Review

Maurene Goo Mini-Reviews

The Way You Make Me Feel

The Way You Make Me Feel
by Maurene Goo

Published May 8, 2018

Source: Purchased


 

1

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? With Maurene Goo’s signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.


2

I read this book while on vacation earlier this month and am so glad I decided to pick it up! It made me feel like I had been living under a rock when it comes to Maurene Goo’s books because I absolutely LOVED this.

Clara starts off as a bit of a brat, really. She is disrespectful towards her parents and people at school, and doesn’t care how her actions make other people feel. When one of her pranks at prom goes too far, she has to spend the summer working off her debt at her father’s food truck alongside her nemesis Rose.

This story had a lot of depth behind it — Clara is struggling with her mother abandoning her to go be a social media influencer and neither Rose or Clara have any female friendships in their life. Clara has a very friendship-like relationship with her dad when the story starts out and doesn’t seem to see him in a typical parental role.

I loved seeing Clara and Rose work through their issues with each other and start to find common ground as the summer wore on. The food truck setting was so much fun — I wish I was lined up at KoBra for lunch right now! The descriptions of food were amazing and mouth-watering and I can’t believe Korean-Brazilian fusion isn’t really a thing, because it should be.

Clara and Rose both grow so much throughout the course of the book, both individually and into a really lovely friendship. This book made me laugh and smile so many times as I read it, but it was far from being all fluff.

I gave THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL 4 out of 5 stars!

 

Somewhere Only We Know

Somewhere Only We Know
by Maurene Goo

Published May 7, 2018

Source: Purchased


 

1

10 00 p.m.: Lucky is the biggest K-pop star on the scene, and she’s just performed her hit song “Heartbeat” in Hong Kong to thousands of adoring fans. She’s about to debut on The Tonight Show in America, hopefully a breakout performance for her career. But right now? She’s in her fancy hotel, trying to fall asleep but dying for a hamburger.

11 00 p.m.: Jack is sneaking into a fancy hotel, on assignment for his tabloid job that he keeps secret from his parents. On his way out of the hotel, he runs into a girl wearing slippers, a girl who is single-mindedly determined to find a hamburger. She looks kind of familiar. She’s very cute. He’s maybe curious.

12:00 a.m.: Nothing will ever be the same.


2

I loved the concept of this book, but unfortunately the execution was a bit lacking for me. I felt that Lucky’s character read extremely young, and while a few deeper topics such as feeling like an outsider within your own culture and fitting into a family were discussed, I didn’t feel that they were given enough time to be impactful. There was a weird power imbalance between Lucky and her love interest for the majority of the story that felt weird to me and made it hard for me to ship Lucky and Jack.

I felt that this story had too much lightheartedness and not enough depth to back it up. It might work for a younger audience, but unfortunately I didn’t love this story.

I gave SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW 2 out of 5 stars.

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Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: You’d Be Mine

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You'd Be Mine

You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn
To Be Published: April 2, 2019
by Wednesday Books

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

Erin Hahn’s thrilling debut, You’d Be Mine, asks: can the right song and the perfect summer on the road make two broken hearts whole? [summary from Goodreads]

2

There are so few YA books that feature country music and that is such a shame. I absolutely love the country music world and cannot wait to dive into this story.

 

Pre-ordering REALLY helps authors by creating demand for their work and increasing their first week sales. I really encourage you to pre-order if this sounds like something you want to read! To be perfectly honest, while I absolutely love supporting indie bookstores, I usually pre-order from Amazon because they guarantee that you will get the lowest price the book hits between the date you pre-order and the release date. Plus, they don’t charge you until the item ships, making it super easy to support the author without spending a bunch of money upfront!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookPeople

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Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

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A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A Very Large Expanse of Sea
by Robin Talley

To Be Published: November 13, 2018
by Harlequin Teen

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down. [summary from Goodreads]

2

This sounds like a very important story that needs to be told. I don’t want to say too much here because I don’t want to say too little, or say the wrong thing. Just read the summary, and then read the book. We all need this, I think.

 

Pre-ordering REALLY helps authors by creating demand for their work and increasing their first week sales. I really encourage you to pre-order if this sounds like something you want to read! To be perfectly honest, while I absolutely love supporting indie bookstores, I usually pre-order from Amazon because they guarantee that you will get the lowest price the book hits between the date you pre-order and the release date. Plus, they don’t charge you until the item ships, making it super easy to support the author without spending a bunch of money upfront!

*NOTE: Barnes & Noble is offering a signed copy when you pre-order!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookPeople

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Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: Escaping From Houdini

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Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #3)

Escaping From Houdini
by Kerri Maniscalco

To Be Published: September 18, 2018
by JIMMY Patterson

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

[summary from Goodreads]

2

As with many of my Waiting on Wednesday posts, this is another series where I absolutely loved the previous books. If you haven’t read Stalking Jack the Ripper or Hunting Prince Dracula yet, they are the perfect atmospheric books for fall or Halloween. They are just spooky enough to make things interesting without being straight-up horror.

I’m totally here for the historical fiction aspects of the series, and love when authors take creative liberty with well-known historical events or figures. Plus, the adorable romance between Audrey Rose and Thomas is really getting good, and I’m so interested to see what happens next.

 

Pre-ordering REALLY helps authors by creating demand for their work and increasing their first week sales. I really encourage you to pre-order if this sounds like something you want to read! To be perfectly honest, while I absolutely love supporting indie bookstores, I usually pre-order from Amazon because they guarantee that you will get the lowest price the book hits between the date you pre-order and the release date. Plus, they don’t charge you until the item ships, making it super easy to support the author without spending a bunch of money upfront!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookPeople

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Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: What If It’s Us

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What If It's Us

What If It’s Us
by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

To Be Published: October 9, 2018
by HarperTeen

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated. Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited. But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third? What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough? What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play? But what if it is?

[summary from Goodreads]

2

I have yet to read a book by either of these authors that I didn’t love, so when I heard that they had teamed up to write what was sure to be a heartbreaking novel full of characters with depth and emotion? Instant pre-order!

 

Pre-ordering REALLY helps authors by creating demand for their work and increasing their first week sales. I really encourage you to pre-order if this sounds like something you want to read! To be perfectly honest, while I absolutely love supporting indie bookstores, I usually pre-order from Amazon because they guarantee that you will get the lowest price the book hits between the date you pre-order and the release date. Plus, they don’t charge you until the item ships, making it super easy to support the author without spending a bunch of money upfront!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookPeople

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Review

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

 

The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Published September 20, 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Purchased

A contemporary YA novel that examines rape culture through alternating perspectives.

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.

Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.

As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever. [summary from Goodreads]

2

 

Alex was a hardcore warrior for justice against rape victims and it was awesome. She was super intense and not the typical ‘likeable’ character, but she was also very real. The story is a very dark look at the long-lasting effects of trauma, rape culture, and sexual assault. Each of the 3 POVs we got to read featured well-developed characters who each added something different to the story.

This book is extremely dark, and that is definitely something to take into consideration before reading. I think you definitely need to be in the right head-space going into it. It’s a great look at rape culture and toxic masculinity and it made me think a lot about the way those things are portrayed in our culture. I appreciated the book for its depth and its character development, and I’m definitely glad I read it.

The one thing I thought was missing: The only thing I would have liked to see in this book that wasn’t there would have been a POV from Branley. I think that would have helped her to become more of a full character rather than being dismissed as the slutty girl, which can certainly be a harmful trope.

Have you read The Female of the Species yet? What about any of the author’s other novels?  What were your thoughts?

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Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: Starry Eyes

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Starry Eyes

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
To Be Published: April 3, 2018
by Simon Pulse

In this romantic dramedy from the author of Alex, Approximately, a teen girl’s way-too-ordinary life is driven off the beaten path when she’s abandoned in the wilderness with her worst adversary—the boy who broke her heart.

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars? [summary from Goodreads]

2

After reading Alex, Approximately last year, Jenn Bennett has solidified her spot in my auto-buy author list. As soon as I heard her 2018 novel was coming out, I instantly added it to my TBR and pre-ordered it.

Northern California + camping + stars + second chance romance = ALLLLL THE YES!

This book is at the TOP of my most-anticipated-in-2018 list, and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Jenn Bennett’s writing is always great and she is so good at making the setting feel like a character of its own, which is one of my favorite aspects of her storytelling.

 

Pre-ordering REALLY helps authors by creating demand for their work and increasing their first week sales. I really encourage you to pre-order if this sounds like something you want to read! To be perfectly honest, while I absolutely love supporting indie bookstores, I usually pre-order from Amazon because they guarantee that you will get the lowest price the book hits between the date you pre-order and the release date and they don’t charge you until the item ships, making it super easy to support the author!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookPeople

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