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June 24, 2015

Joyride by Anna Banks

Title: Joyride
Author: Anna Banks
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: June 2, 2015
Received From: Publisher in return for a honest review

Synopsis: A popular guy and a shy girl with a secret become unlikely accomplices for midnight pranking, and are soon in over their heads—with the law and with each other—in this sparkling standalone from NYT-bestselling author Anna Banks.
It’s been years since Carly Vega’s parents were deported. She lives with her brother, studies hard, and works at a convenience store to contribute to getting her parents back from Mexico.
Arden Moss used to be the star quarterback at school. He dated popular blondes and had fun with his older sister, Amber. But now Amber’s dead, and Arden blames his father, the town sheriff who wouldn’t acknowledge Amber's mental illness. Arden refuses to fulfill whatever his conservative father expects.
All Carly wants is to stay under the radar and do what her family expects. All Arden wants is to NOT do what his family expects. When their paths cross, they each realize they’ve been living according to others. Carly and Arden’s journey toward their true hearts—and one another—is funny, romantic, and sometimes harsh.

I loved Anna Banks' Syrena Legacy series, so I was really excited when her new book Joyride was announced. Joyride is very different from that series but I enjoyed just the same!

Anna Banks has a big sense of humor and while Joyride deals with serious topics it still has hilarious moments. The main characters have midnight pranking sessions for goodness sake! Arden and Carly's relationship is very different from most relationships I read about. It seemed more realistic in a way. People who don't know each other, to frenimies, to friends, and finally to something more. It was a really realistic progression. Though I wish there had been a little more tension when they got to be friends.

Speaking of serious topics, this book has quite a few. Deportation and immigration are realities for many people and it was nice to see a version in a YA book. I think Carly's parents' expectations of her were a little strong and I think her brother was kind of an ass about it. But I can see why everyone would be so stressed out about getting them back.

Mental illness also plays a role in this book. So trigger warning for suicide. I did think the way that Anna Banks handled the idea of medication and stigma was very good and realistic. I also felt that Arden reacted to Amber's problems in an understandable way. Also his father is the WORST. There is a reveal towards the end of the book that I was not expecting but looking back it should have been obvious. Lets just say I hate Sheriff Moss.

Overall I liked Joyride. Anna Banks did a good job balancing the serious topics with humor. Also I think the topics were handled in a good, responsible way. The only thing I didn't like was I wished there was more in-between in Carly and Arden's relationship, it kind of felt like it came out of left field. Also I felt that Carly's family's expectations seemed a little out there, but that could be reality for all I know.

All that said I definitely recommend Joyride for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jennifer E. Smith. A little less romance, but still very good!

Check out a guest post I did with Anna Banks here
Links to my reviews of  Of Posidon, and Of Triton

June 5, 2015

Love, Fortunes, and Other Disasters by Kimberly Karalius

Title: Love, Fortunes, and Other Disasters
Author: Kimberly Karalius
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Received From: Publisher in return for a honest review

Synopsis: In the tradition of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, one girl chooses to change her fortune and her fate by falling in love.
Love is real in the town of Grimbaud, and Fallon Dupree has dreamed of attending high school there for years. After all, generations of Duprees have successfully followed the (100% accurate!) love fortunes from Zita’s famous Love Charms Shop to happily marry their high school sweethearts. It’s a tradition. So she is both stunned and devastated when her fortune states that she will NEVER find love.
Fortunately, Fallon isn’t the only student with a terrible love fortune, and a rebellion is brewing. Fallon is determined to take control of her own fate—even if it means working with a notorious heartbreaker like Sebastian.
Will Fallon and Sebastian be able to overthrow Zita’s tyranny and fall in love?

 Review: Love Fortunes and Other Disasters is a cute book that asks the question, what if you knew that you were never going to find love?

In the town of Grimbaud people find out their love fortunes, and they always come true. So what happens when you get a bad one and find that you are going to end up in one of the communities for either Batchelors or Spinsters? Well, one group of high school students wants to take Zita down and prove that her fortunes don't always have to come true.

Fallon is one of those perfect teens. She only wears the nicest clothes (her brother is a  clothing inspector), will only eat the best food (her parents are health inspectors) and always keeps her dorm/apartment spotless. She sometimes came off as a little prissy or like she was a little too good for everyone else, so much so that Sebastian even calls her "Princess" for part of the book. She does have her moments of selflessness, like when she tries to get her best friend's crush to finally notice him. If it wasn't for these moments though she would be a little cloyingly sweet and perfect.

I liked learning about how the charm shop came to be. There is a little back story in the prologue but the whole story doesn't come out until the end. I wish there had been a little more information about the shop and Zita but the ending is a little rushed when it comes to that aspect.

The cast of supporting characters is really fun, Fallon's friends and club mates added to the richness of the story and filled in Grimbaud.

All that being said, I liked this book. It drug at times and rushed at others but when the book was said and done it was a fun, cute read.