Tag: Book Reviews

Book Review: If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say by Leila Sales

Posted April 18, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Book Review: If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say by Leila SalesIf You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say by Leila Sales
Published by Macmillan, Farrar Straus and Giroux on May 1, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher, NetGalley
Goodreads
one-star

Before we go any further, I want you to understand this: I am not a good person.

We all want to be seen. We all want to be heard. But what happens when we’re seen and heard saying or doing the wrong things? What then?

When Winter Halperin—former spelling bee champion, aspiring writer, and daughter of a parenting expert—gets caught saying the wrong thing online, her life explodes. All across the world, people knows what she’s done, and none of them will forgive her.

With her friends gone, her future plans cut short, and her identity in shambles, Winter is just trying to pick up the pieces without hurting anyone else. She knows she messed up, but does that mean it’s okay for people to send her hate mail and death threats? Does she deserve to lose all that she’s lost? And is “I’m sorry” ever good enough?

First and foremost a novel about public shaming in the internet age, If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say is also an exploration of the power of words, the cumulative destructiveness of microaggressions, and the pressing need for empathy.

I’ve been reading Leila Sales for a few years now and I’ve really enjoyed some of her books and didn’t enjoy one of the books that I’ve read by her. After reading this one, I have not enjoyed another one of her books. This was almost a DNF but I needed to know that things turned around for the main character, needed to know that she learned her lesson and I was really interested in seeing how it all ended.

I feel I should warn you guys that there will be hella spoilers in this review because I’ve got shit to say and I’m going to say it all here…so this is your warning.

***BEWARE: MARJOR SPOILERS AHEAD***

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So this book follows Winter Halperin, a former spelling bee champion who made a racist remark online and pays the price for that remark. Her past is blasted and made fun of online and needless to say, she’s devastated. She didn’t mean the remark the way that everyone took it but it was still a shitty thing to say and she is remorseful but in my opinion, she wasn’t remorseful for the right reasons. As I was explaining to my daughter while talking about this book with her, Winter didn’t deserve a lot of the shitty comments that were thrown her way (you know all of the, you should go ahead and kill yourself now because you’re stupid cow and the you should be raped for what you said – those comments) but she 100% deserved to be educated on just how privileged her way of thinking was.

I’m sorry but if your apology includes the word “but” in it, you ain’t sorry for shit and Jason, Winter’s black best friend wasn’t here for that kind of apology. He was hurt by her words and he had every right to be pissed at her. They were close friends and she said a shitty thing online that hurt his feelings but she didn’t get why her comment was so bad. Jason explains why he was so mad at her and she was adamant that she’s not like that. Her defense was, “I have black friends, I can’t be racist!” She really didn’t get why Jason was so mad at her. This part of the book had so much promise and it could have gone down in a way that taught Winter a really good lesson but what actually happens had me all…

Because no she didn’t make the white girl say a racist thing and then make the white girl the victim and then make her black best friend the bad guy by doing some shady shit. Jason deserved better than that and I almost stopped reading the book because I was getting mad but I needed to know that Winter turned her ass around and that she learned some important life lessons from all of this. I needed to see this happen with my own eyes and you guys…that didn’t happen. Or actually, it happens but it came with a whole lot of shit on shit on shit that kept knocking me on my ass.

So Winter went to a sort of rehab clinic and it was a safe space for her to finally take a long look at her way of thinking, to learn and grow from her past mistakes. That was probably the best thing for her because by the end of the book, Winter learns her lesson. She does eventually get where Jason was coming from, she learns to be genuinely remorseful for her actions and she does learn just how different her life is from Jason’s, how different her life is from the black girl in rehab but holy cow, the delivery sucked huge donkey balls for me.

Winter really comes into her own over the course of the story and when she finally gets it, I breathed a sigh of relief because, freaking finally, right? I was satisfied that the main character finally saw the light but one of the last things to happen in the book left me speechless, left a really bad taste in my mouth because I honestly didn’t think it was necessary. It took a huge shit on the message of the book.

So Winter learns her lesson, she’s back at home and she’s not googling herself twenty times an hour, she’s evolved as a person and genuinely wants to be a better, more enlightened person. She’s at peace. One of the things that she hasn’t given up is googling others that are going through what she went through. The latest victim? A happily married white man in his thirties who set up a dating profile on a gay dating app for the sole purpose of outing the men he met on there who work in politics in D.C. He’s a reporter and was doing all of this for the story. Needless to say, the online social media justice department went in on this guy and our newly enlightened and evolved protagonist wrote this asshat a letter that basically said, “I feel for you man. Just know that you’ll get through this and I’ll see you on the other side.”

I can’t imagine why that needed to be included in this book. What lesson was being pushed here? It doesn’t matter what your actions are, nobody deserves death threats? People don’t deserve to lose their livelihood after doing shitty things that hurt others? That lesson could have been taught without victimizing the asshole who violated so many people, willingly.

I closed this book and was so very angry that I don’t think I can ever come back from it. There aren’t too many books that have angered me as much as this book did and I honestly don’t think I’ll be reading anything by Leila Sales again. I would be too scared that I’d get another one of these and no. Just hell fucking no.

Grade: 1 out of 5

one-star


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Book Review: Suddenly Forbidden by Ella Fields

Posted April 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Book Review: Suddenly Forbidden by Ella FieldsSudden Forbidden by Ella Fields
Series: Gray Springs University #1
Published by Ella Fields on January 24th, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 295
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

I thought he'd always be mine,even when I was forced to say goodbye.

We were never meant to let go, but it happened anyway. Too bad I didn’t know someone was waiting to take my place, or I would've held on a lot tighter.

Two years later, we were exactly where we'd always planned to be. I'd kept my promise.He'd forgotten all about his. Not only had he moved on, but the person he'd moved on with was my best friend, leaving me to begin college with a broken heart.

I guess this is the part where I’m supposed to tell you some other guy stepped in, repaired my shattered pieces, and made me smile again.

This isn't that kind of story.

My heart might have been broken, but it refused to fall out of love.

WARNING: this book contains cheating.

This book was brought to my attention by my friend Ames who blogs over at Bookish Ames. She really enjoyed this one and as she was describing it, it sounded like something I would enjoy as well. So I started the book just as soon as I could and I finished it rather quickly. I should preface this review by warning you that there is cheating in this book and though I’m not normally a fan of that kind of things in my romances, it wasn’t a deal breaker for me in this book.

Quinn and Daisy have been best friends since they were kids. When they were of age for their friendship to blossom into something more, they went there without second thoughts. They were young, they were in love and right before Daisy turns 16, her parents move her to the next state over and her blossoming relationship with Quinn suffers a huge blow. Promises that they made to each other are thrown into question and it’s two years later, Daisy shows up for her freshman year at Gray Springs University hoping that she runs into Quinn again and that they can try to get back to where they were when they lived next door to each other.

For a while, Daisy doesn’t see Quinn at all but when she finally does, her heart is shattered into a million pieces because Quinn isn’t alone anymore. He has a girlfriend and that girlfriend used to be Daisy’s other best friend, Alexis so the betrayal is strong but Daisy isn’t the only person who is shocked. Quinn hasn’t seen Daisy in years and he wasn’t prepared for the feelings that would storm him when he finally does see her again.

Once they finally see each other, they see each other everywhere. Quinn and Alexa are in love now and Daisy tries to stay away because she’s hurt, she’s angry at the both of them and she’s still in love with Quinn. No amount of staying away helps because he’s had her heart since she was a little girl and that’s not going to change.

So this is a second chance romance set at Gray Springs University and every time that Quinn sees Daisy, the past rushes back to him and bombards him with feelings that he’s having trouble controlling. He wants to do right by Alexis but even Alexis knows about him and Daisy. She was there through all of it. He’s screwed any way that he looks at it because the more that he sees Daisy around, the stronger their bond becomes and trying to outrun something that is in his blood isn’t going to last.

Seeing Quinn and Daisy interact with each other and trying to find a new normal was angsty and so full of promise that when they inevitably come together, I was disappointed but I was also not surprised. Quinn tries his best to try to make things right and Daisy suffers from so much guilt and I thought that Ella Fields handled this complicated mess in a way that made me feel for everyone involved. The story is well written and the emotions I felt were real and I just could not stop reading. In the end, this book turned me inside out and it ended the way that it was supposed to end. I’m anxious for the next book and have every faith that Toby and Pippa’s story will be just as angsty and good as this one was.

Gray Springs University Series

Bittersweet Always releases sometime this year and I’m so here for it.

Final Rating

4 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Book Review: Jockblocked by Jen Frederick

Posted April 4, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 6 Comments

Book Review: Jockblocked by Jen FrederickJockblocked by Jen Frederick
Series: Gridiron #2
Published by Jen Frederick on February 11th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 496
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Amazon|Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

She’s always played it safe…

College junior Lucy Washington abides by one rule—avoid risk at all costs. She’s cautious in every aspect of her life, from her health, to her mock trial team, to the boring guys she dates. When a brash, gorgeous jock walks into the campus coffee shop and turns his flirt on, Lucy is stunned by the force of attraction. For the first time ever, she’s willing to step out of her comfort zone, but can she really trust the guy who’s determined to sweep her off her feet?

He’s always played around…

Entering his last year of college eligibility, linebacker Matthew "Matty" Iverson has the team captaincy in his sights. And it’s his for the taking, if he can convince his quarterback Ace Anderson to give up the starting position. Luckily, Matty already has an edge—the hottie he’s lusting over just happens to be Ace’s childhood best friend. Getting Lucy on his side and in his bed? Hell yeah. Matty is more than confident he can have both, but when he falls hard for Lucy, it’s time for a new game plan: convince the woman of his dreams that she’s not sleeping with the enemy.

It’s been ages since I’ve read this book but it was our book club book of the month for March, so I dug it out and read all about Matty Iverson falling in love with Lucy Washington again. I loved my re-read of this book. It was like coming home after a long day at work. I really enjoyed the chemistry, the romance and the dialogue between Matty and Luce.

So, Matty Iverson is about to be a senior in college and he’s low key over the party scene. He just won the national championship and like a champ does, he parties like there’s no tomorrow to celebrate his team’s achievement with his team and things get a lot out of hand. He’s all partied out and hooking up with random strangers all the time is getting old so instead of continuing the party, he starts hanging out by himself and hitting the books. He meets Lucy Washington and when she rejects him, he’s thrown for a loop. Matty doesn’t get rejected but there’s a first time for everything and it figures that the girl that finally interests him doesn’t return the interest.

Matty turns up the charm as he tries to get Lucy to go out with him. Lucy isn’t having it. She made a promise to her best friend J.R. “Ace” Anderson that she would steer clear of his football teammates and he promised to steer clear of all of her friends. Matty is persistent and Lucy is starting to cave because Matty is starting to show signs that he is a lot more than the person she thought he was and she likes who she is getting to know.

The romance between Matty and Lucy was a fun one. I loved seeing them flirt with each other, wear each other down and then come together like a giant ball of lust. They were such a fun couple and I loved how protective Matty was over Lucy and I loved how loyal Lucy was even when she was stuck in between Matt and Ace. There was a lot going on in this book and I loved being a part of all of it. Matt and Lucy were fun, Hammer, Sutton and Charity and the rest of the guys on the football team, they were all great.

The diabetic stuff with Lucy rang true and got the approval from my book club. There are a few diabetics in our club and they were impressed with the author’s knowledge and the way that it’s treated in the story. It was a part of Lucy’s life, the same way that it’s a part of theirs. It’s not entirely who they are but it’s a big part of their lives and they all thought that Frederick handled it all quite nicely.

Matt was our favorite thing about the book. He was a good, solid hero who wasn’t perfect and didn’t try to be. He was in love and let himself be in love. We connected with him as a person and with the stuff he was dealing with. Between the captaincy, the whole drama with Ace and then his budding relationship with Lucy, the way that he was with everyone completely won us over.

Lucy was strong and she was fun but most importantly, she was normal. Everyone would be able to see a little bit of themselves in Lucy and the way that she was in all aspects of her life was a lot of fun to read because she was complicated but she was real.

I can’t say enough good things about this book except Ace. Ace was such a shitty person. A shitty friend. A shitty teammate and we took a vote at book club and not a lot of people are interested in reading Ace’s book, haha. Poor guy. But this book? It gets a high recommendation from me because I loved the book, the characters, this world and the romance. You won’t be sorry if you pick this one up. It’s a damn good book.

Gridiron Series

Rating

4.75 out of 5

four-half-stars


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