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.

The Shape of My Heart (2B Trilogy #3) by Ann Aguirre

21938168The Shape of My Heart (2B Trilogy #3) by Ann Aguirre
Release Date: November 25. 2014
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Source: Netgalley
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Some people wait decades to meet their soul mate. Courtney Kaufman suspects she met hers in high school only to lose him at seventeen. Since then, Courtney’s social life has been a series of meaningless encounters, though she’s made a few close friends along the way. Especially her roommate Max Cooper, who oozes damaged bad-boy vibes from every pore.

Max knows about feeling lost and trying to move beyond the pain he’s been on his own since he was sixteen. Now it’s time to find out if he can ever go home again, and Courtney’s the only one he trusts to go with him. But the trip to Providence could change everything because the more time he spends with Courtney, the harder it is to reconcile what he wants and what he thinks he deserves.

It started out so simple. One misfit helping another. Now Max will do anything to show Courtney that for every heart that’s ever been broken, there’s another that can make it complete. – Goodreads

Review:

This book did not work for me in the same way the previous two in the series did. There is not one thing in particular that set it off. The pacing, the characters, the story line. All of it felt slow and that I was sludging through it. It started off so well that I was enjoying it particularly when Courtney was giving us gems such as this one:

If my life were a romantic comdedy, I wouldn’t be the star, I’d be the witty, wise-cracking friend, telling the Reese Witherspoon character to follow her heart, and I’d be played by America Ferrera, Hollywood’s idea of an ugly duckling–1% eARC

Romance ranked dead last on my to-do list at the moment.–1% eARC.

Courtney was snarky, and didn’t take much shit. I enjoyed her; however, the way the eARC was formatted it was often hard to tell if I was in Courtney’s mind or Max’s brain. Here’s a hint: the whole novel is from Courtney’s point of view. But once I figured out the point of view problem,  The Shape of My Heart did become easier to read. Max and Courtney are a cute duo of friends who slowly become closer when he grandfather dies and she accompanies  him home.

When they are at his childhood home, she realizes how lucky she is that he’s even alive today. His father is an asshole, his mother died, and he is convinced his whole family hates him. I say he’s convinced because minus his father, no one hates him and his father is a drunk so we’re not going to count him.

What Aguirre does well is the love story. It’s painful, realistic, and beautiful. Of course I wanted them to talk at one point, but that always happens when I read romance novels. At one point I have this need to yell “JUST SPEAK TO EACH OTHER.” But it really does work, and it’s beautiful.

I didn’t fall in love with you in a few weeks. It was so slow and deep that I’ll never stop feeling it. –97% eARC

While this is a solid series, I wish it was…better. I did like the end of this book and how it ties everything together throughout the three books. But I do wish there was more.

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

9780142401767_KeepingTheMo_CV.inddKeeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: September 1, 1999
Publisher: Speak
Source: The Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Colie expects the worst when she’s sent to spend the summer with her eccentric aunt Mira while her mother, queen of the television infomercial, tours Europe. Always an outcast — first for being fat and then for being “easy” — Colie has no friends at home and doesn’t expect to find any in Colby, North Carolina. But then she lands a job at the Last Chance Cafe and meets fellow waitresses Morgan and Isabel, best friends with a loving yet volatile relationship. Wacky yet wise, Morgan and Isabel help Colie see herself in a new way and realize the potential that has been there all along – Goodreads

Review:

Colie doesn’t fit in. In her family, in school, in life. Her mother Kiki is a weight-loss guru and too busy being in infomercials to be Colie’s mother. And while Colie is used to being overweight, and she claims she was fine with it. She was not fine with the names but the voices but the fact the fat kept her warm, and comfortable. When her mother started to lose weight, Colie did too. Even though she lost all this weight, she does not have the confidence of being this skinnier person. There is no technique for that. This is a constant theme throughout the book for Colie and her life.

While Kiki is off in Europe, Colie goes to spend time with her mom’s sister, Mira, the kooky aunt in her life. What I find interesting about Dessen books is how she forms female friendships and how it’s always an us against them situation. While slowly the main character turns around and welcomes female friendships there is always this original guard up. I do wish she would mix that up a bit. But I did enjoy the “them” that Colie originally disliked. The two girls, are waitresses at the local joint: Isabel and Morgan. They are very opposite in personality from Colie, and she is not a fan of that. Colie has built these walls around herself and she enjoys that. But slowly, throughout Keeping the Moon help Colie to find herself. Her true self.

While is Colby, Colie gets a job at the local restaurant, which also helps her face her fears of people staring at her. It quickly dawned on her, that no one really cares about her. She’s invisible there, and she’s kind of okay with that. Colie actually isn’t, she’s lying to herself, and it’s painful to see, or read. What also doesn’t help Colie, is the fact she is in Colby with her eccentric aunt Mira. Mira is not popular in the town because she is unique, free spirit and not old country club. This is not approved by a good portion of Colby. People like Morgan on the other hand, don’t care. They appreciate Mira, and Colie, for who they are without changing.

Everything is going well for Colie until her high school enemy comes to town and makes Colie feel teeny-tiny again. Isabel tells Colie that she should be standing for that bullshit. She should stand up for herself and expect people to be decent to her. She doesn’t, so then when they’re assholes to her she looks like a sad puppy but she saw it coming. What I found most fascinating throughout Keeping the Moon was how Colie changed throughout the novel. As is typical for Dessen novels, the main character grows a lot throughout the novel, and I enjoy that predictability. My heart went out for Colie more than most characters, possibly because I related to her more than the other characters that Dessen had wrote (or even I previously read). Colie the former fat kid had pain that middle school Ashley related to and still hurt me to read about to this day. It was also interesting for me, because I have not read Dessen in order, it is clear to me that this is one of her earlier novels, if only for the use of the word “walkman” but that didn’t mean that I enjoyed it less.

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer

18404247How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

 Lydia Netzer, the award-winning author of Shine Shine Shine, weaves a mind-bending, heart-shattering love story that asks, “Can true love exist if it’s been planned from birth?”

Like a jewel shimmering in a Midwest skyline, the Toledo Institute of Astronomy is the nation’s premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. Here, dreamy cosmologist George Dermont mines the stars to prove the existence of God. Here, Irene Sparks, an unsentimental scientist, creates black holes in captivity.

George and Irene are on a collision course with love, destiny and fate. They have everything in common: both are ambitious, both passionate about science, both lonely and yearning for connection. The air seems to hum when they’re together. But George and Irene’s attraction was not written in the stars. In fact their mothers, friends since childhood, raised them separately to become each other’s soulmates.
When that long-secret plan triggers unintended consequences, the two astronomers must discover the truth about their destinies, and unravel the mystery of what Toledo holds for them—together or, perhaps, apart.

Lydia Netzer combines a gift for character and big-hearted storytelling, with a sure hand for science and a vision of a city transformed by its unique celestial position, exploring the conflicts of fate and determinism, and asking how much of life is under our control and what is pre-ordained in the heavens.  – Goodreads

Review:

While How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky is a slow burning book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. For awhile this shocked me, although it never should. Two dear friends enjoyed it: Jen and Estelle and they’ve never steered me wrong! I loved this book. I’m still shocked about how much I enjoyed this novel. How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky is the story of George and Irene. The two of them were made for each other and they had no idea.

Irene had a fairly horrible childhood. She got out of Toledo as soon as she could, because her father was never in her life and her mother was a drunk and Irene could not deal with that anymore, so she left. George on the other hand, stayed in Toledo because while his childhood wasn’t perfect, it was what it was and he was succeeding at being a cosmologist in Toledo. It’s hard to believe that these two were meant for each other, or would ever meet. Then, Irene’s mom dies and she is called back to Toledo.

In a beautiful slow moving story what Netzer shows is that we are not always the product of our development, even if that includes the development of being meant for each other. Irene is very practical and calls bullshit when she finds everything out because she’s had enough, George on the other hand is still in love with her. Nothing changes for him. He still loves her, still believes in fate. Still believes in her. Irene doesn’t know what to believe. She has always, always, always tried to be practical. She had to be, from a young age, the adult in her life and she doesn’t believe in love, flying, or anything but hard science.

There are many ‘unrealistic’ elements that I never once had a problem believing. I was fully invested in this book and if anything, I was annoyed when I had to put it down. What’s hard about this book is describing it without giving major plot points away. But it’s good. It’s so good I stopped after the end of every chapter because I wanted the book to never end and I actually cannot wait to revisit this book in a few years and have the characters welcome me back.

The Suffragette Scandal (Brothers Sinister #4) by Courtney Milan

22706875The Suffragette Scandal (Brothers Sinister #4) by Courtney Milan
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Publisher: Courtney Milan
Source: Library
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

An idealistic suffragette…

Miss Frederica “Free” Marshall has put her heart and soul into her newspaper, known for its outspoken support of women’s rights. Naturally, her enemies are intent on destroying her business and silencing her for good. Free refuses to be at the end of her rope…but she needs more rope, and she needs it now.

…a jaded scoundrel…

Edward Clark’s aristocratic family abandoned him to die in a war-torn land, so he survived the only way he could: by becoming a rogue and a first-class forger. When the same family that left him for dead vows to ruin Miss Marshall, he offers his help. So what if he has to lie to her? She’s only a pawn to use in his revenge.

…and a scandal seven years in the making.

But the irrepressible Miss Marshall soon enchants Edward. By the time he realizes that his cynical heart is hers, it’s too late. The only way to thwart her enemies is to reveal his scandalous past…and once the woman he loves realizes how much he’s lied to her, he’ll lose her forever.
. – Goodreads

Review:

While I fell in love with the previous novels in the series, The Suffragette Scandal, took me longer to warm up to, which ultimately made me struggle throughout the book. And that was rough for me because I wanted to enjoy it because I’ve enjoyed the previous books in the novels. Hell, I started to enjoy historical romances which is not remotely my typical genre!

But Suffragette Scandal, suffered. It took me forever not only to get into this book, but to enjoy it. While I enjoyed Free from previous books, the love story of Free and Edward never worked for me, or made me want to read The Suffragette Scandal. I’m not sure what it was: the mood or the book. But while I finished the book, it was a torture. I will however be happy to read Milan’s books in the future! I enjoyed the previous books in the series and blame me for the dislike of this one not working for me.

I may even come back to The Suffragette Scandal in the future, but for this moment this book fell extremely flat for me.

 

Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness (Scott Pilgrim #3) by Bryan Lee O’Malley

17172103Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness (Scott Pilgrim #3) by Bryan Lee O’Malley
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Oni Press
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

The full-color, completely remastered, utterly astounding republication of the Scott Pilgrim epic continues! This new 6″x9″ hardcover presents Scott’s run-in with Ramona ex, Envy boy toy, and The Clash at Demon Head with bassist Todd Ingram as you’ve never seen it before – in full-color! Plus, previously unpublished extras, hard-to-find short stories, and exclusive bonus materials will make you see Scott Pilgrim in a whole new light!–Goodreads

Review:

Scott Pilgirm gets progressively better throughout the series, but there are still faults in the series. While I have no regrets reading it (and enjoying it) I do wish O’Malley wouldn’t have taken the ‘typical’ route many times. I think half way through the series, it would have been more interesting to see boundaries pushed and risks to be taken. However, I understand and respect the fact this series blew up as it went along and risks couldn’t be taken from the get-go.

I did enjoy this installment, and enjoyed the story that O’Malley told. Scott is still the same from the previous two novels. He’s still an asshole who doesn’t think before he speaks. Or thinks at all. The world continues to revolve around him and he gets confused when people think about people who aren’t him. Like that happens? Some of the best parts of Scott Pilgrim for me, are throughout the series are the facial expressions that his friends give him when he opens his mouth. The group of friends was constantly real to me. They were snarky, they called out each other, and they didn’t find the fact that Scott is having to face Ramona’s evil exs and it was fun.

I have never gone into this series expecting anything and that has made this series so much more fun for me. Every page is a surprise and the bit of pop culture thrown in makes it even more enjoyable. I get why my friends have been encouraging me to read this series for years.

Alexandra Bracken takes PHX!

 

alex5

Last week, my dear friend Anna and I hit up our local indie in Phoenix, which side note. alex2Thanks Changing Hands for coming to downtown Phoenix! Hearts in my eyes for you! Although Anna and I go to this place once a month for book talk and booze, we came this time for Alexandra Bracken’s Phoenix signing. While she’s from Phoenix, she now lives in New York City and has not had a signing in Phoenix. I have the pleasure of meeting her last year at ALA in Chicago, and the next ALAs as she worked for a publisher, but it was enjoyable to see her as an author this time.

For the whole signing I felt like I was in Alex’s living room discussing books and publishing.I mean a giant living room with about 50 to 75 people, but it still stayed intimate and cozy. She answered any and all questions which ranged from “where did this idea come from?” to “what is the process for creating a cover?” I was enrapt listening to all of her answers. As someone who goes to…a few a lot of book signings, I’ve heard a lot of alexthe same questions over and over again, with very little enthusiasm for them. But with Alex, I was fascinated and wanted to hear more.

It was also a lot of fun because her family was there. From her mom, to her older sister, to her younger brother and his friends cosplaying the characters. I really hate being like “this book signing was just a lot of fun” but you know what? It was. It was one of the better book signings I’ve ever been to, and not just because I sat next to this lovely bowl of alex4candy the whole night (of course that helped). What was most interesting to me though was Alex’s road to publication. While it’s considered normal, she just recently quit her job, where should worked at a different publishing house and she worked her ass off so now she can write full time. Something she said is hard for her because she is used to writing int he wee hours of the morning. Not writing at 3AM, is this something she can do? Spoiler: she told us it is different, but she is working on it and she gets to see her friends again! Brunch! (No. I’m not into foods why’d you ask?)

I highly recommend seeing Alex if you have the shot. Her and her books are worth it.

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

9780142415566_AlongForTheR_CV.inddAlong for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Release Date: June 16, 2009
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend. – Goodreads

Review:

Along for the Ride is the story of Auden, a girl who never sleeps. Her parents were constantly fighting and she just started to stay up. Her parents being divorced is of course a key part of her life. Her mother and her strive for perfection, her father and the new, younger wife, and the baby is a lot for Auden to take in. But she makes due, even if she doesn’t want to. The never sleeping only gets her so far. While her mother loves her almost far too much (the need of perfection since her older brother is…not) her father almost doesn’t parent at all. It seems that he doesn’t know how to parent, which shows with the new baby and his wife Heidi. He’s forcing Heidi to do almost everything and Auden can feel the tension and how you can cut it with a knife.

Auden however stays with her father in this small beach town, that is featured in multiple Dessen novels. It’s interesting to see Auden find her place in her father’s new world. It isn’t that she’s at odds with her step-mother and father, but it’s that she doesn’t know how she fits into their new life, with a newborn. What Auden quickly finds out is that her family needs her even they don’t know it. Her step-mother is failing and her father is in denial about her. The baby is taking a lot out of Heidi, and Auden begins to assist her and Heidi is thankful. Heidi becomes a different person when she gets four hours of sleep!

Then Heidi and Auden’s father begin to have the same fights that her parents had. Her father is selfish and has not changed: at all. And that hurts Auden’s heart. Her father gives no shit about anyone but himself. When Heidi tells him this he rages because he is in denial about it. Because he’s there for them, but not in the way that counts. Auden wants to shake him so he figures his shit out. What’s awesome though is how Heidi and Auden are on the same team. The same side and they work with each other. It’s a new friendship that she does not have with her actual mother no matter how she tries and Auden slowly begins to form this nice friendship with her step-mother, something she planned on forming with her father, but again, her father is an interesting gentleman.

In typical Dessen fashion, Auden does not relate to other girls, because she doesn’t understand how to be that girl: whatever is the opposite of the it girl of the novel. But slowly Auden actually warms up to the girls at Heidi’s store and they become actual friends. Auden puts her new friends in a very particular box though, and later when the friends break that stereotype box Auden is in legit shock and it is a perfect moment. What Auden doesn’t expect is for her mother to make a surprise trip to Colby and to hate the fact that Auden isn’t the Auden she let go to Colby. Auden has changed and grown and that shocks her academic mother.

But throughout the summer Auden continues to change who she is, and not in a bad way, she’s just growing. She gets closer to Eli and begins to have feelings for him even though she’s in denial about them. Feelings are not studious, something her mother trained and molded her for. Her mother molded her for greatness. Not for love. What her mother also molded her for, was to look down on people who were academically not as good as her. She didn’t do this on purpose, but her brother was a flake and she worked hard to not be a flake.

I enjoyed this book and the growth of Auden throughout the book. It’s the one thing I always enjoy from Dessen novels, there is always growth. While I do not regret reading so many Sarah Dessen’s in a short time, I do wish I would have spread them out more, because they really do start to all blur together. Same themes, and boys, which is fine, but I did wish Dessen would mix it up and tell a brand new story. One I didn’t see in other stories of hers. While three stars seems bad, it’s actually not. I did enjoy the book, I just have no interest in re-reading it.


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