Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Review: Press Play by Eric Devine

Press Play
By Eric Devine 
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Summary: Greg Dunsmore, a.k.a. Dun the Ton, is focused on one thing: making a documentary that will guarantee his admission into the film school of his choice. Every day, Greg films his intense weight-loss focused workouts as well as the nonstop bullying that comes from his classmates. But when he captures footage of violent, extreme hazing by his high school’s championship-winning lacrosse team in the presence of his principal, Greg’s field of view is in for a readjustment.

Greg knows there is a story to be told, but it is not clear exactly what. And his attempts to find out the truth only create more obstacles, not to mention physical harm upon himself. Yet if Greg wants to make his exposé his ticket out of town rather than a veritable death sentence, he will have to learn to play the game and find a team to help him.

Combine the underbelly of Friday Night Lights with the unflinching honesty of Walter Dean Myers, and you will find yourself with Eric Devine’s novel of debatable truths, consequences, and realities.

Review: Going into this one, I knew it was going to be a serious read. With an overweight protagonist who is constantly bullied and uncovers some serious hazing done by the most popular guys in school, you know there is going to be drama. I went in with a serious mindset, but it was still hard to read how horrible high schoolers can be…

Nicknamed Dun the Ton, Greg Dunsmore wants nothing more than to get into film school and leave his town. In order to do so, he knows he has to come up with a fantastic film to get him a scholarship. Greg decides to document his own journey of losing weight, as well as the constant bullying he is the victim of because of his weight. What Greg doesn't expect, though, is to uncover serious and violent hazing being performed by the high school's beloved lacrosse team. Greg knows he has to do something about it, but he wants to use this secret as his ticket to film school. As more and more secrets are uncovered, though, Greg realizes just how dangerous the situation really is. 

Maybe I'm just being naive, but it seemed like everything that happened to Greg was just too much. I was in high school not too long ago and don't remember kids being THAT cruel, especially in the way that this book portrays them. Pretty much everyone in the school makes fun of Greg's weight, to his face, and they literally beat him up on more than one occasion with no repercussions. There are no authority figures except for the principal and superintendent, both of whom are no help at all. There should be a good 20 or so other adults in the school to at least attempt to intervene or see the mental and blatantly obvious physical abuse Greg goes through, but he's literally helpless. I understand that high schoolers can be very insensitive and bully those who are seen as "different" than them, but I think that the author was too heavy handed in the incidences that occurred to the point where it wasn't believable that all of that could happen to one person. 

Other than that, though, this book was seriously emotional and heartbreaking. I hate in when people are bullied and the bullies have no idea how cruel they are being when they think it's all fun and games and how miserable they are making those who they bully. Weight is a seriously sensitive issue and even little offhanded comments people make that aren't trying to be mean really affect Greg and his self perception. Also, the way his family handled his choice to lose weight was emotional and I liked how the author realistically created tension with Greg's mom and dad and Greg's mom's need to feed him to show her love. The whole film aspect of this book was really great and I really enjoyed how Greg used film as a form of escape. I love film too and could connect with him on that level and liked how he was able to form a connection with Ella on that topic as well. 

Overall, Press Play is quite the emotional read that deals with obesity, hazing, and extreme bullying. While some situations were very drastic and too much in my opinion, I still felt connected to Greg and wanted him to succeed in not just losing weight, but finally accepting himself as a person. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Nerd Blast + Giveaway: Adrenaline Crush by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Adrenaline Crush
By Laurie Boyle Cromtpon 
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Summary: When a daredevil teen pushes herself too far, she must choose between two boys: the one who wants to keep her safe, and the one who dares her to return to her old self.

Seventeen-year-old Dyna comes from a family of risk takers and is an avid thrill-seeker herself, until the day she splinters her ankle in a terrible fall. Her whole life goes from mountain biking and rock climbing to sitting at home and attending group sessions at the bizarre alternative healing center that her hippie mother found. The boy who witnessed Dyna’s accident believes her injury is a wakeup call and he encourages her mild new lifestyle, but a young Afghanistan War veteran she meets at the healing center pushes her to start taking chances again. Forced to face the consequences of her daredevil impulses, Dyna finds herself in danger of risking the one thing she’s always treated with caution—her heart.

About the Author

Laurie Boyle Crompton is the YA author of BLAZE (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) and THE REAL PROM QUEENS OF WESTFIELD HIGH (Sourcebooks, 2013 & 2014) as well as the upcoming ADRENALINE CRUSH from Farrar Straus Giroux. Laurie graduated first in her class from St. John’s University with a major in English and minor in Journalism. She’s written for national magazines like ALLURE as well as numerous trade publications and has appeared on Good Day New York several times as a Toy Expert. Yes, that is an actual thing that people sometimes get to be.

When she’s not writing Laurie enjoys hiking, cycling, reading, cross-country skiing, running, going to the movies and drinking tea by the gallon. She lives near NYC, but loves to escape to the mountains in New Paltz, NY where she and her family can often be found climbing over rocks or tromping through the forest. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Agency.


1 Winner will receive a Signed Copy of Adrenaline Crush, Carabiner Key Chains, Bookmarks and Pins by Laurie Boyle Crompton. 

Waiting On Wednesday (167)

This is a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine where every Wednesday bloggers highlight a book that they are eagerly anticipating the release of!

Fall Away (Fall Away #3)
By Penelope Douglas
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Summary: Jaxon is the guy she’s supposed to avoid.

K.C. is the girl he won’t let get away....

K. C. Carter has always followed the rules—until this year, when a mistake leaves her the talk of her college campus and her carefully arranged life comes crashing to a halt. Now she’s stuck in her small hometown for the summer to complete her court-ordered community service, and to make matters worse, trouble is living right next door.

Jaxon Trent is the worst kind of temptation and exactly what K.C. was supposed to stay away from in high school. But he never forgot her. She was the one girl who wouldn’t give him the time of day and the only one to ever say no. Fate has brought K.C. back into his life—except what he thought was a great twist of luck turns out to be too close for comfort. As the bond between them grows, he discovers that convincing K.C. to get out from her mother’s shadow is hard, but revealing the darkest parts of his soul is nearly impossible.…


IT'S JAX'S STORY. Oh my gosh, what Jax did at the end of Rival? Oh my gosh. That guy is seriously delicious and I am way too excited for this book. While I loved the second book in this series and am dying to read the first, I just know this one is going to take the cake. I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Book Review: They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire

They All Fall Down
By Roxanne St. Claire
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Source: Publisher
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
Summary: Pretty Little Liars meets Final Destination in this YA psychological thriller that will have readers' hearts racing right till the very end!

Every year, the lives of ten girls at Vienna High are transformed.

All because of the list.

Kenzie Summerall can't imagine how she's been voted onto a list of the hottest girls in school, but when she lands at number five, her average life becomes dazzling. Doors open to the best parties, new friends surround her, the cutest jock in school is after her.

This is the power of the list. If you're on it, your life changes.

If you're on it this year? Your life ends.

The girls on the list have started to die, one by one. Is it a coincidence? A curse? Or is the list in the hands of a killer?

Time is running out for Kenzie, but she’s determined to uncover the deadly secret of the list...before her number’s up.

Review: As far as scary books or movies go, I am such a wimp. I hate being scared and can't get through anything that's truly terrifying (I saw The Ring in high school and am still terrified just thinking of it). I can, though, handle a little bit of scary plot for a story that is more mystery than horror and has puzzling murders to solve. 

Every year, the students of Vienna High vote on the super secret Hottie List, a list that changes the lives of ten girls at the school. As a Latin nerd who's best friends with a band geek, Kenzie Summerall has no idea how she made the list. When she lands the position as number five, everyone suddenly wants to be her friend and she's invited to all of the cool parties. But when the girls on the list start to die one by one, Kenzie knows something bad is happening in their town and starts to question everything she's ever known. Theories about a curse are thrown around, but can a curse really be causing these girls to die? As the list of girls alive grows shorter and shorter, Kenzie is determined to find out who's behind the "accidental" deaths before her number is up. 

As soon as I saw that this book was compared to Pretty Little Liars, I was definitely excited to pick it up. There's more of a mystery behind who is terrorizing innocent high school girls and why anyone would want them dead. Is someone really trying to kill them, or are they just that unlucky that seriously freaky accidents keep on happening to them? Kenzie keeps on noticing strange things happening to her, but is she just being paranoid? I love the mind games that were played in this novel and how so many people were involved. There are ten girls whose lives are on the line and even more people involved in Kenzie's life, so there are definitely more than one conflicting opinion on what they all are to do next and if there really is a crazy killer on the loose. Not to mention that all of the characters have secrets of their own that may or may not affect the fate of the rest of the girls on the list. 

From the beginning, I really enjoyed Kenzie's character. She's always been on the outside looking in and when she's finally popular, it's definitely not as glamorous and perfect as it seemed, especially when it comes to her longtime crush Jared. Maybe the person you're really meant to be with isn't the picture perfect jock, but rather the dark and mysterious guy who has a rocky past of his own. Oh, yeah, I definitely go with option number two, especially after meeting said mysterious guy. I love how straight forward and honest Levi is with Kenzie and how we get to see a different side of him than everyone else does. No one knows Levi's true past and they all see him as the bad boy persona he puts on. Kenzie is able to see that he's so much more than that, but can she trust him when all of this crazy stuff is happening to her? I loved Levi, but I wish that we got more from the romance between Kenzie and Levi than we did. Yeah, we get some, but not as much as Kenzie shared she wish she had at the beginning of the novel. The romance was more of a subplot compared to the overall murder mystery, so I was okay with the downplayed emotional/physical relationship details of the story. 

They All Fall Down is definitely a fun read that is perfect for this Halloween season. While I wasn't as satisfied with the ending as I wanted to be, I really enjoyed the mystery behind the murders going on at Vienna High and how many secrets became uncovered throughout the novel. Any fan of Pretty Little Liars has to pick up this novel full of murder, mystery, and very deadly secrets. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Books/Movies to Read or Watch to Get in the Halloween Spirit

This is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where each week bloggers share a list of books for the prompt given. So hopefully I'll have a new list to share with you all each week!

This Week's Topic: Top Ten Books/Movies to Read or Watch to Get in the Halloween Spirit

Since I love both books and movies, I've decided to share with you five books and five movies that will definitely put you in the mood for Halloween! Since I don't typically do scary (I'm terrified of scary movies), most of what I recommend are much more lighthearted ways to celebrate the holiday :) 

Top 5 Books

1. Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
2. The Ghost and the Goth by Stacey Kade
3. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh 

4. Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs by Molly Harper
5. Dead River by Cyn Balog

Top 5 Movies
1. Hocus Pocus (1993)
2. Halloweentown (1998)

4. Casper Meets Wendy (1998)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Weekly Roundup [10/21-10/27]

Happy last week of October! While it may almost be November, the weather has been incredibly warm these past couple of days and is supposed to be in the 70s today! What is up with Ohio? My family came and visited for family weekend and we enjoyed the gorgeous weather at the football game where my school played my sister's school. It was fun being able to spend the day with my parents and sister. My sister brought me some delicious brownie cookies and some books that had arrived at home, and my mom brought me a bunch of Halloween candy in a bowl that she made look like a pumpkin. It's so cute! Oh, and they brought me my new iPhone 6! It's amazing and I am beyond excited to have it! This weekend, I also ran a 5k called Run Like Hell wear everyone wore costumes and we ran in the dark at night. Part of the course was in a cemetery and, while very hilly, it was such a cool run! I had a great weekend and am pretty happy with how great October turned out to be!

Book Review
Unmade by Sarah Reese Brennan
Caged in Winter by Brighton Walsh
Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Book Review: Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh

Only Enchanting (The Survivors' Club #4)
By Mary Balogh
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Source: Publisher
Summary: The Survivors' Club: Six men and one woman, all wounded in the Napoleonic Wars, their friendship forged during their recovery at Penderris Hall in Cornwall. Now, in the fourth novel of the Survivors' Club series, Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, has left this refuge to find his own salvation—in the love of a most unsuspecting woman…

Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, was devastated by his fiancée’s desertion after his return home. Now the woman who broke his heart is back—and everyone is eager to revive their engagement. Except Flavian, who, in a panic, runs straight into the arms of a most sensible yet enchanting young woman.

Agnes Keeping has never been in love—and never wishes to be. But then she meets the charismatic Flavian, and suddenly Agnes falls so foolishly and so deeply that she agrees to his impetuous proposal of marriage.

When Agnes discovers that the proposal is only to avenge his former love, she’s determined to flee. But Flavian has no intention of letting his new bride go, especially now that he too has fallen so passionately and so unexpectedly in love.

Review: I am honestly the worst person when it comes to reading a series. I read the first book in The Survivors' Club series and absolutely loved it, but I haven't managed to pick up another one until Only Enchanting, which is actually book number four. If the middle two are anything like the ones I've read, then I definitely have to pick them up soon!

Flavian is still feeling the aftereffects of losing his older brother and his fiancé when he returns damaged and broken from war. So when he meets a sensible, ordinary woman who keeps popping up in his life, the last thing he expects is to find her enchanting. Agnes Keeping hasn't known true love and doesn't even know if it exists after losing her husband who was more pleasant than passionate. But when she meets Flavian, she is swept off her feet and falls deeply for the man. Agnes barely knows Flavian, though, and soon learns that he has a past that he may be using her to get over, a fact she's not too fond of. Flavian will do anything to salvage his relationship with Agnes and prove to her he hasn't tricked her into proving a point, but rather he's truly fallen for her enchanting, intriguing ways. 

From the very start of this book, I loved Agnes. She's a very reserved, plain person who is content with leading a life that is, well, content. She did not have a great passion with her husband, but she did feel safe and well cared for with him. When he dies and she's widowed, she lives with her older sister and has no desire to remarry at the moment. One dance with Flavian, though, and all sensible thoughts are out the window. I loved how Agnes was completely captured by Flavian and has a ridiculous school-girl crush on the man because he asked her for a dance. After waltzing with her when he clearly doesn't have to, Agnes is a complete goner. Her character is so relatable in how she's used to being a wallflower, but when a man like Flavian pays attention to her and turns on his charm, she's absolutely swooning over him. The best part, though, is that Flavian is just as enchanted as she is. 

Normally romances end with the couple getting together, but Flavian and Agnes actually get married in the middle of the novel. The real trouble comes when they go back to Flavian's home and Agnes learns all about Flavian's past and his past relationships. They truly did not know each other when jumping into the marriage, they just trusted their attractions and went all in. Their trust and faith in one another is really tested and they have to see if they can actually make the marriage work. Agnes is so awesome when she enters Flavian's world and I love how a "nobody" like her can really hold her own among the elite society of Flavian's family. I was rooting for Agnes the entire time and really enjoyed her moments of triumph when everything seemed to be going against her. 

Overall, this was an adorable romance about a plain girl who captures the attentions of a rich, charming man who is unlike anything she has known before. I definitely need to read the other two books of this series and catch up on the two couples who have gotten together and appear in this latest novel. After catching up on the series, I can't wait to see who next of the survivors' club will find their happily ever after!

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