Monthly Archives: August 2015

Forget Tomorrow – Pintip Dunn

Forget Tomorrow
By: Pintip Dunn
Forget Tomorrow – Book 1
Available November 2015

“Imagine a world where your destiny has already been decided…by your future self.”

It’s Callie’s seventeenth birthday and, like everyone else, she’s eagerly awaiting her vision―a memory sent back in time to sculpt each citizen into the person they’re meant to be. A world-class swimmer. A renowned scientist.

Or in Callie’s case, a criminal.

In her vision, she sees herself murdering her gifted younger sister. Before she can process what it means, Callie is arrested and placed in Limbo―a hellish prison for those destined to break the law. With the help of her childhood crush, Logan, a boy she hasn’t spoken to in five years, she escapes.

But on the run from her future, as well as the government, Callie sets in motion a chain of events that she hopes will change her fate. If not, she must figure out how to protect her sister from the biggest threat of all—Callie, herself.

This Blonde’s Review:
Callie has waited impatiently for the memory from her future self and can’t imagine seeing anything other than fulfilling her dreams. Instead she sees herself injecting her sister with something and the heart monitors stopping. She adores her little sister and is sure that this must be a mistake, there is no way she would harm her sister. Callie knows that people whose memories show them committing crimes are arrested and placed in Limbo, but what she doesn’t know is how people move from Limbo to prison. She doesn’t realize how serious the agency takes the memories or what they will do to keep their system in place.

Soon Logan, the boy she finds she still has feelings for despite years of not talking, is helping her escape and find a way to a group she never knew existed. He takes her to a group dedicated to living away from the government and believes they can decide their paths even if it takes them away from what the memories send back.

The things that Callie discovers surprise her and make her realize nothing was what she thought. She learns surprising things about the government, the people she cares about, and about herself. She has hard choices to make for herself and for the sake of everyone.

I enjoyed Callie and the people she gets to know in the book. Clearly we’re going to love Logan since he’s the love interest. How could we not like him when he does so much to help Callie. But I also enjoyed getting to know her mother and sister, and the others with the resistance. From the guy who is afraid he’ll hurt someone to the woman who refuses to have a child, they’re all living the best lives they can, determined to prevent tragedy.

If you enjoy books that have you considering what came first and whether the future can be changed then you’ll want to read this one. I’m ready for book two so I can see what happens next and book one isn’t even out yet!


Young Widows Club – Alexandra Coutts

Young Widows Club
By: Alexandra Coutts
Available November 2015

For seventeen-year-old Tam, running off to marry her musician boyfriend is the ideal escape from her claustrophobic high-school life on the island, and the ultimate rebellion against her father and stepmother. But when Tam becomes a widow just weeks later, the shell-shocked teen is forced to find her way forward by going back to the life she thought she’d moved beyond—even as her struggle to deal with her grief is forcing her to reinvent herself and reach out to others in ways she never imagined.

This Blonde’s Review:
Tam never imagined that rushing to start her life early by getting married young could leave her a widow at a young age too. When her husband dies in his sleep unexpectedly she finds herself a widow at 17 with no idea what to do with her life. When most people her age are focusing on graduation and college, she’s dealing with the loss of a spouse and the life she had planned.

I didn’t relate the Tam right away since I was never one to dive in to relationships, but the more we get to know her and her relationship the easier it is to see how her relationship would feel like home to her. In some ways her relationship and the music that made up their lives also brought her closer to the mother she lost at a young age and the lifestyle her father left behind after the loss.

I really loved the people in her widows club. The wacky leader and their crazy stunts were amusing enough to be more interesting than a regular support group that talked, but also seemed like something that could help. When you’re trying not to feel something and have to act it out, it can great and sad all the the same time to finally deal with the feelings that acting it out will bring to the surface. Even if you find yourself giving someone a bloody nose.

I liked that they had her going back to school and reexamining her future, with options she never considered before. When you see yourself focusing on building someone else’s dreams you don’t always see that you might have dreams of your own. And after such a devastating loss it is natural to believe that you won’t ever find anyone else. Especially not someone so different from the one you lost.

I enjoyed this book. I like that Tam wasn’t only dealing with the death of her husband at 17. She was also dealing with unresolved issues over her mother’s death, the way her family changed when her father remarried, and confronting her own changed future.

If you like books with characters who have to confront their feelings and decide whether they can accept new dreams and the disappointments that come with that then you’ll want to read Tam’s story.


For The Record – Charlotte Huang

For The Record
By: Charlotte Huang
Available November 2015

Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like . . . until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen hearthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule . . . Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

There are many people who want to be famous but they don’t always think about how it might happen. What if you were to suddenly replace the lead singer in your favorite band? And what is the rest of the band didn’t have a say on whether you joined the band or not? Chelsea learns that it isn’t easy when you aren’t welcomed with open arms, when you’re joining an established group with their own quirks and problems.

Chelsea can’t seem to win no matter what she tries, she’s often on the wrong foot with the others in the band. The tour is better with her best friend working the merch on tour with her, but they’re both so busy she barely gets to see her. Instead she finds herself involved with a hot actor and trying to keep from getting overrun try his large fan base and the paparazzi that follow him. Melbourne’s fans are still getting used to Chelsea, but the more she lets herself follow her heart instead of worrying about the rest of the band the more they start to notice her.

I enjoyed seeing Chelsea’s journeys as she tries to find her place with their fans and the rest of the band. She starts to have issues with her best friend, her boyfriend, and the rest of the band. It makes her think maybe going home to obscurity would be better, except this time instead of one friend she wouldn’t have any. I really loved Beckett, he was such a great character that we couldn’t help but want good things for him and for he and Chelsea to wind up together. There were so many interesting characters but some were clearly going to be bigger in our hearts than others.

If you want to read a book about a girl who went from being shunned to being part of a famous rock band then you’ll enjoy this one.


This Is Where It Ends – Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends
By: Marieke Nijkamp
Available January 2016

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won’t open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

This Blonde’s Review:
It was a normal day, until they couldn’t open the doors. It was normal until the shooting began.

This book shared what happened and the pasts of several people from several viewpoints. We saw what happened people outside of the school who knew their loves ones were inside and the boys inside the school but not in the auditorium who risk it all to try to help get kids out. And we see the viewpoint of the sister of the shooter and her girlfriend.

This book is heartbreaking as we see students make choices to try to survive or save each other. And the one who is broken and ready to destroy everyone, even the people he claims to love. There is no good way for this book to end since the whole tale is a tragedy, but sometimes the best thing we can get from it is to see the way people can love each other and how far they’re willing to go for the ones they love. They’ll keep secrets about things done to them and they’ll put themselves in harms way.

I don’t know that “enjoyed” would be the best word for a book with this kind of topic, but I didn’t want to put the book down. I had to know what would happen and if the characters we were caring for, and their loved ones, would make it out alive. As awful as those situations are we have to know how it ends and hope for the best.

If you find yourself drawn to books where you know your heart will hurt and there’s no way for everything to end happily but have to know anyway then give this book a shot.


Tonight the Streets Are Ours – Leila Sales

Tonight the Streets Are Ours
By: Leila Sales
Available September 2015

Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she’s tired of being loyal to people who don’t appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom.

Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called “Tonight the Streets Are Ours,” the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.

During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

This Blonde’s Review:
Love is a tricky thing. Arden is the kind of person who puts so much of herself into loving the people around her that she doesn’t put enough emphasis on loving herself too. When she finds Peter’s blog “Tonight the Streets Are Ours” during some frustrated googling she finds herself hooked. When things in her life don’t work the way she wants them to she decides to take a spontaneous trip several hours away to New York City with her best friend to find him.

Peter was built up in her mind based on the things he had written. But sometimes a writer will tell their story based on what they want it to be rather than what it is. Throughout an unexpected night Arden faces disappointments with her best friend, Peter, and things she starts to realize about her family as well. And soon Arden finds herself confronting things she hadn’t considered and realizing that her life doesn’t have to be about living up to the stories told about the doll named for her.

I enjoyed this, but what I loved most is that it isn’t about romance with the girl getting the guy. It’s about a girl trying to find someone who understands her, about finding out what you will or won’t accept for yourself.

If you like to read books with characters who love so big that they lose themselves and want to see if Arden can find herself without losing the relationships that matter most then you’ll want to read this one.


The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here
By: Patrick Ness
Available August 2015

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.

This Blonde’s Review:
We always hear the story from the view of the heroes, like Buffy and the gang. What about the kids who go to the same school but have nothing to do with the big monsters and crazy explosions, they just want to enjoy high school and hope their school doesn’t blow up again.

This is a book about the other kids. We still get an idea of what is going on with the kids who save the world thanks to a little blurb at the start of each chapter. We get to see what it is like for those other kids. We get to see what it’s like to have a crush on a girl and then almost get taken out by zombie deer, and we get to see the way he struggles when his half god best friend starts to pull away. Luckily they aren’t the target for the ones ending the world this time so hopefully they manage to keep from getting taken out as collateral damage.

I liked this one more than I expected to. The main characters aren’t perfect, they’re dealing with serious issues like OCD and anorexia, and they’re trying to get by in a world that seems to be on the brink of destruction more than the adults seem to want to acknowledge. Mikey just wants to get the courage to ask the girl he likes to go with him to the dance. He wants his best friend to stop keeping secrets, and he wants to get by without having to go to counseling anymore. And if he can keep his sister on track and not deal with his parents any more than necessary that would make everything even better.

If you enjoy reading books from the other side of the story, the side of the invisible background characters then this one will be right up your alley. And if you like characters who struggle to manage the day to day stuff, who want to stay away from the drama of saving the world, then you’ll enjoy Mikey and his friends.


Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy

By: Julie Murphy
Available September 2015

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

This Blonde’s Review:
Willowdean knows she’s a big girl and she doesn’t pretend to be anything but the fat girl she calls herself. She knows looks are not the most important thing in the world. Having her former beauty queen of a mother call her Dumplin’ may make you think Will would be self conscious about her size but instead she owns her weight and doesn’t care what others think she should look like. Until she starts to make out with her coworker Bo. He’s the kind of hot guy that people wouldn’t expect a girl like her to be with and that undermines her confidence. Soon she is doubting herself in ways she never expected and she doesn’t like it.

When she finds out that her aunt, a bigger woman that passed away not long before, had been held back by her weight more than Willow expected she knows that she can’t let hers hold her back. So she decides to participate in the Miss Clover City beauty pageant. The girls who decide to join with her are such great side characters that I really loved the parts of them I saw, from the sweet and sunny to the moody.

While dealing with her weight issues Will also has to figure out her friendships. She let her confidence issues impact her friendship with her best friend so is navigating everything without the person she always counted on. She builds new friendships and manages to find herself again. Once she figures herself out she can decide what’s going to happen with the guys in her life, since she somehow finds herself with more than one guy issue.

I enjoyed getting to know Will and seeing how she navigated finding herself again. In these books it’s usually a fat girl finding her confidence for the first time, not one who loves herself and stumbles. But sometimes we can be confident in one situation and find ourselves underwater when something new happens.

If you enjoy reading books that are more about the girl having to love herself than about the girl getting the guy then you’ll enjoy this. And knowing the girl has some options for love won’t hurt anything either.