Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Review: How to Keep a Boy From Kissing You (Aurora Skye #1) by Tara Eglington

Published: October 25th 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Sweet sixteen and never been kissed . . .

That’s Aurora Skye’s big secret. And the way she wants it to stay. She’s not going to give away her first kiss to just anyone. Busy dodging suitors and matchmaking for her best friends, Aurora (not so) patiently awaits her prince.

But everything changes when Aurora is coerced into a lead role in the school production of Much Ado about Nothing. Which means she’ll have to lock lips with her co-star Hayden Paris—the smart and funny boy next door who also happens to be the bane of her existence, always around to see her at her worst.

Now Aurora is more determined than ever to have her first kiss with the one who’s truly worthy of it. But first she’ll have to figure out just who that person is. - Goodreads

An adorable book wrapped up in a cute and charming package, How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is a delight to read. While at its core this book stays true to the spirit of the romcom nature, it adds some surprising wit for me not to feel bored.

Aurora, the protagonist, has a common dream of her perfect Prince, the one whom she's saving a first kiss for. While if this fact made her passive, I would have been thoroughly annoyed, she's a very active character, searching for her Prince with a plan and determination. I like her spunk, and the way she's a dynamic whirl of energy, whether it's verbally sparring with her bane of existence Hayden or cheering up her best friends. Her interactions with her cats are sweet, and they play some very integral part in the book, a fun little quirk that I enjoyed.
However, my Find a Prince™ program has nothing to do with glass slippers, poisoned apples, or talking woodland animals. It's about us girls valuing ourselves and saying no to boys who use or abuse us. (taken from ARC~5%)
I also loved the way the friendships were portrayed in this, with each of the girls getting a definitive personality and role, without being props to stage Aurora. I personally love Sara and Cassie, both of them are utter sweethearts and Sara especially made me laugh a number of times. There's some interesting dynamics here and while the romance is a main plot here, the cracks and mends in the girls' bonds were seamless integrated and were not sidelined for the ship.

The romance was well done as well, despite following a very predictable path. There are quite a few toads in this book, and I thought they were trounced rather nicely, although I'd prefer to be a little more bloodthirsty, and I did enjoy how our intelligent heroine did not suddenly lose brain cells when it came to boys, especially since this is a common maneuver I see in such books like these. She was still the fierce Aurora who was determined to find a true Potential Prince, and I liked how she did not let her morals waver in the face of love. Bonus for the love interest being an intelligent sweetheart, I absolutely adored the snappy dialogue between Aurora and him. Also kissing scenes, I'm hoping for more in the sequel, but I was quite pleased with what the author doled out in this.

"You stayed up the whole night...Why?" 
"Because I wanted to see you smile again" (taken from ARC~93%)

All in all, while not perfect, which was due to my intense secondhand embarrassment in a few scenes and my lack of secure attachment to the characters, I was quite content with the pure rush of entertainment I received from it. It's a gem of a contemporary YA, and it manages to balance humor with heart.

Thank you to Netgalley and St. Martins Press for the review copy.

My Rating:★★★(3.75 stars)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cover Reveal: Plastic Wings by C.T. Callahan

Published: November 22 2016
Publisher: Three Little Books Co.

When seven-year-old Evie Weiss discovers a strange, sickly boy in her otherwise familiar forest, she has no idea what it holds for her world. He is a dark angel, one of a race of humanoid beings that feed on humanity and tear Evie’s world down around her. Years later, as humanity mounts a counter-attack against the dark angels, Evie remembers the boy in the forest and finds herself torn between her loyalty to her own people and feelings of compassion for these strange creatures that first captivated her as a child. It is the quest of one girl to unite two worlds so separated by war, but how can she close the gap between two races so determined to hate each other? - Goodreads
*Cover reveal courtesy of Rich in Variety Tours.

So, what do you think of this cover and book? Does it intrigue you?  

A u t h o r   B i o

C.T. Callahan is the author of young adult fantasy, sci-fi, and a weird assortment of short stories. Hailing from a mixed-racial background, she’s pledged her writing to contribute to the spread of diversity in fiction and the fight for equality. When away from reading and writing, you’ll most likely find her engaged in art or snuggling cute dogs. Learn more at CTCallahan.com.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Cloudy Musings #2: Textbook Woes & Kdramas

The first time I wrote one of these posts, I kept it relatively straightforward with brief thoughts that I jotted down in response to the various books I'd read recently. This time around, I've decided to merge with the monthly recaps, instead of keeping a fastidious record of all the books I've read, seeing as you can find that on my Goodreads instead quite honestly.

I started up school last month, and it's approximately been a full month since my new semester started, as evidenced by the agonizing exams I've taken the past week. Besides the mournful lack of free time to enjoy life, college has also wounded me quite deeply with all of the books and supplies that I've had to buy. Trust me on this, but my bank account has never looked so ragged. Math lectures in the morning can be torturous, but try taking an exam at 8:40 in the morning...it's one of the most painful things I've done here in college. I get to dabble in German again, which I last took two years ago, so I'm fumbling there but I do have the loveliest professors and it's a welcome break from the math-intensive courses I have for my major.

I unfortunately didn't read much the past few weeks, but I'm slowly regaining my momentum for reading. First and foremost, I consumed the Lucky Harbor series by Jill Shalvis, which is a set of contemporary romance novels set in a charming little town known as Lucky Harbor. It's certainly not a read I pick up for the intrigue, but they remind me of meringues, so fluffy and charming you can't help but pick up another one. I also read Lauren Layne's latest Wedding Planners book, To Love and to Cherish, which was my favorite of the trilogy, with a slow burn chemistry between the two characters that I really liked. The true star of my latest reads however was Vicarious by Paula Stokes, which utterly destroyed me and I am still in recovery over its thrilling ending. I also had the fabulous opportunity to meet the  author and she was the sweetest person ever. It's possibly my sole five star read of the year (excluding some author favorites), so that's very telling of how high it fell on my scale of esteem. Another golden one was Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones; an utterly gorgeously written fantasy retelling type of story, the romance and intimate scenes were on par for YA, I'm very excited for the sequel I've already prepared my full moon sacrifices for these characters.

On the guilty pleasures side of things, I did watch a ton of TV, enough to be almost ashamed of. I've recently immersed myself in the world of kdramas again, largely in thanks to my friends Sue and Alysia. I was watching Scarlet Heart Ryeo with a handful of friends, but I've tragically fallen far behind, despite how tempting Prince So is. My favorite dramas from the past month have definitely been Bring It On, Ghost!(the cutest ghost/ghost-banisher duo fighting ghosts with maximum creepy and adorable fluff vibes) and Shopping King Louis (chaebol shopaholic amnesiac meets honest hardworking girl + hijinks + Seo In Guk). I also binged my way through Descendants, which was soo pretty and enjoyable albeit the somewhat questionable plot especially the secondary leads of Kim Ji Won and Jin Gu. I adored those two characters they gave me such a toothache with their sweet angst and pain. Coincidentally, this kdrama phase has been quite the nostalgic one harkening back to my first kdrama phase, especially as Seo In Guk was my favorite after Reply 1997 (such a good drama guys you have no idea how much I loved this one) and I adored Kim Ji Won in What's Up (she was in a much more tragic OTP thank goodness for this happier one), with both of these shows airing around four/five years ago.

I hope you've had a lovely month as well, and here's to a fun October to us all, even though I'm plagued by the terrible reality of a certain presidential candidate and his truly heinous behavior. I'm going to be so thankful once this election has passed, since I'm holding out hope that America won't let me down.