YA Book Club Party: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”-2

Book It is a feature on The Candid Cover that discusses books and ideas for book clubs and parties.

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Back in the spring, I had the opportunity to read and review Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything. This book is such an enjoyable contemporary that is perfect for summer, as it has such a fun concept and the right elements for beach reading. I kept imagining so many great ideas for my book club as I was reading, that I knew it would be the perfect choice for my summer book club party!

 

The Unexpected Everything has quite a few scenes that take place in a diner. This is the hang out spot for the main character, Andie, and her friends to discuss their problems and just spend time together. I always pictured a scene from the tv show, Friends, when I read those scenes. I knew that for the book talk portion of my book party that I had to incorporate this diner theme. Here is how I created an inexpensive, yet fun diner party atmosphere:

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As you can see, it is relatively easy to put together! I found some old records at a thrift store that I used to give some nostalgia to the atmosphere. Also, some black and white images that I printed off the internet of famous icons from long ago help to add to that diner feeling. The table setting was so much fun as well, with hot dogs, pop and some diner accessories.

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Another fun activity that I set up was a photo booth. In keeping with the daring, scheming and whimsical nature of The Unexpected Everything, this added an element of laughter and good times to the party! It is very simple to set up with some fabric, props, and a camera.

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Also, for those who have read the book, you will remember there is an epic scavenger hunt that Andie and her friends complete. While the hunt that I sent my friends on wasn’t as intense as the one in the book, it was really amusing watching the teams compete to find their prize, Emojeez candy! Those familiar with the story will know why emojis are a significant factor in the book. 😉 I found a number of hunts online and I used this one that was all ready to print from Scavenger Hunt Fun.

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I was very inspired by Tiff at Mostly YA Lit’s Morgan Matson book necklace tutorial and knew that I had to have my guests create a little momento of the book and our book club party! We used a similar, but more simplistic technique that I found over at Helen Clyde‘s website. They turned out so well and I think that we will continue to make these at future book clubs.

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To top it all off, I ended the event with a pool party that lasted until the wee hours of the night. This seemed fitting, as Andie’s boyfriend,  Clark, always had pool parties at the house that he was living in for the summer. We had Pepsi Emoji pop, licorice, chips and a sundae bar as well!

 

Lastly, Morgan Matson created an amazing playlist for The Unexpected Everything, which is the perfect soundtrack for any party, but is essential for a party that celebrates her fun, summery book. You can also find it over at the WBD Teen Fest website.

 

During the diner meal portion of the party we discussed Morgan Matson’s The Unexpected Everything. Below, you will find our discussion questions. There are spoilers for the book in these questions, so if you have yet to read the book, stop here to avoid spoiling the book for yourself!

YA Book Club Party: The Unexpected Everything Discussion Questions

  1. Did you like the book? What was your favourite scene? Was there anything that you disliked?

  2. What did you think of all the restrictions placed on Andie at the start of the novel?  Do you think that they were fair? How would you react to not being able to post what you want on social media or order your favourite drink? Were these realistic problems for a politician’s child?

  3. Did you catch all of the 1980s references in the book? (Pretty Woman, Bruce Springsteen, etc.) Do you think that they added anything to the story?

  4. Andie and her friends were constantly daring and creating wild schemes for one another. Has anyone ever done this to you?

  5. Andie went mountain biking with Clark, even though it is not something that she enjoys. Would you do something that you didn’t want to do just to impress someone?

  6. Andie makes no attempt to hide the fact that she doesn’t read or enjoy fantasy novels to Clark. Now that she has listened to Clark’s books, do you think that she will change her mind? Is there a book that sparked your love of reading?

  7. Throughout the novel, Andie and Clark both make realizations about their fathers. What did you think of Andie’s relationship with her dad? Clark’s?

  8. Do you think that Clark is a good influence on Andie?

  9. Which of Andie’s friends would you most likely want to go on a road trip with?

  10. One of the themes in the book is discovering what makes you happy. Many of the characters are steering Andie in this direction. (Maya, Clark, mom’s letter, Palmer) Do you think that Andie has learned anything in the novel? Which character do you think had the most impact on Andie’s journey to happiness?

  11. How did you feel about Brie’s deception to her friends about Wyatt? What did you think of Andie’s response to hide it from the others. What would your response have been if these were your friends

  12. Andie is a planner and has had to learn how to go with the flow. Do you think that her summer turned out to be a success?

 

ARC Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

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I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Couple Next Door
Author: Shari Lapena
Publisher: Double Day Canada
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): How well do you know the couple next door? Or your husband? Or even—yourself?  

People are capable of almost anything. . . 
Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco  soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

If you are a fan of the mystery/thriller genre, The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena is sure to provide you with some thrilling chills! The minute I heard of this book, I knew that I had to read it and I am sure glad that I did. This book is so fast-paced, it will make your head spin. Also, Lapena does a fantastic job developing all of the characters that at some points, the reader is never really sure who the culprit really is. The writing is so descriptive as well, and it makes the events that unfold seem to come alive as you are reading this incredible story.

When a book keeps you up into the wee hours of the night, it is typically because there is so much excitement that you just need to know what happens next. While reading The Couple Next Door, I had a very hard time setting this book down. The events happen quite quickly in this novel, but they are just the right pace for the reader to digest and then move on to the next part of the story. Lapena really knows how to captivate her readers and keep them wanting more.

There are a handful of characters in The Couple Next Door that pop up as possible suspects in the kidnapping of baby Cora. Told in multiple perspectives, the reader gets the opportunity to understand each character and try to figure out if there is a motive for the crime with each of them. Without overwhelming the reader, Lapena develops the characters just enough to give a hint of possibility in almost all of them. One character that gives a lot of insight to the story is detective Rasbach, as he is unraveling the details. Through his thought process, we are steered into all sorts of directions.

Lapena’s writing style really makes the plot so realistic and exciting. One is left wondering how well you actually know the people around you.  Just when I thought I had figured out who the kidnapper was, Lapena twisted the story around once more. She seems to love keeping her fans on their toes. The reader will be kept guessing right until the end and it is such a shocking ending that really pulls the whole plot together.

While reviewing a mystery is always quite difficult because so much of the plot can be spoiled, this quick and intense read will be sure to thrill you. This is definitely one of those books that will make you wonder and keep you entertained at the same time. One of my favourite mystery novels of the year, for sure!

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Wicka by Christy Deveaux

Wicka
Christy Deveaux
Publication date: May 28th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

While mourning the loss of a mother figure, Elizabeth Blake, a smart but socially introverted seventeen year old girl from Ann Arbor Michigan, thinks she’s enrolling in an international school in the south of France to finish her final year of high school. Instead, she falls in love; finds out that she is a witch from an ancient family –– who weren’t thought to exist anymore; and discovers that her life is in danger, as the Elders believe that she is the heir to a legend they fear above all else.

Wicka, the debut novel by Christy Deveaux, has been compared to other fantasy paranormal tales such as Twilight, written by Stephanie Meyer and Harry Potter, written by J.K. Rowling. Young adults and grown ups alike are sure to love this adventure filled magical romance.

Goodreads / Amazon

Grab your copy for 99¢ for a limited time only!

 

Author Bio:

Christy Deveaux is the author of The Chronicles of Elizabeth Blake series. Her highly anticipated first book in the series, Wicka, was just released this spring (2014). Inspired by traveling across Europe solo at a very young age, and many travel adventures since, the character and story line behind Elizabeth Blake was born. Christy majored in political science and earned a cross-disciplinary degree from the University of Western Ontario. She lives in Toronto, Ontario with her husband, three children and a fish named Cow.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Waiting on Wednesday #76: The Romantics by Leah Konen

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s book:

29917071Title: The Romantics
Author: Leah Konen
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: November 1, 2016

Summary (from Goodreads): Perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Rainbow Rowell, The Romantics will charm readers of all ages. Gael Brennan is about to have his heart broken when his first big relationship crumbles on the heels of his parents’ painful separation. Love intervenes with the intention of setting things right—but she doesn’t anticipate the intrusion of her dreaded nemesis: the Rebound. Love’s plans for Gael are sidetracked by Cara, Gael’s hot-sauce-wielding “dream girl.” The more Love meddles, the further Gael drifts from the one girl who can help him mend his heart. Soon Love starts breaking all her own rules—and in order to set Gael’s fate back on course, she has to make some tough decisions about what it means to truly care.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

Thoughts: 

This book looks so unlike anything I’ve read before! I love the idea of fate and true love, but what really intrigues me is love as a character. I am so excited to see how this will work out, and I wish I didn’t have to wait until November to do so!

Teaser Tuesdays #66: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Today’s Teaser Tuesday:

28815474Summary (from Goodreads): How well do you know the couple next door? Or your husband? Or even—yourself?  

People are capable of almost anything. . . 
Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco  soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

I was first introduced to this book here on Teaser Tuesday with Through Raspberry Colored Glasses and I was immediately hooked! I requested the book right away and had a very hard time setting it down. The Couple Next Door is truly a fast-paced mystery that will keep you guessing right until the end.

Here is the teaser:

“She’s inside and running up the staircase and down the hall to the baby’s room, with Marco right at her heels. When she gets to the baby’s room and sees the empty crib, she screams.”

Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

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Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Stars: 5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): The queen has returned.

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she’s at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past…

She has embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen. But before she can reclaim her throne, she must fight.

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die for her. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen’s triumphant return.

The fourth volume in the New York Times bestselling series continues Celaena’s epic journey and builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

I honestly waited way too long to read Queen of Shadows, but I’m so glad that I finally had the chance to. This is such a suspenseful book with so much action! Aelin is just as fierce as ever and so sarcastic. What I really admire about these books is how well-written they are and Sarah J. Maas’s descriptive writing style.

This book is probably one of the most action-packed books I have ever read. It’s so hard to describe without spoiling, but Aelin is back as an assassin and literally fighting for everything. I really loved the parts of the book with the witches and Manon. I found it to be kind of like How to Train Your Dragon, which was so interesting because I have never seen anything like it. The way that the two stories combine is absolutely flawless and I never saw it coming.

Aelin has got to be one of my favourite characters of all time. While she is an assassin, she actually has so much sass. Aelin is the queen of comebacks and has such a sarcastic sense of humour. She is also so strong and brave, which you kind of have to be when you’re an assassin, but this girl is pretty much fearless. Aelin made reading Queen of Shadows so entertaining and I can’t wait to see her sassy remarks in Empire of Storms in September!

The Throne of Glass series is so well written that sometimes I had to just pause and take it all in. Sarah J. Maas has such a descriptive writing style and every character has such a complex backstory. The plot is never boring, which is pretty incredible for a 600+ page book. The world in the series is also so well developed that you don’t even need the map inside. I would read anything Sarah J. Maas writes, she’s that good.

Queen of Shadows is an intense book with How to Train Your Dragon-like elements. The main character is strong and sassy and definitely among my favourite characters of all time. The entire series is so beautifully written and developed. If you are one of the few that has yet to read this series, I would 100% recommend it!

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder ARC Review

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I received an ARC from the lovely Patty @ Bookish Wanderlove. Thanks, Patty!

Title: The Museum of Heartbreak
Author: Meg Leder
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): In this ode to all the things we gain and lose and gain again, seventeen-year-old Penelope Marx curates her own mini-museum to deal with all the heartbreaks of love, friendship, and growing up.

Welcome to the Museum of Heartbreak.

Well, actually, to Penelope Marx’s personal museum. The one she creates after coming face to face with the devastating, lonely-making butt-kicking phenomenon known as heartbreak.

Heartbreak comes in all forms: There’s Keats, the charmingly handsome new guy who couldn’t be more perfect for her. There’s possibly the worst person in the world, Cherisse, whose mission in life is to make Penelope miserable. There’s Penelope’s increasingly distant best friend Audrey. And then there’s Penelope’s other best friend, the equal-parts-infuriating-and-yet-somehow-amazing Eph, who has been all kinds of confusing lately.

But sometimes the biggest heartbreak of all is learning to let go of that wondrous time before you ever knew things could be broken.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

The Museum of Heartbreak is a book like no other. It is so relatable and contains very well-developed characters. With everything from actual artefacts for the main character’s museum to themes of family and friendship, this book is sure to entertain everyone.

This book is one of the most creative books I’ve read this year. When I saw the title, “The Museum of Heartbreak,” I had no idea that the book would be about an actual museum. Well, not an official museum, but a museum nonetheless. I found it so original how each chapter focuses on one item from Penelope’s Museum of Heartbreak and how she acquired it. The way that the story is written is just so perfect and I was able to read it in one or two sittings.

Penelope is such a relatable character. She is dealing with the typical high school drama that we all go through, and I felt like I could really connect with her. Penelope has a great personality and sense of humour, as well. She is honestly so well-developed that she seems almost real. I could see myself being friends with her if she did actually exist.

I loved the themes of family and friendship in The Museum of Heartbreak. Penelope is going through a tough time with her friends, especially her best friend who is starting to move on. The theme of finding who your true friends are is so important and I’m so glad that this book touched on that. My favourite part of the book was probably Penelope’s family, especially her dad. I don’t know why, but I always seem to love books with families more. I think it’s probably because it makes the characters seem more real or just the fact that seeing those bonds is so sweet.

The Museum of Heartbreak is a unique story about a girl dealing with all sorts of heartbreak. I loved the main character and found her to be so relatable. The themes of family and friendship added even more to the book, and made me really happy. I would recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance as this is a quick and cute read, perfect for summer.