Book Review: No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista

no love allowed

Title: No Love Allowed
Author: Kate Evangelista
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Swoon Reads
Date: April 19th, 2016
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher, for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): It’s all fun and parties until someone falls in love in this modern fairy tale from author Kate Evangelista.

Caleb desperately needs a fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties for his father’s law firm with a pretty girl on his arm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he’s not ready for and isn’t sure he wants. And sadly, the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, recently fired waitress and aspiring painter, is open to new experiences. As the summer ticks by in a whirl of lavish parties, there’s only one rule: They must not fall in love!

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Review:

„Love destroys people to the point where they don’t even care who else they hurts in the process.“

It has been three days since I finished this book and still, it is all I’m thinking about.

Ask me why is that, what makes this novel so special that it captures my mind like there’s no important things in my life, and I problably wouldn’t know what to tell you.

But what I do know is that I don’t think that any review I write for this piece can do it justice.

The story is written in third person, following two perspectives: Caleb’s and DiDi’s.

Caleb comes from a wealthy family and all he wants is to have a gap year between going to college, so he could travel trough Europe with his cousin Nathan. In order to earn that, he has to spend the summer attending certain events with his family, and have a girl that will make him a company.

That’s where Didi comes in. She’s a girl raised by a single mother, not poor but definitely far from being rich. She agrees to pretend to be Caleb’s girlfriend for the summer, so she could experience the lifestyle she never had. Also, Caleb agreed to pose her for her painting, since she’s an artist.

They make an agreement: One mustn’t fall in love with the other.

What took me by surprise in this story is it’s characers and how the story kept me inrigued.
Nor Caleb or Didi were likeable. They were gray, had their flaws, but still, I cared about them and wanted to know everything about them: why they acted the way they did, what made them think the certain way and how they are going to deal with cards that life throws at them.

This is the story you read for it’s completeness. Even though main characters aren’t the ones you want to befriend, you still root for them and want the best for them.
Side characters are so interesting, I really got attached to Preston, Nathan and Natasha.
They have that impact on you as a reader:  you want to know more about them.
When I heard that the story about Preston and Nathan is planned to be published later this year, I welcomed the news with all my heart.

Although at first this novel gives an impression as a cute ya spring/summer read, with it’s goergous cover and warm colors, that is not the case.
Yes, it does have cute moments and swoon worthy situations, but it also deals with some serious topics like mental illness and suicide.
I think when it comes to those, the writer did her research well.

What I liked the most about this book is Didi’s passion for Van Gogh. You can feel it trough the whole novel.
The story starts with quote by Van Gogh, and when following Didi’s perspective you can notice that everyday things like clouded sky reminds her of his work. She also talks about him with passion, but still she doesn’t overdo it.
Her affection for Van Gogh’s work and him as an artist is almost touchable, like it has a personality on it’s own (just like Paris had in Stephanie Perkin’s Anna and the French Kiss).

This novel also has some beautiful, memorable scenes, like 4th July scene and the one at (almost) very end with paintings.

The story is not only full of vizuals, but music also plays a part in it. Not a big one, but you can still feel it.
I guess it had an impact on the author while she was creating her story.

The writing style is good and you can speed trough this book.
It is not poetic and has not many memorable quotes, but it is still really beautiful.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of Katie McGarry‘s books while reading.
The writing style is still very different from McGarry’s, but I think that her fans would enjoy this novel as well.

4,5

 

Note: You can read my interview with an author and win yourself a copy of No Love Allowed here.

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Waiting on Wendesday (#8): P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

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Waiting on Wendesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases we can’t wait to read.

This week I am eagerly anticipating:

p.s. i like you

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Publisher: Point

Publication Date: July 26th, 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?

While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she’s flustered — and kind of feels like she’s falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer — but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.

Why am I waiting?

If you know me for some time now, you know that I often like to say that Kasie West is my ya contemporary queen.
I read all of her contemporary books so far and loved every single one of them.
Her books always put me in great mood, I love to reread them and I can’t get enough of her writing.
She also creates awesome characters that I want to befriend with.

Overall, when it comes to this genre, I can’t imagine anyone doing it better then West.

I just can’t wait to see what she cooked for us in her new novel.
I just KNOW I’ll devour this story!

Author Website * Amazon UK * Amazon US * Goodreads * The Book Depository

Book Review + Giveaway: Holding Court by K.C. Held (Blog Tour)

HoldingCourtTour

I am happy to be today’s stop at Holding Court Blog Tour.
I really enjoyed reading this novel and I want to say thanks to Entagled Teen for providing me a digital copy of this book and to MaryAnn from Chapter by Chapter for giving me this opportunity.

Copy of HC22

 Holding Court Cover

 

Book Title: Holding Court

Author: K.C. Held

Release Date: March. 1, 2016

Genre: YA Mystery

 

 

Sixteen-year-old Jules Verity knows exactly what’s in store at her new job at castle-turned-dinner-theater Tudor Times. Some extra cash, wearing a fancy-pants dress, and plenty of time to secretly drool ove
r the ever-so-tasty–and completely unavailable–Grayson Chandler. Except that it’s not quite what she imagined.

 

For one, the costume Jules has to wear is awful. Then there’s the dead body she finds that just kind of…well, disappears. Oh, and there’s the small issue of Jules and her episodes of what her best friend calls “Psychic Tourette’s Syndrome”–spontaneous and uncontrollable outbursts of seemingly absurd prophecies.

 

The only bright side? This whole dead body thing seems to have gotten Grayson’s attention. Except that the more Jules investigates, the more she discovers that Grayson’s interest might not be as courtly as she
thought. In fact, it’s starting to look suspicious…

 

Amazon | B&N | iBooks |Kobo | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Entangled Page

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My Review:

Written in the first person, Holding Court follows a girl named Jules, who is „cursed“ with what she likes to call „Psychic Tourette’s Syndrome“.
If you’re confused just like I was and wonder what that could be, let me explain it to you: from time to time, Julie, uncontrollably, blurbs out what will happen to someone in the future, but she tells that pretty much in codes. Overall, the whole thing makes her a weirdo in other people’s eyes.

She’s not the only one with the gift. Her grandmother can see other people’s auras and her mother can tell authenticidy of an object with a single touch.

One summer, to make some money and save enough to buy herself a car, sixteen years old Jules gets a job in a place called Tudor Times.
Fun fact: Grayson, the guy she has a crush for years works there.
Funnier fact: her girlfriend Bree also works there.

Jules knew not everything will be roses and butterflies, but what she couldn’t even dream about was that, while exploring secret chambers of her workplace, she would find a dead body…

First thing I have to warn you about: there are some illogical happenings trough the story.
If you are a critical reader you’ll probably find it’s flaws and they could put you off when it comes to finishing this story.
However, I think it is only fair of me to tell you how, if you can play blind to those flaws, you will probably end up really enjoying yourself while reading.

Yes, the main character does swoon over the guy while she should be worried about the killer and about her own sake.
Yes, the story does have a love triengle (that is, let me make that clear, a really good love triangle).
Yes, the character does not act the smartest way possible at some scenes, but…

The writing style is so good, it makes you want to devaour the story in one sitting.
The more pages you read, the plot is more and more interesting, characters are more and more likeable, the mystery is more and more mysterious.

I also have to emphasize that I didn’t see who the killer was. Of course, I had my own suspicion, but I was wrong.

And now, let me tell you what I liked the most about this book: Love triangle.
At first, I tought about giving this book a lower rating, but what made me really appreciate this novel is the love triangle in it and the way it resolved in the end.
Maybe some would call it naive or unbelievable, but I like to call it refreshing.
I have never before read the story in which all love interests  wrap up the way they did here, and it never even crossed my mind that someday it would be great to read the story with that kind of result.
Just because of that,  K.C. Held deserves an extra applause.

Overall, this is an easy, quick read with a great atmosphere, perfect for spring or summer when you want to read something entertaining and cute.
The writing style is enjoyable, the story has something different to offer when it comes to love interest and the very last chapter is the best chapter in the whole book, which made me appreciate this piece.

I gladely recommend it!

3,75

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Giveaway (US Only)

Giveaway Information:  Contest ends March 18, 2016

 

  • One (1) winner will receive Holding Court swag pack containing a magnetic prophecy kit, signed bookplate, coloring postcard with stacked coloring pencil, and a bookmark.

HC Swag pack

 

ENTER HERE:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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About the author:kc-held

K.C. HELD was born and raised in California with stopovers in Honduras, Mexico, and France. Married to her high school sweetheart, and mom to two avid bookworms, she holds an MFA in costume design and is an accomplished seamstress with a background in opera, theater, film, and television. Although she once spent a summer working in a castle, there were no dead bodies involved.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Goodreads

 

Blog Tour hosted by:

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Book Review: The Truth About Jack by Jody Gehrman

the truth

Title: The Truth About Jack
Author: Jody Gehrman
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Date: April 15th, 2015
Pages: 242
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Dakota McCloud has just been accepted into a prestigious art school. Soon she’ll leave behind the artists’ colony where she grew up―hippie dad, tofu since birth, yurt―and join her boyfriend and best friend on the East Coast. It was the plan…until Dakota finds out her boyfriend and best friend hooked up behind her back.

Hurt and viciously betrayed, Dakota pours out her heart on a piece of paper, places it in a bottle, and hurls it into the ocean. But it doesn’t quite go where she expects…

Jack Sauvage finds the bottle washed up on the shore and responds to Dakota’s letter. Except what if his straight-laced life doesn’t jive with the free-spirited girl he’s only seen from afar? As Jack creates a persona he believes she’ll love, they slowly fall for each other with each new letter. Now Jack is trying to find a way to make this delicate, on-paper romance happen in real life…without revealing his deception.

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Review: 

Let me tell you the truth about Jack. He is an insecure kid who falls in obsession at first sight. Not in love, obsession(at least that’s what seemed to me).
He sees Dakota and all of the sudden he has to be near her, he knows she would be the right for him so he starts showing up in the bakery he thinks she would be in. He follows her around and he gives me chills while reading about those scenes.
In the real life, i don’t think any girl would be happy to cross her paths with him. He was a wierdo and I often questioned his intellingence.
No matter if he is insecure, he has no problem in judging others by their look.
I didn’t like his POV and I’m not gonna lie, at times, it felt like torture reading his perspective.
I’m glad that thing changed in the second half of the book.I’m not sure if his voice started to sound better or if I just got used to it.

On the other hand, it was such a pleasure reading Dakota’s POV. She is one very interesting character. She’s the one who saved this book (for me). She is funny and whise, and people she surrounded herself with are interesting as well.
I have never read anything about modern hippies so I enjoyed exploring their community and I wish there were more scenes about them.

The writing style is good.
This was the first Gehrman’s book I read and I doubt it would be the last.
I think she is a good author because she managed for two different POVs to sound totally different and if there weren’t notifications who’s perspective I was reading at time, I wouldn’t have a problem to know it by myself.
She also builted complexed characters solidly. At times I would question why would certain character act the way he did, and then I would remember something that happened in his life before and it would make sense.
I liked that.
I like it when characters have a little bit of gray blended in their peronalities.

Overall, the story was okay, cute at times and while reading I didn’t have that feeling that often comes with reading contemporary YA novel, the one that tells you you’re reading something you’ve already read or seen in the movie. This time, it felt like I hadn’t read anything similar to this novel before.

I know this novel wouldn’t be what it is now without Jack’s perspective, but that very perspective is the reason why I couln’t give this book a decent four stars rating.
Jack and I, we just couldn’t get along!
I often wished this book was written only in Dakota’s perspective so I could give it higher rating, but I understand stories have to have not only enjoyable moments but the ones not so interesting, or maybe ones that could make you feel the way you don’t want to feel as well, to achieve completeness in developing.

3,75

Waiting on Wendesday (#5): Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

wow

Waiting on Wendesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases we can’t wait to read.

This week I am eagerly anticipating:

girl against

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: May 17th, 2016

Summary (from Goodreads):

Maguire is bad luck.

No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the rollercoaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid meeting new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away is harder than she thought.

From author Paula Stokes comes a funny and poignant novel about accepting the past, embracing the future, and learning to make your own luck.

Why am I waiting for this book?

This book sounds so appealing. Since I really like ya contemporary, I couln’t help but notice it. I’ve heard great things about Stokes’ debut novel, The Art of Lainey, which makes me want to check this author out even more.

Author Website * Amazon UK * Amazon US * Goodreads * The Book Depository

Book Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

finding audrey

Title: Finding Audrey
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s
Date: June 9th, 2015
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher, for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

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Review:

Once again, Sophie Kinsella reminded me why am I still so in love with reading books.
If you didn’t know, Kinsella is the one who got me into reading in the first place. With her Shopaholic series she showed me reading can be fun and now, years after reading her first book, I still enjoy spending my free time with a good book in my hands (or on my Kindle).

When I first heard she was about to publish a novel in my favorite genre, I just knew I had to read it immediately.
I had a great feeling about Finding Audrey and I was not wrong.

In her recognizable style that consists humor, Kinsella writes about serious topics such as anxiety and abusement.
I imagine it must have been hard work to touch those serious topics and stay true to her writing style without overdoing the fun parts and diverge from the direction the story was going to. She managed it very well.

Audrey, our main character, was a great narrator. She talked about her problems not quite openly but opened herself one step at the time trough the story. I liked that a lot. Even though she had some serious things on her way, it didn’t suppress her sense of humor.
I think the reason she was hiding behind the dark glasses was justified and I liked that part about her.

What I liked the most in this story were Audrey’s parents. They were like a fresh scent in the air in the YA genre which is full of dysfunctional families.

Frank was my favorite. I liked his obsession with video games and his adaptability when it comes to playing them.

Linus was an okay character. Very patient and likeable but I wish there were just something more about him that would make him more distinguish from all of love interests I was reading about in other books. I feel like I’m still missing that final touch that would make him get under my skin.

I also wish there were more situations with Felix.

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Spoiler Alert!!!

The reason I didn’t give this book a full five star rating is:

We never found out what really happened that triggered Audrey’s anxiety.
I also didn’t like the fact that Audrey got herself off the medications by herself. It is something not anyone should ever do, and in the real life the consequences could be really bad (trust me, I know). I just hope that someone who’s on medications while reading this book won’t find the courage to do the same thing because Audrey did it. 

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If you like Sophie Kinsella’s previous work, and if you like YA genre, you will (probably) definitely like this book.

It was a quick, easy read, perfect to read in one sitting for those who actually can read the book in one sitting.

I wish you all A-GREAT-TIME reading it!! 🙂

4,5