For What It's Worth

Monday, October 22, 2018

monday minis


Happy Monday!! We finally have temperatures below 90 this week! 80 is still too hot but I will take it!

Here are a few minis to kick off the week. Let me know what you guys are reading int eh comments!

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This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender

A fresh, charming rom-com perfect for fans of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Boy Meets Boy about Nathan Bird, who has sworn off happy endings but is sorely tested when his former best friend, Ollie, moves back to town.

Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings.


Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life.


Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his MO ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel—but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hern├índez, his childhood best friend.
After a painful 

mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after? ~ Goodreads

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

My thoughts:  This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story has an incredible amount of diversity – PoC main characters, Bisexuality (M/M, f/f, M/f pairings, disability rep – one main character is deaf and uses ASL.

Nathan’s life and relationships were messy but cute. he is still very much in love with his best friend, Florence, who broke up with him and is now dating someone else. Nathan pretends to be cool about it so he doesn’t lose her friendship. Then an old crush comes back and things get even messier. It was high on the angst but in a lighthearted, authentic way. My only gripe is that I think the story needed an epilogue. I don’t need a specific HEA (especially with teens) but I would have loved to see how Nathan and Oliver in the long run.


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Jack of  Hearts (and Other Parts) by L.C. Rosen

My first time getting it in the butt was kind of weird. I think it's going to be weird for everyone's first time, though.

Meet Jack Rothman. He's seventeen and loves partying, makeup and boys - sometimes all at the same time. His sex life makes him the hot topic for the high school gossip machine. But who cares? Like Jack always says, 'it could be worse'.


He doesn't actually expect that to come true.


But after Jack starts writing an online sex advice column, the mysterious love letters he's been getting take a turn for the creepy. Jack's secret admirer knows everything: where he's hanging out, who he's sleeping with, who his mum is dating. They claim they love Jack, but not his unashamedly queer lifestyle. They need him to curb his sexuality, or they'll force him.


As the pressure mounts, Jack must unmask his stalker before their obsession becomes genuinely dangerous... ~
Goodreads

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

My thoughts: After reading a few reviews, I was honestly expecting Caligula level sex in Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts). What I actually found is a very honest and (shockingly for YA) frank discussion about gay sex and sexuality. Yes, it is graphic at times but most of it comes from Jack’s sex advice column and is presented in a educational, non judgmental way. And yes, Jack is gay, not in a relationship, doesn’t want one yet, engages in hook ups and that’s fiiiiiine. But it’s all consensual, safe and written well imo.

There’s a parallel mystery when Jack starts receiving anonymous love letters that aim to shame and then threaten him about his sexuality once he starts his Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) sex advice column.

There’s a bit of a Scooby Gang crime solving but it makes perfect sense in relation to Jack’s situation. Some of the adults blame him for his own harassment and Jack is brought to a low point in order to appease his stalker.

On a positive note – there are supportive adults in this book too (a teacher, Jack’s mom) and while Jack’s light is temporarily dimmed – it never goes out.

While some adults and readers might not want this level of explicitness in their books (& that’s ok), I love when YA is willing to show the reality of teen sex and give solid, relatable information. Some things, such as hooking up with college guys, made the over protective adult in me cringe, but it's a reality and I would rather have information on how to deal with things out there.

The advice column is very explicit and covers everything from threesomes, BDSM, bad sex, preparation and asexuality. The point Jack tries to make in his advice column is that it’s ok to question, to want sex or want to wait – its all about consent, safety and what feels right for you.

The Darkest Star by Jennifen L. Armentrout

When seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher is caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen...but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she'd only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head...

#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the universe of the Lux in this brand new series, featuring beloved characters both new and old.
 ~ Goodreads


Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

My thoughts: The Darkest Star is a new Lux spin-off series. I didn't realize that when I picked this up and have only read the first book of that one so most of these characters & some of the plot set up are unfamiliar to me. It wasn't too much of an obstacle but I think being a fan who read all the previous books would have made this more enjoyable.

This has a pretty fun premise and interesting twists but - it also takes awhile to get to anything of importance, and once we do, it's the end of the story. I think the 2nd book will be a lot more fun but if you loved the Lux series then this is very similar (at least to the one book I read) and you should love it.

36 comments:

  1. Curious about the first two books. I'm on the same boat with you on the Lux series. I didn't finish it so I don't know what happened after book 1.

    Lovely reviews, Karen!

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    1. You don't need to have read it. But I clearly missed some things and people lol

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  2. Wow. Kudos to LC Rosen writing about non-judgmental sex.

    I LOOVEEE the diversity in Epic Love Story!

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    1. It's super honest and explicit. Not for everyone but I liked it.

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  3. Oh no, I didn’t realize the Armentrout was a Lux spinoff. I only read the first one as well. Hope I enjoy it. The other two are new to me, but I like that they have a lot of diversity.

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    1. I know I missed things or didn't get the full impact but it can be read as a stand alone.

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  4. lol that middle one's first line

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  5. " I was honestly expecting Caligula level sex" <-- This totally made me giggle
    Totally agree with you about Epic Love Story. I liked it so much, but I would have LOVED it, had Callender did a jump ahead. I felt like the story ended right when it Nate and Oliver's story was beginning.

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    1. I totally agree. That seems like the point at where you see how they actually function in a relationship.

      I guess it would be ok if you didn't title it Epic Love Story but you did so now I want to know how it goes lol

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  6. Jack of Hearts oh my haha I didn't know YA was remotely explicit. Then again I got shocked by a YA Horror novel a year or so back for being super brutal. Times are a changing, that's for sure

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    1. It has been lately but this book kicks it up about 10 notches lol

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  7. I'm glad to see you liked Epic Love Story and Jack of Hearts. I really loved those too, and I'm happy that Jack was open and honest about sex and sexuality - of all types!

    -lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I know it's going to be too much for some readers but I liked how open and honest Jack was.

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  8. Glad it's cooled off (sort of)!! Okay Jack of Hearts- um yeah lol. Like Blodeuedd said, that first line made me read it again. Did I really read that haha?

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    1. It's a super explicit book. But the on page sex was pretty tame - it was the advice column that was like that. I felt like it fit the book book though and worked. I'm surprised how much made it in there though.

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  9. I love rom-com! Definitely get a copy of that story from Kheryn Callender. Awesome reviews Karen <3

    xx
    Vanessa
    www.blushinggeek.com

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  10. " Caligula level sex" Well, darn but I'm going to read it anyway, lol

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    1. The advice column is pretty explicit but people are freaking out because the kids have sex and hook ups lol

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  11. Oh, I love your blog's Halloween-themed banner so much <3

    Thanks so much for sharing all of these awesome book reviews. I'm most intrigued by Jack of Hearts, and will have to check that one out. I always find open conversations about sex and sexuality oddly refreshing and since this is a YA novel (and a genre I'm not as familiar with) I'm curious to see how that all plays out. Also the last one sounds up my alley, too. Thanks always for the great recommendations! XO

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    1. Thanks!

      I think the play for Evan Hansen would work so much better for me.

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  12. This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story sounds like a cute read but I am a fan of a good HEA in books so the fact you needed an epilogue means I might be left slightly frustrated by it. I didn't even realise that there was a sequel series to the Lux series! I am falling so behind in series lately I obviously need to stay more in the loop with releases.

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    1. It's cute and it is a solid HFN. I just wanted to know how they fared in the long run. lol

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  13. The Darkest Star sounds interesting.

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  14. Epic Love Story does sound like it has great diversity! And aww, I like when relationships in books are messy since things are usually messy in real life too.

    I agree, I think it's great that there are YA books that handle things like sex in realistic ways, and it sounds like this one handled it really well with the messages about consent and everything.

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    1. This was super messy but also in a cute way. All the changing relationship dynamics - but they all cared about each other and talked.

      What I like about Jack is that it didn't lecture that there was one right way to approach sex. There were a lot of different types of relationships and situations.

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  15. Dude! You've only read one of the Lux books?? How did I not know this?! I highly recommend the entire series. It's one of my favorites! Also, I'm bummed you didn't fully enjoy The Darkest Star. It's one of my most anticipated reads this year.

    We've had weather in the 50s and 60s, which is nice, but it's also been rainy. Every day = rain. It makes it hard to get everyone out of the house!

    This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story is on my TBR, too! I'm so happy you liked it!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. I know....but her books are hot or miss for me. I'm sure you'll love Darkest Star though. It was fun but I'm not a huge fan of broody/secretive guys.

      We've been super dry here. We could use some rain but it doesn't seem like the weather does moderation anymore. It's either flood or drought.

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  16. I have read none of the Lux books. Or one? (It was the one about aliens, not vampires lol) I tend to like her standalone suspense books best, so will probably skip this. And lol you know I did a spit take when I saw the first line of the Jack synopsis on Goodreads. And then I Twitter messaged you. Glad you liked all of these!
    Jen Ryland Reviews

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    1. Her books are LOVE or HATE for me lol

      Yeah...Jack is...explicit.

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  17. I've read Obsidian by JLA but it failed to really engage me and that doesn't sound promising for the start of a series for me so I don't think I'll be picking up that last one there. But yay for all that diverse rep in The Epic Love Story book! And the Jack of Hearts one sounds so refreshing and interesting. Sure, maybe the explicitness won't be for the young audience in YA but maybe some of the more mature teens can benefit from reading it!

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    1. Yeah - the Obsidian series was ok but not really my thing.

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  18. This is an epic love story sounds like the kind of romance, I would definitely like to read. The Lux series has been on my TBR for so long I think it's one of those I lost interest in, so I may never get to it.

    Tori @ In Tori Lex

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  19. I'm reading The Darkest Star at the moment and enjoying it.

    That line in Jack of Hearts (and other parts) blurb - "My first time getting it in the butt was kind of weird. I think it's going to be weird for everyone's first time, though." - made me do a double take, laugh and think wtf? Sounds full on! I'd probably read it out of shear curiosity from that first line! I don't mind pretty explicit reads and I applaud YAs when sex and sexuality is spoken about with realism.

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