Book Review: Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer

18852053Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: August 26, 2014

Pages: 288 (Hardcover)

good good

Leon Harris isn’t exceptional and he isn’t popular. He’s the kind of guy that peaked in middle school, when once upon a time he was in the “gifted” program and on the fast track to Ivy League glory.

Now, a high school senior, he’s a complete slacker who spends his time hanging out in a third-rate ice cream parlor with his best friend, Stan, a guy who (jokingly, Leon thinks) claims to be Satan. Committed to his sloth, Leon panics when he finds out that Anna, the love of his life aka middle school girlfriend, might be moving back to town.

Determined to get his act together, Leon asks Stan for help. Stan gives him a few seemingly random and mysterious assignments. Date a popular girl. Listen to Moby-Dick, the audiobook. Find the elusive white grape slushee. Join the yearbook committee.

As each task brings Leon one step away from slacker city and one step closer to Anna, he starts to wonder if maybe he shouldn’t have promised Stan his soul after all…

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionAlways assume that a person named Stan is actually named Satan. That’s probably the first thing I picked up from this book. Oh, and that the Dark Lord is a complete ass. Play Me Backwards is a fun book about love, friendship, and knowing the difference between being a teen and an adult. I had a lot of fun reading this, and I really really REALLY want to go on a slushee adventure now. Definitely going on my high school grad bucket list to do. This book actually made me look back to what I was like when I was fourteen and all of my goals and expectations. I’ve changed a lot in those almost four short years but not in the way that I would have thought. This is one of the reasons why I could connect with Leon and why I think a lot of other people will be able to as well.

Right off the bat though, the book jumps into an albeit humorous, very long info-dump on the relationship between Leon and  Stan/Satan and how they became friends in the first place. And it’s not the only time that readers are forced to chew down a lot of information in one bite. It happens kind of a lot but I liked that even though Adam Selzer had a has a hard time expertly putting in some of the characters’ pasts into the story without boring readers, he at least makes it funny. If it weren’t for the humour, I really do believe that I would have skimmed through just about all of the references to the past. Another thing that I didn’t like is the middle of the book where everything just seems to kind of stand still. Things happen, sure, but it’s not things that matter. I truly did not care about Leon’s relationship with Paige though it took up a huge chunk of the story.

Play Me backwards is still a fun novel. I loved the writing. I know I say this a lot, but I usually love reading books in a male perspective better than a female solely because the writing is a hell of a lot more relaxed with a dash of humour in it. The random but awesome assignments that Stan gives Leon are great. I loved how much fun Leon has going around doing them. Moreover, the relationship between Leon and Stan is well done. I loved the journey that Leon goes through to improve himself and just how willing Stan is to help him. The characters are full of personality and enthusiasm (or lack of) that’s really realistic in teens. Adding onto this, Stan is amazing. He’s mysterious and plays his part well as the Devil.

If you don’t have a bucket list already, I suggest that you start one. Especially if you’re not a teenager. You must go on a slushee adventure and do at least one disaster dinner from an old cookbook. This book inspires random, weird, and awkward but in a way that’s relatable to most, if not all teens concerning their parents, friends, and grades. It was easy for me to love the book and laugh along with it. I recommend this one to everyone to read even if it’s just to pass the time. It’s kind of a jem, guys.

3.5 Interesting Clouds

3.5 Interesting Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

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Book Review: Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas

16090645Ask Again Later by Liz Czukas

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: March 11, 2014

Pages: 336 (Paperback)

good good

Despite what her name might suggest, Heart has zero interest in complicated romance. So when her brilliant plan to go to prom with a group of friends is disrupted by two surprise invites, Heart knows there’s only one drama-free solution: flip a coin.

Heads: The jock. He might spend all night staring at his ex or throw up in the limo, but how bad can her brother’s best friend really be?

Tails: The theater geek…with a secret. What could be better than a guy who shares all Heart’s interests–even if he wants to share all his feelings?

Heart’s simple coin flip has somehow given her the chance to live out both dates. But where her prom night ends up might be the most surprising thing of all…

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Talk about a half-assed book! I found myself shaking my head a lot for both good and bad reasons. But despite Ask Again Later being half-assed, it’s still a fun novel. There’s a lot of memories and events that go on in the story that held my attention, not to mention the awesome alternate reality.

I’m saying this story could have been a lot better because everything about it is just so….Half assed. I’m sorry that I can’t another word to explain it but that’s how I felt towards the whole the. Starting with the characters, every single one of them feels very shoved into the book with barely any back story. Readers will get just about a brief summary of how Heart knows a character and then that’s it. The relationships between all of the characters felt contrived and pathetic, leaving

Ask Again Later is written with two alternative realities. One where she goes to prom with her brother’s friend, Troy and one where she goes with her friend, Ryan. Pretty much right off the bat, you can tell which one is the better way to go with and I loved reading this, it solves the ‘what if’ factor that many people would be thinking about.

Liz Czukas’s debut will reside well with many young adult readers–it’s fun, light, and full of fun moments. Unfortunately, for people who might be looking for something fun and light-hearted yet properly executed, this novel isn’t it. It’s sloppily done with the characters being flimsy, forced relationships, and a setting that feels kind of shoved in there. But it’s a fun ride so that makes up for some of it.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Favourite Book Quotes of the Week#46

favourite

A list of my favourite quotes from books I’ve read in the past week. Leave a comment/link telling me what your favourite quotes are! I’ll be sure to check your post out too!

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

16100944Favourite quotes:

1. Dan drags his eyes from me to glare at Logan. “Well, excuse the hell out of me for trying to help. I heard a crash and thought someone was hurt. You could’ve fallen. On a pair of scissors. Slit your jugular. How was I to know? Next time you’re in need of life-saving action, don’t come crying to me,” he says, then his voice mimics a whiny child. “‘Dan, help me, I’ve broken my spleen.’ because you know what I’m going to say? ‘Sorry about the spleen, dude, I have to stay in the back room for all of eternity.”‘

2. “It’s not just high school. People are going to judge you for all kinds of reasons for the rest of your life. Because you vote one way or the other, because you go to one school or the other, because you look a certain way. It’s a fact of life; you can’t make everyone happy. But you can make you happy.”

Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards (Book Review+Guest Post!)

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Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: October 1, 2013

Pages: 336 (Paperback)

good good

Chloe didn’t think about it much when she nodded off in study hall on that sleepy summer day. But when she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can’t remember the last six months of her life. Before, she’d been a mediocre student. Now, she’s on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he’s her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won’t speak to her.

What happened to her?
And why can’t she remember?

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, Sourcebooks Fire for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

This is a bit of a stretch but I was initially attracted to this novel because Chloe forgot six months of her life and I am a very forgetful person… so we sort of share that. Anyway, Natalie D. Richards is an author that I know I will read more novels by her when they come out. Her writing style, characters, and setting reeled me in and didn’t let go until the last page. Even though there are a few predictable things about it, this story is realistic and I enjoyed it a lot despite that. 

Six Months Later is quite messy and I understand that it would be since Chloe doesn’t know what’s going on but I was still left a bit confused and was forced to re-read a few things. There are a few things in this novel that are glaringly obvious from the beginning, like who’s involved with certain things and with that being said, the ride didn’t feel as fun and exciting as it could have been.

What I did like about this book is the humour that’s easily weaved into the text. It doesn’t feel forced. The writing has a nice mix of intense scenes and realism that I love to read about. The relationship between Chloe and Maggie is sweet and realistic, I love how Richards put obstacles in their way and when they overcame them, they still weren’t ‘buddy-buddy’ again which made me smile all the more. Another thing that I liked about Six Months Later are the male leads because they are so different yet so alike. Throughout the whole novel, Blake and Adam are seen and judged by their pasts rather than by the present which made a huge deal with a lovely lesson about– people should never be judged by their pasts because they don’t matter as much as their actions right now do.

Generally, I don’t read many books about amnesia because many of them are the same and I never feel entertained enough by the end. However, Six Months Later is different in the sense that there’s an easy humour to it and also has a love triangle that isn’t in the least bit annoying or over done. It fits the novel really well and I recommend this novel to people who love amnesic main characters, love triangles that aren’t annoying, or just love mystery novels.

3.5 Dreamy Clouds

3.5 Dreamy Clouds

 

Now, onto the guest post! This is a character spotlight on Adam Reed by Natalie D. Richards. She’s been really awesome and fun to talk to, as well as made me fall even harder for Adam when I finished reading this so check it out below!

Adam Reed:  A Spotlight

                “I admit it, I play favorites with my characters.  Every character is special and meaningful and…oh, that’s not the point. The point is, some characters just stay with you. You get a character crush, like the one I have on my hero from Six Months Later, Adam Reed.

Every hero is fun, but Adam was something special.  Here’s some of the many things that make him who he is.”-Natalie D. Richards

 

Basic Details:     6″2 with dark hair and blue eyes.  More prone to smirking than smiling.

Likes?                   Red pop, breakfast at all hours, bridges and skyscrapers (you’ll see), and Chloe.

Dislikes?              Messy rooms, giggly girly-girls, being trapped between a rock and a hard place,                                                                 and Blake.

What he Drives:             car                 

                Three Songs on his iPod Right Now:

Lonely Boy — The Black Keys

Comeback — Redlight King

Staring at the Sun — TV On The Radio

 

How teachers might describe him:

Academically gifted, but a troubled young man

What do other guys think?

“I heard that dude got arrested for manslaughter or something.”-Some random dude.

And the girls?   

                “With a face that pretty, he can break all the laws he wants.”-Some random chick.

 

Last, but not least, how does Chloe see Adam? 

“Six feet and a couple of inches of something that scares me half to death.”  — Six Months Later

 

Let’s see if the journey she takes in Six Months Later changes that.  😉

 

Abbe, thank you so much for having me today!  I had an amazing time here and really enjoyed this idea!

Song of the Week#4-Cola by Lana Del Ray (The Sexual Edition)

song of the week

This is a weekly meme that’s for the most part, the same as Song Of The Day except each week there will be a different ‘edition’ and it’s going to be updated once a week. This week’s edition is: The Sexual Edition. Cola by Lana Del Rey is one of the most fun, most sexual songs I’ve heard in a long time that I still enjoy singing when I’m out with friends. I just have to share how sexy it is with all of you.

But, I’m not going to lie, I solely know this song because my friends and I would scream, at the top of our lungs, during the middle of the night, while under the influence, “My pussy tastes like Pepsi cola!” As a joke because that’s what this song is, right? A crazily, insanely, sexual joke.

Paradise_EP

Elizabeth Woolridge Grant known by her stage name Lana Del Rey, is an American singer-songwriter. Del Rey started writing at the age of 18. Currently, she has five albums with Cola being on Paradise.

Every time I think of Pepsi or cola, I think of this song. Just the beginning of the song, but the whole song is really sexual and fun to laugh about.

My favourite part is:

My pussy tastes like Pepsi Cola

My eyes are wide like cherry pies

I got a taste for men who’re older

It’s always been so it’s no surprise

To listen to Cola click here.

Lyrics are here.

Favourite Book Quotes Of The Week#23

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A list of my favourite quotes from books I’ve read in the past week. Leave a comment telling me what your favourite quotes are! I’ll be sure to check your post out too!

Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas 

207889Favourite quote:

“Did he ever tell you about the drum set he got when he was thirteen?” I shook my head. “He played it every Saturday morning. […] That son of a bitch was only playing because he knew I’d come in wasted the night before.”

He took Doug’s chin in his hand and used his thumb and index finger to force a lunatic smile on his brother’s face. “Tomorrow your ass is mine, little brother.”

4.7/5-It took me over a month to finish this book not because it was slow, boring, or uncreative, but because I couldn’t bring myself to finish the last few chapters I had left. I honestly didn’t want this book to end. The book made me so angry at times, yet still made me laugh a lot and cry too.

(Summary from Goodreads)

Sixteen-Year-Old Jace Witherspoon arrives at the doorstep of his estranged brother Christian with a re-landscaped face (courtesy of his father’s fist), $3.84, and a secret. He tries to move on, going for new friends, a new school, and a new job, but all his changes can’t make him forget what he left behind—his mother, who is still trapped with his dad, and his ex-girlfriend, who is keeping his secret. At least so far.

Worst of all, Jace realizes that if he really wants to move forward, he may first have to do what scares him most: He may have to go back. First-time novelist Swati Avasthi has created a riveting and remarkably nuanced portrait of what happens after. After you’ve said enough, after you’ve run, after you’ve made the split—how do you begin to live again?

(My Opinion)

This book was amazing, most of the characters flew off of the pages because they were so  funny and creative. Well-written without too much description or explanation in the first few chapters that it was a quick and easy read. A very moving tale about abuse where we learn the different sides to his family. The idea for this novel was executed almost perfectly with a good amount of flashbacks and touching moments.

Almost perfect in my eyes. There are a lot of books that I wished were tweaked a bit better or were a bit clearer on some parts so that I could put it up in my “Forever love and cherish” book pile. Swati Avasthi’s Debut novel could have been clearer on a few of the secondary characters. I wished she made Jace’s ex-girlfriend clearer and more history about his best friend.

Such an emotional book! I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it for the longest time because I didn’t want Jace’s adventure to end. I loved how his brother, Christian acted towards Jace near the ending because it surprised me, I thought Christian would have reacted differently. Also, the flashbacks about Jace;s old life and what he liked about it and what he despised because most of them were about his father. In this book, I loved how the relationships between Jace’s brother and his new friends weren’t too fast and they were very unpredictable while the slowly blooming romance was in fact that. Slowly blooming. Holy crap, the writing style was what I loved from authors. It was so easy to read that, the words flew off the page and I couldn’t remember if the book was past or present tense because I was so caught up in the story of Jace.

An amazing novel about getting over the past and fighting to not become the monster you’ve known all your life. A total must read for everyone. Swati Avasthi’s next novel will probably be a smash hit if its anything similar to Split.