by Danika Stone

Rating: pink5

(4.5 stars)

Hello, fellow bloggers! I’m back with another review and this time it’s on All the Feels by Danika Stone. Now, this is the first book I’m reviewing that I’ve actually reread for fun! It’s kind of shocking, seeing as I don’t really have time to reread a book when there are so many other novels out there. But trust me, this book is worth the reread! 😉 For those of you who don’t know, All the Feels is about a fangirl named Liv, whose obsessed with the movie franchise, Starveil, and its protagonist, Matt Spartan. When Matt Spartan is killed off and the movies end, Liv starts an online revolution to bring them both back! Really cool concept for a novel and I loved see the grassroots movement! 😀

When  I first read this book, it was offered for a limited time only on Swoon Reads. While most of the revised novel had the same content, there were a few key differences. Some of those changes made were actually for the better, because some actions didn’t really make an impact to the novel. Other corrections made me miss the old text, since the ARC laid more emphasis on certain issues, like Liv’s relationship with dad. Sure, the end was more realistic and less dramatic in this newer version of All the Feels, but I feel that the older version acknowledged something incremental to Liv and her behaviour, while the new one barely mentions it.  I guess it was to make the story a  lighter read. If that was what it was trying to achieve, then it definitely succeeded. Other than that, All the Feels was a really great book to read, and you wouldn’t notice the difference if you haven’t read the ARC version of it.

Then there were the characters! Liv stays pretty true to the socially awkward fangirl, with her devotion to Starveil as well as how she interacts with people online versus in real life. There were times where I just wanted to hug Liv and tell her not to worry. Maybe because I found her really relatable in certain circumstances, like in the university setting or when dealing with parents. I, for one, wish I had half of her passion for anything! 😀  Xander, on the other hand, was really sweet! From his steampunk outfit to his attitude towards actors (even though he is one), Xander’s the type to keep it real without being too overbearing, which is a really important skill to have. And their relationship was pretty nice to read about. From page one, you could tell that they’d support each other no matter what!

Also, it was really refreshing to see a different side to fandom. Not just fan fiction writing (which was there a bit of), but other forms were represented as well. Like Liv’s vidding or Xander’s everyday use of cosplay. I think vidding might be less thought of than fan fiction because it’s using past videos to make a new one instead of creating new content from an established world. The way Liv and Xander brought vidding to their cause, however, was spectacular and shows the practical uses of knowing your way around video editing. And I loved reading about those YouTube video descriptions, imagining them in my head like a separate narrative. Even if it wasn’t real to Liv and Xander, it was real to me! 🙂

So that’s all I have to say about All the Feels. For anyone who liked Fangirl, This Song Will Save Your Life, and The Improbable Theory of Amy and Zak, this book is for you! 😉 If there are any comments and questions about the book, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Thank you all for reading!

-Sumaya

Review: Love Charms and Other Catastrophes by Kimberly Karalius

My rating: pink3

Hello, everyone! It’s time for another review, and this one’s about Love Charms and Other Catastrophes by Kimberly Karalius. Love Charms and Other Catastrophes is the sequel to Love Fortunes and Other Disasters, in which a group of teenagers stops a charms maker named Zita from controlling their town, Grimbaud. The sequel deals with the aftermath of defeating Zita and how Grimbaud  needs a new charms maker to fill the void that Zita had left. Now, when I first picked up this book, I couldn’t wait to start reading it. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have, because I didn’t really like the first book of the series; it’s just that the covers are so attractive that they call to me, siren-style! I can’t help but pick them up! Plus, I was interested to read about Hijiri after her intro in Love Fortunes and Other Disasters.

I’ll start off by saying what I liked about this book. It provides a nice background of our protagonist, like where she is from, how she got into charm making, and her home life with her parents. It was really insightful to have these kinds of scenes in the book, because you can understand Hijiri and why she thinks in a certain way. Then there’s her relationship with Ken that I loved, in the end! No matter how they came to be, their chemistry was always of the sweetest kind! To be honest, I wasn’t totally on board with their relationship in the beginning. But as the story went on, they were just too cute to disregard! And by the end, I was actually rooting for them to stay together! 😀

What I didn’t like about this story was its dialogue. The lines that were said didn’t seem realistic with their perfect responses. It wasn’t just one person; everyone was prey to bad dialogue. I thought that the reasoning behind their words was too simplistic and diminished my view towards the story. The novel was also pretty predictable, and not in the way some novels are when you know how it should end. It was obvious what was going to happen and how Hijiri and her friends were going to save the day. Even the secret villain was obvious from the getgo. By the time I got to the end, I was speed reading and couldn’t wait to see the Acknowledgments pages. Maybe if the execution were a bit different, I might have liked the plot more since the concept given in the blurb was great. Overall, the story was okay, but it wouldn’t be in my favourite books list.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Love Charms and Other Catastrophes by Kimberly Karalius today. If you liked her first book, you’d probably like her second, since they’re pretty similar in terms of plot development and voice of characters. Any questions or comments you might have are welcome as well! Have a nice day. 😉

-Sumaya

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday! This week’s topic is on beach reads and you’ll be able to tell from my list that to me, beach read usually equals romance or contemporary! 😉 I guess there could be other novels that you’d bring to the beach with you (to each their own), but I’d look for something light and easy, usually without a cliffhanger. Well, instead of explaining it, why don’t I just show you? Here are books that I think are beach reads:

1. The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding

I just love the theater aspect of the book as well as emotional issues being resolved!

2. A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

This one’s just too cute for words!

3. A Match Made in High School by Kristen Walker

Because you’d never see this happening at high school! 😉

4. The Siren by Kiera Cass

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It’s not just a beach read because of the cover! 

5. Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan

It was such a quick read! 🙂

6. Last Chance (or Keeping the Moon) by Sarah Dessen

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Coincidently, this book is set in the summer… 😀 

7. Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall

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Another book set in summer, but a really enjoyable read, nonetheless!

8. Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally

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Such a sweet standalone! 

9. The Fairy Tale’s Return and Other Princess Tales by Gail Carson Levine

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A few good stories that people can choose to read in which ever order they want!

10. For the Record by Charlotte Huang

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Summertimes tours and all their drama! 😉

So that’s it for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! Do the titles match on any of your Top Ten or are titles you’ve read before? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments section below! Even if you haven’t read or recognized these books, I’d still love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments! Well, that’s all for now! Tune in next week for another Top Ten. Have a nice night, everyone!

-Sumaya

 

Swoon Reads and its Impact on Publishing

For those of you who don’t know, Swoon Reads is an imprint of Feiwel and Friends (which is also an imprint of Macmillan) that was established in 2014. It is similar to Wattpad, but instead of it being a community that is based on noncommercial writing, Swoon Reads clearly has the goal of publishing in mind. Prospective authors of Young Adult romance are encouraged to submit a manuscript online, where it will then be assessed by an online community of readers in these categories: heat, laughs, tears, and thrills. Readers also have the option to write a detailed review of the novel they have just read, which the author then receives. If the publisher believes that the story has enough popularity, then they will publish the story in both print and eBook format. Some of the books from Swoon Reads include A Little Something Different, Love Fortunes and Other Disasters, All the Feels, Been Here All Along, and so much more!

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The impact Swoon Reads has on the publishing industry is that it allows discoverability of certain stories by an online community of readers. This allows people from all over the world access to Swoon Reads’ submitted manuscripts. Additionally, Swoon Reads forgoes the barrier between publisher and reader, with the publisher using reader reviews to determine which titles are worth publishing based on an established platform of readers willing to support its release. Not only does the publisher have direct access to readers’ thoughts, but writers can also interact with readers before the editing process. Swoon Reads allows writers to receive feedback from readers before the book is considered for publishing. If nothing, submitting a manuscript at Swoon Reads is a learning experience, teaching writers via constructive criticism. What’s great about Swoon Reads is that there is no downfall to submitting a manuscript, seeing as worse-scenario is receiving criticism for the work while best-scenario is gaining popularity and being published.

However, while Swoon Reads is a great way for books to be published, there are still a few minor adjustments that can be made. One is that the Swoon Reads tech team should work on an app that writers can use to monitor their views and comments as well as readers being able to save and read books from there. Even though people can read from their mobile through a browser, the book is not saved indefinitely. Once an app is developed for Swoon Reads, it will create more ease among users who contribute to the feedback of an author’s work.

Overall, Swoon Reads is a great place to start for people with YA romance manuscripts and has an advantage that most publishers don’t: a direct link to the reading community. It shows that this imprint is dedicated to bringing readers the stories that they want.

-Sumaya

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