Dumplin

My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak | It’s raining men

My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak | It’s raining menMy Life with the Walter Boys (My Life with the Walter Boys #1) by Ali Novak, Fallzswimmer
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 1, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Source: Self Purchase
Goodreads
three-half-stars

My Life with the Walter Boys centers on the prim, proper, and always perfect Jackie Howard. When her world is turned upside down by tragedy, Jackie must learn to cut loose and be part of a family again.

Jackie does not like surprises. Chaos is the enemy! The best way to get her successful, busy parents to notice her is to be perfect. The perfect look, the perfect grades-the perfect daughter. And then...

Surprise #1: Jackie's family dies in a freak car accident.

Surprise #2: Jackie has to move cross-country to live with the Walters-her new guardians.

Surprise #3: The Walters have twelve sons. (Well, eleven, but Parker acts like a boy anyway)

Now Jackie must trade in her Type A personality and New York City apartment for a Colorado ranch and all the wild Walter boys who come with it. Jackie is surrounded by the enemy-loud, dirty, annoying boys who have no concept of personal space. Okay, several of the oldest guys are flat-out gorgeous. But still annoying. She's not stuck-up or boring-no matter what they say. But proving it is another matter. How can she fit in and move on when she needs to keep her parents' memory alive by living up to the promise of perfect?

I started listening to this book on my work commute, really liked it, got impatient, and bought the eBook so I could read at my own (faster) pace.

The Walter family was too big. I love stories with a lot of siblings, especially boys, because those kinds always end up being super-funny. However, I think that there were too many siblings in this book. I was overwhelmed by there being 12 of them. There were too many to keep track of, their grade, age, and particular interests. I think that this story could have been just as good with a few less Walters.

Jackie surprised me. I totally thought she was going to be stuck-up, or at the least, a little like Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf, because she grew up in an Upper East Side Penthouse, regularly vacationed at the Hamptons, had maids, etc. I thought it was going to be one of those stories where the snobby high society girl gets a slice of humble pie and then has an epiphany. But Jackie didn’t look down on anyone. She was kind, shy, and very worried that her new housemates and classmates wouldn’t like her, because she came from such a different world. She was a sweetie and I liked her immediately.

This book was too short. There was this big moment that happened on the second to last page, and I felt like there was not enough time to digest it. It needed, and deserved, at least a few more pages.

All in all this was a good book and I hope that we might get a sequel some day. 

three-half-stars
Dumplin

Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky |Blog Tour| GIF story & Giveaway

Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky |Blog Tour| GIF story & GiveawayDive Smack by Demetra Brodsky
Published by Tor Teen on June 19, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 336
Goodreads

Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A's and solid friends, he's only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make him question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.

A 2018 JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png   photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg        


Check out the DIVE SMACK GIF story that Demetra created:

 


About the author:

Demetra Brodsky is an award-winning graphic designer & art director turned writer. She has a B.F.A from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and lives in Southern California with her family of four and two lovable rescue dogs. Dive Smack, her debut novel, is dedicated to Pumpkin, the monarch butterfly she once saved from the brink of death. Once you read the book, you’ll understand why. She is a first generation Greek-American and a member of International Thriller Writers. Dive Smack is a 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection.


Enter below for your chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Click here to check out the other tour stops!


Dumplin

Save the Date by Morgan Matson |Blog Tour| Review & Fav Quotes

Save the Date by Morgan Matson |Blog Tour| Review & Fav QuotesSave the Date by Morgan Matson
on June 5, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 432
Goodreads
four-stars

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg


My thoughts

When I came across Save the Date on Goodreads, I immediately knew I wanted to read it, because it gave me major Sixteen Candles (one of my favorite teen movies) vibes. And guess what, my suspicion was correct. Like Sixteen Candles, there were a lot of hilariously disastrous events that took place before, during, and after Charlie’s sister’s wedding.

Charlie is going through an emotionally tough time because she doesn’t like change, and a lot of changes are quickly approaching her. She has big decisions she needs to make, but keeps putting them off. I didn’t like Charlie for most of the book, because she was often immature, selfish, and sometimes, inconsiderate. She kept envisioning this perfect weekend with her “perfect” family, and when things started getting in the way of her plans, she angrily lashed out at her family and best friend. I felt a lot more compassionate towards Charlie once she started to reflect on some decisions she’s made in the past, ones that she realizes could have, and should have, been better. On another note: I also really loved following her around as she frequently, and frantically, tried to stop her older sister’s wedding from completely falling apart.

Charlie’s mom is a famous author/artist of Grant Central Station, a widely known, and beloved comic strip that is based on her big, wacky family. Throughout Save the Date, we’re treated to actual Grant Central Station comic strips. I loved each and every one!

There were so many things to love about Save the Date, the awesome 80s movie and music references, the hilarious wedding snafus, and especially, the entire Grant family, and their interactions with one another. No Grant faded into the background, because they all had their own memorable personalities and moments.

Save the Date is a charming and fun contemporary that made me smile and laugh-out-loud a lot. I know I’ll reread it sometime down the road.


A few of my favorite quotes

I took a breath, then lay down, staring straight up at the ceiling, trying not to think about how close our heads suddenly were. I found myself aware of every movement he was making and how loud my breathing suddenly was. Why had I never thought about how intimate it was, just sleeping in the same room as someone?

But if I didn’t move from this spot – the same place I’d been sitting before the world had ended – maybe this would turn out to be just a very realistic dream, one I could still wake up from.

It felt as though we more like equals now and, in a weird way, getting to know each other for the first time.


About the author

Morgan Matson was born in New York City and grew up there and in Greenwich, Connecticut. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles, but halfway through a theater degree, she started working in the children’s department of Vroman’s Bookstore and fell in love with YA literature.

Following college graduation (and the proud bearer of an incredibly useful theater/English degree) she received her M.F.A. in Writing for Children from The New school and worked as an editor for YA novels. She received a second M.F.A. (for reasons that made sense at the time) in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California.Her novels have been translated into dozens of languages, and published all over the world.

Morgan’s first novel, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, was inspired by her love of road trips, snacks, and the quest for the perfect playlist. It was named an ALA Top Ten Best Book, a Publisher’s Weekly Flying Start book, and was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Book Prize.

Her second novel, Second Chance Summer, was inspired by her experiences spending summers in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. It was the winner of the California Book Award (YA category) and was named to the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults List, selected for the Oklahoma Sequoya List, and selected as a School Library Journal Best Book.

Her third novel, Since You’ve Been Gone, was published in 2014, and was a Publisher’s Weekly and international bestseller. It was named to the YALSA Teens Top Ten list, and the Eliot Rosewater Indiana High School Book Award List.

Morgan’s fourth novel, The Unexpected Everything, was published May 3rd, 2016.

She currently lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Murphy.


Click here to follow the rest of the tour!


Enter below for a chance to win a copy of Save the Date!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

four-stars
Dumplin

Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi |Blog Tour| Review & Giveaway!

Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi |Blog Tour| Review & Giveaway!Always Forever Maybe by Anica Mrose Rissi
Published by HarperCollins/HarperTeen on June 5, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
four-stars

When Betts meets Aiden at the candy store where she works, their connection is like a sugar rush to the heart. Betts already knows the two of them are infinite. Inevitable. Destined to become an us.

Betts has only ever kept one secret from her best friend, Jo, but suddenly there’s a long list of things she won’t tell her, things Jo wouldn’t understand. Because Jo doesn’t see how good Aiden is for Betts. She finds him needy. Possessive. Controlling.

She’s wrong. With a love like this, nothing else matters.

 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png  photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg    


Heads up: If you can’t handle, or don’t want to read stories with physical, emotional and verbal abuse, don’t pick up this book, because it explores all those things. Also, this book is mature, not just because of the abuse, but also because of the sexual content.

My thoughts

Always Forever Maybe wasn’t an easy book to read, because of its dark nature. I’ve never been in a dangerous relationship like Betts, and I’ve also never personally known anyone who has, but I could tell that the author was depicting one perfectly. I understand that those types of unhealthy relationships can escalate quickly, and that the victim doesn’t even realize something’s wrong until something really bad happens, and even then, most times the victim is still blaming themselves.

Before starting Always Forever Maybe, I knew that Betts was going to be a victim, but even so, I couldn’t stop disliking her. I felt sad and scared for her constantly, but I also felt irritated because she kept making bad, careless decisions. She locks eyes with a cute guy, and before she even knows anything about him, she’s hopping on his motorcycle, taking off to an unknown destination. Betts thought she was being spontaneous, and that by being in a relationship with an older guy, made her an empowered young woman. No Betts. No!! You were being reckless and ignorant. It got even worse when she started lying to her parents and best friend. It felt like deep down Betts knew something was wrong with the whole situation, but she couldn’t see past her puppy-love and new feeling of “empowerment”.

I was nervous the moment Aiden was introduced, because we knew that his relationship with Betts was eventually going to take a turn for the worst. Aiden was a ticking time bomb, and it was only a matter of time before he would explode and show his true colors. It was a scary and thrilling wait for all hell to break loose.

Always Forever Maybe was a short, fast read, which was great, because I remained enraptured the entire time. Plus, the speed fit the plot perfectly, because Betts was quickly spiraling into a dangerous relationship with a guy she thought she loved and knew completely, and the fast pace made it feel even more authentic.

This book was sometimes hard to read, because in reality there are a lot of people in the world who have, are, or will eventually enter a dangerous, and even deadly relationship like Bettes did, and this book forces you to think about it.


About the author

     

Writer, storyteller, editrix. Author of the Anna, Banana chapter-book series, the picture book The Teacher’s Pet, the forthcoming YA novel Always Forever Maybe, and more. Fan of dogs and ice cream.

Anica Mrose Rissi grew up on an island off the coast of Maine, where she read a lot of books and loved a lot of pets. She now tells and collects stories, makes up songs on her violin, and eats a lot of cheese with her friends in Princeton, New Jersey. As a former book editor turned full-time writer and storyteller, Anica has spoken with kids and adults across the country about all pieces of the writing process. Her essays have been published by The Writer magazine and the New York Times. She tweets about bookish things and her dog, Arugula, at @anicarissi, which is also her handle on Instagram. Find out more at http://anicarissi.com.


Click here to follow the rest of the tour!


Enter below to win a copy of Always Forever Maybe! (US only)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

four-stars
Dumplin

When It’s Real by Erin Watt

When It’s Real by Erin WattWhen It's Real by Erin Watt
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 30, 2017
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 413
Source: Self Purchase
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Meet Oakley Ford-teen celebrity, renowned pop star, child of famous movie stars, hottie with millions of fangirls… and restless troublemaker. On the surface he has it all, but with his home life disintegrating, his music well suddenly running dry, and the tabloids having a field day over his outrageous exploits, Oakley's team decides it's time for an intervention. The result: an image overhaul, complete with a fake girlfriend meant to show the world he's settled down.

Enter seventeen-year-old Vaughn Bennett-devoted sister, part-time waitress, the definition of "normal." Under ordinary circumstances she'd never have taken this gig, but with her family strapped for cash, she doesn't have much of a choice. And for the money Oakley's team is paying her, she figures she can put up with outlandish Hollywood parties and a team of publicists watching her every move. So what if she thinks Oakley's a shallow, self-centered jerk? It's not like they're going to fall for each other in real life…right?



I borrowed When It’s Real from Scribd, because I was already a fan of Erin Watt’s book Paper Princess, and I wanted to see what else she had to dish up. I’m so glad I did because it was fabulous! I couldn’t put it down! I had originally borrowed an audio-book of it, but I can be a fast reader when I’m really into a book, and the narrator was not going fast enough for me. I wanted more, more, more! Plus, it was clear early on that there was going to be some moderate swears, and sexual content, and I felt weird listening to that during my work commute.

Oakley has a huge ego, is possessive, occasionally rude, and very often makes impulsive decisions, but even with all that, I still hearted him. I’ve now read a couple books where there’s a male movie star/musician/famous person, who starts a “fake” relationship with a “wholesome” girl to clean up their image. In the other books that I’ve read, the guy appears to be rude, dismissive, cocky, etc., but then deep down it’s all an act. Nope. Not for Oakley. I mean, he’s not a total a-hole, he can be generous, sweet, thoughtful, and kind, but he’s also occasionally all those other things too. I liked that his character was truly flawed, and that at the end of the book, he wasn’t completely cured of his unappealing qualities. He was real and relatable.

Vaughn also had her faults. I loved how she was super sassy and didn’t put up with Oakley’s bullshit. But unfortunately when it came to her boyfriend W,  she was very gullible and unwilling to acknowledge how much of a jerk he was. She should have dumped his ass way before Oakley entered the picture. I was so happy when Vaughn started to drift away from W and towards Oakley, because she finally started to realize that she deserved so much better than W.

The pacing for When It’s Real was spot-on, and the constant sass and sexual tension between Vaughn and Oakley had me frantically flipping pages.

This was a borrowed book, and will soon be a purchase of mine. I could definitely see myself reading it again in a year or so.

four-half-stars