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.

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

11389398Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
Release Date: Feburary 28, 2012
Publisher: First Second
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

After years of homeschooling, Maggie is starting high school. It’s pretty terrifying.

Maggie’s big brothers are there to watch her back, but ever since Mom left it just hasn’t been the same.

Besides her brothers, Maggie’s never had any real friends before. Lucy and Alistair don’t have lots of friends either. But they eat lunch with her at school and bring her along on their small-town adventures.

Missing mothers…distant brothers…high school…new friends… It’s a lot to deal with. But there’s just one more thing.

MAGGIE IS HAUNTED. – Goodreads

Review:

A graphic novel review from me?! I know, I too am shocked. But this is a solid graphic novel and I wish I read it sooner. Friends with Boys is the story of Maggie, a girl who was home schooled most of her life until one day her mother left and her father decided it would be for the best if Maggie went to public school, like her older brothers do. But Maggie doesn’t want to go to high school. She is fine being home schooled, it’s comfortable, it is what she knows.

Even if you’ve never been home schooled, and I have never been home schooled, I know what it’s like to be comfortable and hate change. I’m almost 26 and have pain with change. Yes, I’m super fun to hang out with, no reason to ask.  Maggie’s father knows she will be fine, she has her brothers and it’s just high school.

The thing though is Maggie’s brothers are busy leading their own lives, they are there for her, but they can’t be her BFFs, and they aren’t. Through a growth period and finding other “misfits” she finds who she fits in with, they get her, and they are okay with the fact that, yes, Maggie is haunted.

This graphic novel had a lot of things I enjoyed. There was family love, there was friendships, and a love interest who wasn’t really a love interest, but really, just a friend. Through a period of her life, we follow Maggie and essentially a growth period in her life. She finds friends, she finds herself and finds her happiness. There were a few open ended things that I wanted to know, but I also know that life is open ended.

Suddenly Royal (Suddenly #1) by Nichole Chase

16143323Suddenly Royal (Suddenly #1) by Nichole Chase
Release Date: November 26, 2013 
Publisher: Avon Books
Source: Library
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it’s to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed.

Alex D’Lynsal is trying to keep his name clean. As crown prince of Lilaria, he’s had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women—especially women in the public eye. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She’s stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone’s front-page news.

While Sam tries to navigate the new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders. – Goodreads

Review:

Sometimes you read a book and you’re like “Damn, this is a me book.” Then you finish it and you’re like “oh, so not a me book at all.” That is how Suddenly Royal  was for me. It had everything I wanted. A prince, a sarcastic girl who was not interested in being a princess. I mean, in all seriousness, The Prince and Me is my movie (mostly cause of the Wisconsin part of it.)  Yet this book consistently was lacking something that made me want to devour the book.

Samantha is living her small town college life until one day she finds out she is the distance relative to the crown. The crown of a very small country, which depends on family, and since she is family she should just pick up her life and come to the palace. While Samantha was living comfortably, her mother had died recently and her father was not in the best of health and Lilaria has some of the best health care in the world that could assist him in getting better. Small world right?

So, Samantha decides to take them up on their offer, what is the worst that could happen?

Nothing really. Samantha fits right in Lilaria. Between Lilaria and the United States she is called “America’s Princess” and loved by all. Including Prince Alex, who is Samantha’s help getting accustomed to Lilaria. He is a notorious playboy, or so Samantha believes and she refuses to be a one night stand, so matter how hard Alex tries. Of course Alex is not the playboy that Samantha is so sure about. And slowly the begin to know each other better and know how good they could be together.

However, one of the things that didn’t work for me no matter how much I tried were the random pop culture references that were thrown in. They just didn’t work. It jarred me out of the story I was trying so hard to stay in. I felt that Chase was saying hi to some of her friends and they weren’t subtle, but painful to me. It brought this story from being a three star to me, to a two star.

Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg

19715106Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In this funny, frank, and tender new memoir, the author of the New York Times bestseller A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette recounts how opening a restaurant sparked the f irst crisis of her young marriage.

When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream-making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive–not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn’t think he would. Before she knew it, he’d signed a lease on a space. The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly’s assumptions about her marriage were about to change.

Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until–in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen–she realized that she hadn’t been honest with herself or Brandon.

With evocative photos by Molly and twenty new recipes for the kind of simple, delicious food that chefs eat at home, Delancey is a moving and honest account of two young people learning to give in and let go in order to grow together. – Goodreads

Review:

I’m not really sure how I found out about Molly, I believe it was one of those situations where I clicked a link to click a link to click a link. One day I should talk about the Wikipedia game and how I rocked that shit in undergrad. Back to Molly and her story. Molly is married to Brandon, a man who changes his mind and changes it often, but she is okay with that, because she knows him. Not only does she know him, she loves him and she supports him. This is why when he decides to open a restaurant she doesn’t blink and fully supports him. She knows that he’ll change his mind and things will change. They always do.

Things changed alright. Just not in the way she was expecting. Brandon was continuing to continue his dream and it seemed that the restaurant was really going to happen and Brandon and Molly have no idea how to run a restaurant. They know how to work in a restaurant, but not actually run it, or be the boss of people. They create Delancey from the ground. While they rent the structure of the building, and from there they remodel the whole thing. Between themselves and their friends they do it. They made Delancey into what it is today.

I’m not sure what I expected when I went into Delancey, but I do know that I devoured it. I read it as an eARC on my kindle app and I kept telling myself “one more chapter…” before bed and then next thing I know, I finished it. I was drawn into Wizenberg and her family story about how she knew things would change but they changed in a completely different way. She’s the one who changed. The restaurant changed. Brandon changed. They learned a lot about each other and the uncertainty of life. The book also featured recipes that are important in Wizenberg’s life. Not only food they’ve made, but food that was important to them while the restaurant was being built. It was an excellent, quick, memoir.

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich

18090061Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Library
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich is a rollicking and poignant romantic comedy about a young widow who decides to get in shape…and winds up getting her groove back–and a whole lot more! Holly Brennan used food to comfort herself through her husband’s illness and death. Now she’s alone at age thirty-two. And she weighs more than she ever has. When fate throws her in the path of Logan Montgomery, personal trainer to pro athletes, and he offers to train her, Holly concludes it must be a sign. Much as she dreads the thought of working out, Holly knows she needs to put on her big girl panties and see if she can sweat out some of her grief. Soon, the easy intimacy and playful banter of their training sessions lead Logan and Holly to most intense and steamy workouts. But can Holly and Logan go the distance as a couple now that she’s met her goals–and other men are noticing? – Goodreads

Review:

I completely read this author out of order. I was able to get an ARC of her upcoming book and read that first and then I read this one. That being said, it doesn’t really matter what order you read these books they are two complete stand alone novels that happen to take place in the same universe. And ultimately I read the “prequel” first anyway, so it all worked out!

This is a fascinating novel in the sense that it caused me more feels than I was prepared to face. Holly Brennan is an overweight woman who is fighting personal battles. Logan Montgomery is a picture perfect man who looks down on people like Holly. He states this in the first chapter, when he gets stuck in the worst place ever…coach.

Why do I always get the old lady, the drunk guy, or the fat chick?–2%

Because Logan tries to save the world, he decides to use his background and change Holly. So she’ll be fit and more likable. He wants to change her. Because she needs change and saving. Holly doesn’t fall for this. She wants nothing to do with this. After talking to her BFF, she decides it couldn’t hurt to get fit. Ever since her husband died she knows that she has dealt with her feelings with food, and while the book provides good information about eating habits, there seems to be a lot of fat shaming. Because Logan consistently looks down on her because she fat. Even when she has lost a significant amount of weight, he still looks down on her, because “it’s for the best.”

Then, a pivotal moment occurs and they start to date and he continues to hide her cause, can he really be seen with that? Don’t get me wrong, there is growth throughout the novel, of both characters, and secondary characters, but there was a lot to the book that felt wrong to me. It may be because Logan was such an unlikable character. It may be because of a lot of unlikable characters (which is a whole other topic–unlikable characters). It may be how Logan viewed fat people, and therefore Holly, throughout most of the book. I’m not necessarily able to put my finger on what bothered me, but there was that thing I was bothered by which affected my review in the end.

The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

18077836The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson
Release Date: March 25, 2104
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Source: Netgalley
Rating: DNF
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Fans of The City of Ember will love The Mark of the Dragonfly, an adventure story set in a magical world that is both exciting and dangerous.
Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields.
The girl doesn’t remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she’s from the Dragonfly Territories and that she’s protected by the king. Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home.

The one sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train. But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year. And stowing away is a difficult prospect–everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible.
Life for Piper just turned dangerous. A little bit magical. And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey. – Goodreads

Review:

The Mark of the Dragonfly is the story of Piper, a girl who has never seen the Mark, and her life has been fine with that. Piper fixes things and she’s good at it and she is surviving that way. The only way she knows how. Then one day, when she is scavenging she comes upon a girl with the Mark and her life changes forever. Annnnnd that is where I ended.

This was a beautifully written book. Johnson’s prose is what kept me reading this book for as long as I did. Then I stopped and I realized for a few weeks I had not been reading it and I didn’t care to see where the story was going. While this is an amazing book for the right reader, it was not an amazing book for me. As I have stated in the past, I am trying to get better at not finishing books that I’m not interested in, and this sadly was one of them that I put down. One day I may be intrigued enough to come back to it but at the moment, I do not see that happening.

House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple

15728807House of Ivy & Sorrow by Natalie Whipple
Release Date: April 15th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves. – Goodreads

Review:

Oh how I enjoyed this book. It had witches! Character development! Friendships! Romance! Teens being teens! Josephine Hemlock comes from a family of female witches that has been spoiled by the Curse, something that is out to destroy the Hemlock bloodline. I say female witches because men never last in the family. Through use of brilliant flashbacks, Whipple shows us Josephine’s parents together and happy and shows us how it didn’t work. Which doesn’t only satisfy the reader, but also Josephine who begins to understand her parents better.

The book takes place during a time Josephine is in love with the cute boy of school, who of course has secrets of his own. Thankfully they aren’t the typical secrets and are an excellent twist in the novel. Not only does Josephine deal with the adorable boy, she also has to deal with her mother’s killer who is out to get not only her, but also her grandmother, one of the last people she has in her life that mean the world to her. When her grandmother falls horribly ill, Josephine learns who she can count on in her time of need. Her two friends are there for her and ultimately become her family when she needs them the most and it was a beautiful thing to see. Often in YA novels girls are catty and hate each other and this wasn’t like it at all. While Josephine has some moments with her friends (and understandably who doesn’t? I’m 25 and still have moments with my friends. Mostly HOW DO YOU NOT SEE THIS IS PISSING ME OFF AND I AM BARELY KEEPING IT TOGETHER. But I digress). Her relationship with Kat and Gwen were so authentic and I really enjoyed reading that.

What I also enjoyed in this novel is how Josephine grew. While she always embraced herself and her family heritage, when things changed, and not always for the better, she worked through it. Not once did I want to shake her and/or slap her. Okay that’s a lie, there was that one time, but to be fair, there is almost always that ONE time in a novel.

I cannot recommend this book enough. I love and adore it and continue to flail at Whipple’s writing.

The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

ttdtlThe Thousand-Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham
Release Date: March 25, 2014
Publisher: Vintage
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

From Rob Thomas, the creator of the television series and movie phenomenon Veronica Mars, comes the first book in a thrilling mystery series that picks up where the feature film left off. 

Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She’s traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it’s spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is no simple missing person’s case; the house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica’s past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.

In Veronica Mars, Rob Thomas has created a groundbreaking female detective who’s part Phillip Marlowe, part Nancy Drew, and all snark. With its sharp plot and clever twists, The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line will keep you guessing until the very last page.

Review:
Veronica Mars was once my favorite show, and it continues to hold a special place in my heart. I recommend it to everyone and I think the writing holds up (I don’t include season three when speaking of this; season three of VM is my Breaking Dawn: IT NEVER HAPPENED). The movie was like fan fic on my TV (I was a Kickstarter backer, so I got a copy of the digital version), and I loved every second of it. It’s hard for me to find fault in the movie or the book, because I am so blinded by fangirlish love for this show. This was my first fandom, and when I was really involved, there was so much good fic written, that the line between canon and fanon started to blur. Luckily, Logan and Veronica and everyone else are written exacty as I’d hoped they’d be–older, more mature, less angsty, more in control of their lives. Wallace and Mac are PERFECT and so true to voice and character. I’m so psyched that Rob Thomas helped write this instead of just using a writer, because he knows these characters. They’re his. So if you found imperfections in this novel, understand my critical reading skills went out the window as soon as I opened this book. Also, there will be hella spoilers so if you haven’t seen the movie/don’t want to be spoiled, skip this one until later.

We open in Neptune, just after the movie ends. Keith is in physical therapy, Logan is on a ship somewhere with the Navy, and Veronica is getting back into the PI game. Keith is unhappy with her choice, but Veronica feels as though a long-lost piece of herself has been found. She immediately immerses herself in a big case, taking risks she shouldn’t, just like she did as a teenager in the series. The police force in Neptune is still terribly corrupt and incompetent, with all the decent officers gone and Sacks is dead. That makes me so sad still! Killed for trying to do the right thing sounds about right for Neptune. But I digress. Neptune is flooded with spring breakers from all over California, and young girls are starting to go missing. Mac uses her resourcefulness to dig up truly terrifying information about the house the girls were last seen at, and the trio–Veronica, Mac, and Wallace–are left needing a plan. A strong one. So while the case is taking over the business part of Veronica’s life, she is also struggling to rebuild her relationship with her father, who is confused and disappointed that she gave up her lawyer career before even taking the bar exam. There are some realities of the PI profession that Veronica doesn’t like, but Keith pushes her to accept them. “This is what it costs,” he says in chapter fourteen. Keith and Veronica have always had one of the best relationships on television, but they’ve had their rocky patches and this is one of them, definitely. And then we get a little surprise: Lianne Mars reappears, known now as Lianne Scott, the stepmother of one of the missing girls. (I hate Lianne Mars. In most fanfic, the author killed her off to make everyone’s lives easier.)

As with everything in Neptune, this case is difficult, dangerous, and intricate connected with other things. There are payoffs, drugs, and real estate. And Veronica hasn’t outgrown her biggest PI problem–she’s bad at calling for backup. Wanting to spare her friends is such a Veronica thing, and she hasn’t left this behind. Maybe if Logan were around, she’d have asked him, but his fame didn’t always lend itself well to discretion and secrecy. I missed Logan a lot in this book, because he could have balanced Veronica out. Veronica still has weird ideas about relationships, at one point saying something like “big girls don’t discuss their feelings.” Typical Veronica Mars. It gets harder to recap/review when they really sink their teeth into the mystery, but I’ll be honest, I didn’t know who the bad guy was (and since this is Neptune, there are a lot of bad guys. The trick is finding the right one). And remember, this is noir, so things don’t always have a happy ending. Which works for me, because that’s life. Life is not a cute romance tied in a bow. Life is babies and breakups and marriages and cancer, it’s a mix of everything. And sometimes, people don’t live very long.

Bottom line: if you watched this show, you’ll like this book. Everyone is true to character, the mystery is just something that would happen in Neptune, and a slew of familiar characters show up. Recommend!


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