Always forever maybe book cover

Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

Catch a Falling Star by Kim CulbertsonCatch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson
Published by Point on April 29th 2014
Pages: 304
Goodreads
four-stars

A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself.

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?

I loved this audio book! It was captivating and thought-provoking. It explored the struggles that young adults experience before and after graduating high school, the uncertainties of the future, and the fear of making wrong choices.

Although it’s been nearly 10 years since I graduated high school, I was still able to connect with the characters in Catch a Falling Star. This book had me reminiscing about my own high school experiences, and pondering the decisions I made after I graduated. Funnily enough, lately I’ve been exploring and scrutinizing the decisions I made, and wondering where I would be now, if I had done things differently. Some days I feel like I made many wrong choices, and that I’ll never be able to correct them. This book really gave me hope, because it reminded me that there is still time to go places and do stuff that I’ve only dreamed about. This book made me realize that there’s still time to make sure I don’t live with regret, which is one of the big lessons the characters are trying to learn throughout the story.

I liked the ending of Catch a Falling Star, because it didn’t have a neatly wrapped bow. We don’t know for sure what the characters will do or where they’ll go. Towards the end of the book, the characters began to realize and accept that no one can predict the future, and sometimes you just have to take a chance and hope it pans out in the end. Anything is possible, and you shouldn’t be afraid to take a chance, because you think you might fail.

I liked the woman who narrated this book. She definitely sounded like a teenager, and was able to capture Carter’s no-nonsense attitude. On the other hand, the guy narrator, who I assumed played Carter’s best friend, Alien Drake, sounded like a 40-year old. This choice of narrator was awful and I was often removed from the story when he spoke.

I’m really looking forward to reading other contemporaries by this author, because she really understands the tribulations of teenagers. She doesn’t sugarcoat things. Not everyone had a happy ending in this book, because that’s how the real world works.

four-stars
Always forever maybe book cover

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

P.S. I Like You by Kasie WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point on July 26th 2016
Pages: 330
Goodreads
four-stars

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

I tend to start drafting reviews in my head while I’m reading a book. Obviously the final outcome changes because a story can get better, or in some cases worse. For instance, a few chapters in and I was already planning on giving P.S. I Like You a 2-3 star rating – the lowest ever for a West book! Why you ask? Well…

This story revolves around my new #spiritanimal Lily. Every word out of her mouth is hilariously sarcastic and so well timed. Most of the time her family, peers and even best friend Isobel, have no idea what Lily’s talking about. She truly lives in her own little indie-rock world. 
 
One day Lily scribbles music lyrics on her desk in Chemistry class, and then the next day some mysterious person (who we quickly find out is a boy) writes the next verse. Eventually these two start passing notes back and forth, first discussing how awesome indie-rock is, and then sharing personal items about their life. Isobel may be Lily’s best friend, but there’s parts of Lily that she doesn’t share with anyone, that is, until her mystery pen pal comes along. Both Lily and “he” are able to say in writing to a complete stranger, more than they’ve ever been able to share with anyone else. 
 
West tries to trick us by throwing in three different guys who could be Lily’s mystery pen pal, but the moment “he” was introduced I knew immediately it was him. I became angry because I was loving P.S. I Like You so much and I felt like West had let me down by making it incredibly too obvious.
 
So how did I end up giving this book 4 stars? Because the story became even juicer once “he” was revealed! When Lily finds out whom her letters have been going to, she freaks out. She’s afraid that once this individual realizes its her, he will be disappointed. For someone who wears whatever she wants and says whatever she wants, Lily has low self-confidence in herself and how the world perceives her.

This story was cute. Not the best West book in my opinion but maybe the best character building in terms of Lily? Not sure. I think West needs to write many more books so I can get a larger sample to compare. 😉

four-stars
Always forever maybe book cover

Book Review: “The Last Academy” by Anne Applegate

Book Review: “The Last Academy” by Anne ApplegateThe Last Academy by Anne Applegate
Published by Point on April 30th 2013
Pages: 320
Goodreads
three-stars

What is this prep school preparing them for?

Camden Fisher arrives at boarding school haunted by a falling-out with her best friend back home. But the manicured grounds of Lethe Academy are like nothing Cam has ever known. There are gorgeous, preppy boys wielding tennis rackets, and circles of girls with secrets to spare. Only . . . something is not quite right. One of Cam's new friends mysteriously disappears, but the teachers don't seem too concerned. Cam wakes up to strangers in her room, who then melt into the night. She is suddenly plagued by odd memories, and senses there might be something dark and terrible brewing. But what? The answer will leave Cam—and readers—stunned and breathless, in this thrilling debut novel.

When it comes to books, I’m an instant sucker for pretty covers and/or mentions of an “academy”. Therefore, the decision to read The Last Academy, was pretty much inevitable. The minute I saw the blog tour sign-up – I applied. Although, The Last Academy didn’t end up making my all-time favorites list, the ending was nothing short of spectacular.

Okay, let’s break this one down…

PROS
Ballsy main character. There’s a lot of spooky incidents and sketchy people running about Lethe Academy. If I was at this academy and like Camden, begun witnessing the extra-creepy that goes down, I’d probably be permanently attached to the underside of my mattress. Even though she practically faints at the sight of her crush, Camden always managed to keep it together when it counted the most. When she felt like her friends were in danger, she fearlessly ran towards and stood-up to whatever or whomever was the cause.

Amazing supernatural twist. So I’m kind of spoiling the fact that there is a supernatural aspect… but I won’t divulge any exacts. I will say however, that the ending was totally mind-boggling!!! I’m pretty good at guessing the big reveal, but not when it came to The Last Academy. My theories were not even close! Major props to Applegate for adding some new spice to the YA mix. She proves that there is still new material out there to work with.

CONS
A dragging storyline. Like I said, there was a lot of spooky bits to The Last Academy. Being personally freaked out a time or two, I was constantly begging for the big reveal – or heck even a tiny one – while reading. The ending was outstanding, but the beginning and middle included nothing near-as stellar. This book could have easily been cut in half and still have been a decent story.

Instant love. Nuff’ said.

Overall, The Last Academy was an enjoyable couple hours. Sure, a lot of aspects frustrated me, but the ending left me with more positive than negative feelings which means I definitely look into future Applegate books.

three-stars