Sunday, November 19, 2017

Blog Tour: Not Now, Not Ever

Not Now, Not Ever
Lily Anderson
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn't going to do this summer.

1. She isn't going to stay home in Sacramento, where she'd have to sit through her stepmother's sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn't going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn't going to the Air Force summer program on her mother's base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender's Game, Ellie's seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it's much less Luke/Yoda/"feel the force," and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn't appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she'd be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she's going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer's going to be great.

This was one of my Can't-Wait Wednesday picks, and I must say, I had chosen well, because this was such a fun and delightful read. The synopsis does say this is a sequel, but my understanding is it's more of a companion. There are characters featured from Anderson's last book, which I am definitely going to read, but I did not feel out of the loop reading this book, without having read The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You (but I am going to buy it!). There are so many things to love, and here's my short list.
  • This is a great twist on The Importance of Being Earnest. Like Jack, Elliot had a lot of responsibilities. She had to forgo her own activities to babysit her younger bother and volunteer at her step-mother's theatre. She was also facing pressure from her mother's clan to uphold the family legacy, and enlist in the air force. Unable to pursue her own passions as herself, she created an alter ego, much like how Jack had Ernest, and set out to claim her dream of studying science fiction. Not only did the play inspire the story, it had a place in the story, as Elliot's step mother was repeatedly involved in a production of the play, and lines from the script worked their way into Elliot's inner monologues. I thought it was quite an ingenious way to include the original work, and found the passaged quoted quite brilliantly place. 
  • I fell in love with Elliot. She very fresh and a definite standout among YA protagonists. Her head was quite an entertaining place to be, as she shared her musings about serious and inane things, but I also loved the way she grew over the course of this book. It may have been a short time at the Melee, but it was a valuable experience for Elliot. 
  • The crew at Camp Onward featured so many fantastic characters. It made me giddy being surrounded by this quirky band of geniuses. With that many uber-intelligent people in one place, you know we are going to get exposed to some great nerdy talk involving fandoms. Fabulous references abounded in this book, and I loved every second of it. 
  • The characters in general were very well done. Each felt well crafted, their characteristics carefully selected to enhance my reading experience. 
  • I loved the extra challenges at Camp Onward! They had me at amoeba tag. 
  • The romance was so sweet. I love a good romance, and I had no problem shipping these two from their first meeting. There was something special in their interactions and the way they were with each other, that just made me want them to succeed. 
  • The ending!!!! I know I complain A LOT about endings, but this one was spot on. All I am going to say is that it put a big, stupid grin on my face and I still have a little warmth in my heart as I write this review. 

Overall: I have always enjoyed fun and endearing nerdy romances, and I am so excited to have found a YA author, who can fill that place in my world.


This book is chuck full of witty banter, nerdy talk, and great pop culture references. It was a difficult task, but I picked five of my favorite quotes to share.
"I'd broken out of the time loop of Elliot Gabaroche's life. I was Ripley waking up in Aliens, fifty-seven years in the future and away from the monotony of before.
Except without the PTSD and the being chased by Xenomorphs part.
"How many sisters should I be keeping watch for?"
He shuddered. "Don't even joke about them showing up. If you talk about them too much, they appear. Like Bloody Mary. Or Beetlejuice."
"Don't mind her. I once heard her say that Goonies would have been better without Chunk," he said.
"So she's a stone-cold monster?"
"'I know how to run without you holding my hand,'" Brandon quoted loudly.
I grinned at him over my shoulder. "If you start quoting Star Wars at me, we're never going to get anywhere."
"When you catch my references, I really don't care if we get anywhere..."
"He certainly smelled of bacon and syrup, but I supposed it could have been a hipster cologne with a name like Brunch Bro or IHOP Fiend."
**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book. Quotes are from an ARC and may change upon publication.


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Lily Anderson is a school librarian and Melvil Dewey fangirl with an ever-growing collection of musical theater tattoos and Harry Potter ephemera. She lives in Northern California, far from her mortal enemy: the snow.



November 14th: The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club & Pink Polka Dot Books- Welcome Post
November 15th: Tales of the Ravenous Reader - Interview
November 15th: the bookdragon - Review
November 16th: YAWednesdays - Guest Post
November 16th: Amanda Gernentz Hanson - Review + Favourite Quotes
November 17th: BookCrushin - Guest Post
November 17th: Book Munchies - Review + Favourite Quotes
November 18th: Belle's Bookish Reviews - Review
November 18th: Life of a Literary Nerd - Review
November 19th: Staircase Wit - Interview
November 19th: We Live and Breathe Books - Review + Favorite Quotes
November 20th: The Mind of a Book Dragon - Review + Playlist
November 20th: The Layaway Dragon - Review
November 21st: Boricuan Bookworms - Review + Playlist
November 21st: forthenovellovers - Review

Do you like nerdy romances?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, November 17, 2017

In a Nutshell Reviews

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

I Never
Laura Hopper
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4  out of 5 stars
Janey King’s priorities used to be clear: track, school, friends, and family. But when seventeen-year-old Janey learns that her seemingly happy parents are getting divorced, her world starts to shift. Back at school, Luke Hallstrom, an adorable senior, pursues Janey, and she realizes that she has two new priorities to consider: love and sex.

Inspired by Judy Blume’s classic Forever, I Never features a perfect, delicious, almost-to-good-to-be-true high school relationship . . . and it doesn’t shy away from the details. Destined to be passed from teen to teen, this is a young adult debut that will get readers talking.
This is a book about the things Janey had never experienced before, and it was quite a wistful walk down memory lane for me. It is blurbed as being the modern day Forever, which I can agree with, as I read that book back when I was 15. It opened my eyes to a lot of new things I was feeling and thinking about, and I found some solace in knowing that I was not the only one.
  • Pro: This book is very sex-positive. There were frank discussions about sex between Janey and her girlfriends, Janey and her mom, Janey and Luke. I really appreciated all the different angles from which Hopper approached the subject. 
  • Pro: Janey was not only experiencing first love, she was encountering a lot of other firsts: the first time seeing her parents as people, seeing them as flawed; she was starting to see that the world is not all black and white, but rather, there is a lot of grey, and this is a really pivotal time in a teen's life. 
  • Pro: Hopper showed how the dynamic changes in one's other relationships, when they begin a romantic relationship. Janey's friendships changed, as did the way she related to her parents. She had to adjust. There were bumps, but she evaluated and made the adjustments necessary to make it all work. 
  • Con: The ending was tough for me. I am an HEA girl, and although the ending was pre-determined from a very early point in the story, and is true to its inspiration, I still found it a little sad.  
  • Pro: This was a story about Janey exploring her autonomy. That time in a teen's life, where they pull away a little from their parents, and begin to keep some things to themselves, while they make some of their own decisions. It was very realistic and relatable. 
  • Pro: I liked Luke and Janey together. I thought he pushed her in a lot of good ways. He was patient and caring, and smooth-boy said all the right things. 
  • Pro: I did think Janey grew some over the course of the story. She had quite a few ideological shifts with respect to her parents and sex. She was not totally over her insecurities, but she knew she wanted to work towards that. She knew she wanted to be able to feel wanted, beautiful, and desirable even if she was not attached to a man telling her that. I felt like she was moving in the right direction. 
  • Pro: This book is really honest and realistic. I worked in a high school for 12 years, so if you think this is not the stuff going on in some teens' lives, you are mistaken. 

Overall: A bittersweet and honest story of firsts, which left me a little teary-eyed and wistful.

*I would like to thank the publisher for the review copy of this book.

Kat and Meg Conquer the World
Anna Priemaza
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
For fans of Nicola Yoon’s Everything, Everything, Emery Lord’s When We Collided, and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Anna Priemaza’s debut novel is a heartwarming and achingly real story of finding a friend, being a fan, and defining your place in a difficult world.

Kat and Meg couldn’t be more different. Kat’s anxiety makes it hard for her to talk to people. Meg hates being alone, but her ADHD keeps pushing people away. But when the two girls are thrown together for a year-long science project, they discover they do have one thing in common: They’re both obsessed with the same online gaming star and his hilarious videos.

It might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship—if they don’t kill each other first.

“Kat and Meg Conquer the World will hit home for anyone who has ever been waist-deep in fandom, doubt, or new relationships; Kat’s and Meg’s unique voices are outstanding, and their friendship brings this story to vibrant life."—Francesca Zappia, author of Made You Up and Eliza and Her Monsters
This book begins with Kat sharing her observations on high school, which were dead on and made me laugh. I was immediately hooked and wanted to read more. Let it be known, the beginning was not a fluke, as the more I got to know Kat and Meg, the more I loved this book.
  • Pro: A science project brought them together, MMORPG made them friends. 
  • Pro: Speaking of MMORPG, the fandom in question, Legends of the Stone, played a huge role in this book, and I really enjoyed getting to know this fandom. 
  • Pro: I really loved Meg. She was dealing with a lot of abandonment issues, which she felt were directly related to her ADHD, but she was so much more than her ADHD. She was smart, funny, vibrant, daring, and so outgoing. She was sort of the opposite of Kat, and that is why they made such a great pair. 
  • Pro: Kat's battle with her panic disorder was so realistic. We saw the good, the bad, and the ugly side of it, but we also saw Kat face it, head on, and I think I fist pumped with each of her personal accomplishments. 
  • Pro: Meg and Kat's friendship may have started out a little shaky, as Meg just sort of inserted herself into Kat's life, but it grew to be really special. They would do little things, which showed that they understood each other's needs, and Kat does something really major for Meg, which almost made me cry. OK, maybe I shed a few tears. It was very endearing. 
  • Pro: LoTSCON! So many major things happened at the con, and I have to say, I loved it! 
  • Pro: I always go gaga for solid YA families, and both Kat and Meg were obviously loved. Their parents were supportive, but also set boundaries, and I found them to be both wonderful and realistic. The siblings were pretty great too, and don't forget - the way to my heart is through a grandparent.
  • Pro: Science! That is the other way to my heart. Their science fair project plays a huge role in this book, and it was fun to see them work through the process. 
  • Pro: Kat's romance was as sweet as her. I wore a sappy grin on my face during all her romantic interactions. 
  • Pro: Both Meg and Kat experience tremendous growth over the course of this book, and I couldn't help but jump for joy, because I was rooting for them the whole time. 
  • Pro: I was so happy with the ending. 

Overall: This was such a wonderful and fun story of friendship, family, and fandoms.

*I would like to thank the publisher for the review copy of this book.

The First to Know
Abigail Johnson
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars
Dana Fields's father never knew his parents. When Dana secretly does a DNA test for her dad, hoping to find him some distant relatives for his birthday, her entire world implodes. Instead of a few third cousins, Dana discovers a half brother her age whose very existence means her parents' happy marriage is a lie.

Dana's desire to know her half brother, Brandon, and the extent of her dad's deception, clashes with her wish not to destroy her family. When she sees the opportunity to get to know Brandon through his cousin, the intense yet kind Chase, she takes it. But the more she finds out about Brandon, her father's past and the irresistible guy who'll never forgive her if he discovers the truth, the more she sees the inevitable fallout from her own lies. With her family crumbling around her, Dana must own up to her actions and find a way to heal the breach—for everyone—before they're torn apart for good.
This was one of my Can't-Wait Wednesday picks, so I had pretty high hopes for this book. I am happy to report it did not disappoint me. What would you do if you were the first to know something that could destroy your family? This is the question Dana struggled with in this book, and I couldn't stop flipping the pages as I watched Dana build her house of cards.
  • Pro: Many different types of families are explored. Single mom, single dad, foster kid, large family, extended families, adopted families. Families come in all shapes and sizes, and it's nice to see them represented. 
  • Pro: Dana! This young woman was put in a tough position, and she had to hold so much inside as she tried to make the right decision. I couldn't imagine having that sort of information, and knowing it could destroy my life as I know it. She didn't always make good decisions in this book, and her decisions often had major repercussions, but they all came with good intentions, and she learned a lot of herself, her family, and she was better for it. 
  • Pro: This books is packed with great characters. I found them all to be well developed and they made significant contributions to the story. I also cared about them. 
  • Pro: Speaking of caring, I found myself quite emotionally invested in this family. The joy, the loss, the pain, the betrayal -- it was all there. 
  • Pro: There were a lot of side plots, and when I stood back and took in the big picture, I was able to see how they were all part of the big picture. 
  • Con: The ending, though good, left me glad about some things, a little sad about others, and with a bunch of questions about yet more things.  
  • Pro: The drama was delicious! I kept sneaking little pieces of this book, because I had to know what happened next. It was quite addictive. 
  • Pro: There is a lot of love and grace shown and there were a few times I thought my heart would burst. 
  • Pro: I loved Dana's romance. Her romantic interest won me over with the first overture he made towards Dana, which was far from your typical romantic gesture. 
  • Pro: This book blended stories of families, friendships, relationships, and romance, and it did it well.  

Overall: A heartfelt story of family secrets, filled with great characters and lots of feels. 

Have you read any of these books?
Let us know in the comments!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Can't-Wait Wednesday: Love and Other Train Wrecks - Leah Konen

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I can't wait for Love and Other Train Wrecks!

Love and Other Train Wrecks
Leah Konen
Series: n/a
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Waited on by: Sam
A twenty-four-hour romance about two teens who meet—and perhaps change their minds about love—on a train ride to Upstate New York in the middle of a snowstorm

One train ride. Two strangers.

Noah is a hopeless romantic. He’s heading back home for one last chance with his first love, whom he broke up with when he went off to college.

Ammy doesn’t believe in true love—her parents being prime examples. She’s escaping from a mom who can’t take care of her to a dad who may not even want her. That is, until one winter night when Noah and Ammy find themselves in the same Amtrak car heading to Upstate New York.

After a train-wreck first encounter between the two of them, the Amtrak train suddenly breaks down due to a snowstorm. Desperate to make it to their destinations, Noah and Ammy have no other option but to travel together. What starts off as a minor detour turns into the whirlwind journey of a lifetime, and over the course of the night they fall in love. But come morning their adventure takes an unexpected turn for the worst. Can one night can really change how they feel about love...and the course of their lives forever?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: My Book Legacy

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is...

My Book Legacy!

This week, we were challenged to think of books we would want our future family members to read. My daughter has greatly influenced my book choices, and I have read many of her favorites, but alas, she has not read any of mine. Therefore, I am making this list for my future grandchildren, in hopes that they will appease their Maw Maw and read a book that was either a favorite or very meaningful to me.

Little House in the Big Woods
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Series: Little House, #1
Publisher: HarperCollins

This is a series that defined my childhood. I read the books. I watched the show. I was enamored with the time period and the lifestyle. When I look back now, I love the things the show represents. It's about family, community, and the resilience of the human spirit. The Ingalls family suffered some major setbacks, but they had their faith and each other.