ARC Review: Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock

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I received an ARC from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Just Friends
Author: Tiffany Pitcock
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Stars: 3.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): A new spin on the classic smart-girl-and-bad-boy setup, this witty contemporary romance shows how easily a friendship – even one built on an elaborate lie – can become so much more.

Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.

Debut author Tiffany Pitcock delivers a spot-on depiction of first love and the high school rumor mill in Just Friends, chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

Just Friends is a cute and quick read about two teens who fake being friends since childhood after they are brought together because of a school assignment. The opposite personalities of the two main characters are interesting to read about, and both Jenny and Chance visibly transform as the story progresses. I still enjoyed this book, but I found it to be a bit too clichéd for my taste.

This book is so adorable! It tells the story of Jenny and Chance, two teens who meet in an Oral Communications class. On a whim, they successfully convince their class, and the entire school, that they have been best friends for years. However, as the two become closer and actually get to know each other, they slowly become more than friends. I loved how Jenny and Chance make up cute stories about their childhood together and how they are able to create such an intricate backstory even though they just met. The way that all this happens so spontaneously is also enjoyable and makes their interactions so believable. This book may seem like pure fluff, but it actually gets pretty deep, so this is a good one for those looking for a mix of cuteness and seriousness.

One of the aspects that I especially enjoyed about this novel is the fact that Jenny and Chance are complete opposites. Jenny is the good girl who does well in school, and Chance is the bad boy with a bad reputation when it comes to relationships. The book is split into dual POVs, which I really enjoyed. Reading about the two characters pine for each other and getting both sides of a misunderstanding is so entertaining for the reader. Jenny and Chance also really change each other throughout the book, and it is so interesting to see how much they both transform from the beginning.

While I enjoyed the book, I still had one main issue with it that lowered my rating. The story is so unrealistic and hard to believe that it becomes a bit frustrating. For example, no one, not even Jenny’s best friend, thinks to question this friendship that has supposedly been going on for years. I just found it a bit strange how Jenny’s friend doesn’t seem too hurt by this new “best friend” that Jenny never told her about. There are also some aspects later on in the story concerning Chance that I can’t really describe because of spoilers, but his whole family situation seemed a bit far-fetched to me. There are also so many clichés, which I kind of expected, but it becomes a bit cringey after so long.

Just Friends is a cute read about two strangers who fake years of friendship after a school assignment bring them together. I enjoyed the main characters’ differences and the use of multiple perspectives. This book is still enjoyable, but the pacing and countless clichés weren’t for me.

Friday Reads #17: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Friday Reads

Book Beginnings is a book meme hosted by Rose City Reader where participants share the first sentence (or so) of the book, along with initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice, and the rules are quite simple: Grab a book, any book, and turn to page 56 or 56% in your e-reader. Find any non-spoilery sentence(s) and post.

This week’s book:

35505494Summary (from Goodreads): It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Goodreads | Amazon 

Does this book not sound like a fun, girl power kind of story? I have just started listening to this one on Audible and it is such a great listen so far. The whole concept of the boarding school and singing is something that I really enjoy and I can’t wait to know more about what happens next!

Book Beginning:

Monday morning was the worst time to have an existential crisis. I decided on a Monday morning while having an existential crisis.

Friday 56:

My parents tracked my school performance like baseball nuts tracked the World Series. I never told people about it.

 

ARC Review: The Pumpkin Cookbook, 2nd Edition by DeeDee Stovel

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I received an e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Pumpkin Cookbook 2nd Edition: 139 Nutritious Recipes for Year-Round Enjoyment
Author: DeeDee Stovel
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): The 139 recipes in The Pumpkin Cookbook celebrate the varied ways that you can use pumpkin in everything from appetizers and snacks to soups, salads, main courses, side dishes, and desserts. Some of DeeDee Stovel’s creative spins on incorporating this highly nutritious, low-fat vegetable into delicious dishes include Caribbean Black Bean Pumpkin Soup; Pumpkin Sage Risotto; Spring Spinach Salad with Strawberries and Pepitas; White Bean, Chicken, and Pumpkin Chili; Pumpkin Pizza with Gorgonzola Cheese; Pork Tenderloin with Red Wine Pumpkin Sauce; Lemon-Pumpkin Strudel; Chocolate-Pumpkin Brownies with Apricot Surprise — and seven kinds of pumpkin pie!

Goodreads | Amazon

When I saw that The Pumpkin Cookbook was available for review, I was so excited! I don’t want to wish away the summer quite yet, but the fall and all of those yummy foods that come along with it are my absolute favourites. What is notable about this book of pumpkin inspired recipes is the fact that there are many ideas to incorporate the nutritious benefits of this vegetable all year long.

 

ice cream

Pumpkin-Ginger Ice Cream

 

I always like to try a few of the recipes for my reviews because knowing whether or not the instructions are clear and easy to follow is key to any cookbook. Also, taste is a big factor here, and I can honestly say that The Pumpkin Cookbook delivers in its ability to provide simple, tasty recipes for all of the pumpkin-loving chefs out there.

 

smoothie

Orange-Banana Smoothie

 

It is sometimes difficult to assess the quality of the images in an eARC, however, I was quite pleased with this one and its ability to convey all of the different types of pumpkins and pumpkin dishes that are included in the recipes. There are some stunning pictures that will absolutely have you drooling for one of those delicious pumpkin breads.

 

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Black Bean Dip

 

Not only is this a book of recipes and ideas for creating meals and pumpkin inspired treats, it is a guide on all things pumpkin. Readers will learn how to select, store, and prepare pumpkins for enjoyment year round. I have bookmarked so many recipes, that I am definitely considering purchasing a copy of this book.

 

Waiting on Wednesday # 114: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano

Waiting on Wednesday

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:

29622131Title: The Glass Spare
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: October 24, 2017

Summary (from Goodreads): A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon | iBooks

Thoughts:

The Glass Spare puts an interesting twist on the lethal touch concept. I am so intrigued by the main character’s ability to turn people into gemstones and her seeking redemption. The cursed prince’s character also seems like one that will bring a lot of mystery and eeriness to the book. I can’t wait to pick this one up in the fall!

Update Post #1- Summer TBR Wipeout 2017

Wipeout

I think that the best part of any reading challenge is the encouragement we give to one another. I also love the wonderful conversations that are popping up about all of the books we are reading. I have had so many new recommendations and additions to my TBR, that I am considering the challenge should be renamed Summer TBR Additions!

My TBR for the summer isn’t as big as some of the other ones out there, but I think that I have made pretty good progress so far. I have finished 6 books out of the 16 that I have chosen and I am almost finished with the 4 that I am currently reading, so I hope that I can continue along at this pace and read all of them before the challenge is over.

Here is what I have read so far:

So far, my favourite is The Child by Fiona Barton. It is a really interesting thriller that is about a baby that is discovered years later in a construction site. It seems a bit gruesome, but it is more about a reporter trying to solve the mystery.

Currently, I am reading quite a few books all at once. I am reviewing a cookbook, so that has been fun, because it involves creating some yummy pumpkin dishes. I am listening to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants with my sister, so until we head out on our next road trip in a few days, it is on hold and I am really desperate to continue on with it. I am also reading Persuasion by Martina Boone and I am enjoying it so far, but I have had to set it aside because I have Just Friends to review next week, and although I have tried to keep the blog from dictating my summer reading, it has crept in. Always the case, it seems, when you are a book blogger!

35505494Next up on my TBR is Noteworthy by Riley Redgate. I have this one on Audible and I am looking forward to listening to it while I sort through my bookshelves and try to organize the chaos a little bit. Definitely a good way to spend an afternoon, don’t you think?

All of these titles can be found on my Goodreads shelf if you are interested in learning more about them.

How is your summer reading going so far?