ARC Review: Three Sides of a Heart by Natalie C. Parker (editor)

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Title: Three Sides of a Heart
Authors: Natalie C. Parker (editor)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: December 19, 2017
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): You may think you know the love triangle, but you’ve never seen love triangles like these.

These top YA authors tackle the much-debated trope of the love triangle, and the result is sixteen fresh, diverse, and romantic stories you don’t want to miss.

This collection, edited by Natalie C. Parker, contains stories written by Renee Ahdieh, Rae Carson, Brandy Colbert, Katie Cotugno, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Bethany Hagan, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, EK Johnston, Julie Murphy, Garth Nix, Natalie C. Parker, Veronica Roth, Sabaa Tahir, and Brenna Yovanoff.

A teen girl who offers kissing lessons. Zombies in the Civil War South. The girl next door, the boy who loves her, and the girl who loves them both. Vampires at a boarding school. Three teens fighting monsters in an abandoned video rental store. Literally the last three people on the planet.

What do all these stories have in common?

The love triangle.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

Three Sides of a Heart is an anthology not to be missed. These sixteen short stories by some of my favourite authors each put a spin on the classic love triangle trope. There is definitely something for everyone, and it might even change your opinion on love triangles.

I love the concept of this anthology! The love triangle gets a lot of hate in YA, but honestly, I can appreciate one that is well-executed. Three Sides of a Heart takes this trope and twists it, giving the reader a whole new perspective. There is something from every genre with all kinds of pairings, and many of my favourite authors have contributed stories. Even if you loathe love triangles, I would still recommend this anthology, as there is so much to it that you are bound to find something you like.

My favourite of the stories was Sabaa Tahir’s Waiting. One of the love interests is in jail, which isn’t common in YA, and the story features letters between him and the main character, which I always love. The main character is strong and sassy, and there is actually a bit of humour, which I appreciated. Waiting is such an emotional story that is so well-written, and I would definitely read a full book with its plot.

I also really enjoyed Renée Ahdieh’s La Revancha del Tango. This story is set in Buenos Aires and is all about the tango. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about the tango before, so I found the originality to be refreshing. Unus, Duo, Tres by Bethany Hagen intrigued me as well. I’m not really a fan of vampire stories, but the emotion and plot twists kept me captivated.

Three Sides of a Heart is an anthology focusing on love triangles. There are many excellent works in this book, but I especially enjoyed Sabaa Tahir’s contribution. There is so much diversity and so many different genres, so I would absolutely recommend this one.

* I received an ARC from HCC Frenzy’s Frenzy Presents in exchange for an honest review.

Friday Reads #34: Three Sides of a Heart by Various Authors

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:

26837046Summary (from Goodreads): You may think you know the love triangle, but you’ve never seen love triangles like these.

These top YA authors tackle the much-debated trope of the love triangle, and the result is sixteen fresh, diverse, and romantic stories you don’t want to miss.

This collection, edited by Natalie C. Parker, contains stories written by Renee Ahdieh, Rae Carson, Brandy Colbert, Katie Cotugno, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Bethany Hagan, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, EK Johnston, Julie Murphy, Garth Nix, Natalie C. Parker, Veronica Roth, Sabaa Tahir, and Brenna Yovanoff.

A teen girl who offers kissing lessons. Zombies in the Civil War South. The girl next door, the boy who loves her, and the girl who loves them both. Vampires at a boarding school. Three teens fighting monsters in an abandoned video rental store. Literally the last three people on the planet.

What do all these stories have in common?

The love triangle.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

I am loving this one so far! It is so interesting how the book focuses on love triangles, and not cliché “girl must choose between two boys who both love her” love triangles. Some of my favourite authors have contributed to this anthology, so I am very excited to continue reading!

Book Beginning

“All right,” Steven says grandly. “You walk into a room with a kerosene lamp, a candle, and a fireplace. What do you light first?”

Friday 56:

The first thing I know is that I’m curled up on my side, suspended in loving warmth. My body adrift in a tropical ocean of blue water.

Book Giveaway Hop: December 2017 New Releases

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Welcome to the November 2017 New Release Giveaway Hop hosted by It Starts at Midnight!

It’s hard to believe that the year is coming to an end already! It has been such an amazing year for book releases, and I think that the December new releases are so fantastic. Foolish Hearts sounds like such an interesting story and I am so excited to read the new Kasie West novel, as well.

This giveaway is open to international entries, as long as The Book Depository ships to you! You can enter to win any book published in November 2017 that you are most excited for, worth up to $20 USD. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to a notification email with their address and choice of book. Rules.

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Make sure to stop by the other giveaways along the hop!

Review: Kissing Snowflakes by Abby Sher

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Title: Kissing Snowflakes
Author: Abby Sher
Publisher: Point
Publication Date: November 1, 2007
Stars: 3/5

Summary (from Goodreads): This fun, sweet, wintertime book is filled with humor and romance. The picturesque mountain ski lodge is the perfect place to spend winter break if you have a boyfriend! Otherwise, that cozy leather couch in front of the crackling fire looks a lot less inviting. Good thing that there are lots of cute, blond, sweater-wearing ski instructors around to choose from.

Goodreads | Amazon

Kissing Snowflakes is a wintry drama with plenty of skiing. The more serious topics in the book balanced out the fluff, and the resort setting is so peaceful. However, I found the main character to be dislikable, so I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I had hoped.

This book tells the story of a ski trip celebrating the remarriage of the main character’s dad. On the trip, Sam meets a cute ski instructor and finds herself falling for him. However, the more time she spends with him, the more she realizes that he might not be the one for her. I loved the resort setting and the relaxing winter break vibes. There is also a good mix of drama and fluff. I was actually surprised to see topics like divorce discussed in the story, since books like this one aren’t typically too heavy. Kissing Snowflakes is overall super cosy and perfect for the winter.

I didn’t really like Sam’s character. I found her to be too clingy and naive, and the way she acts can be so immature. I also didn’t like the way she treats her best friend from home and how she doesn’t even give her stepmom a chance. Some of Sam’s actions are understandable, but most of them are pretty frustrating. I would have preferred if she was more considerate and listened.

Kissing Snowflakes is a cute and wintry read filled with skiing and drama. I enjoyed the relaxing resort setting, but the main character didn’t satisfy me. I would still recommend this one, though it would be better suited for those new to the YA genre.

Wishlist Wednesday #131: Where I Live by Brenda Rufener

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:

35516439Title: Where I Live
Author: Brenda Rufener
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: February 27, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads): Linden Rose has a big secret–she is homeless and living in the halls of her small-town high school. Her position as school blog editor, her best friends, Ham and Seung, and the promise of a future far away are what keep Linden under the radar and moving forward.

But when cool-girl Bea comes to school with a bloody lip, the damage hits too close to home. Linden begins looking at Bea’s life, and soon her investigation prompts people to pay more attention. And attention is the last thing she needs.

Linden knows the only way to put a stop to the violence is to tell Bea’s story and come to terms with her own painful past. Even if that means breaking her rules for survival and jeopardizing the secrets she’s worked so hard to keep.

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

Where I Live sounds like such an original story. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with a homeless main character, and I love how she is the school blog editor. This book sounds like it will be pretty suspenseful, and I can’t wait for its publication in February!

 

Book to Movie Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

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Don’t Judge a Book by its Movie is a feature on The Candid Cover spotlighting and reviewing book to movie adaptations. 

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Author: R.J. Palacio
Publisher: Knopf
Cast: Jacob Tremblay, Owen Wilson, Izabela Vidovic, Julia Roberts
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Screenplay: Stephen Chbosky, Steve Conrad, Jack Thorne

Summary (From Goodreads): I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

Goodreads | Amazon

I haven’t read many middle grade novels in quite a while, and I have to admit that this is the first one that brought big tears to my eyes. Wonder is a one-of-a-kind book that deals with bullying in a way that is honest, raw, and eye-opening. The writing is crisp and witty, and the multiple perspectives really help to give the reader a deep understanding of all the sides to the story. Amazingly, the film is just as wonderful, and although it is a condensed version of the original, it maintains the original themes that Palacio has inspired her readers with.

Wonder has been one of those books that has been sitting on my TBR forever, and when the movie details were announced, I knew that the time had come to finally crack it open. For years I have heard nothing but praise for the messages and themes included in the novel, and I am pleased to say that the accolades given to this middle grade novel are well-deserved. It really is a book that can be enjoyed by everyone. The different points of view add to this effect, as there are so many generations of characters in this book. Auggie is such a fantastically developed character, and his perseverance in spite of all the adversity he faces is admirable. It is hard not to fall in love with him and his hilarious outlook on life.

Fans of the novel will most likely be very pleased that the story is very closely mirrored in the movie version. Albeit there are certain things that have been altered and twisted a little to bring it to the screen, but it in no way changes the outcome of the narrative. Jacob Tremblay is a perfect Auggie, and it is impressive how he seems to be able to really get into the role of such a multi-layered character.

Is the book better than the movie? Of course! However, if you are a fan of the book, you will not be disappointed. This is one story not to be missed whether you read it or see it.

Review: Snow in Love by Claire Ray

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Title: Snow in Love
Author: Claire Ray
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: December 23, 2008
Stars: 4/5

Summary (from Goodreads): Welcome to Alaska!

A special welcome to my boyfriend, Jake, the cutest tourist I’ve ever met!

Explore our natural beauties and untouched wilderness.

Jake and I like to hike our great (romantic!) nature trails. . . .

Enjoy our perfect skiing and snowboarding conditions.

Be sure to catch Will Parker doing his snowboarding tricks. He makes all the girls in town melt. (Except for me. Who needs Will when you’ve got Jake?)

Experience our world-class resorts and spas.

While you’re there, find out what’s up with that hot girl Jake brought to the lodge this year. She’s probably just his cousin or something. Right?!

Get ready for a vacation you’ll never forget!

Goodreads | Amazon

Snow in Love is a cute and festive story that also has a fair bit of drama. The Alaskan setting is absolutely perfect, and I enjoyed the relatable main character. This is a cute and fluffy holiday read that is he perfect thing to curl up with this winter.

This book tells the story of a girl whose boyfriend shows up in her town with a new girlfriend. In an attempt to make him jealous, she starts hanging out with another guy and ends up starting to fall for him. I loved the Alaskan setting, especially since I haven’t read too many books set there. Snow in Love makes Alaska seem like the ultimate winter destination, and I would definitely love to go there after reading it. The plot is pretty clichéd, but honestly, I like that sort of thing in fluffy holiday reads.

I enjoyed Jessie’s character in the book. She works at the ice cream parlour that her parents run, and she’s so relatable. I liked the way she deals with the mean girls in town, and she has a great group of friends. Jessie’s cluelessness and naiveté did get a bit frustrating at times, but overall, she entertained me.

Snow in Love is a short and sweet book that is perfect for the holidays. I loved the wintry setting and the female friendships in the story. There were certain aspects that didn’t impress me, but I still found this one pretty cute.

Book Blitz and Giveaway: Right Gift, Wrong Day by Natalie Decker

Right Gift, Wrong Day
Natalie Decker
(Offsides, #1.5)
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: November 24th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Tyler Richardson is freaking out! Not only did he invite his new girlfriend to meet his entire family, this is also the day they will exchange gifts. But what do you get a girl after dating for only two weeks? Should he listen to his friends and just give her a card, or should he ask for a second opinion?

Layla can’t believe she agreed to have dinner with Tyler and his family. What if they don’t like her? To make matter’s worse, they agreed to exchange Christmas gifts. The boy already has everything. And what if she gets him something that’s nicer than what he gets her? That would be really awkward. Asking him what he would like is completely out of the question. Maybe she should ask his friends for help.

After a rocky start, Tyler and Layla’s relationship is everybody’s relationship goals. But can Tyler and Layla survive the holidays without losing their cool?

RIGHT GIFT WRONG DAY is a hilarious companion novella to RIGHT TEXT WRONG NUMBER from Natalie Decker.

Goodreads / Amazon

Exceprt

“Juliet would love this!” I grab a cooling rack for cookies.

“She bakes?” Jared asks.

“My sister makes the most amazing cookies ever.”

Jared smiles. “I can see that.”

Could he? She doesn’t really give off the Suzie-homemaker vibe. Lately, she’s been giving off the “everyone can go to hell” vibe. Thinking about her makes me worry all over again.

“I should probably call her.” At least tell her I’m sorry about the texting accident.

Jared’s fist tightens. “She’s really bad off, isn’t she?”

I don’t want to go into all the details with him. So, I’m not going to mention her lack of hygiene as of late because that’s embarrassing. Or, the fact that her room makes me cringe in fear because this is just a phase. She’ll snap out of it. Eventually. Until then, I also won’t mention that she’s mastered “total resting bitch face” like a pro. Because the heartache Mark caused my sister made her like this. That person who looks like my sister and stays in her room, is not the same sister I grew up with. Instead, I say the only thing I can, “He was her first boyfriend. I can’t be sure about this, but I also think he was her first kiss.” I wince as I realize Juliet would not want him to know that. “Promise you won’t repeat that.”

Jared’s jaw tightens again. “I’m not a gossip.”

He turns his intense gaze from mine, and I swear if Mark was in front of us, I think Jared might hurt him. Does Jared still have feelings for my sister? I didn’t think he did because he seemed cold toward Juliet at the dance. At least that’s what she told me.

Maybe she was wrong. Maybe I should stop talking about Juliet altogether with Jared.

Author Bio:

Natalie Decker is the author of RIVAL LOVE series and the Scandalous Boys series. She loves oceans, sunsets, sand between her toes, and carefree days. Her imagination is always going, which some find odd. But she believes in seeing the world in a different light at all times. Her first passion for writing started at age twelve when she had to write a poem for English class. However, seventh grade wasn’t her favorite time and books were her source of comfort. She took all college prep classes in High school, and attended the University of Akron. Although she studied Mathematics she never lost her passion for writing or her comfort in books. She’s a mean cook in the kitchen, loves her family and friends and her awesome dog infinity times infinity. If she’s not writing, reading, traveling, hanging out with her family and friends, then she’s off having an adventure. Because Natalie believes in a saying: Your life is your own journey, so make it amazing!

Find out more visit: http://www.authornataliedecker.com

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ARC Review: Instructions for a Secondhand Heart by Tamsyn Murray

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Title: Instructions for a Secondhand Heart
Author: Tamsyn Murray
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Stars: 3/5

Summary (from Goodreads): A moving novel about grief, guilt, and the unpredictability of love, for fans of Everything, Everything and All the Bright Places.

Jonny knows better than anyone that life is full of cruel ironies. He’s spent every day in a hospital hooked up to machines to keep his heart ticking. Then when a donor match is found for Jonny’s heart, that turns out to be the cruelest irony of all. Because for Jonny’s life to finally start, someone else’s had to end.

That someone turns out to be Neve’s twin brother, Leo. When Leo was alive, all Neve wanted was for him (and all his glorious, overshadowing perfection) to leave. Now that Leo’s actually gone forever, Neve has no idea how to move forward. Then Jonny walks into her life looking for answers, her brother’s heart beating in his chest, and everything starts to change.

Together, Neve and Jonny will have to face the future, no matter how frightening it is, while also learning to heal their hearts, no matter how much it hurts.

(Features select illustrations from “Jonny’s” sketchbook.)

Goodreads | Book Depository | Amazon

I’m not sure what to think about Instructions for a Secondhand Heart. I enjoyed the concept, but not the characterization. I also found certain aspects of the book to be kind of creepy, and I didn’t enjoy the romance. This book had so much potential, but I ended up pretty disappointed.

This book has such an original concept! It tells the story of a boy who receives a heart transplant and befriends the sister of his donor. Neve is dealing with the grief of her brother’s death, and Jonny is dealing with the guilt of getting a second chance at life while his friend is still battling cancer. I enjoyed how the narration alternates between Jonny and Neve, allowing the reader to understand Jonny’s reasons for wanting to know more about his donor and Neve’s regrets from the day her twin brother died. The story is pretty complex and is definitely a whirlwind of emotions.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about Jonny’s character. I sympathized with him, and the challenges he faces are so real, but I found his actions to be kind of creepy. I understand his curiosity, but tracking Neve down and lying about the reason why is a bit unsettling. He shows up at a fundraiser she attends and sends her messages on Facebook, all while hiding his true relation to her and his motive. Even when he and Neve become friends, Jonny always seems to lead her on, and the constant back-and-forth got kind of annoying. I also didn’t enjoy Neve’s character very much. She is a bit whiny and gets overly jealous without knowing the full story. I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if the characters had been easier to connect with.

My main reason for not loving this book is the subtle creepiness, but I also didn’t enjoy the romance. It seemed a bit unnecessary, and I would have preferred if Jonny and Neve had stayed as friends instead. Their forced relationship takes away from the impact of the story in my opinion, and the love triangle is kind of pointless. Instructions for a Secondhand Heart would have been much better without all the extraneous drama.

Instructions for a Secondhand Heart is an intriguing story about grief and a second chance at life. I have mixed feelings about the main characters, and I just couldn’t really connect with them. Jonny’s borderline creepy actions and the forced romance take away from the story, and I definitely feel like the book could have been better.

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

Wishlist Wednesday #130: The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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:

30809677Title: The Traitor’s Game
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: February 27, 2018

Summary (from Goodreads): Nothing is as it seems in the kingdom of Antora. Kestra Dallisor has spent three years in exile in the Lava Fields, but that won’t stop her from being drawn back into her father’s palace politics. He’s the right hand man of the cruel king, Lord Endrick, which makes Kestra a valuable bargaining chip. A group of rebels knows this all too well — and they snatch Kestra from her carriage as she reluctantly travels home.The kidnappers want her to retrieve the lost Olden Blade, the only object that can destroy the immortal king, but Kestra is not the obedient captive they expected. Simon, one of her kidnappers, will have his hands full as Kestra tries to foil their plot, by force, cunning, or any means necessary. As motives shift and secrets emerge, both will have to decide what — and who — it is they’re fighting for.

GoodreadsBook Depository | Amazon

This book sounds so interesting! It’s been a while since I’ve read a fantasy, and now that it’s winter, I feel like getting back into the genre. I am intrigued by the main character’s father being on the evil side and the rebels searching for the only weapon that can kill the king. I can’t wait to see how Kestra’s alliances change, and I am hoping for plenty of suspense. I am eagerly awaiting the release of The Traitor’s Game this February!