(Review) All the Wrong Chords

All the Wrong Chords by Christine Hurley Deriso
Publication Date: December 12, 2017
Pages: 280 (ebook)
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 3.5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
Scarlett Stiles is desperate for a change of scenery after her older brother, Liam, dies of a drug overdose. But spending the summer with her grandfather wasn't exactly what she had in mind. Luckily, Scarlett finds something to keep her busy--a local rock band looking for a guitarist. Even though playing guitar has been hard since Liam died, Scarlett can't pass on an opportunity like this, and she can't take her eyes off the band's hot lead singer either. Is real happiness just around the corner? Or will she always be haunted by her brother's death?

My Review: 
I kind of requested this one on a whim, not sure what to expect. The premise sounds great and it's totally something I'm into, but I was a little worried about it being pulled off. I get super picky with my heartache-to-love stories. 

Scarlett is a great character. She's young and ambitious and maybe a little naive about things. She falls hard for Declan, the lead singer of the Beastings even though there are warning signs all around her. It's been six months since her brother died of a drug overdose and it's also been that long since she's really "felt" anything but sadness. 

Declan is a jerk, honestly. He's irresponsible and rude. And he's a huge player. You get about halfway through the book before Scarlett finally realizes it. It's not hard for you, as a reader, to see it but it takes Scarlett a little while. 

What you do notice, is Zach. Sweet, kind of sad, Zach who helps Scarlett learn music, listens to her talk about her brother, and invites her to join the band in the first place. 

You'll love Zach. *swoon*

This is a great little story about overcoming grief and finding your way again. It's also good to see a strong female character take charge and ignore the boy who treats her like crap. I really enjoyed this one and I hope that a little editing will go a long way. Some of the transitions were abrupt and there were some spelling issues, but all in all a good read. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Flux for the ARC. 

(Review) Kissing Max Holden

Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman
Publication Date: August 1, 2017
Pages: 336 (kindle)
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis: 
“Jilly. . . if you tell me to go home, I will.”
After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn't himself. His long-time friend Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn't know how. So when he climbs through her window one night, she knows that she shouldn't let him kiss her. But she does. When they're caught in the act by her dad, she swears it'll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.
With a new baby sibling on the way, and her parents fighting all the time, Jillian spends more and more time with Max. And not kissing Max is easier said than done, even though she knows he still has a girlfriend. Will Jill follow her heart, and allow their kisses to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden altogether?
My Review: 
Okay. It takes a lot for me to mark a book five stars, but this one got it. It's a perfect amount of heartbreak and swoons and I fell in love with Max Holden a little bit. (Okay, a lot.) 
The synopsis up top is pretty straight forward so I'm just going to get right to characters and such, if that's okay. 

Jillian is a really cool character. That sounds kind of lame, but it's true. She's an avid baker, has her sights set on culinary school, and she's pretty much the perfect daughter. Since her stepmother has been put on bed rest and her father "works a lot" Jillian takes care of a lot of the household things. Well, she's perfect until her dad catches Max Holden in her bedroom.

Max is seriously broken. His father's stroke has taken a huge toll on him, he's in a terrible relationship, and he drinks...a lot. He's also caring and kind and scared. 

Jillian and her friends try to make it a point to be there for Max, but not to try to fix him. They know that it isn't going to be easy, but they want to help him in the best way they can. Besides all of this Jillian's dad has pretty much banned her from seeing Max, even though they live across the street from each other. 

In the midst of everything, Jillian's little sister is born, things with Max get serious, and Jillian's world is turned upside down by her father. Seriously, you'll come to hate the guy. 

This book is a whirlwind of emotions: swoons, anger, and sadness. I loved every bit of it. The characters are impossible not to like (expect Becky, ugh) and you'll want a happily ever after for all of them. 

Good news: this book comes out in August. Put it on your list. 

Gratuitous gif, because. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Swoon Reads for the ARC.

(Review) How to Make a Wish

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Pages: 336 (kindle)
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 4 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn't have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.

Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace's mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.

My Review: 
I loved Suffer Love and was pretty eager to get my hands on this one (after I talked the library into buying it). The author has a great way of writing easy love stories with a lot of drama surrounding them.

Grace's life isn't that great. Her mom sucks, she's living with her ex-boyfriend, and she's stuck in a small town with no light at the end of the tunnel. The characters surrounding Grace are lovely. She's got a best friend who knows her in and out, and his mom who treats her like Grace is her own child. It kind of makes up for the fact that her mom is really terrible. Grace is a hard worker and a talented piano player, but her mom hinders a lot of that.

Eva's just lost her mom and has moved in with Emmy, Luca's mom. Emmy is trying to help her deal with her grief and encourages her to continue ballet, but Eva is finding a connection with Maggie, Grace's mom.

As Grace and Eva grow closer things slowly start to come out about each of them, but it isn't really enough. Grade likes Eva, but she hates the time that Eva spends with her mother. They're both testing new waters with their relationship and those around them.

There is definitely some major drama toward the end that made me rage in a way that I do when parents don't do right by their children. It was heartbreaking to read, but really brought the story full circle.

Definitely check this out.

(Review) A Million Junes

A Million Junes by Emily Henry
Publication Date: May 16th, 2017
Pages: 350 (hardcover)
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

For as long as Jack “June” O’Donnell has been alive, her parents have had only one rule: stay away from the Angert family. But when June collides—quite literally—with Saul Angert, sparks fly, and everything June has known is thrown into chaos.

Who exactly is this gruff, sarcastic, but seemingly harmless boy who has returned to their hometown of Five Fingers, Michigan, after three mysterious years away? And why has June—an O’Donnell to her core—never questioned her late father’s deep hatred of the Angert family? After all, the O’Donnells and the Angerts may have mythic legacies, but for all the tall tales they weave, both founding families are tight-lipped about what caused the century-old rift between them.

As Saul and June’s connection grows deeper, they find that the magic, ghosts, and coywolves of Five Fingers seem to be conspiring to reveal the truth about the harrowing curse that has plagued their bloodlines for generations. Now June must question everything she knows about her family and the father she adored, and she must decide whether it’s finally time for her—and all the O’Donnells before her—to let go.

My Review: 
I'll have to admit to being a little bit wary of this one. I *liked* The Love That Split the World, but I wasn't *in love* with it and I'm always scared to try something else from an author when I don't have strong feelings about it. 

This is a story about June. Or Jack. Or Junior. She's got a lot of names and it's okay, because she's one-of-a-kind. I'll call her June for the sake of this review because it's the name I liked best. June really was a simple character- I mean that in the best way possible. She's down to earth and simple, but not in a dumb way. June loves her family, her friends, and her home. She's kind and caring, but not to the point that she's naive. 

When June meets Saul at a carnival things take a turn. Saul is an Angert and O'Donnells hate Angert. Only Saul is handsome and smart and funny...so why should she hate him? 

As this story progresses and Saul and June grow closer, magic happens. Not magic as in "sparks fly" (even though they do), but actual magic. June has always believed her house is haunted and has always seen Feathers, the friendly ghost. Now more things are happening and both Saul and June are seeing things. 

What they're seeing is their families' past - the reason why they're supposed to hate each other. 

So, this story was filled with all kinds of feels. It was like the perfect mixture of love story, mystery, forbidden love, and magic. I was on pins and needles fifty pages in, dying to know what was going to happen. 

The way that the magic and family history was woven together was perfect. June's relationships were perfect: from her parents, siblings, friends, and Saul - I loved all of it. 

It's not everyday I fall in love with a book so much that I need a recovery day before I read anything again...but this was it. 

I would read A Million Junes a million times. 

(Review) Once and For All

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Pages: 358 (hardcover)
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 3 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis: Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

My Review:
I'll have to admit to being a little disappointed with this one. Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors and I've read all of her other books. She writes simple love stories, great drama, and gives all the feels. I wasn't that crazy about this story, however. 

Louna is, to me, a haunted character. She's got some issues that she hasn't really dealt with and that she doesn't actually talk about with others. She focuses on her work with her mom in the wedding planning business, but she isn't someone who actually believes in love. You get glimpses of her past relationship and hints about what happened to her boyfriend, but you don't get the full story until the end of the book. It's sad and Louna's behavior makes sense, but it also doesn't...if that makes sense. 

I liked Ambrose a lot as a character. He's goofy and weird, and seriously flirtatious. He tries so hard to be nice to Louna but she's just kind of mean, so it was strange when she realized her feelings for him. It was also a little confusing when he admits his feelings because there just wasn't a lot of instances that the two of them...felt things? I'm not sure, but I just didn't get a lot of swoony moments from these two so I wasn't sure how it all happened. 

I liked the story well enough and the ending was sweet. I'll always buy/read Dessen's words because she does them so well. The supporting characters are always well-rounded and fit perfectly into the story. This time it was the main character who didn't do it for me. 

Maybe next time. 

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