Welcome to yAdult Review, a space where two girls review novels from across the genres, from YA and MG, to fantasy and sci-fi, to historical fiction and mystery, with a sprinkling of non-fiction too. We hope you enjoy your stay here as much as we enjoy ours.

Amy Nichols’ Now That You’re Here Launch Party.

talking

For years now, while I’ve been going to Changing Hands for signings, I’ve seen Amy Nichols but we’ve never really talked. Last month at the A.S. King signing we had a 20527824discussion about how the other seemed familiar BUT WHERE HAVE WE MET. It was a lovely, weird moment. But then I found out she was having a book signing and I knew I had to go.

The event did not disappoint. Amy is so personable and hugged everyone she met, which was impressive as it was a full packed house which involved getting more and more chairs out AND selling out of the stock! Her kids and husband were on point and her father was signthe hilarious proud dad throughout the night. Amy started off, understandably, nervous. It was her first signing and she’s used to being where I was, sitting in the audience knitting. (Just kidding, she’s not the knitter in the audience, that would be me. But usually she is right by me). Being on stage is completely different but she did amazing!

Amy discussed her book with us, of course. But she also showed us her book trailer and then read from the book. What’s awesome about Now That You’re Here is the fact that it takes place in Phoenix, and Amy actually lives in Phoenix. I know that seems like a duh moment, but I’ve read a lot of books lately that take place in Phoenix, and you can tell the author has never stepped foot in Phoenix, or used google maps to look at Phoenix. That’s the stuff that quickly takes me out of the story so that is one less, silly, thing for me to worry about.

Then Amy opened the floor to questions and answered things from how to get ideas, to working with an editor and why she writes for teens. It was a great signing and if you have a chance to see Amy in person I highly recommend it. She’s lovely and amazing.

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

21469108The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Source: Publisher (THANKS!)
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

A bold, genre-bending epic that chronicles madness, obsession, and creation, from the Paleolithic era through the Witch Hunts and into the space-bound future.

Four linked stories boldly chronicle madness, obsession, and creation through the ages. Beginning with the cave-drawings of a young girl on the brink of creating the earliest form of writing, Sedgwick traverses history, plunging into the seventeenth century witch hunts and a 1920s insane asylum where a mad poet’s obsession with spirals seems to be about to unhinge the world of the doctor trying to save him. Sedgwick moves beyond the boundaries of historical fiction and into the future in the book’s final section, set upon a spaceship voyaging to settle another world for the first time. Merging Sedgwick’s gift for suspense with science- and historical-fiction, Ghosts of Heaven is a tale is worthy of intense obsession. – Goodreads

Review:

In college, as a history major (and semi-polisci before I dropped it) I had to read a lot of text that went over my head or made me feel stupid. The joys of having to read dense text that often put one to sleep.  I found The Ghosts of Heaven fascinating in the fact, from the beginning, Sedgwick tells you that you can read the four parts of this novel completely out of order, or the order that it is given. That almost never happens and I enjoy when books mix things up.

However, the book quickly went downhill for me. The first part was told in verse, and since I’m being honest, verse novels almost never work for me. Then the second part is about a witch hunt, part three quickly segways into an insane asylum, and part four, well part four I’m still not sure about. I found this book fairly hard to slog through and believe that there is a reader out there for it, I am just not that reader.

While the writing is beautiful and sparse and I will never look at a spiral again the same way, I wanted..more? I would have happily read more of part two. I found the witch hunt fascinating, but I spent so much of this book wanting more, that by the end I was very much “OH THANK GOD IT IS OVER.” I feel that Sedgwick was trying too hard throughout this book, and there is nothing wrong with that if it works. But this did not work for me one bit.

Fish Out of Water by Natalie Whipple

22402516Fish Out of Water by Natalie Whipple
Release Date: February 5, 2015
Publisher: Whipple House
Source: Author! (Thanks Natalie!)
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Mika Arlington was supposed to spend the summer after her junior year shadowing her marine biologist parents at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but when her estranged grandmother randomly shows up on the doorstep one day, those plans are derailed. Because Grandma Betty isn’t here to play nice—she is cranky, intolerant of Mika’s mixed-race-couple parents, and oh yeah she has Alzheimer’s and is out of money.  While Mika’s family would rather not deal with Grandma Betty, they don’t have much choice. And despite Mika’s protests, she is roped into caring for a person that seems impossible to have compassion for. And if that wasn’t hard enough, Mika must train the new guy at her pet shop job who wants to be anywhere else, and help a friend through her own family crisis. Something’s gotta a give, but whichever ball Mika drops means losing someone she loves. Not exactly a recipe for Best Summer Ever—or is it?– Goodreads

Review:

Mika is having the summer of her life. She has a good job at the local pet store, she is interning with her parents at the aquarium, she is happy. Then a new guy, Dylan, starts at work and he doesn’t care about the store and that effects her because she cares and if you’re going to do a job, you do it well. And, if things couldn’t get worse, her grandmother appears on her door step. Her very racist grandmother.

It is Mika’s dad’s mom and we quickly find out that Mika’s dad is not close to his family, for reasons she’s not even fully aware of. As the reader we quickly find out on of the reasons is the fact that Mika’s grandmother, Betty, does not approve of the fact he married a Japanese woman and the fact the Mika looks just like her mother. Mika wants to fight this and state that she’s actually a lot like her father, but she knows it’s futile.

Mom prepared me for prejudice from strangers, not from my own blood. How am I supposed to handle this?–eARC page 35

Mika doesn’t want to be helping her grandmother and she makes that clear to her grandmother with her tone and attitude. It’s actually a bit hard to read because although you understand where Mika is coming from, you also understand where her grandmother is coming from. Her grandmother might be racist and a horrible person; however, she is still someone who wants to be loved. Mika tries to spend a lot of time caring for her goldfish, the one thing she sees as a constant in her life. Until she realizes how much goldfish and her grandmother are a lot alike. What’s the point in loving something if it’s going to forget about you?

Then, there is the guy. Dylan, who while he’s an asshole, he does try. Fake relationship trope is one of my favorite things ever and Whipple does a fresh take on it. Mika does not want to be involved, but because she has a sweet spot she does agree to help him. What I enjoyed out of it was her father’s reaction, I found him to be hilarious throughout the novel, and when he finds out about Dylan his reaction is priceless.

“A guy?” Dad says with too much interest. “How did you meet a guy who has access to Cypress Point? Are you dating him? Can I get in on this?”– eARC page 114

Originally, for the longest time, I never felt overly sympathetic for Dylan, I can see why Mika did. Particularly for part of their golf date. And then, there is a particular scene where he poors his heart out to her and I’m too busy crying over it Fish Out of Water on my lunch break and I’m having all these feels about a boy I did not expect to be sympathetic for.

My heart also lurched when Mika had a moment that holding a grudge at her grandmother wasn’t going to get Mika anywhere. It was easier to forgive her and apologize. And oh, my heart during the apology. Mika had so much grown through when her grandmother first showed up to the end of the book. She not only grew when it came to her grandmother, but also her relationship with her parents, her friends, and even how she viewed love.

My only complaint would be there is a side story with one of Mika’s bffs and I would have loved to see more resolution with her; however, I understand that the real world isn’t always tied neatly with a bow and I believe that Whipple highlighted that well. Including how the book ended in general, even though I wanted more of Mika and Dylan, I get it. I get that their ending is perfect for them. Natalie Whipple is one of my favorite authors. Her writing is smart and full of realistic characters. And Fish Out of Water is one of her strongest yet.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe (Scott Pilgrim #5) by Bryan Lee O’Malley

17248106Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe (Scott Pilgrim #5) by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Release Date: August 13, 2014
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Scott Pilgrim just turned 24, and things couldn’t possibly be better! This means things are about to get infinitely worse. Suddenly, TWO of Ramona’s evil ex-boyfriends are in town, and they’re playing dirty. His band is in turmoil, and his own exes aren’t making things any easier. And what’s up with Ramona, anyway? She’s been acting kinda weird ever since they moved in together. It’s the SECOND LAST VOLUME of SCOTT PILGRIM: Scott’s precious little life is coming back around to bite him in the butt, and it may not be pretty!– Goodreads

Review:

After vacation and reading a handful of other books, I finally was able to get my hold on Scott Pilgrim #4. The fun thing about this series is that I was taken right back into the world, picking right up where I left off. I honestly enjoy that when I read books. It was also clear that by book #5, O’Malley has gotten the process down for creating Pilgrim and his world.

What, to me, was the highlight of the novel, is when Ramona had enough of Scott’s bullshit and called him an asshole. Something I’ve been calling him from book one. Here I thought I was the only one that saw he was an asshole and it seems that, no, others recognized this also. Although we’re on the second to last book, this is where everything seems to go to hell. Scott has to fight two evil ex’s. His band has dissolved and Knives is still obsessed with him and wants to bring hellfire down on him (because you know fighting the evil ex’s is not hell enough.) While threads are slowly being brought together, I did find myself annoyed at most of the characters throughout the series I’ve come to realize it isn’t them. It’s me. They are not a group I would hang around with, or talk to on a daily basis and because of this I find myself annoyed at them.

Yes, I know, branch out of your comfort zone, etc and that is what if anything this graphic novel journey has been about. Branching outside of my comfort zone, and while I don’t regret it. I do wish I didn’t want to shake the characters so much.

Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars #2) by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

21437200Mr. Kiss and Tell (Veronica Mars #2) by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham
Release Date: January 20, 2015
Publisher: Vintage
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In the second book in the New York Times bestselling mystery series, Veronica Mars is back with a case that will expose the hidden workings of one of Neptune’s most murderous locations.

The Neptune Grand has always been the seaside town’s ritziest hotel, despite the shady dealings and high-profile scandals that seem to follow its elite guests. When a woman claims that she was brutally assaulted in one of its rooms and left for dead by a staff member, the owners know that they have a potential powder keg on their hands. They turn to Veronica to disprove—or prove—the woman’s story.

The case is a complicated mix of hard facts, mysterious occurrences, and uncooperative witnesses. The hotel refuses to turn over its reservation list and the victim won’t divulge who she was meeting that night. Add in the facts that the attack happened months ago, the victim’s memory is fuzzy, and there are holes in the hotel’s surveillance system, and Veronica has a convoluted mess on her hands. As she works to fill in the missing pieces, it becomes clear that someone is lying—but who? And why?– Goodreads

Review:

I was going to wait to read all of the Veronica Mars books via audiobook, because Kristen Bell reads them. I feel that is the most valid reason ever. However, when I had the chance to read this as an ARC, I hopped on the train and had to read it.  I have no regrets about reading Mr. Kiss and Tell. It is pure Veronica Mars being back in my life. And I remember how much I love her, and her snark.

In Mr. Kiss and Tell Veronica is hired by the Neptune Grand’s insurance company to follow up on a complaint. You know the usual. Rape, left for murder, normal Neptune. I understand that sounds flippant, but as someone who watched the show, that is very Neptune. Quickly Veronica is able to answer the insurance company’s question; however, the book does not end there. What Veronica realizes is there is more to the story because people are lying, things happened months ago and people remember nothing.

What Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham do is consistently stay in the Neptune world that we know and love. We hang out with the characters, and there is a heartbreaking story line that involves Weevil. There is also an extremely realistic story line involving Logan and Veronica where if anything we see how much the characters have grown from the TV show. Although you could easily read this without having read the first book in the series, I wouldn’t recommend it. There are hints to that book that are nice to understand.

One & Only (Canton #1) by Viv Daniels

18392843One & Only (Canton #1) by  Viv Daniels
Release Date: November 8, 2013
Publisher: Word for Word
Source:  Netgalley
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

One night they can’t forget…

Tess McMann lives her life according to the secrets she’s sworn to keep: the father who won’t acknowledge her, the sister who doesn’t know she exists, and the mother who’s content playing mistress to a prominent businessman. When she meets the distractingly cute Dylan Kingsley at a prestigious summer program and falls in love, Tess allows herself to imagine a life beyond these secrets. But when summer ends, so does their relationship — Dylan heads off to Canton College while Tess enrolls at the state university.

One love they can’t ignore…

Two years later, a scholarship brings Tess to Canton and back into Dylan’s life. Their attraction is as strong as ever, but Dylan has a girlfriend…who also happens to be Tess’s legitimate half-sister. Tess refuses to follow in her mother’s footsteps, which leaves her only one choice: break the rules she’s always followed, or allow Dylan to slip away for a second time.

…And only one chance to get things right.  – Goodreads

Review:

I have enjoyed Viv Daniels’ alter-ego Diana Peterfreund’s books, particularly the Secret Society series, which we would now classify as New Adult. Because of this I was more than happy to give One & Only a shot, and I’m glad it I did. It was a nice, contemporary romance novel that made me sigh, and swoon, and because it’s me, rage. I did devour this book, I found it to be a quick enjoyable read and I was even upset to find the second novel not out yet, because I enjoyed the Canton world.

What Daniels’ did was not shy away from real problems that students in college face. From backstabbing classmates, to frat parties, and carrying a full course load and still trying to figure out how to make time to study are all covered in One & Only. One and Only is the story of Tess, a good student, who is the product of a rich man and his mistress. This is important, because Tess is never allowed to acknowledge her father. Ever. He also uses this to guilt her mother and her by giving them money. Because of this power she doesn’t go to her dream school, Canton, but the local state school which doesn’t have a solid science program, but it makes her father happy.

Until two years later she’s had enough and her mentor at the state school, helps her not only go to Canton, but also to pay for it with scholarships. Between that push and a part-time job, she transfers over to Canton and is happier than she ever imagined she could be. Until she sees Dylan, the cute boy she fell in love with two years ago that summer between high school and college, when they met at a Summer Science program. What Tess (and Dylan) weren’t expecting were the sparks to still be here, or Dylan to be dating Tess’ half-sister that doesn’t know she still exists.

Thanks to a big project the two are brought back together and sparks continue to fly off the page. The two not only fight them, but fight with the fact that Dylan has a girlfriend, both do not want to cheat and respect that. Dylan also knows that Tess is hiding things from him, but respects her current boundaries. It does become hard when the truth comes out and both explode, it is beautiful how they find themselves back with each other.

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

6068551Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
Release Date: August 1, 2009
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf—her wolf—is a chilling presence she can’t seem to live without.

Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human… until the cold makes him shift back again.

Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It’s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human—or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever. – Goodreads

Review:

After having a tough time with Stiefvater’s writing, I have decided to give her a shot again. I read Shiver when I was in undergrad, so that would be a solid five years ago. And while I’m the only person in the world to have problems with The Raven Boys series, I’ve decided to give The Wolves of Mercy Falls a shot again. This time on audiobook, because maybe the audio will help me. That is always a hope when I dislike a book in print to be honest, maybe the audio will help. Same goes if audio doesn’t work, maybe print will.

Shiver is the story of Grace, who has always been obsessed with her wolf, the wolf she can’t live without. Her friends are annoyed by her fascination with the wolf (or wolves) and the town is over it, because they don’t want the wolves to over run the town and the people. Grace though has a special bond with one of the wolves and worries about him. All the time. This comes to effect her early in the novel, when her town starts to hunt the wolves and Grace is worried about Sam.

Thankfully, Grace is able to save Sam, not when he’s a wolf. But when he’s a human boy. Thankfully her parents are very absent. While they are there, they don’t pay attention and this allows Grace to bring Sam into her house to keep him warm…human. What I give credit to was Stiefvater is the fact that background information never felt like an info dump. Because of the fact Sam and Grace never really talked, he is able to give background information without making it feel like HERE IS INFORMATION. PLEASE ACCEPT IT. Which is always much appreciated.

The problem with Shiver for me is I never really connected with it. I never really connect with Stiefvater’s writing the same way my friends do. Almost everyone I know loves her, but I have trouble connecting with her characters, and Shiver reminded me of that problem. While I appreciate the story, I was rarely involved or cared enough to want to continue. I never knew if I wanted to shake Sam and Grace, or if I wanted to push my way into their story and be more involved. The action was solid, the pacing was decent, but nothing about this book really had me hanging on for more.

 


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