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Monday, June 12, 2017

The Unfortunate Decisions of Dahlia Moss by Max Wirestone


Publisher: Redhook
Release Date: October 20th, 2015

If it were up to me this book would be called Hilarious Things That Happened That Were Not At All Dahlia's Fault -- or HTTHTWNAADF, for short.


OK, I probably shouldn't have taken money from a mysterious eccentric to solve a theft, given that I'm not a detective, and that I am sometimes outwitted by puzzles in children's video games. I probably shouldn't have stolen bags of trash from a potential murder suspect. Arguably-- just arguably, mind you-- it may have been unwise to cos-play at an event where I was likely to be shot at.


But sometimes you just have to take some chances, right? And maybe things do get a little unfortunate. What of it? If you ask me, an unfortunate decision here or there can change your life. In a positive way, just so long you don't killed in the process. Admittedly, that's the tricky bit.


I picked this one up on a whim. I've been taken with mysteries as of late and this one had the added draw of geekiness and laughs, so I decided to give it a go and I loved it. Dahlia Moss is hilarious. I genuinely laughed out loud throughout the story and was thoroughly charmed by Dahlia and the other characters that popped up all over her world. 

I don't personally have any experience playing an MMORPG,because of this, and the fact that a large part of this story revolves around such a game, I was a little concerned it would affect my enjoyment of the story. It did not. In fact, I particularly enjoyed hearing about the world of Zoth and how these games unfold. Dahlia comes across a lot of people during her time playing detective and they were all so darn entertaining. I was especially charmed by Dahlia's roommate Charice. I never knew what she was going to come up with next, but it was always hilarious and oftentimes very helpful. And she had some of the best lines. 

I don't know if I'm completely sold on the romantic direction this series seems to be taking, but that may also have something to do with the fact that I was hoping for an endlessly awkward law enforcement office to get his moment in the sun. I refuse to give up hope. There is still time!

I actually listened to this one on audio book and it was a phenomenal listen. The narrator did a fantastic job with all of the characters and I'm sure her delivery contributed in large part to all of those times I laughed out loud. I haven't decided if I'm going listen to book two or read it, but I did order physical copies of both books, because I need to have them around for subsequent re-reads. 

Go forth and follow along as Dahlia tries to uncover the 'Bejeweled Spear of Inifinite Piercing'!


*Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman


Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017

*I received an e-copy via Netgalley for an honest opinion


Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves



I loved that this book was, at it's heart, about family and what it means. Anise could be completely bratty and self-centered at times, but when it really came down to it she was there for her family. She came to learn that everything isn't just about her, but that there are other people whose feelings and needs matter. Since she has always lived in the same place, I think it was really great to see her plopped in the middle of somewhere completely foreign to her and watch her figure out a little more about herself and about life. I also really appreciated the fact that her mom never showed up in the book. I think that would have been too cliché and unrealistic, but even though she never came, I like that we got to see Anise sort out her relationship with her mother and come to terms with it in some ways. I loved the attention shown to the importance of friendships and being there for people, even when it's not the easiest choice to make. There were definitely times that Anise didn't always make the right choice, at least initially, but she did a lot of growing up during this story and it was an awesome thing to read.

The romance in this was absolutely adorable and Lincoln is one of the best characters I have read in a contemporary YA novel. I loved his attitude and the way he took on life despite the curve balls it has thrown him along the way. He is just an all around nice guy, but not in that boring way nice guys can sometimes be portrayed in books and movies. He is funny and spontaneous and here to take on life. Anise definitely grew from the short time she knew him in this novel, and I feel like she will grow to become an even better person for having him in her life.

Contemporaries are a favorite of mine, but even so, I can still get pretty critical. Especially when stories just start sounding like different shades of the same basic premise. That was not a problem with Girl Out of Water. It felt new and exciting, and I had so much fun reading it. Definitely recommend!



*Cover image and synopsis from Goodreads

Friday, June 2, 2017

Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein



Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

*I was sent a copy of the book by the author for review*

June wants high school to end and real life to begin. Oliver is soaking up senior year’s glory days. They could have coasted through high school, knowing about—but not really knowing—each other.

Except that their moms have arranged for Oliver to drive June to school. Every. Single. Day.

Suddenly these two opposites are fighting about music, life . . . pretty much everything. But love is unpredictable. When promises—and hearts—get broken, Oliver and June must figure out what really matters. And then fight for it.

I adored this book. I was hooked by the synopsis and then heard countless people raving over how great of a contemporary it was, so when I got the chance to pick it up and give it a go I was so excited. One of the things that stood out to me right away was Oliver. From things we get from June, we think Oliver is going to be a high school jock stereotype, but right from the beginning he shows that there is definitely more to him than that. I guess for me, it made him seem like more of a real person. He had substance. Of course, June wasn't exactly her stereotype, either. It took a little longer to get that out of her, but the more time Oliver and June spent together, riding to school or otherwise, the more we got to see their common ground.

I loved how Oliver would keep bringing his ideas for a senior prank to June, and how she would keep explaining to him how it wasn't a good idea because it could harm someone or something. The two of them had the cutest banter and conversations on their rides to school. Oh man, the prank that the senior class finally decided on, so damn cool! I don't even remember if my senior class pulled a prank, but if we didn't it was nowhere near as awesome as this one, because something this cool I would have remembered.

Sure, it could be considered cliche, and sure, it's a pivotal moment in a lot of teen stories, but I love that everything kind of came to a head at prom. I am a sucker for proms. If it was socially acceptable to crash them as an adult, I might do it. I love the cheesy decorations, requesting favorite songs from the DJ, and putting on the pretty clothes. So the fact that we got to see prom and a little prom drama, I was all over that. 

I don't have anything but nice things to say about Shuffle, Repeat. I loved so many characters and loved to hate some others. It felt like real kids in a real high school and I could totally see myself hanging out with any of them. Oliver and June left me with a smile on my face and the urge to hit repeat on this one sometime soon.


*book cover and synopsis from Goodreads

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