ARC Review: Busted by Gina Ciocca

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Title: Busted
Author: Gina Ciocca
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Stars: 3.5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Marisa wasn’t planning to be a snoop for hire—until she accidentally caught her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. Now her reputation for sniffing out cheaters has spread all over school, and Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

But when ex-frenemy Kendall asks her to spy on her boyfriend, TJ, Marisa quickly discovers the girl TJ might be falling for is Marisa herself. And worse yet? The feelings are quickly becoming mutual. Now, she’s stuck spying on a “mystery girl” and the spoken-for guy who just might be the love of her life…

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

Busted is a super cute novel with a hint of mystery. It is all about a girl who spies on her clients’ boyfriends to catch them cheating. I enjoyed the main characters, but there was not enough action, and the book falls a bit flat.

This book has a very intriguing concept. It tells the story of a girl who works to catch cheating boyfriends in the act. However, Marisa and one of the accused cheaters start to fall for each other, creating a world of drama. I enjoyed the big theme of friendship and girls supporting girls in this one. It is a pretty light read with some super cute moments, and I would definitely recommend it to those looking for a more subtle mystery.

Marisa is a pretty likeable character. What she does is good and helps her friends out, even if it is borderline stalking. She is very compassionate, and I loved how she gives each person she helps a heart pin. The fact that she is willing to help out complete strangers is so caring, even if she had no say in starting up the business. I also enjoyed TJ’s character, since he is also so thoughtful. He makes accessories out of leather, which I’ve never read in a book before. The two make a great pair, and their interactions are so natural.

My main issue with Busted is the pacing. To me, it is very slow paced, and I was expecting more action from a book with a “spy” concept. The book also strays from the original concept, and Marisa trying to find out who is helping others cheat on tests just isn’t as interesting as her busting cheating boyfriends. I feel like all the extra drama is unnecessary, and the story should have stuck to one kind of cheater.

Busted is the story of a girl who helps other girls catch their boyfriends cheating. I enjoyed the slight mystery and the kind main characters. However, the story was too slow paced for me, and I would have appreciated more excitement.

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

Wishlist Wednesday #135: In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira

Wednesday

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

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by  Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about and have yet to read.

This week’s book:

26594811Title: In Search of Us
Author: Ava Dellaira
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: March 6, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads): The author of the beloved Love Letters to the Dead returns with a parallel story of a mother and daughter each at age seventeen. Marilyn’s tale recounts the summer she fell in love and set out on her own path. Angie’s story is about her search for her unknown father.

This sweeping multi-generational love story introduces readers to mother-and-daughter pair Marilyn and Angie. To seventeen-year-old Angie, who is mixed-race, Marilyn is her hardworking, devoted white single mother. But Marilyn was once young, too. When Marilyn was seventeen, she fell in love with Angie’s father, James, who was African-American. But Angie’s never met him, and Marilyn has always told her he died before she was born. When Angie discovers evidence of an uncle she’s never met she starts to wonder: What if her dad is still alive, too? So she sets off on a journey to find him, hitching a ride to LA from her home in New Mexico with her ex-boyfriend, Sam. Along the way, she uncovers some hard truths about herself, her mother, and what truly happened to her father.

Goodreads | Amazon

I am excited about so many aspects of this book! The parallel story is one that should be really interesting and give different perspectives, yet it seems as though there will also be two stories in one here. Road trip books are my favourites, so I know that I will be picking this one up as soon as I can!

ARC Review: Sweet Revenge by Heather Kim

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Title: Sweet Revenge: Passive-Agressive Desserts for Your Exes & Enemies
Author: Heather Kim
Publisher: Switch Press
Publication Date: January 1, 2018
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): 50+ killer cakes, cookies, and candies for your exes and enemies. Dumped by your beefcake boyfriend? BFF steal your one-and-only? Lab partner a more-than-periodic no-show? Don’t take these battles online. (Seriously, don’t do that, okay?). Get out your heaviest rolling pins, sharpest cleavers, and most blistering torches, and kill your enemies and exes . . . with kindness. That’s right – bake that loser ex a pan of Go Fudge Yourself. Gift your former friend a You’re the Devil Cake. And give that annoying admirer a Donut Call Me Again. Let them taste your over-them happiness and see what comes next . . . Pastry chef and tattoo artist Heather Kim serves up sinfully delicious recipes and bittersweet advice.

Goodreads | Amazon

You have most likely guessed from the title of this book alone that it is a fun way to take your heartbreak into the kitchen and work out some of your frustrations by making treats. Kim’s approach is one that is not a self-help book per se, but a book that can be used to get a little bit of “sweet revenge.” The act of mixing and baking has never had such a unique twist!

Sweet Revenge is a collection of recipes with some hilarious treats to make for that ex of yours (or yourself). There are cookies, bars, cakes and candies of all sorts to create. So many of the recipes are simple and have lots of interesting additions such as Doritos and Butterfingers. The images and the titles are so well thought out that they will make you laugh out loud, which is really the best therapy there is in my opinion. How can you keep a straight face while making a coffee cake entitled, You’re the Crumb of the Earth?

You've Lowered the Bar

I gave the You’ve Lowered the Bar (aka: Chocolate-Hazlenut Peanut Butter Bars) a try and they were so fast and easy to make. Personally, I wouldn’t give anything so yummy away to an enemy or an ex, so I enjoyed it with my friends instead. There is something about chocolate and peanut butter mixed together that can be quite satisfying.

This is one unique type of cookbook that has some fun and original ideas to help heal anyone’s heart. The images are whimsical and the recipes are perfect for anyone in need of a little revenge.

Wishlist Wednesday #134: Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Wednesday

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

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by  Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about and have yet to read.

This week’s book:

35604682Title: Tyler Johnson Was Here
Author: Jay Coles
Publisher: Little Brown Books For Young Readers
Publication Date: March 20, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads): When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.

The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

Goodreads | Amazon

The first thing that caught my attention with this book is that gorgeous cover! The story, however, seems as though it is not going to be so pretty. Does this book not sound like it is going to be incredibly gripping and hard-hitting? I look forward to learning more about this one and I am sure that copious amounts of tissues will be on hand as well.

ARC Review: Someone to Love by Melissa de la Cruz

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Title: Someone to Love
Authors: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Stars: 3/5

Summary (from Goodreads): 

Look for the haunting and powerful new novel from Melissa de la Cruz, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Isle of the Lost and Something in Between 

Constantly in the spotlight thanks to her politician father’s rising star, Olivia Blakely feels the pressure to be perfect. As the youngest girl in her class, she tries hard to keep up and to seem mature to the older boy she’s crushing on, even as she catches his eye. But the need to look good on camera and at school soon grows into an all-consuming struggle with bulimia.

As Liv works toward her goal of gaining early admission to art school, including taking part in an upcoming student show, her life spirals out of control. Swept up in demands to do more than she’s ready for, to always look perfect and to succeed, Liv doesn’t know who she is anymore. It will take nearly losing her best friend and even her life for Liv to learn that loving herself is far more important than earning the world’s approval.

Goodreads | Amazon

Someone to Love by Melissa de la Cruz is a YA novel that digs deep into the issues surrounding bulimia. While there is some enlightening information contained in this book that will educate its readers about a serious and often ignored topic, there are too many other topics that this book also attempts to address, which seems to detract from the original theme. The main character is one that can be empathized with, but she is not one that I found to be particularly enjoyable. This book contains scenes of self-harm, so I will caution anyone who is triggered by this topic.

When I first came across this book, I was really intrigued by the fact that it address an eating disorder. This seems to be a topic that has gone by the wayside in YA to make room for other relevant issues of our times. It is a theme that, unfortunately, will always be important to learn about, as it affects so many individuals in our society. While I am not versed on all of the details and signs of bulimia, Melissa de la Cruz absolutely offers her readers lots of insight in recognizing someone who may be suffering from this disorder, and the inner and outer struggles they face. I found this aspect of  Someone to Love to be very educational.

As I was reading this book, it felt like there were too many other issues attempting to be addressed at the same time as the main theme of bulimia. The other topics seemed to make appearances, yet there was no resolution or any sort of deeper understanding brought into the story. Some examples of these other topics are immigration, slut-shaming, alcoholism, and coming out. I feel as though the novel would have progressed a lot smoother and felt less jumbled if it had stuck to the main issue at hand. Yes, these other topics are important, however they just seemed thrown into the story and were not really resolved or dealt with at all.

Olivia is a character who is absolutely under a great deal of pressure. This aspect of her personality is one that the reader can understand and even empathize with. However, the whiny nature of this character just becomes a bit too much. Creating a character, such as Olivia, is difficult for sure, as there have to be some qualities that the reader doesn’t like or approve of. I have had experience reading other books that have a main character who is dislikable, however as the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that the character has some redeeming qualities and as the issues are worked out, the character becomes one that is admirable. I did not find myself feeling this way about Olivia at all.

Someone to Love is a book that addresses an issue that is not seen very often in YA and de la Cruz has provided her readers with a great wealth of information on the issues surrounding bulimia. It would have been more enjoyable to read this book if it had stuck to its main purpose and not go off in tangents to add in other hot topics. There may have been more opportunities to give the character of Olivia some redemption for the reader as well.