Coffee-Pot of YA Reviews

August 2, 2016 | Posted by Genesis in Book Reviews, Multi-Reviews | 16 Comments

Coffee-Pot of YA Reviews

It’s very rare that I review books as soon as I finish them. My mind can still be a jumbled mess so I wait one or two days. With two of these books, I waited two months *hides face in shame* I know, it’s a long time. Thankfully, I wrote down the few thoughts I had of those two books to guide me. The other two I read around a week or two weeks ago so they are still fresh in my mind.

Coffee-Pot of YA ReviewsPearl
by Deirdre Riordan Hall
Genres: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: March 1st 2016 by Amazon Skyscape
Pages: 342
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
2 Stars
Source: Author

Run fast and run far, unless you’re fearless.
Unless you’re courageous.
I’m not, but I’d like to be.

Pearl Jaeger is seventeen and homeless after drugs, poverty, and addiction unraveled the life she shared with JJ, her formerly glamorous rock star mother.

This moment of happiness is fleeting; someone will take it from me.

When tragedy brings a chance to start over at an elite boarding school, she doesn’t hesitate. Yet the only salvation comes from an art teacher as troubled as Pearl, and she faces the stark reality that what she thought she wanted isn’t straightforward.

I trace the outline of my reflection in a window. I am no more than a replica of my mother. This is not the self-portrait I want to paint.

Through the friendships she forms at school—especially with Grant, a boy who shows Pearl what it means to trust and forgive—she begins to see a path not defined by her past. But when confronted with the choice to be courageous or to take the easy way forged by her mother’s failures, which direction will Pearl take?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

late chat with gen

The beginning of this story was very promising. We have Pearl and her addict mom going through rough times. This gives us an insight to Pearl’s very harsh and sad life. Pearl sees how badly addiction can affect a person so you’d think she’d stay away from drugs and drinking… She doesn’t. She actually goes head-first into it and that’s when things started going downhill for me.

A lot of stuff happen throughout this book, but since the book is so slow, it feels like nothing is happening. I was bored through most of it and I was wanting waiting for it to end. The thing is, I like these type of books because they are so real. But I couldn’t feel the realistic aspect of the story. A lot of things were thrown into it without plausible cause and not really contributing to the story.

Overall, the author did a great job in depicting what it’s like to have an addiction and the very serious consequences, but sadly this wasn’t for me.

About Deirdre Riordan Hall

Deirdre Riordan Hall is the author of the new adult contemporary novel, To the Sea.

Deirdre studied at George Washington University. She enjoys writing, reading, surfing, and yoga. One of the best things about those activities is they're all done barefoot. Although she loves shoes, she doesn't like to wear them.

Deirdre writes upper young adult and new adult fiction. She spends her days with her family, at the custom-made desk her husband crafted—writing (what else?) or seaside, pretending she's a mermaid.

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Coffee-Pot of YA ReviewsSmash & Grab
by Amy Christine Parker
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Young Adult
Publication Date: July 19th 2016 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Format: eARC
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo
2.5 Stars
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Ocean’s Eleven meets the star-crossed lovers of West Side Story.Grab some popcorn and get ready for an adrenaline-filled heist!

LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.

CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful. . . .

Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.

Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans of Perfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

late chat with gen

I was expecting a lot of badass-ery, a lot of stunts, a lot of I-don’t-give-a-fuck. I didn’t get any of it. The first scene of the book is probably the only thing that was really good and I was so beyond intrigued by. After that, things started to kind of go slow.

The book consisted more of planning to rob a bank than the actual parts of robbing a bank. I didn’t care much for the planning. It would just drag on and on. Like, when will the excitement happen?! Unfortunately, you have to get through the majority of the book for things to get good. By then, I didn’t have a care for what happened. Not only that, the robbing of the bank was in a blink of an eye. Everything was so rushed that I didn’t even have time to understand what was going on, which definitely disappointed me.

I think the only thing that slightly held my interest was the romance. It was very innocent and fun to read about.

Overall, Smash & Grab had a promising plot, but it failed to comply.

About Amy Christine Parker

Amy always had a big imagination and would often pretend that her baby dolls were abandoned on her doorstep and she had to secretly take care of them without her parents finding out. Although she did not know she wanted to be a writer, she was often told by her teachers that she should become one. She was horrible at just about every sport except swimming and spent much of her waking hours reading.

After graduating from Southeastern University with a degree in Elementary Education, she spent half a year in a factory making dolls and planning her wedding. Afterwards, she moved with her husband to Atlanta where she taught for six years before staying home to raise her own children.

After nearly eight solid years of tending to her daughters, she finally realized her own mother and teachers were right all along. She was a writer and telling stories was her destiny. Since then she's published three novels and is actively working on more. She writes full-time from her home near Tampa, Florida, where she lives with her husband, their two daughters, and three very mischievous cats.

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Coffee-Pot of YA ReviewsThis Is My Brain On Boys
by Sarah Strohmeyer
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: May 10th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Format: eARC
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
3.5 Stars
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

Addie Emerson doesn’t believe in love, at least for herself. A straightlaced, brilliant girl, she’s more interested in getting an A than falling in love. But Addie is determined to prove the science of love—because Addie Emerson does believe in science.

Science tells her that “love” is nothing more than the brain’s state under the influence of certain chemicals. And by artificially stimulating those chemicals, the brain can totally be tricked into falling in love. So Addie decides to apply that knowledge—and make her classmates fall in love—to win the coveted Athenian Award for Science in her elite private school. One way to speed up the process—adrenaline—she’ll put her classmates in dangerous, high-risk situations . . . and research the fallout.

But a mysterious new guy keeps messing with her plans. And she kind of can’t stop thinking about his gorgeous brown eyes. With backstabbing competitors—including her former lab partner, the preppy, wealthier-than-thou Dex—and more than one pair of star-crossed lovers—can Addie manage to salvage her experiment and win the Athenian? And what happens if she does the unthinkable—and falls in love?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

late chat with gen

Addie is obsessed with Science. She’s not your normal girl, even when she talks. I would actually feel dumb a lot of times and had to read over what I had read a few times to understand. She’s also very awkward with no social skills whatsoever. Her mind always goes for the literal aspects of things and it confuses a couple of people. What made this so intriguing was her belief that love could be triggered by being in threatening situations and this causes our hearts to associate this with attraction.

Love could be induced, as long as you had the right conditions.

The scientific aspects of the story were so very entertaining. It also has its small dose of funny. At times, Addie would get on my nerves with her way of thinking and her speech, which made it impossible for me to relate to her.

“You look really pretty today, by the way. I don’t know what it is.”

A stimulated ventromedial prefrontal cortex, she almost replied.

Overall, This Is My Brain On Boys was light and fun.

About Sarah Strohmeyer

Sarah Strohmeyer is the award-winning, nationally bestselling author of 17 novels for young adults and adults, including the Bubbles Yablonsky mystery series, SMART GIRLS GET WHAT THEY WANT and THE CINDERELLA PACT, which became the Lifetime Movie, LYING TO BE PERFECT.
Her first mystery, BUBBLES UNBOUND, won the Agatha Award and THE SLEEPING BEAUTY PROPOSAL was nominated for a prestigious RITA™. Her books have been translated into German, French, Italian, Turkish, Taiwanese and a bunch of others.
Her next YA book - THIS IS MY BRAIN ON BOYS - will be published by Balzer + Bray on May 10, 2016.

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Coffee-Pot of YA ReviewsThe Last Time We Were Us
by Leah Konen
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publication Date: May 10th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Format: eARC
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
2 Stars
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss

A passionate summer love story about a girl, her childhood best friend recently released from juvie, and the small-town lies that have kept them apart. A teen romance debut with a dark edge.

Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life. She and her friend MacKenzie are getting invited to all the best parties, and with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will be her boyfriend before the Fourth of July.

Local teen convict released early.

Jason Sullivan wasn’t supposed to come back from juvie. A million years ago, he was her best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd. Before he attacked Innis’s older brother, leaving Skip’s face burned and their town in shock.

"Everything is not what you think."

Liz always found it hard to believe what they said about Jason, but all of Bonneville thinks he’s dangerous. If word gets out she’s seeing him, she could lose everything. But what if there’s more to that horrible night than she knows? And how many more people will get hurt when the truth finally comes out?

"You’re the one person who believes in me."

Leah Konen’s southern romance swelters with passion as it explores the devastating crush of lies, the delicate balance of power and perception, and one girl’s journey to find herself while uncovering the secrets of so many others.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

late chat with gen

What made me want to read The Last Time We Were Us was the best friends to lovers trope. It’s one of my favorites so I went into this feeling very excited. Unfortunately, not a lot happened to keep me entertained.

This book was more on the sad side than the happy and giddy side that I was expecting. This lead to me not completely enjoying the story. Everything fell so flat for me. The characters weren’t the greatest and it was full of unnecessary drama. I ended up feeling so bad for Liz because everyone, including her family, walk all over her. Liz, being the good girl she is, accepts all of it and makes excuses for them.

For this to be the best-friends-to-lovers trope, it was far from that. The romance wasn’t exciting, it wasn’t cute. It was just there—it existed and that was it. I couldn’t believe the romance and wasn’t rooting for it either.

The Last Time We Were Us is a quick read with not a lot of substance to it.

About Leah Konen

Leah Konen grew up in a two-stoplight farming town in Washington State before moving to suburban North Carolina, where there were many more stoplights and lots of sweet tea. After studying journalism at the University of North Carolina, she headed to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. When she’s not working on novels and articles or writing for fashion brands, she enjoys devouring new books, spoiling her dog, Farley, biking around Brooklyn, checking out live music, and binge-watching TV.

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Coffee-Pot of YA Reviewsinvisible-i-am by Gregg Davis
by Harriet Showman
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication Date: August 18th 2015 by Self-Published
Format: eBook
Goodreads | Amazon
1 Stars
Source: Author via Netgalley

An experimental, literary YA multimedia narrative centered on the experiences of 16-year-old Gregg Davis, who undergoes brutal bullying and sexual violence by her peers.

Spanning the mediums of the printed page, online social media and the screen, this story offers a wrenching, empathetic look at the experience of bullying through a victim’s eyes, and then extends this theme of oppression, humiliation and violence to address issues of historical and systemic racism in the U.S. today.

A book with pictures.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

late chat with gen

This novel is very childish! Even though the MC is in high school, her way of thinking is incredibly childish and there’s no way to connect with her. I kept trying to keep an open mind, but I couldn’t. Everything about her was grating on my nerves and I was dreading the rest of the novel.

I came so close to DNF’ing. I didn’t because when I looked at where I had stopped reading, it was already 90%. The book is so short and doesn’t leave space for any character growth.

Then there’s a “plot twist” that left me so confused. It came out of nowhere! It’s as if it was thrown into the story just to make it “interesting”, which it wasn’t.

I cannot find anything to like about this novel.

About Harriet Showman

Harriet Showman (born 9 May 1954) is an author and multimedia artist born in South Carolina and raised in Pennsylvania. She returned to South Carolina for university and lives there today. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in colonial South Carolina history and has spent much of her life helping children and young adults succeed amidst challenging circumstances, including poverty and abuse. With a strong core of allies, Showman helped to establish a statewide Guardian ad Litem program to provide legal support for abused children; a Cities in Schools organization to serve underprivileged students; and a vehicle for the accumulation of monies to be distributed in grants through the Children’s Trust Fund. As a development officer for South Carolina’s flagship university, Showman attracted resources from major, national foundations to target South Carolina’s most urgent needs. She remains interested in the plight of children, teens and adults who suffer abuse, oppression and the paralyzing pain of invisibility.

Genesis
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Genesis

Book Blogger at Latte Nights Reviews
Genesis is a 22-year-old girl who lives in Puerto Rico, an island in the Caribbean. She's obsessed with Instagram (@lattenightsbooks) and coffee shops. When she's not reading or on social media, she can be found eating, at the beach, being with her boyfriend and/or hanging out with friends.
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  • This is My Brain on Boys …. I love characters like Addie! A lot! After I read your review I realized I’ve read Smart Girls Get What they Want by this author. That was really cute. So yeah, I was to read TIMBOB now.

  • Ah a disappointing lot of books. I read and like This is My Brain on Boys but get what you mean about Addie. I agree with The Last Time We Were Us. I wasn’t really into it and it wasn’t what I was expecting. Great reviews!

  • Rowena

    Thanks for the heads up on these books. A couple of these, I was interested in but didn’t want to commit to reviewing them but the stuff that you mentioned would probably not have worked for me either.

  • I received Pearl for review but once I read the synopsis, I knew it wouldn’t be for me. I enjoyed the author’s first book, well slightly, so I wasn’t too pumped to start this in the first place. It sucks that all of these books were a disappointment. I was excited for This Is My Brain On Boys, but I know for sure I’d get annoyed with the MC, and Invisible I Am being childish is such a let down, especially since it sounded so good :(. Anywho, great reviews girl, now I know I can just go ahead and bypass all of these lol.

    • TIMBOB is cute and fun, but her being so smart would put me in a dumb state haha I’d have to re-read a lot of things to try to understand. Don’t get me started on invisible-i-am! I couldn’t deal with that one at all. Plus, the main character always refers to herself as “i”, not “I”. It was kind of weird. And the “resolution” of it was stupid and went nowhere.

  • Oh no! I’m so sorry that most of these were a disappointment for you. I’m looking forward to reading This is My Brain on Boys, but a lot of the others are new to me. I hope your next reads are better. 🙂

  • AW super sad about PEARL. It’s like one of my favorites this year! LOL But I can see your points. There were points that were slow, and the narrator made the audio like 12 hours. But her story was so sad and heartbreaking.

    Most of the others are new to me and I’m not sure I would like them. but we shall see!

  • Erica @ Novel Ink

    I love every single one of these covers and then I see the ratings and reviews and I get utterly disappointed. Such sadness seeing all of these beautiful covers being brought down by the story 🙁 I probably won’t be picking any of these up.

    • I know! I love these covers so much! It sucks a lot :/ I can lend you Pearl if you’re interested in it. I know that Tonya loved it a lot and she’s raved about it on her blog. Let me know 🙂

  • Eva

    Wow some real losers in this bunch, huh?! I’ve only read Smash & Grab but I 1000000000000% agree with you — I cannot believe how boring that book was given the premise. Not sure I will pick up the rest of these either but I appreciate your reviews!!