Friday, November 3, 2017

In a Nutshell Reviews

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces
Lynn Weingarten
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars
Bad girls get it done.

Sasha’s all-time favorite person is her best friend Xavier. He’s smart, funny, and strange. He’s not just nice but kind. He’s endlessly forgiving, even when maybe he shouldn’t be.

So when Xavier lets his ex, Ivy, slither her way back into his life, Sasha knows she needs to protect him. And not just because she can’t stop thinking about the night she and Xavier almost shared a rum-soaked kiss. No, it’s because Ivy is poisonous. The last time they were together, Ivy cheated on Xavier and he just barely survived.

Sasha has a plan: pose online as a guy to seduce Ivy, proving that cheaters never change. But she soon learns to be careful who you pretend to be—because you can never truly know the darkness inside of someone. Including yourself.

Told in multiple points of view.
  • Pro: There was something special about Weingarten's writing. It was like arms that wrapped themselves around me and pulled me right into the story. 
  • Pro: Weingarten created this layer of darkness that gradually got thicker and thicker, building with the direction of the plot. 
  • Pro: Both Xavier and Sasha are both interesting characters. I wanted to know more about them. I wanted them to make good choices. I was devastated when I thought they were in trouble. 
  • Pro: This book surprised me in the best way, because it went from a story of longing to a mystery, which I found myself engrossed in. 
  • Pro: I thought Weingarten used the third POV well. It heightened my tension and did a good job of deceiving me. 
  • Pro: I would like to thank Weingarten for giving me a satisfying ending. It fit the story and answered my questions. 
"A heart too full is like a bomb. One day it will explode"
Overall: A dark tale of friendship and unhealthy obsession, which kept me captivated from beginning to end.

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.

Saving Red
Sonya Sones
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Right before winter break, fourteen-year-old Molly Rosenberg reluctantly volunteers to participate in Santa Monica’s annual homeless count, just to get her school’s community service requirement out of the way. But when she ends up meeting Red, a spirited homeless girl only a few years older than she is, Molly makes it her mission to reunite her with her family in time for Christmas. This turns out to be extremely difficult—because Red refuses to talk about her past. There are things Molly won’t talk about either. Like the awful thing that happened last winter. She may never be ready to talk about that. Not to Red, or to Cristo, the soulful boy she meets while riding the Ferris wheel one afternoon.

When Molly realizes that the friends who Red keeps mentioning are nothing more than voices inside Red’s head, she becomes even more concerned about her well-being. How will Molly keep her safe until she can figure out a way to get Red home? In Sonya Sones’ latest novel, two girls, with much more in common than they realize, give each other a new perspective on the meaning of family, friendship, and forgiveness.
  • Pro: Molly was so sweet, caring, and wounded. There were so many times during this story that I wanted to hug her. 
  • Pro: I really liked the way Sones kept the full story about Molly's past and what happened to her family under wraps. My curiosity built until I was almost begging for her to tell me. 
  • Pro: There are a lot of people in this book carrying around a ton of baggage. I was very pleased with the approach Sones took and how there was a theme of forgiveness in this book. 
  • Con: I just couldn't deal with Molly's parents. They were the worst! I understand what Sones was trying to do there, but they were so frustrating. I was happy with where they arrived at in the end, but it was a painful journey. 
  • Pro: Although there are a lot of heavy issues - mental illness, homelessness, drug addiction, there are some lighter parts to balance it out. 
  • Pro: I was all over that romance. I know it was instalove, but it was so sweet and adorable. Loved it!
  • Pro: The pain is so real. Red's pain, Molly's pain, Molly's parents' pain, it was palpable. 
  • Pro: The ending!!! I am getting chills just thinking about it. 
That ending!

Overall: A heartwarming and emotional journey, where one girl is saved by attempting to save another.

Here We Are Now
Jasmine Warga
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Rating:  3 out of 5 stars
Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she'd ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense - kinda - because Julian Oliver is Taliah's father, even though her mother would never admit it to her.

Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father - her grandfather - who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother's trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.

With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her 'father' and her family. But Julian isn't the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother's past are seriously shaking her foundation. Through all these new experiences, Taliah will have to find new ways to be true to herself, honoring her past and her future.
  • Pro: I liked the growth that Taliah experienced over the course of the book. She was living a very insular life, and she was slowly learning to open herself up to new people and new experiences. 
  • Pro: There was something I really liked about Julian. He was trying to atone for so many things, and all his emotions came across as very real to me. 
  • Con: The author touched upon some great things, but some ideas seemed underdeveloped. 
  • Pro: I thought the use of the flashbacks were interesting. I enjoyed learning Julian and Lena's story, as it contributed to who Tal was BUT
  • Con: I sometimes thought that Lena and Julian's story overshadowed Taliah's. I saw this as her story, and a huge part of it was dedicated to her parent's, and with the book being short, it left some of Tailah's issues not fully explored. 
  • Pro: I loved all the family time. Julian had a great family, and I liked getting to know them. 
  • Pro: I actually liked the ending, which is usually one of my chief complaints, because it fit what I thought the story was about, even if it lost focus every now and again. 

Overall: This was an enjoyable coming-of-age story, which focused on family and grabbing the opportunities we have with both hands, not looking to the past, but relishing being here now.

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copy of this book.

Have you read any of these books?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. Bad Girls sounds like a seriously dark story. Sasha is obviously willing to go to some (extreme) lengths to protect Xavier. I feel like I've read that Sones typically writes in verse - is that the case with Saving Red? I didn't see it mentioned in the synopsis so I'm curious. Interesting (and a little disappointing) that Here We Are Now seemed to focus more on the parents. The synopsis sounds as if it's very much Taliah's story.

    1. Bad Grils was dark, twisted, and I really liked it. The writing just captured me. I don't know if I have read anything by Sones that was not in verse, and Red is in verse as well. There were a few things that kept me from loving Here We are Now, and although I liked learning about her parents, I thought it took the focus off Tal and her journey of self discovery.

  2. I hadn't heard of any of these, but Saving Red sounds fantastic, as does Bad Girls with Perfect Faces. I could easily see myself sobbing at Saving Red as well.

    1. I am a fan of Sones, and I appreciated how she addressed the issues in the book. It was emotional, oh, the ending! I am smiling just thinking about it. Bad Girls was so good. It's dark and twisty and I couldn't stop reading it.

  3. Aw, that's a bummer about Here We Are Now. I'm hoping to get a copy from the library.

    1. It wasn't bad, there were just some things that didn't work for me. There are lots of people who liked it a lot more than I did. I just think it had the potential to be so much better, and had elements that needed to be developed more to get it there.

  4. Bad Girls With perfect Face sounds good but I don't know if I'd manage to read it. it sounds like there are some slightly toxic friendship going on there. Interesting but also I'm not sure.

    Saving Red, though! Now that sounds like a pretty good emotional read. Like, a book I'd both love but hate myself for reading for the emotional gut punch, you know?

    I totally know what you mean about Here We Are Now, there were good ideas in it but stuff just felt unfinished when it ended. Like, I loved seeing the backstory of Lena and Julian, but it did feel like it then overshadowed Tal getting to know her dad. I think that is because the book ended so abruptly, though. I feel like there could have been more and it wouldn't have felt overshadowed but merely helped develop who the characters were and are now, you know? I enjoyed the book but I would have liked more to it.

    1. I will definitely read Weingarten's first book now, because I loved the writing in Bad Girls so much. There is a very toxic friendship as well as a toxic romance. The girl was just toxic, but I loved to hate her. I really enjoyed Saving Red. It's on the younger side, but deals with some really big issues. I liked the way Sones approached the mental health issues as well as the family issues.

      Exactly. Here We Are Now as too short for Lena and Julian's story to occupy so much space. It was a good story, and I think it was relevant, but it didn't leave enough time to get into Tal's story. I didn't think the book was bad, it just didn't deliver as much as I expected it to.

  5. Bad Girls with Perfect Faces sounds so good! I think that the other two sound like books I would enjoy as well but that first ones calls to me.

    1. It was the best of the three for me. It was not a happy book, though. It kept me reading in the same way Gone Girl did. I was eager to find out who did what.

  6. You have a wonderfully diverse taste in books -- and these all sounds lovely. I'm particularly taken with Bad Girls with Perfect Faces. I think it sounds like just he type of book I would like.

    1. Honestly, I would probably read contemporary romances all day if I was wasn't blogging. So, it's good I blog, otherwise I would miss out on great books, like Bad Girls. My co-blogger had been trying to get me to read Weingarten's last books, so when I saw this, I had a feeling it would be good, and it was great.