My Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul | ARC Book Review

This book drove me crazy. (Get it? Drove me crazy? Okay I’ll stop.) But seriously. I had many conflicting emotions on this one, to be honest, but at the end of the day I went home happy and satisfied! So. That’s good. I won’t be raging and setting things on fire anytime soon, at least. And there were, in fact, many good things about this novel! A book focusing on themes of family, relationships, trust and the effects life can have on us, this debut is definitely one I don’t regret picking up. But let’s go into more detail, shall we?

My Kind of CrazyMy Kind of Crazy by Robin Reul

3 Stars

Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, Young-Adult
Series Status: N/A—Stand-Alone
Page Count: 336 (in paperback)
Source & Format: Publisher via Netgalley, ebook
Critical Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.

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I’m gonna take the more fitting and more convenient route for this review and give you guys a list of things that I liked, and the things that drove me crazy.. or the things I disliked. (Come on, you knew I couldn’t pass that up!) You’re welcome. Thank you Sourcebooks Fire and Netgalley for the review copy!

My Kind of Crazy book review

What I Liked

  • Can I just say I kind of love Hank? I felt so bad for him and his situation at home, the fact that he has to cope with his usually drunk father who makes it clear he doesn’t care about him. His portrayal was just so heartfelt to me and it was so easy to sympathize and root for him–even when he doesn’t make the best of choices. Hey, it’s only a matter of being human, right? I couldn’t really fault him for that.
  • The theme of broken families was clearly running for this book! And as unfortunate as it was for the characters having to deal with such bad home lives, I really appreciated the insight this offered. Both Hank and Peyton had to deal with not-the-best home lives, and throughout the story we saw as to how much this affected their daily lives and their characters–which I really loved.
  • YES for humour! This book, whatever else it may be, was fun to read. Despite the tones of seriousness and the parts of deep messages, this book had several bouts of humour and its overall style was very conversational and relaxed, which I liked. The dialogue was relatively witty, and the characters too, made it lots of fun.
  • My Kind of Crazy turned out to be a refreshing contemporary with familiar elements, which I liked well enough! It wasn’t something I’d be able to say I read before, but there were definitely parts to it which I recognize from other books. I still really liked the execution of the story as well as the messages it promoted!

What I Disliked

  • I had lots of ups and downs moments with Peyton. And seeing how she’s one of the main characters, well, the down moments didn’t exactly help with the enjoyment factor. One of the things that bothered me was her attitude and personality. While I found her character intriguing enough, I was put off by the various times she just didn’t seem like a 17/18 year-old. She just seemed so much younger and although I’m usually pretty good with dealing with that kind of thing, it was just so bothersome in this novel. :/ Though, at least in the end I was still able to care about her, even a little.
  • As much as I loved Hank for his realistic characteristics and everything, I must admit it kind of drove me nuts when he was being so blind to the things that were so obvious. Now, this is totally subjective and really no one is at fault here, but having characters constantly be blind to the things that are so blatantly evident gets tiring after a while. Sorry, Hank, that wasn’t the best. I still like you, though. XD
  • Despite the easy to read and enjoyable writing featured in this book, I found the pacing of the story to be.. kind of off? It was very hard to follow sometimes, in my opinion. Sometimes it felt really fast, other times really slow… it just threw me off, I guess.

Overall…

My Kind of Crazy was in no way a bad read! It was easy to get through, and was an enjoyable experience. I really did enjoy the messages and themes it represented, as well as most of the characters–especially Hank. I was really able to get behind him as a protagonist and rooted for him; he was so relatable and I found him to be very realisitc. So yay! On the other hand, I wasn’t the biggest fan of his love interest, Peyton, all the time. In the end, she was fine, but I didn’t exactly love her, which made the enjoyment factor go down a bit for me. Despite that, I strongly believe My Kind of Crazy is a great fit for people looking for humorous contemporaries with great messages and heartfelt characters. It’s a fun read and I definitely recommend if you’re a fan of contemporaries! My Kind of Crazy released 6 days ago, on April 5th, 2016. Go pick it up if you’re interested! 🙂


Alright, so that’s it for this review! It’s been such a long time since I wrote one, lol. Hopefully it will be followed by more! I’m currently still recovering from the amazing novel, The Sky is Everywhere which I started and finished today. Hopefully I’ll be able to make out some coherent thoughts on it! But anyway. Tell me your thoughts on this book! Would you like to read it? What humorous contemporaries have you read? Feel free to leave any and all thoughts below!

Hope you’re all enjoying your Monday! ❤

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn | ARC Book Review

Forget TomorrowForget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn

4 stars

Publication Date: November 3rd 2015
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Genre(s): Sci-fi, Dystopia, Young-Adult
Series Status: Forget Tomorrow Series #1
Page Count: 400
Source & Format: Publisher via Netgalley, ebook

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.

It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.

In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a hellish prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all—Callie, herself.

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Hey everyone! In case you didn’t catch it from the title, today I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on Forget Tomorrow by Pintip Dunn! (Thank you Netgalley and Entangled Teen for sending me this e-ARC for review! Please note: All quotes mentioned in this review are from the uncorrected proof and may be changed in the final copy—which was released 2 days ago, by the way.)

In a nutshell; a dystopian and sci-fi novel set in a futuristic world, Forget Tomorrow shares refreshing ideas with characters I found to be engaging and relatively realistic. If you’re looking for a unique YA dystopian novel, or a well-written novel from a debut author, I recommend giving Forget Tomorrow a shot!

Plot

In Forget Tomorrow, we are introduced to a world where the future of every citizen is dependent on their future memory that they receive when they’re 17. In most cases citizens are fortunate to see themselves in the career they’re interested in, etc. But then there are the cases where the future memory shows them committing a crime, and as a result, they are locked up. For me, personally, I really liked this concept, as not only was it a pretty unique idea in itself, the plot allowed for several intriguing issues to be addressed and Dunn made it so that the story line was gripping and generally memorable. I’m going to mention here though that I’ve read from several other reviewers that this book was very similar to Minority Report, and that if you have watched MR, Forget Tomorrow might not have as much of an impact on you. Having said that, for me, the plot of this novel was definitely one of the things I liked a lot.

As a side note, Dunn also wastes no time in introducing readers to the characters and her world, and that was refreshing. I mean, the first few pages are pretty normal, but it doesn’t take long for the story to really get going, and you all probably know by now that I often enjoy books that don’t take too long with intros. (Not that I dislike any books that do.)  Right about 30 pages in I was already hooked and put in a heart-thumping scene which kick-started emotional investment in the story. And the cliffhanger at the end! I definitely can’t wait to read the sequel to this book.

Characters

Although I wasn’t a huge fan of the character right away, I must praise Dunn’s creation of Callie. I didn’t have much hope for her at first, but as I read more of the novel, I saw how much more there is to Callie—and I loved it. She had flaws, she made mistakes, and most of all, her love for her sister is beautiful and strong.

If you’ve been around in the book blogging community for a while—or if you’re a reader at all—you probably have noticed the lack of parental bonds and familial affection in YA novels. Either it’s dead parents, kidnapped parents, absentee parent, whatever parent, the case remains the same; hardly ever any parents. It’s become actually quite rare to have parents that actually care and are aware of things going on. (But that’s a discussion for another day.) What really stood out to me in Forget Tomorrow was the emphasis and focus on a sibling bond. Parental bonds are rare, but to me sibling bonds are even rarer, and I absolutely adored how Dunn incorporated Callie’s love for Jessa as a focus point in the story. (Of course, there were other familial bonds included as well, which only made the story better.)

You are the candle that shines when all power is extinguished. The proof that love exists when life is snuffed out.
When all my layers are stripped away, when everything I know is turned inside out, all I have left is  this.

My love for you.

It’s the only thing they can’t touch.

-Callie, about Jessa

The thing is, the strength of love is often addressed in YA novels, but it’s so rare that we’re talking about the strength of a sibling love, a sisterly bond. Being an older sister myself, I’d do anything for my younger sister, and I’m so happy to finally see a representation of that in a YA novel. Callie’s love for her sister was so strong, I admired, empathized and rooted for Callie by the end of the novel, no matter what other issues I had with her character.

Another thing I found to be really well-done in Callie’s character was her personality, and her development. Callie had flaws—which is what made her a better character. She can be selfish, she’s fearful (of heights, swimming, etc.) but this made her all the more real and I was able to relate to her. Her selfish moments did sometimes get a bit cumbersome, but they were something I only registered, not exactly something I disliked. I definitely appreciated how Callie wasn’t ignorant of when she was being selfish; it was usually quite the contrary of that, actually.

Selfish, a voice inside me roars. Self-centered, inconsiderate, pathetic. The amount of my selfishness makes me dizzy with disgust, but I can’t help myself. Even as I loathe myself for trying, the words pour out of me, searching, reaching, grasping for another solution.

How honest and relatable, is it not?

So, moving on to Logan, Callie’s love interest. Although he’s a perfectly fine character and usually would be the split image of someone I’d love, I’m not completely sold on his and Callie’s romance—or his character at all. Really, there’s not anything glaringly wrong with Logan; it’s just my opinion that he felt a bit dull. Or something. A terrible way to describe it, I know. Bottom line; I didn’t enjoy him as much as Callie, though he was still okay. (LOL I’m feeling kind of guilty for this very short and unclear paragraph on Logan when I look back at all my thoughts on Callie…I hope I’m making at least a little bit of sense!) Unfortunately my thoughts on the other characters were similar to that of Logan’s—though that isn’t to say I’m not interested in learning more about them!

Writing Style

And last but not least, I want to mention how much I enjoyed simply reading the words in this novel. With its vivid imagery and simplistic-yet-not style, Pintip Dunn took me by surprise with the writing in Forget Tomorrow. Everything I read popped into my brain immediately, and it was a fun experience to simply read the writing because it was all so well-written. Dunn did a great job in first person narrative, getting Callie’s voice across through the words clearly and effectively, as well as thoroughly showing Callie’s internal struggle, which did loads to get me even closer to Callie’s character.

Overall…

If you’re looking for a more different kind of dystopian novel than the average ones out there, Forget Tomorrow should go up on your list! A book of many themes and messages—including sibling bonds, making your own destiny and finding who you really are—Forget Tomorrow will definitely leave a strong impression. An important thing that stuck out to me was the familial bonds in this, which aren’t shown enough in most books. The fact that it was represented in this novel made everything so much the better. The intriguing world Dunn has created is gripping and intriguing, both something I recognize and something completely new (though for some it may not be the case). Dunn’s writing is wonderfully suited for the story, creating vivid images and hooking the reader. A solid 4 stars read! Definitely going to be keeping my eyes out for the sequel next year.

A little wrap-up of everything I’ve said:

  • The futuristic world was hooking and intriguing
  • The cliffhanger at the end of the book has me eager to read the sequel
  • Callie’s love for her sister was beautifully portrayed; this sisterly bond is one of the main reasons I liked this book so much
  • Callie herself was a great character, with flaws (that she’s aware of)
  • I was a bit iffy about Logan (and a lot of the other characters who aren’t explained as much), though he’s not a bad character
  • The writing was incredibly beautiful and took me by surprise (in the good way) coming from a debut author.

So, the time has come for the verdict: Do I recommend you gobble this up? Definitely, if you’re looking for a good YA dystopian/sci-fi novel to read—or if any of the above points interests you!


Let us forget tomorrow and talk about this book today! (Don’t even know if that made any sense—truth be told I’m only focusing on the [admittedly pretty bad] pun. LOL.) Point being; I’d love to know what you think of this book! Does it intrigue you? What books have you read that includes familial bonds? (‘Cause I’m in desperate need of having more books with family. I’m serious, guys.) Let me know whatever thoughts you may have down below! ❤

Hugs! 

Until the Next Meal, Analee

Like Candy by Debra Doxer | ARC Book Review (Blog Tour + Giveaway)

(Candy #1)

Published: July 28th 2015

Synopsis:

Revenge is sweet, just like candy.

Candy Seaborne knows she’s badass. She takes after her father, an assassin and possibly a spy, although he won’t admit to either. She idolizes him. Her dream is to follow in his footsteps. But first, she has to finish high school.

Biding her time, waiting for real life to begin, Candy craves drama and isn’t above manufacturing some. If you’re a classmate who wronged her or a boyfriend who cheated, watch your back. She’s no pushover, and revenge may be her favorite pastime.

Jonah Bryson is the senior class heartthrob who breaks all the stereotypes. He’s a jock, but he isn’t the typical player. He’s moody and antisocial. No girl has gotten anywhere with him since his last girlfriend broke his heart.

Candy sees Jonah as a challenge and the perfect distraction. But she may be in over her head because unlike everyone else, Jonah isn’t buying her tough act. He sees the lost, lonely girl inside. He sees too much. When he looks at her that way, she wants to let her guard down and be vulnerable. But that’s the last thing she should do because her father’s world is spilling over into hers, and life is about to get real much sooner than Candy expected.


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My Rating: 3.5 stars 3.5/5 (Liked it)

Book Information

Genre(s): Romance, Mystery, Young Adult

Page Count: 258

Format: ebook

Purchase: Amazon


LikeCandyTourBanner1
Check out the rest of the tour schedule!

Welcome to my review tour stop of Like Candy by Debra Doxer, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

Note: I received a free digital eARC of this book thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for review purposes. This does not affect my review.

Like Candy was an entertaining romance and mystery (mostly romance)! I know the genres include ‘mystery’ but really the majority of the book was romance, or that’s how it felt like. It wasn’t ’till I reached near the end of the book where my heart was really beating because of the mystery, my toes curled in anticipation to see what will happen next. Although this was misleading and kind of threw me off, I really enjoyed this book nonetheless.

Plot

The plot was kind of a surprise to me, mostly because from the blurb, I was expecting some kick-butt action from the main character, Candy, but instead got a girl with no skills other than to be able to manipulate and pull pranks on people who’ve wronged her. I also think it could’ve been better executed, it had the potential to be both a contemporary romance as well as a mystery and spy novel, and sometimes that clashed. That being said, the plot was still very entertaining. Despite what I just said about the two genres clashing, I really enjoyed the fact that while we were led to believe the book was all romance by the first part, there were little twists and turns here and there that made the storyline more engaging and unexpected. A lot of the book did focus on the romance between Candy and Jonah, though, so beware of that. Although the plot wasn’t exactly what I expected, I liked the way things turned out, even though the expected cliffhanger at the end has me cursing that I can’t yet read the next book. 🙂

Characters

Candy herself was an interesting character, one for which I have conflicted feelings toward. On one hand, her manipulative attitude, and actions, instead of coming off as badass, as she says herself, at times felt plain mean and petty,and rude for no reasonNot to mention throughout the book she hardly showed any assassin or badass skills at all, which was kind of disappointing. On the other hand, I did understand why she acted the way she did, and found it intriguing, as twisted that may sound. All she really wanted was her father’s approval, the one thing she never seems to be able to get. Her father is often cold and distant, which frustrated me because Candy deserved more, from her father, at least. She was, no matter how much of a strong, assassin kind of character she claimed to be, still really innocent and with no mother and a pretty bad childhood, she wanted, no, needed her father to be proud of her. I understood that, it really made her character, although sometimes hard to like, easier to sympathize with, because a parent’s approval is something we’ve all wanted some time or another, am I right?

As for the other characters, they shined less brightly than Candy, obviously, except for Jonah and Candy’s father. But starting with Jonah, the love interest. I can’t exactly say what I liked most about him, but I did like his character.

“I wish I was the first guy you fell for. Then maybe the shadows in your eyes wouldn’t be there, and when I told you how beautiful you are, you’d believe me. You make me want to erase those shadows and chase away the memories that put them there, because every day that you don’t realize how amazing you are is a tragedy in my book.”

He was definitely swoon-worthy! And hidden inside him there are a bunch of mysteries and secrets which added both depth to his character and more uncertainty that kept me engaged in the story.

As for Candy’s father, I was quite frustrated with him in the way he treated Candy, both hot and cold moods (generally cold) but his character really intrigued me. By the end of the novel we hardly knew anything more about him than when we started (which was kind of irksome, to be honest) and he was in a cloud of mystery. He has a lot of potential to be a crucial part in the story, and I’m really interested in seeing how he will turn out to be.

Writing Style

The writing style was great! I couldn’t stop reading, everything flowed seamlessly, and there were often parts of the book where it was like reading poetry without actually reading poetry, if that makes any sense.

“As I watched my mother fade and my father grieve, my inability to do anythings sat like a weight on my chest, growing heavier each day until something as simple as breathing hurt. All I could do was stand by while everything fell apart, and no matter how much I wished for things to get better, they never did.”

Although novels written in first person is sometimes a hit or miss kind of thing, in this book, I really felt Candy’s emotions, her feelings, really clearly and the writing was executed very well for the story. It was steamy in some places, mysterious in others, cute in several places. All arranged nicely to really show Candy’s feelings.

Overall…

This book felt more like a ‘hit or miss’ to me. You either like it or you don’t. The plot was an interesting combination of both mystery and romance, while most of the book focuses on the romance, there is more to it that keeps you engaged in the story. I’ll be looking forward to the second book, especially after the cliffhanger in this book! I’m also interested in seeing more of Candy’s development. She was fine in this book, however there are several things about her that I think I was supposed to enjoy, but instead I found came off as shallow and unmoral, and which might be delved into more in the sequel. I did really sympathize with her and understood her though, which is a plus in the reading experience. The secondary characters weren’t the greatest, but both Jonah and Candy’s father had a lot of depth to them and have the potential to be great characters in the sequel. The writing was easy to read, seamlessly flowing and really helping to get the readers acquainted with the way Candy thought. All in all, this book was quite enjoyable and I liked it!

This book will have you gobbling it up like candy! Eat it quickly!

Analee 10


Debra

AUTHOR BIO:
Debra Doxer was born in Boston, and other than a few lost years in the California sunshine, she has always resided in the Boston area. She writes fiction, technical software documents, illegible scribbles on sticky notes, and texts that get mangled by AutoCorrect. She writes for a living, and she writes for fun. When her daughter asks when she’ll run out of words, her response always is, “When I run out of time.”
Connect with Debra. She loves hearing from readers.
Author links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


Giveaway -$50 Amazon gift card and an ebook of Like Candy
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