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.

Boys Don’t Knit (Boys Don’t Knit #1) by T.S. Easton

21469102Boys Don’t Knit (Boys Don’t Knit #1) by T.S. Easton
Release Date: March 24, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: ARC provided by publisher! Thanks!
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Knitting is a man’s game.

After an incident regarding a crossing guard and a bottle of Martini & Rossi (and his bonehead friends), 17-year-old worrier Ben Fletcher must develop his sense of social alignment, take up a hobby, and do some community service to avoid any further probation.

He takes a knitting class (it was that or his father’s mechanic class) under the impression that it’s taught by the hot teacher all the boys like. Turns out, it’s not. Perfect.

Regardless, he sticks with it and comes to find that he’s a natural knitter, maybe even great. It even helps ease his anxiety and worrying. The only challenge now is to keep it hidden from his friends, his crush, and his soccer-obsessed father. What a tangled web Ben has weaved . . . or knitted.– Goodreads

Review:

My love of this book is strong, I went into this book aware about nothing but that kick ass cover. Yes. I know, we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, but I’m a librarian. I CAN DO WHAT I WANT. What happened was, I fell in love with this book. I fell in love with Ben and the world that Easton had created.

In Boys Don’t Knit, we are introduced to Ben Fletcher, he’s a good guy, he is. He just has bonehead friends and he’s a teenager. Because of this combination, he ends up throwing a bottle of Martini & Rossi  by a crossing guard and the next thing he knows, he is sentenced to community service. What he doesn’t expect is his community service to include a knitting class (that he signed up for because the teacher is hot). The first day of class he finds out that not only is the hot teacher not teaching the class, but that he’s actually good at knitting. Like, really good! Plus, his classmates are nice, and really encouraging.

What was harder for Ben was keeping up the ruse that he wasn’t in a knitting class, but in a pottery class, because lets be real. No one would understand. As his lie begins to unravel though what Ben finds out is most people don’t care that he’s knitting, they care about the lie that he was keeping from him.

While I found the plot to be a little predictable, I enjoyed Boys Don’t Knit so much, I didn’t care. I enjoyed how real this story was. From Ben’s parents and family life, to his group of friends, and even his knitting group. I was so enthralled in this book any formulaic side didn’t effect my enjoyment on the book. I also enjoyed Ben’s relationship with the elderly, crossing guard. What I really enjoyed was the fact that Ben thought she was ancient and she was sixty-one. But when you’re seventeen, sixty-one is ancient. And while the beginning of their relationship was tense, by the end there was a nice, fond friendship between the two.

I understand that the cover of Boys Don’t Knit is what brought me into the book, but ultimately the story that Easton told is what kept me around.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

22429350The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: ARC provided by publisher. Thanks Bloomsbury!
Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live? – Goodreads

Review:

The Start of Me and You is the story of Paige, or as she is known in high school, the girl who’s boyfriend died. That’s the type of town Paige lives in, the one where everyone has a nickname, even if it one that they don’t enjoy. So here Paige is with this nickname hanging over her, and while she misses her boyfriend, they really didn’t date long enough for her to properly feel his loss. It was the beginning of a relationship, not the meaty middle, but this doesn’t stop her neighbors, and people that she sees from giving her the sad sympathetic eyes that make her feel guilty for trying to live again.

You think, given the diversity of the human population, that we would have come up with multiple facial expressions for sympathy. But no. There’s one: eyebrows and mouth downturned, head tilted like a curious bird. –p3, printed ARC.

The guilt entered my bloodstream like a toxin –p3, printed ARC.

While I have not had a great death in my family (that I can remember) I know that feeling of guilt. I know that feeling well. On the third page of The Start of Me and You I was hooked. What I didn’t expected was how hooked I was going to be in Paige’s story. I devoured this book. My BookBFF and I have started a handwritten bookclub and I expected to write my letter while reading this book. But nope. No one has time for that. I read this so fast that I didn’t have time to take notes. I did use tons of tabs because Ashley. Ashley has the feeeeels.

Although I loved so many aspects of The Start of Me and You, what worked for me was the concentration on friendships and how much they can help you when you have the right friends. For part of the novel Paige is frustrated with her friend Kayleigh because Paige can see that she is making a poor life choice, but Paige knows nothing  she says will make Kayleigh see it. We’ve all been there, or at least I know I have been there. And it’s painful and it doesn’t always work out in the “right” away but never once wavered being friend with Kayleigh she was always there for Kayleigh, even if Paige wanted to rip her hair out. Friendship wasn’t wrapped in a neat bow here, particularly because Paige doesn’t understand why her friends say with her.

Tessa (Paige’s closest friend) lived through losing Aaron right beside me. It seemed unfair that she was always the one supporting me. Her life would have been so much lighter if it weren’t entwined with mine.–p172, printed ARC.

This gutted me. Because although I have not suffered that great loss, I understand what it’s like to have friends and not believe that I deserve them. From blogger friends, to friends that live near me in Phoenix, to online best friends that have become in person friends that happen to live thousands of miles away from me. All of them have something in common, besides being my friend, is that when I have my lowest of lows, I don’t get why their lives are entwined with mine. Why they stay. When Paige said this I wanted to crawl into the book and hug her so hard.

I also enjoyed the use of not only the High School English class, but also quiz bowl and how Lord made it not only work for Paige, but also made Paige grow outside her comfort zone which was interesting to see. There of course is an adorable boy named Max, who Paige ignores for the longest time, because it’s just Max and she cares for his cousin Ryan. What I enjoyed was how Max and Ryan joined Paige’s fold of friends. They were all welcomed quirks and all. If anything they made the four girls stronger and it was refreshing to see.

I found The Start of Me and You to yes be a story of moving on, but also about finding your true self, second chances, and that group of friends that have your back even when you think no one should. While The Start of Me and You is the follow up to Emery Lord’s debut standalone Open Road Summer it does not suffer from the dreaded second book slump of an author. Not one bit. While I love and adore Open Road Summer I believe I actually enjoyed Start of Me and You even more. I wasn’t aware it was possible to love a book more than I loved Open Road Summer but I guess it is! I originally tweeted in the middle of reading Start of Me and You“Reading an @emerylord book is like coming home from vacation. It’s the best feeling.” And I stick by that, because she has a way with words which involves me almost being nostalgic for my teen years.

What’s Your “Winner’s Curse” Blog Tour

Hello! We are thrilled to be part of What’s Your “Winner’s Curse” Blog TourAfter I read both books I knew I would flail my arms to be part of this tour. So here we are! Welcome to our stop!

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The ‘Winner’s Curse’ is an economics term that means you’ve gotten what you wanted – but at too high a price.  What would you pay too much for?

I’ve thought long and hard about this actually. Love? A solid job that I love every day? Concert tickets? (I go to a lot of concerts.) A puppy? Let’s be real, it’s going to be the puppy right? But I ultimately decided on books, because here’s the thing. 10938939_10104635626778671_1187815709_oEven as a librarian, I own  a lot of books. I use the library all the time, I work at a library, I’m lucky enough to read ARCs and last year I still spent enough to pay off a good portion of my student loans if I would have just said no.

It’s a problem. I often buy books that I have to have only to have them sit on my shelf for a year before I sell them to my used book store down the street. Many times I start the year going “I am only going to get books for a book signing that’s coming to town!” But then I read a really, really good book and I have to buy it. Or my friend publishes a book and of course I’m going to support 10478135_10103856641970471_4860144068877182893_nthem. While in The Winner’s Curse  and The Winner’s Crime, Kestrel probably wishes that her curse could be something as simple as too many books and not paying too much for Arin, but still, without a doubt my winner’s curse is books. Oh the buyers regret I’ve had. Not every time, but enough that I have started to double guess almost any book purchase I have, because I recognize I have a problem.

But isn’t it a good problem to have? In my room I am literally surrounded by literature and my friends. Of course 10675520_10104490744693531_1017883376531321512_nmy father jokes that one spark and my room is gone. And I don’t regret the money I’ve spent going to book events (including yallfest and driving to California one day, just because I wanted to see Kasie West.) There is something comforting about seeing an author who’s book you loved and telling them how much it meant to you. Or seeing Stephanie Perkins, who you’ve talked to on her blog a lot and having her recognize your name and having her give you a hug because she knows you needed it. I don’t regret that. I also don’t regret the friends that books have brought me.

From Tina, who I run this blog with and send daily emails to about books and general life complaints to my friend Erica who works in book publishing and I almost never talk to about books. Unless it comes to how I need to purge my 711606_10102227000614811_1257611367_ncollection and she’d like to set a skype appointment with me because “Ashley you have a problem. Let’s work through it.” Or having a bookbff in which there is no book judgement? Those friendships mean the world to me.

Will I get better about my winner’s curse? Maybe. I am running out of room. It would also be nice to pay off my student loans. But the feeling of those books? And my friends? Worth it.

More about The Winner’s Curse and The Winner’s Crime

16069030The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Release Date: March 14, 2014
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.  – Goodreads

21469060The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.  – Goodreads

The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

21469060The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Source: Publisher (Thank you!)
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement…if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.

As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them. – Goodreads

Review:

After I finished the first book, The Winner’s Curse, I quickly picked up The Winner’s Crime. The Winner’s Crime picks up quickly after the first book, about a month has past and Lady Kestrel currently lives in the palace with her future husband and father-in-law. Kestrel is still as ornery as she was in the first book and is still a smart game player.

She calmed herself. The emperor didn’t know the truth about the day she had pushed for an end to the Herrani rebellion. No one did. Not even Arin knew she had bought his freedom with a few strategic words … and the promise to wed the crown prince.–pg. 7 ARC.

Because Kestrel is an excellent game player, she is trying to push the wedding as far off as possible. No one, but her future father-in-law wants, this wedding to happen. The man she is promised to, Verex, is not interested in this wedding and is actually wondering why she wants to be married to him.

“If you won’t be my friend,” she told Verex, “you’ll regret being my enemy.”–pg. 46 ARC

The Emperor is not a good man, and neither is the Prince. While, for most of the novel we have no feel on the Prince, what we know is that he bribes many around him and has them in their pocket. It seems the apple didn’t fall far from the tree when it came to him. When Kestrel lies to the Emperor he makes it clear she will live to regret that action. For quite sometime nothing happens, which of course makes Kestrel let her guard down, which is the last thing she

Kestrel’s life is better when she knows who the bad people are and who the good people are, and this includes Arin. Sweet Arin who ends up at the Palace with Kestrel, who remembers all of the feelings she has for him even when they both try to deny it.

They are both a Taylor Swift waiting to happen with their lack of communication and how you just want to smish them together so they can be happy. Alas, that doesn’t happen throughout The Winner’s Crime, but that’s okay, becasue Rutkoski’s email kept me so firmly in this world, that my heart was willing to forgive. I should be clear, there is nothing about The Winner’s Crime that is romance. I spent a lot of time reading this article not even sure if there would be a happy ending because Rutkoski is that good.

“Marry him,” Arin said, “but be mine in secret.”–pg. 194 ARC

The problem with the two, is that they are on different pages hoping the other is reading their page. It’s hard enough in friendships when there is misunderstandings, but when it comes to two rulers that aren’t holding a proper conversation, it is painful to read. But it is a must read. It doesn’t suffer from that dreaded middle book syndrome and is a solid book that left me wanting more from the third book.

 

The Queen’s Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5) by Marissa Meyer

tqaThe Queen’s Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5) by Marissa Meyer
Release Date: November 23, 2012
Publisher: Wattpad
Source: Wattpad
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Wattpad (Free!)

It is time. The boy must leave his family to serve in the Queen’s army. To be chosen is an honor. To decline is impossible. The boy is modified. He is trained for several years, and learns to fight to the death. He proves to the Queen—and to himself—that he is capable of evil. He is just the kind of soldier the Queen wants: the alpha of his pack. – Goodreads

Review:
Cinder got her own origin tale, and now it’s time for Wolf’s. I realized I should have read this before Scarlet when it was too late, and maybe it would have made me more sympathetic to Wolf (he gave off Edward Cullen vibes at first). Though their childhoods were different, both stories are heartbreaking. Cinder has no memories because she spent such a long time being rebuilt, and Wolf (or Ze’ev) is taken from his parents at the age of twelve to be transformed into a terrible monster. Of course, as we learned in Scarlet, Wolf is made part of an elite group of soldiers, so he’s not completely transformed into a wolf…hybrid…thing. (Should I just say werewolf? Are we doing that, or no?)

As someone who just had a baby boy (and that’s not required to feel this way, but man, is it intense), I felt so awful for poor Wolf. Twelve and taken and turned into something not human. Operated on, given no choice, scared, cut off from his family forever. No. It’s horrible. And within Wolf’s new “family,” we see typical werewolf dynamics (I love that there are enough werewolf books out there for any behavior to be considered “typical”), much of which involves violence. There are alphas, betas, and omegas, and that’s just the way it is. Wolf welcome by his pack’s alpha is not exactly warm and cozy.

This whole story does a lot to explain what happens to soldiers in the queen’s army, but it really just made me feel sad for Wolf. It made him seem more human, sure, and less Edward Cullen, but still, I mostly just felt sad for everyone involved in this pack. For everyone in all the packs. What happened to them wasn’t fair or humane. It’s horrible and immoral and hard to read about. But as an origin story, I rather liked it. At least it made me feel differently about Wolf.

When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill

Untitled-2When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Ellie Cahill is poised to coin the term “sorbet sex” with her charming twist on the age-old ‘friends-with-benefits’ story.

Dating can be fun, but it can leave a nasty taste in your mouth. For Joss, ever since her longtime boyfriend cheated on her, she doesn’t want her last memory of a guy to be that jerk. Enter her college friend, Matt. They come up with a theory: after a bad break-up, a person needs to cleanse the palate with a little sorbet sex. Lovers for a night, but always back to being friends in the morning. The two can handle it because they have a contract: rules they wrote, rules they follow and rules they can sometimes bend. The arrangement works: everyone needs a little sorbet now and again … until it starts to be the only thing you want. And then Joss breaks the one rule they never wrote down: don’t fall in love. – Goodreads

Review:

I know. I know, every time I say I’m done with New Adult, I am sucked back in. Mood reading, you are my fickle bitch. I will openly admit to liking this story more than I expected if only for the fact it took place in the WISCONSIN–my heart. That being said, so much of this book did not work for me. When Joss Met Matt is the story of, wait for it, when Joss met Matt, and UW-Madison in their dorms.

Told between then and now, Cahill weaves together two stories of love and the mess that happens when you fall in love, including other characters. For half of the novel, I was enjoying the fact that Joss and Matt were not only seeing each other for their sorbet sex, but that they were falling in love with other people that the other person disliked. It was real and my heart went out to both of them. However, there was a point that I stopped enjoying the game, and I wanted them to figure their shit out. I was done. I was annoyed and had this need to skip, because if they were going to keep skirting around their feelings, I was not here for that.

Which confused even me, because usually I don’t care about that. I am fine with the dipping the toes in the water, and the falling in love with each other slowly, but it wasn’t slowly. It was obvious to me, as a reader at least, that they were in love with each other and instead of talking to each other they ignored it. I think what happened was I just got bored with it. And yes, I did end up skimming and enjoying the ending, but by then I was done.

Displacement by Lucy Knisley

9781606998106_41d21Displacement by Lucy Knisley
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In the latest volume of her graphic travelogue series, New York Times-best selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley must care for her grandparents on a cruise.

In her graphic memoirs, New York Times-best selling cartoonist Lucy Knisley paints a warts-and-all portrait of contemporary, twentysomething womanhood, like writer Lena Dunham (Girls). In the next installment of her graphic travelogue series, Displacement, Knisley volunteers to watch over her ailing grandparents on a cruise. (The book’s watercolors evoke the ocean that surrounds them.) In a book that is part graphic memoir, part travelogue, and part family history, Knisley not only tries to connect with her grandparents, but to reconcile their younger and older selves. She is aided in her quest by her grandfather’s WWII memoir, which is excerpted. Readers will identify with Knisley’s frustration, her fears, her compassion, and her attempts to come to terms with mortality, as she copes with the stress of travel complicated by her grandparents’ frailty.– Goodreads

Review:

I am quite a fan of Lucy Knisley who I picked up last summer during my graphic novel period (see review: here.) When I saw that there were ARCS of her new book Displacement I got quite excited. Displacement did not disappoint and made my heart hurt in ways I did not know was possible. Displacement is the story of Knisley who decides to watch her grandparents as they take a cruise. What Knisley doesn’t expect, and what I didn’t expect, was the feelings that Knisley was going to face throughout the novel.

The emotions Knisley faces rage from frustration, to fear, compassion, stress, and the fact that her grandparents are on9781606998106_IL_02_9d9fc the verge of death. Knisley didn’t really think about that fact that her grandparents are not the grandparents she remembers. I’m lucky, my grandmother, who is still alive, is still the grandmother I remember from my childhood. Lucy is not that lucky. These grandparents are different, they’re more exhausting and her ten day cruise seems like Gilligan’s Island, the tour that never ends.

What she doesn’t expect though is to become closer to her grandparents, even if they won’t remember it, she will. She also learns that her grandparents shaped her family dynamics more than she ever knew. She’s the favorite grandchild because she got her undergrad degree and education was very important in the family. Her father tells her he loves her all the time, because his parents rarely said it.

Displacement is constantly full of heartbreak because I spent almost the entire book wanting to hug Lucy, not only because of her story, but also the memoir her grandfather wrote about World War II that she intertwined throughout her own story.

9781606998106_IL_01_795ce

What sold the story for me, was not only Lucy’s storytelling, which I enjoyed as I always do, but also her illustrations and use of color which you can see here. I felt like I was there with her, facing her fears and facing issues she just didn’t want to deal with at the time. That part of growing up that we’re all in denial about, but we all have to face sooner or later. Displacement did not disappoint and it was a pleasure to read, even if it did make me and my cold bitter black heart want to hug my grandmother ASAP.

Images provided on Edelweiss from publisher.


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