Thursday, May 25, 2017

Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn

31428017
Page Count: 256
Published on: June 27, 2017
Published by: Kensington Publishing
Genre(s): YA, Thriller, Mystery, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Source: ARC -from the author/publisher
Age Rating: YA
Trigger warnings for harassment and assault and domestic turmoil
Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon
Book Depository: {click here}

Twitter@pintipdunn


My Rating: 3.75 stars
Overall Opinion: Disappointing & not that magical






Goodreads synopsis:

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…



~~~

Hey, guys!

I was sent an advanced reader's copy by the author and the publisher for an honest review.

      I've been a follower of Pintip Dunn's books since she and Kensington Publishing sent me her novel The Darkest Lie (4.5 stars) in April of last year. I was really impressed by the way Dunn crafted her characters and her plot in TDL. I was really excited to see how her writing has improved and how she dealt with serious issues in her work. Once again, I was really impressed with Dunn's writing. 

      This book was more intriguing compared to The Darkest Lie, but I don't think I enjoyed it any less. This book follows Thai-American Kanchana who lives in a predominately white Kansas town. She has always felt like she does not belong in Thailand with her family or in Kansas with her peers. Her grandmother chastises her for becoming westernized and often claims that she is no longer a "good Thai girl". Although, Kanchana embraces her Thai heritage, she longs to design clothes and go to an art college. When her mother agrees to take in an orphaned girl named Shelly, Kan embraces the chance of welcoming someone new and making them feel welcome in her small-minded town. Things suddenly go south when Shelly begins to envy Kan's life and begins to creepily manipulate her friends and family. Kan decides to investigate Shelly's previous life. 

     This book is very creepy and twisty-turny. That isn't an official term, but that is what it is. I really enjoyed how Dunn established her story. I was instantly caught up in Kan's life within the first few pages and I loved to read about her family's culture. The food, in particular, was especially vivid. I loved the descriptions. Her characters were very well fleshed out and it never felt like the racism and other-ing drove the story. The way Kan dealt with being pushed by her family and her peers. The non-aggressions that she faced daily are heart-breaking, but I never felt like her drove the plot. It was so realistically written. I also really liked Ethan's character. He wasn't the stereotypical guy...he's a ballroom dancer! How cool is that! I also loved that he was so hard working and passionate about his dancing capability. I didn't like how insta-lovey Ethan and Kan's relationship was. It got kind of annoying and escalated a bit quickly. 

     The mystery surrounding Shelly got super creepy quite quickly. It was a good creepy though. I really liked that there were chapters in Shelly's perspective. It was interesting to see what was going on in her head. Really creepy sometimes, but still interesting. I was really impressed by how clueless I was for the good majority of the book. Towards the end, I guessed the twist, but there were still some elements of the twist that I did not see coming. It was kind of annoying how dismissive Khun Yai and Mae were about the whole ordeal, but the fact that they had something to hide was a bit of an explanation. It was like a Criminal Minds or N.C.I.S. episode, which was pretty fantastic. It just needed Reid and it would have been perfect 😉.

Image result for reid criminal minds gif

     There were a few aspects to the book that I didn't enjoy as much. One of them being the character Ash. Ash was supposedly Kan's best friend, however she never gave me any kind of reason to like her or sympathize with her. She never really stood up for Kan when she was being harassed or made fun of, she wasn't very sympathetic or understanding, and she never seemed like a very great friend, overall. 

     This book is an #ownvoices novel which was really fantastic. I really enjoyed reading from Kan's perspective and her whole family was really fascinating. Her culture is so beautiful and I loved every second of it. I feel pretty enlightened and I highly recommend this book if you're searching for a contemporary thriller. 


Review for The Darkest Lie: {click here}
Pintip Dunn's Goodreads Page: {click here
Preorder GIRL ON THE VERGE on Amazon [here
Pre-order GIRL ON THE VERGE on Book Depository [here]

Happy reading!
Olivia 

~LivTheBookNerd~

@LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Magician (A Fool's Journey #1) by Mark Pannebecker

34505050
Page Count: 29
Published on: May 2, 2017
Published by: Smashwords
Genre(s): Occult, YA
Source: eBook- from author
Age Rating: YA
Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon
Book Depository: {click here}

Twitter

My Rating: 1 star
Overall Opinion: Boring and poorly written




Goodreads synopsis:

Book I, The Magician introduces 15 year-old Benjamin Porter and his attraction to the rebel, nonconforming, bad element of high school when he befriends Craig Marse (The Magician) who pushes the limits of socially acceptable behavior. Drugs and violence become a way of life for Benny as he tours through Craig’s world of bikers and drug-dealers.

A Fool’s Journey is a 21-part series of novelettes that follows Benjamin Porter (The Fool) through the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Ben’s journey begins in Book I, The Magician when he learns the use of power for destructive ends.


~~~

Hey, guys!

I was sent this book for an honest review.

     I'm just going to say up front that I did not enjoy this book at all. I'm sure the book was written to be symbolic and full of metaphors and symbolism and have an underlying message, but I just didn't get it. I thought it was boring and I didn't like the characters, the writing style, or the "plot". I knew from the beginning that I would not like this book. I was hoping for something really interesting, but after reading the first page I knew I would be bored.

     From the beginning of the book, there were too many characters introduced for the reader to fully grasp their names, their identities, and their personalities. The novelette is barely thirty pages, so there was no chance to flesh out that many characters or show considerable growth from the abysmal actions that the main character was taking part in. Throughout the story, the author wrote it in a way that promoted excessive drug and alcohol abuse, gang violence, and just overall stupidity. The synopsis and the way Pannebecker pitched this to me referenced the "tarot deck" and "magic" and I thought it would enlighten me on this subject, as I have no background knowledge on tarot decks at all. This book was all drinking, swearing, drugs, and violence. I didn't have too high of hopes, but I would have hoped to have a bit of structure and at least one solid character. 

    I still do not know the differences between the characters of this story. All of them were fairly similarly described and I didn't get attached to any of them. They were all fairly boring in my opinion. Their actions were stupid and showed no sign of common sense. The parents of the main character just let him make extremely stupid decisions and didn't really help much at all. It was extremely unrealistic and annoying. On top of the lame characters, the plot was not structured and there was no way of knowing what was going on. It just jumped around...I assume that time was passing, but there weren't too many indicators for time either. 

     Don't even get me started on the representation of women. Whenever a woman was mentioned, she was sexualized, they were defined by their physical attributes (also sexualized), and were put down by the male characters. The time period (which seemed to take place in the past?) cannot excuse the lack of gender diversity in this story. 

    
     Overall, I'm not sure what this story was supposed to be. I wasn't entertained at all, the characters were lame and really dumb, there wasn't a good plot, and it promoted violence, drugs, and underage drinking. It was a bit of a mess throughout. It was not what the synopsis made it out to be, and it was just thoroughly un-entertaining. 

I do not recommend. 

Happy reading!
Olivia 
~LivTheBookNerd~

@LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Beauty & the Beast: Lost In A Book by Jennifer Donnelly

33412061

Page Count: 352
Published on: January 31, 2017
Published by: Disney Press
Genre(s): Fantasy, YA, Middle Grade, Fairy Tale Retelling
Source: Hardback - preorder
Age Rating: Middle Grade/YA
Where To Find It: Goodreads // Amazon
Book Depository: {click here}

Twitter: @


My Rating: 2 stars
Overall Opinion: Disappointing & not that magical






Goodreads synopsis:

Smart, bookish Belle, a captive in the Beast’s castle, has become accustomed to her new home and has befriended its inhabitants. When she comes upon Nevermore, an enchanted book unlike anything else she has seen in the castle, Belle finds herself pulled into its pages and transported to a world of glamour and intrigue. The adventures Belle has always imagined, the dreams she was forced to give up when she became a prisoner, seem within reach again.

The charming and mysterious characters Belle meets within the pages of Nevermore offer her glamorous conversation, a life of dazzling Parisian luxury, and even a reunion she never thought possible. Here Belle can have everything she has ever wished for. But what about her friends in the Beast’s castle? Can Belle trust her new companions inside the pages of Nevermore? Is Nevermore’s world even real? Belle must uncover the truth about the book, before she loses herself in it forever.


~~~

Hey, guys!

      I am such a huge Disney nerd and when I found out about this book, I just had to pre-order it. The early reviews looked so promising and the fact that it was going to have connections to the newly released live-action remake made it a must have for my Beauty and the Beast loving self. Unfortunately, this book really disappointed me. There was such a lack of substance and magic that all Disney-based stories have. I thought that Disney Press would have published something much more magical, but in my opinion, they did not.

     This follows Belle right after the Beast shows and gives her the library. She discovers that the library is in pretty bad shape. She and the castle gang decide to clean up the library so that they can fully enjoy it again. Belle soon discovers a mysterious book called Nevermore that magically transports her to a magically fictional world where she feels less trapped. The world of Nevermore offers her everything she could ever want, but is everything as wonderful as it seems? Is it even real? There has to be some kind of price, right?

      I was really into this book for the first 100 pages, but then I started to notice the flaws and holes that occurred as the book progressed. First of all, the characters were not themselves. Belle, for one, was extremely annoying and whiney. I have never imagined her to be so naive, self-centered, and unintelligent. She read as a 12 to 15-year-old, which is completely incorrect. She has always been around 17-21 in my mind. She also is supposed to be exceptionally creative and intelligent, which was not how she was portrayed at all. I felt like her character was stifled and she did a complete 180 from how she was acting at the beginning of the book. (SPOILER: She literally recited the entirety of Hamlet!!!) The author purposely wrote Belle's character to make her less intelligent in order to drive the plot. She gradually went from smart to ditsy/stupid within 150 pages. I found that to be very aggravating and annoying. I also didn't like how it was blatantly shown that she didn't notice the foreshadowing or the sinister actions of the evil individuals. She could have noticed, but the author obviously just wanted her to be ditzy and dumb. She's definitely not supposed to be a dumb character, so why would anyone want to ruin the image of a fantastic character like Belle?!?! I'm quite salty about this if you can't tell.

     I would also like to point out that there were some chapters that were told from the Beast's perspective. I did, at first, enjoy this part of the book, but as I read more chapters, I noticed that his chapters basically sounded like Belle's chapters with a smidgen of masculinity. I did not enjoy the way the author portrayed the Beast. He was much too fluffy sounding (that is his character wasn't like the brooding and tragic Beast that he was supposed to be). It was as if he had already experienced his character arc. I would have liked to get more of a positive character arc rather than the blah thing I experienced. 

     I know it sounded that I really didn't like this book, but there were a few redeeming qualities that made up for the stuff I really did not enjoy. For one, the allusions to the original Disney characters were great. I loved the little moments with Cogsworth, Lumiere, Plumette, Chip, and Mrs. Potts. I love their characters so much, so it was great to read about them again. I'm such a sucker for Disney. I also liked the little development and the tiny bit of emotion we get from him. I would love to read something from the perspective of the Beast...plus some back story. I love his character. 

    Overall, this book had the potential to be really fantastic. The concept of the book was very intriguing and I really enjoyed the Death vs. Love. It added a cool dimension to the book. However, I had too many issues with the execution and writing of the characters to fully enjoy this book. Belle was just a massive disappointment. There were so many instances where I (rudely) muttered: "I could easily rewrite this to make it better!" I know that is rude and dismisses the effort of the author, but this book was so disappointing! I, unfortunately, do not recommend this book. 

Other Retellings You Would Love:
  • A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J. Maas (ONE OF MY ALL TIME FAVORITE SERIES)
    • Beauty & the Beast + Fae
    • My Rating: ALL OF THE STARS
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
    • Cinderella + assassins and political intrigue (loosely based)
    • My Rating 4.75 stars
  • Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
    • dystopian after Oz - Dorothy is evil
    • My Rating: 5 stars
  • East by Edith Pattou
    • Norwegian Beauty & the Beast retelling
    • My Rating: 5 stars 
  • The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm #1) by Michael Buckley
    • Descendants of the Brothers Grimm. Solving mysteries in a town full of fairy tale characters 
    • My Rating: 5 stars
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
    • Dystopian fantasy retelling with moon people, cyborgs, political intrigue, and a fantastic cast of characters.
    • My Rating: 5 stars
Happy reading!
Olivia 
~LivTheBookNerd~
@LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

If I Fix You by Abigail Johnson

29074768
Page Count: 304
Published on: October 25, 2016
Published by: Harlequin Teen
Genre(s): YA, Contemporary, Romance, Coming of Age, Realistic Fiction
Source: Paperback - sent from the author and publisher
Age Rating: YA
TRIGGER WARNING. MAY CONTAIN HEAVY TOPICS PERTAINING TO ABUSE, DOMESTIC ISSUES, AND FEELS
Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon
Book Depository: {click here}

Twitter@AbigailsWriting

My Rating: 4.25 stars





Goodreads synopsis:

Readers of Sarah Dessen, Cammie McGovern and Morgan Matson will adore this thought-provoking, complex and romantic contemporary novel from debut author Abigail Johnson, about finding the strength to put yourself back together when everything you know has fallen apart.

When sixteen-year-old Jill Whitaker’s mom walks out—with a sticky note as a goodbye—only Jill knows the real reason she’s gone. But how can she tell her father? Jill can hardly believe the truth herself.

Suddenly, the girl who likes to fix things—cars, relationships, romances, people—is all broken up. Used to be, her best friend, tall, blond and hot flirt Sean Addison, could make her smile in seconds. But not anymore. They don’t even talk.

With nothing making sense, Jill tries to pick up the pieces of her life. But when a new guy moves in next door, intense, seriously cute, but with scars—on the inside and out—that he thinks don’t show, Jill finds herself trying to make things better for Daniel. But over one long, hot Arizona summer, she realizes she can’t fix anyone’s life until she fixes her own. And she knows just where to start . . . 

~~~

Hey, guys!

     I was contacted by the publisher and author to read and write an honest review. This book will become a quick favorite of those who enjoy Rainbow Rowell, Morgan Matson, Sarah Dessen, and Jenny Han's books. If I Fix You follows sixteen-year-old Jill. Jill's life has taken a turn for the worse when her mother just up and leaves her father after a major scandal. Suddenly, Jill's life is broken and a mess and she doesn't know what to do. As she tries to move past her mother's rejection, a new family moves in next door. The neighbor boy, Daniel is intense and really great looking. As Jill and Daniel become friends, she tries to fix his tragic situation the best she can. But she has to realize that in order to help others, she must heal herself before she can do anything.

     I really enjoyed the characters in this book. The main character, Jill, was fantastically fleshed out and I really enjoyed getting to know her as the book progressed. Her growth as a character was really wonderful to read about. She never caught a break in this book and she always tried to make her situation better and to move past it and grow. Jill's character is really natural and relate-able. She's so fun and snarky and I adored her conversations and hilarious antics with her friends and dad. She is so passionate about cars and being a mechanic and I just loved it. Her emotions were so valid and were written really well. It was so natural and I never felt like Abigail Johnson was over doing it or writing about it badly. 

      The main two guy characters were also really interesting and well written. The character, Daniel, was such a deep and fascinating character. His whole situation was so tragic and heartbreaking. I really felt for him. As I continued to get to know Daniel, and as Daniel and Jill became closer friends, I started to really love their friendship. I never really shipped Jill and Daniel, however, I thought they were better off as friends. This isn't a spoiler, I promise. This is just an opinion. You'll have to read the book to find out what happens. The other guy character, Sean, wasn't as developed as Daniel, but he was still very dreamy. I loved seeing his character progression as the book went on. I think that because the book was always in Jill's point-of-view, it really emphasized the changes that she experienced and she really was quite observant when it came to how their friendship fluctuated. Their friendship was quite rocky for the majority of the book, but I loved reading the flashbacks and moments where Jill looked back on the time before her mother left. 

     The whole drama that took place throughout the book was written so seamlessly. The combination of the problematic friendships, the family drama, the domestic issues, and boy-issues were such heavy topics by themselves, but Johnson wrote them all in the story so wonderfully. It never felt like there were too many issues to handle or that any of them were too much in one story. The twist that happened towards the end wasn't a complete surprise in my opinion. I speculated that it had happened, but it was still quite tragic when it was confirmed. I feel like the topics that this book emphasized was done very well. It was very realistic, and I'm kind of in love with Johnson's writing style. I can't wait to read her new book! 

     Overall, this book was really fantastic and I was thoroughly impressed. 
It really exceeded my expectations. The writing was flawless and the characters were so fantastically fleshed out.  I adored the setting and the couldn't put this book down. Johnson's debut, in my opinion, was a complete success. I can't wait to read her second book which comes out later than this year. and I can't wait to see how her writing career pans out from here. 

Other Contemporary/Realistic Fiction Books You'd Love:


Happy reading!
Olivia 
~LivTheBookNerd~

@LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Chronicle of Three: Bloodline by Tabitha Caplinger

26801274

Page Count: 192
Published on: November 3, 2015
Published by: Blue Ink Press
Genre(s): Paranormal, Science Fiction, YA, Fantasy
Source: Paperback - sent from the author
Age Rating: YA
Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon
Book Depository: {click here}

Twitter@Tab_Caplinger


My Rating: 3 stars







Goodreads synopsis:

Zoe thought the loss of her parents would be the most difficult thing she’d ever have to endure. When she began seeing things she couldn’t explain in her new home of Torchcreek, Virginia, she was sure the grief was driving her mad. Instead Zoe discovers she is part of an ancient bloodline, one destined to defeat the powers of darkness from condemning the world. But Zoe, the daughter of the three, isn’t just another descendant–she’s the key to humanity’s salvation. 

In this first installment of the Christian fantasy trilogy The Chronicle of the Three, Zoe Andrews learns that not all shadows are harmless interceptions of light. Some are a more sinister darkness that wants to torment the soul.

~~~

Hey, guys!

I was sent this book from the author for an honest review. 

     This book followed the main character Zoe who's parents have just tragically died. She moves in with her aunt, Claire, and they move to Torchcreek, Virginia to start again. Instead of finding a serene little town to live comfortably in, Zoe finds that she is beginning to see strange apparitions that plague her everyday life. She soon finds out that she is apart of a long bloodline of warriors who fight demons from Hell that are trying to disturb the peace of the Creator. Zoe finds out that she is the essential key to saving humanity from the dark and mysterious demons. This book is the first of three books that incorporate Christian elements throughout the story. 

     I really wanted to adore this book, but there were some aspects of the book that were sorely lacking. I found that the characters were very two dimensional. They had promise, but I genuinely want to know more about the story and about what happens to them in the second and third books. There were also so very cliche tropes that occurred throughout the book (i.e. the chosen one, forbidden love between supernatural and the non-supernatural). While these tropes were entertaining, I felt like they were underdeveloped and didn't add enough to the story. I felt like the plot points could have been expanded upon. The plot, unfortunately, was really lacking as well. I felt like it was also somewhat underdeveloped. I had so many world-building questions and I felt like should have been answered as the book continued on. I was really interested in the whole demon/dark forces aspect of the book and I really wish there was more of a complex explanation to Caplinger's rendition. 

      I also thought that events that occurred were too easy or they were too convenient. There were moments in the book that I saw coming from a mile away and some moments were there was something completely lacking. This sounds very vague, but if you have read the book, it would make much more sense. Apologies for the vague-ness. 

      I think that my favorite aspect of this book was how Caplinger incorporated the Christian faith and practices. I thought that it was done extremely well. I really enjoyed to see the characters grow and develop though the book was quite short, there was still a very prominent change in the characters. I can't wait to see how they develop in the next two books. I also was really intrigued by the relationship between Claire and Michael. I'm such a sucker for supernatural and non-supernatural relationships. I can't wait to see what happens in 

      Even though I had quite a few issues with this book, I look forward to continuing on with the series. Caplinger has begun a really intriguing and inspiring series that I can't help but be excited for. Her characters and plot have the potential to be something really fantastic. I look forward to understanding what will happen next. 

Book 2: Released February 7, 2017

33761687


Happy reading, everyone!
Olivia 
~LivTheBookNerd~

@LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

(Late) May 2017 TBR

Written: May 10, 2017




Hey, guys!

     I know this is going up pretty late and it's actually just a random decision I made maybe an hour ago, so it's not like it's super planned. I realize I've only read 1 book so far this month, but I'm half way through A Court of Wings & Ruin (I'm taking it slow and savoring) and I plan on continuing the Throne of Glass series soon after finishing ACOWAR. So I'm just going to call it "May: The Month of Maas" (cue dramatic and theatrical gestures). I'm done with school for the summer, but I'll be catching up on reading, writing reviews, and working. I'm going to be figuring out my time management schedule again. It changes all the time!

      I've already started the month with Throne of Glass and the first half of A Court of Wings & Ruin, so Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, and Queen of Shadows will by next on my reading TBR. I'm collecting the ACOTAR series in all of the editions I can get my hands on, so those aren't an issue, but I'm collecting the ToG series in paperback at this moment, so I do not own Empire of Storms or The Assassin's Blade quite yet. I might pick them up at the library, but I'd rather stick to the books I have on my physical TBR. So, I doubt I'll pick them up until I find them in U.S. paperback. 

Stay tuned for my May 2017 Wrap Up for the final book count and to see all that I read!

My Sarah J. Maas TBR:


  • Throne of Glass {read: 5 stars}
  • Crown of Midnight
  • Heir of Fire 
  • Queen of Shadows
  • A Court of Wings & Ruin {cr: page 339/705}


I absolutely adore SJM's writing. Her stories are just so fantastically done and I can't wait to read all of her work. I'm pretty sure her books are going to be automatic buys in the near future. She is swiftly becoming one of my top 10 favorite authors...

If you'd like to join me in Maas May, then please DM me on any of my social media handles (listed below).  

Happy reading!
Olivia 
~LivTheBookNerd~
@LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak

30753698

Page Count: 285
Published on: February 7, 2017
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Genre(s): Fiction, YA, Coming of Age
Source: Hardback - sent from publisher
Age Rating: YA
Where To Find ItGoodreads // Amazon
Book Depository: {click here}

Twitter@jasonrekulak


My Rating: 3.5 stars








Goodreads synopsis:

A dazzling debut novel—at once a charming romance and a moving coming-of-age story—about what happens when a fourteen-year-old boy pretends to seduce a girl to steal a copy of Playboy but then discovers she is his computer-loving soulmate.

Billy Marvin’s first love was a computer. Then he met Mary Zelinsky.

Do you remember your first love?

The Impossible Fortress begins with a magazine…The year is 1987 and Playboy has just published scandalous photographs of Vanna White, from the popular TV game show Wheel of Fortune. For three teenage boys—Billy, Alf, and Clark—who are desperately uneducated in the ways of women, the magazine is somewhat of a Holy Grail: priceless beyond measure and impossible to attain. So, they hatch a plan to steal it.

The heist will be fraught with peril: a locked building, intrepid police officers, rusty fire escapes, leaps across rooftops, electronic alarm systems, and a hyperactive Shih Tzu named Arnold Schwarzenegger. Failed attempt after failed attempt leads them to a genius master plan—they’ll swipe the security code to Zelinsky’s convenience store by seducing the owner’s daughter, Mary Zelinsky. It becomes Billy’s mission to befriend her and get the information by any means necessary. But Mary isn’t your average teenage girl. She’s a computer loving, expert coder, already strides ahead of Billy in ability, with a wry sense of humor and a hidden, big heart. But what starts as a game to win Mary’s affection leaves Billy with a gut-wrenching choice: deceive the girl who may well be his first love or break a promise to his best friends.



~~~

Hey, guys!

      I was sent this awesome book for an honest review back in January and I was instantly intrigued by the review package. They sent me an awesome reviewer package with a fake and blank Playboy cover and some 80's inspired candy. It was so cool and it got me in a mood to read the book. The book follows the 14-year-old Billy who is trying desperately to get the legendary Playboy with Vanna White on the cover. He and his friends are defintely out of their element when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex, so when they have to somehow convince/"seduce" the story owner's daughter to help them get a copy. This book has everything: 80's culture, a coming of age story, a bit of a romance, action, drama, a great cast of characters.

      This book was thouroughly entertaining and I really enjoyed it. I loved the main character, Billy, and I loved the character Mary. They were fairly mature compared to most 14-year-old characters and I really enjoyed the character arc that Billy and Mary went through. I really enjoyed how genuine and real Billy's character was. He was a total boy, but he was a good kid overall. Mary is such a strong and badass girl. I absolutely adored her character. Put Billy and Mary together and you'll get a super smart computer coding duo. 

      This book captures the innocence of kids on the brink of puberty and their reckless pursuits for stupid stuff. The emphasis on character growth, friendship, loyalty, and ambition was really sweet and entertaining to read as the story progressed. I really enjoyed the 80's culture that was prominent throughout the book. The dialogue was really realistic and there were so many moments where I audibly laughed out loud. This book made me laugh, nearly cry, and get angry and irritated. There were so many nerdy references that made my nerdy heart so happy. It wasn't necessarily my brand of nerd, but it was still wonderful nonetheless. 

     When getting towards the end of the story, I thought it was going to have a super predictable ending that would disappoint me somewhat, but there was really great ending that totally blew me away. I really didn't see it coming. I was so surprised and I'm so glad that Rekulak wrote such a cool twist. The ending fell a bit flat for me, but it was still pretty satisfying. 

     Overall, this book was pretty good. I really enjoyed it. Some of the references went over my head, but nothing too odd. I was born in the late 90's so of course some of the nostalgic bits that 80's kids would love weren't as impactful, but I'm sure that this book will be adored by so many people. I really do recommend this book. However, the characters were sometimes very unlikeable, their decisions were very stupid (which was annoying but I understood it because of their age), and it ended a bit abruptly. It wasn't a 5-star book for me, but it was still pretty good. 

Other Books & Media You'd Enjoy:

Happy reading, all!
Olivia
~LivTheBookNerd~
@LivTheBookNerd on Books Amino