BOOK REVIEW: Time of Our Lives – Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

40076537Title: Time of Our Lives
Author: Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Rating: DNF @ 50%

Nobody is more disappointed than me over the fact that I did not (could not) finish this book. I have adored the other books written by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka in the past, so I was totally prepared to love this one as well. However, I was not prepared for the crushing disappointment and apathy I had towards this book.

What is this book about? Time of Our Lives follows two high schoolers, Juniper and Fitz, who have very different ideas about their futures and college as they each go on campus visits in the New England area.

What did I like? First all, let me start out by telling you how extremely excited I was to find out Juniper was from Springfield, Massachusetts. My mom was born and raised there and that is where her side of the family has lived for many generations. The only other book that has been set in that city was Coldtown by Holly Black, and as with that book, I was hit with the same rush of warmth and nostalgia.

What didn’t I like? I knew from the very beginning I was going to have an issue. Had I known before picking this up that Juniper was going to begin the book already in a committed relationship, I probably never would have read it because that’s never a scenario I enjoy reading. Because not only does she start the book with a boyfriend, but she has said boyfriend for literally the entire first half of the book. As a reader, you hear all about how much Juniper loves her boyfriend, how great they are together, and the future she envisions them having. Literally, the chapter or two before they “break up” she’s mentioning how every time they kiss she feels the same spark and fire she felt the first time. I’m sorry, how am I supposed to be convinced that she’s going to fall for the love interest in this book when her chemistry with her own boyfriend is off the charts?

The other grievance I had with the book was the second protagonist, Fitz. I did not like him one iota and if I’m being totally honest, wish he had never made an appearance in this book. First of all, I found his entire demeanor towards Juniper off-putting and slightly creepy. He meets this girl once and yet becomes semi-obsessed with her and tries to put himself in situations where he might run into her again. Also, he’s a huge hypocrite. How can you be advising Juniper not to choose a college based on a boy, and yet decided to cancel your original plans continue your trip based on a girl (Juniper)? Second of all, I really do not appreciate male characters that continually flirt with and make moves on people they are well aware are already in a relationship. It’s awkward, in poor taste, and ultimately just makes me want to root against you in the story.

And the romance. Like I mentioned, when your heroine has more chemistry with her boyfriend than the potential love interest, there is a problem with your story. I wholeheartedly believe that Juniper and Fitz’s relationship would have worked so much better if they had remained platonic friends. The “break up” between Juniper and her boyfriend felt so fabricated and unconvincing that I nearly rolled my eyes out of my head. I have a lot more to say about this “romance” but even I’m tired of hearing myself talk about it.

Overall thoughts: I’m trying to keep this short and I don’t want to continue to rant but there was just so much that I didn’t enjoy about this book. I had to quit reading because I truly disliked Fitz and didn’t find it prudent to want to finish a book when I was actively rooting against one of the protagonist.

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ARC REVIEW: Foul Is Fair – Hannah Capin

42595554Title: Foul Is Fair
Author: Hannah Capin
Rating: ★★

ARC provided by the publisher. 

What is this book about? The premise is amazing. This is a story about a group of teenage girls enacting revenge on a group of prep boys after one of the girls was assaulted at a party. The book is a loose retelling of Macbeth, which happens to be one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, with a little bit of inspiration from Heathers.

What did I like? I really loved the Macbeth retelling angle. The nods to original play are subtle, but so extremely well done. I also really liked that Jade and her friends were unapologetically the mean girls and owned it. There was no apologies for their behavior and they didn’t have a holier than thou attitude.

What didn’t I like? The first major issue I had with the book was the writing. To put it plainly: I couldn’t stand it. The scenes were very abrupt and the way the dialogue was written felt so stilted and unnatural. My other problem with the book was that a lot of the things that happened felt very far-fetched and unbelievable. I’m supposed to be believe that a group of (barely) sixteen-year-old girls were the mastermind behind multiple murders within the span of a week? That the main character would be able to successfully manipulate a boy into doing whatever she asked of him after one meeting? If the time frame had been extended or the criminal acts less severe, I think the story would have been more impactful to me. Yes, it’s fiction, however as a reader I can only suspend my belief to a limit.

Overall thoughts: The plot is a very clever retelling of Macbeth, but considering I almost DNF’d this like three times because I couldn’t stand the way it was written, I definitely did not enjoy this as much as I had hoped.

BOOK REVIEW: The Upside of Falling – Alex Light

45891343Title: The Upside of Falling
Author: Alex Light
Rating: ★★½

What is this book about? The Upside of Falling is about two teenagers who decide to fake being in a relationship for their mutual benefit. I mean, is there anything better than a fake-dating that turns into real feelings kind of book?

What did I like? Obviously, given my track record with other YA contemporary books, I am trash for any story featuring a fake-dating trope. So the concept of The Upside of Falling was fantastic. I also really loved that there was no unnecessary drama that moved the plot backwards or in redundant circles. Everything that happened had a purpose plot-wise.

What didn’t I like? The first major issue I had with this book is that it moves way to quickly. The plot was very, very rushed and not as flesh out as I would have like it to have been. Because of this, the story felt very superficial to me and the characters lacked depth. The book is only 280 pages which is where I think the problem lies. It really could have benefited from another 100 pages to help flesh out the story and slow down the plot.

The other problem I had with the book was that I couldn’t quite figure out the point behind the fake-dating scheme between Brett and Becca. There wasn’t ever really a good reason given on either side: the choice to pretend to date each other occurs so suddenly and randomly which made the story feel very unbelievable and pointless.

Overall thoughts: The Upside of Falling centers around two teens who decide to pretend to date each other to fool their peers. I love a fake-dating trope, and while the concept was good, the execution was poor.

REVIEW: Always Never Yours – Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka

Title: Always Never Yours
Author: Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Rating: ★★★★

What is this book about? In each of Megan’s relationships thus far, her boyfriends end up falling in love…just not with her. Megan is looking to gain entrance to college and start her career as a film director, but the college she’s interested in requires acting experience. When she is unexpectantly cast as Juliet in their high school’s production of Romeo and Juliet, Megan begins to realize she has the chance of becoming the leading love interest of her own story instead of always the Rosalind.

What did I like? Megan is without a doubt my favorite part of this book. She’s definitely a breath of fresh air compared to a lot of other contemporary romances. She’s outgoing, unapologetically flirtatious, and “boy-crazy.” Instead of letting her past love failures turn her bitter or resentful, she’s carefree and just has fun with her dating life. Megan is also clearly a much better person than I am, because if I had found out one of my friends did what her best friend did, I would never talk to them again.

I loved watching her relationship develop with Owen! The phrase “opposites attract” has never fit a couple better. Owen was reserved and shy, whereas Megan was loud and bit brash, saying whatever comes to her mind. Their initial friendship was lovely and the transition to deeper feelings was written so perfectly that it felt very natural and never forced.

What didn’t I like? I can’t help but wish more of Megan’s situation with her family was explored. She obviously has a lot of feelings about what’s happening between her dad and his new family and then later with her mom and her mom’s boyfriend. The ending felt like it wrapped up too cleanly, and yes, I understand that some blended families do all get along and work nicely together, but I felt like Megan was too quick to accept everything and not enough communication was made between her and dad to resolve those feelings.

Overall thoughts: If I’m Being Honest was one of my favorite books last year, so I think I put off reading this because I was scared it wasn’t going to hold up. Thankfully, I was definitely proven wrong! Always Never Yours is a super fun and heartwarming contemporary romanced and I’m definitely this writing duo to my auto-read list!

BLOG TOUR: Reasons to Read Foul Is Fair

Welcome to my stop on the Foul Is Fair book tour! Thank you to Wednesday Books for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour host! 


42595554Title: Foul Is Fair
Hannah Capin

Release: February 18, 2020
Genre: YA Contemporary

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

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⚔️ MACBETH RETELLING – I’m all for a good Shakespearean play and I absolutely love this retelling. The elements of the book inspired from Macbeth are subtle yet extremely clever. Hannah Capin is clearly a very intelligent writer because it was amazing seeing how she worked in aspects from Macbeth into the story.

💋 MEAN GIRLS – The girls in this book make Regina George appear to be an angel. Foul I Fair draws inspiration for the vicious shenanigans and characteristics of the main girl gang from cult classics such as Cruel Intentions, Mean Girls, and Heathers. These girls are wicked and they have murders to plan.

⚰️ REVENGE – The crux of this story revolves around the main character, Elle, and her friends getting revenge on the boys that sexually assaulted her at a party. It’s dark, it’s violent, and it’s totally satisfying. Get it girl.

💞 #FRIENDSHIPGOALS – As much as I’d love to say I’d help my best friends plan and execute the demise of fuckboys, I would have some reservations and definitely would not fall into the plan as wholeheartedly as Mads, Jenny, and Summer. Those girls redefine #friendshipgoals with how unquestionably they supported one another. 



Hannah Capin is the author of Foul is Fair and The Dead Queens Club, a feminist retelling of the wives of Henry VIII. When she isn’t writing, she can be found singing, sailing, or pulling marathon gossip sessions with her girl squad. She lives in Tidewater, Virginia.



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