Rather Be Reading » A Young Adult Book Blog by Two Busy Girls Who Always Find Time For a Book

Masthead header

Top 10 Tuesday: Not Reviewed but Highly Recommended

top ten tuesday hosted by the broke and the bookish

Oh hey there! Since it’s a freebie week, I thought I would jump in today and BE CREATIVE. I recruited my husband to help me think of a topic. Options ranged from BOOKS WITH MUPPET REFERENCES and BOOKS THAT COULDN’T FIT INTO ANY OTHER TOP 10 LIST. But I settled on this one because it’s true — sharing the blog with Magan means not reviewing every book I read, which is great. I do make the time to read the books she loved + reviewed, reread old favorites, check out other books, etc. There’s no real rhyme or reason to what I pick to review. I make sure I absolutely HAVE SOMETHING I WANT TO SAY and then I just go from there. But sometimes, there just isn’t time or space or whatever reason.

Here’s where today’s list comes in. I hope something catches your eye!

1-2. Time Between Us series by Tamara Ireland Stone

For awhile, I had quite the aversion to books that were not contemporary. I know it was just fear of the unknown, and gosh, I am so glad I let go of all of that and checked out this series after seeing Tamara at a reading. The music references, the romance, the family aspect… this series kept me up WAY late.

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

3. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily Danforth

An intense story where the main character is forced to change who she is. I read this at the end of the 2012 and remember sitting on my couch, completely riveted but all the emotions and intense characters. The book is very long but spans a ton of time, and is worth picking up. (When is Emily writing another book?)

rather be reading worth it icon

4. The Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky

I reviewed Snadowsky’s second book, THE ANATOMY OF A SINGLE GIRL, having no idea that it was a companion to this book. A few things were spoiled sure, but I loved reading about Dom’s senior year, her first time falling in love, and her (difficult because of high pressure) relationship with her supportive parents as she sets forth to make big decisions like picking a college and choosing to live away from home or not. It was definitely authentic to my own senior year experiences.

rather be reading worth it icon

5. Alienated by Melissa Launders

I know… Estelle and a book about aliens? What is happening?! It’s true, folks. I totally loved this one. The chemistry between the two characters is great, I loved Cara’s tenacity and loyalty, and the world that Melissa dreamed up was so so so fantastic. I read it, immediately lent it to my coworker, and put it on my shopping list. I also cannot WAIT for book 2.

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

6. Past Perfect by Leila Sales

The LOVELY Hannah from So Obsessed With gifted me this one for my birthday + I read it pretty soon after I got it. Whenever someone is looking for a great book about BEST FRIENDS … this is one of my recommendations. Hands down. The relationship between the main character and her best friend is not perfect (in the best way). This is why it felt so real, and why I couldn’t put it down. (Plus there’s a swoony romance and an interesting setting — historical village!)

rather be reading worth it icon

7. Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos

Um, I have to scream about this book from the rooftops. I am so ashamed that I haven’t. Ugh. Terrible, Estelle. Terrible. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and I just wanted to hug it. (Instead, I just passed it to my mom to read.) A main character who is battling abusive parents, his runaway sister, and falling in love at school. It was so charming and so realistic. Read it. Now. (I am thinking about ways to plug this book in the future… right now.)

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

8. Uses for Boys by Erica Lorriane Scheidt

I know this book left a lot of readers up in arms over it. WHAT DID IT ALL MEAN? But I thought it was heartbreakingly beautiful and the writing was so poetic — I wanted to just fall into it. Yes, the main character does latch on to guys. She does. But, like everyone in the world, she was trying to find HER home HER happy place in many unfortunate situations. I read it in close to one sitting and wow, it totally blew me away.

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

9. Kiss the Morning Star by Elissa Janine Hoole

A road trip, best friends, self-discovery. A very unique take on all three of these things; so gorgeously written and so well-done. I bought a copy for Magan right after I finished. (I think I borrowed mine from the library.) I think that should tell you all you need to know right there.

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

10. Freefall by Mindi Scott

Thanks to the awesome Ginger for bringing Mindi Scott into my life; both of her books are fantastic but I’m spotlighting Freefall today. I remember devouring this story of a boy dealing with the death of his best friend and slowly trying to change what is expected of him within his family and his town. Mindi does a great job of dissecting the more difficult situations in life, and she really wowed me with this one.

Okay! A quick recap:

Rather Be Reading Buy It Icon

rather be reading worth it icon

TTT Worth It Not Reviewed

A few thoughts… do you share reviews for every book that you read? How do you decide?
Any that you want to recommend to me?? I’d love to hear them!

Thanks for stopping in! Happy Tuesday!

June 2, 2014 - 10:19 pm

Alexa S. - Oh, I loved the Time Between Us series! It gave me lots of feelings, in the best way, and I’m so glad I wound up reading them. I also got reminded that I want to read Alienated and Kiss the Morning Star, thanks to your post, and I’m thrilled you enjoyed them both!

June 1, 2014 - 5:07 am

Judith - Oooh, this is a good topic for a TTT! I wish that I read enough to write little reviews like this, but alas, I’m a slow reader and I review pretty much everything I read. I’ve only read Anatomy of a Boyfriend, but I totally enjoyed it. I think it’s great that it’s so open about sexuality and the transition from high school to college. And Past Perfect and Kiss the Morning Star are about best friends? MUST HAVE!

May 29, 2014 - 9:36 pm

maria helena - Great list! I’m gonna have to add some of these to my tbr list.

May 28, 2014 - 4:40 pm

Alexa - I have a great co-blogger on my blog but I still like to review almost all of the books that I read even if I didn’t like them that much or have strong feelings one way or the other.

May 27, 2014 - 8:58 pm

Lucy - Love this! I think this topic should be in the regular TTT rotation. Since it’s impossible to review everything, this at least gives the book some acknowledgement.

I didn’t review Dr. Bird or Uses for Boys either but enjoyed them both very much! Kiss the Morning Star and Time Between Us are books I keep meaning to read.

May 27, 2014 - 7:53 pm

Cecelia - What a fun list idea! I review maybe 1/4 of the books I read, so this would be a fun pick for the next freebie TTT. Also: I haven’t read any of these books. Eeek!

May 27, 2014 - 3:44 pm

Rachel - I’ve only been blogging since March, but to-date I’ve done a review of every book I’ve read. I’m going to start doing DNF reviews and a collection of mini-reviews for some books, as I find some I have a lot to say and for others I struggle to do s full review, so I’m going to pull them together into the one. Great idea for a topic!

My TTT: http://confessionsofabookgeek.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/top-ten-tuesday-remembering-alfie/

May 27, 2014 - 3:17 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - I love this topic because I think we all must have some of these. I definitively don’t review every book I read, but the ones I seem to especially skip are the last books in series. I have reviewed them but it never seems right. I have a lot of these in my TBR so I’ll have to be sure and make time for them. :)

May 27, 2014 - 11:24 am

Laura - WOW! I haven’t read any of these. Thank you for these recommendations!

There are a few books I’ve read but haven’t reviewed, mostly because I didn’t have a place to review them (blog, Goodreads, didn’t bother with retail sites) or knew how to review. But I’m always recommending Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series, just about everything written by Sarah Dessen and Jodi Picoult, and obviously Harry Potter. Nowadays, if I don’t post a review, it’s because I literally do not have the words. I can only rate it, and it’s usually off the charts!

My TTT

May 27, 2014 - 9:39 am

Ginger @ GReads! - What a great topic idea! Since I’m not the fastest reader, I typically review most of what I read. However, there are a few that slip by and never make it on the blog. If I can’t finish a book, then I don’t review it. There have been some steamy romances that I read for pure pleasure and don’t review either. I like that you mentioned Uses for Boys in your list today. I remember talking about this book in length with you during & after I read it. I know lots of people hated it, but it was comforting to know that we shared a lot of the same opinions about it. And Yay for Mindi Scott! She will always be on my auto-buy list :)

Estelle: Played by Liz Fichera

Played by Liz FicheraPlayed by Liz Fichera ( web | tweet )
Part of the HOOKED series / companion novel.
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 352
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: racial discrimination, brothers/sisters, unrequited love
Format read: ARC from Publisher via NetGalley. (Thanks!)

Summary: At a teen leadership retreat, Sam and Riley are unluckily paired together. Sam’s hope of getting their time together over with quickly doesn’t come true when Riley gets hurt and he has to think quickly to get them both into safety. To pay him back for saving her, Riley agrees to help Sam get the girl of his dreams back — even if she’s the girl that her own brother is currently in love with.

After a lot of serious / emotional books, I chose Played to read next because I was in the market for something light. Here’s how it fared for me:

Pros:

  • Yay companion novels! I didn’t read HOOKED (Magan read + reviewed it last year) so it was nice to start fresh in a new story with a few references to Fred and Ryan’s story. It’s why I like Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series so much!
  • The tension: Sam and Riley do not like each other at first. Not even a little bit. Sam doesn’t like Riley by association — she’s the sister of the guy who stole the love of his life. Riley doesn’t like Sam’s attitude and think he’s making fun of her the first time they communicate during their leadership retreat. She’s used to being in charge, and that’s when she gets the both of them in trouble. Things heat up between the two pretty quickly, but they resist oh-so-much and the build up is very steamy.
  • Sam is a good guy. He loves his family (though his relationship with his parents isn’t perfect), he’s super smart (scholarships in his future), and he’s dependable even when he doesn’t want to be. He’s there for his friends, and finds himself unable to resist Riley, especially when she needs him the most (which is a lot). I genuinely liked him. Plus he rides a motorcycle! That was pretty darn sexy.
  • Memorable supporting characters: Even though Ryan is (rightfully) downgraded to the supporting cast in this book, I really liked him a lot; he’s a good brother. Then there’ s Mr. Beringer (Riley and Ryan’s dad). Sadly, fathers don’t get the best rep in books but Mr. B has some key moments where I went “aww”. Then there is Martin, who felt like Sam’s brother and not just his best friend. I admired his honesty and his loyalty to Sam — especially later in the book.

Cons:

  • Riley: As someone who is practically perfect in every way and expected to be that way all the time (especially compared to her brother who was always getting in trouble), Riley is supposed to transform into a bit of a wild child in Played. I just didn’t buy it. If we had seen more of her as “the good girl” and there was  a distinct difference between before vs. after — I would have grasped it better. To go a step farther, I’m not sure what Riley had to complain about in her life. Her problems didn’t matter to me, especially because her only reason for acting out was because of her brother? She seemed more bratty than someone who was trying to figure herself out.
  • Leadership retreat: I was SO excited when I read the synopsis and saw this was a part of the book. So different! Except… we weren’t there very long. That was disappointing.
  • Playing Cupid: I get that Sam had a thing for Fred for awhile and he was bummed when they didn’t get together. Their friendship hadn’t been the same in a long time but it confused me that the main character of this book was trying to undue a majority of the action in the first book. Thoughts I had: 1) If Riley succeeded, we could dismiss Hooked entirely. 2) Duh. Riley is totally not going to pull this off so it will all be wasted time where the two main characters get closer. (Can you guess what happened?)
  • Crazy unbelievable events: Um, I think I could have accepted how insane things got for these two if there was more development in other areas of the book (especially character wise).
  • Girl friendship: Drew is Riley’s best gal pal and I’m sad their relationship didn’t get pushed to the forefront more. I think it really needed to be, especially toward the end.

Final thoughts: Unfortunately, I wanted to like Played more than I did. Even all the chemistry in the world couldn’t make me ignore how much I didn’t understand Riley or her motivation to act the way she did. Sam was a great guy, and I was totally rooting for him but, all in all, Played was underwhelming and had far too many holes for me to fully enjoy it.

Rather Be Reading Skip It Icon

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy on B&N

June 2, 2014 - 9:50 pm

Alexa S. - I must say that Played sounded a whole lot better than Hooked, and I was nearly convinced to give this author another try. However, it really sounds like there was something missing in this story, like potential that went to waste. I still do think the romance sounds pretty cute though, so I have to give her that!

May 27, 2014 - 3:22 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - UGH! There’s nothing worse than when a book is made to sound really good in the synopsis only to let us down overall. I’m sorry this one didn’t live up. It doesn’t sound like I’d have a good time reading it either with the issues you had with it. :/

Shelve It: Some Books + Pepper

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

Can you hear the relief that comes with a 3-day weekend? Especially the one that signifies the start of summer?

I’ll admit — the weather isn’t exactly summery in NYC right now. J + I spent the day dodging the rain and also commenting on how chilly it was feeling out. I’m hoping as most of you barrel into the city for BEA this week that the weather perks up and the temperature jumps a bit. (But not too much. Anyone here for BEA last year has to remember just how sticky and gross it was. Yuck.)

Anyway!

Quiet book week but I wanted to share anyway. I was sadly not feeling well on Tuesday + didn’t get to attend the contemporary YA event at Books of Wonder because of it. (You can catch a short + sweet recap of it on Alexa’s blog. Just scroll to the bottom.) I’m bummed… but what can you do? Sometimes you just have to take a night off; in some ways, I think my wallet isn’t too upset this happened.

But I went to the bookstore on Friday afternoon to shop for someone else + ended up with two books anyway. Such is life!

Shelve It and Pepper

When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison (under $5 at B&N)
More Like Her by Liza Palmer (under $5 at B&N)
Starry Night by Isabel Gillies (sent to me from Macmillan Kids – Thank you!)

Oh — I also forgot to say that I saw the Fault in Our Stars movie on Monday afternoon thanks to a lovely friend who invited me as her plus one. I liked it. I wasn’t a huge huge mega-fan of the book but I did like the movie and a few of the cute things they did and also the Hazel/parent relationship was done super well. They could have just ignored it and focused on the romance but I found it very touching and very real. Will you guys be seeing it when it comes out? (P.S. The soundtrack was great. I may be buying it.)

Also — I read a few books this week but I absolutely loved two of them. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read. Truth be told, I never finished Nina’s The Disenchantments but I am determined to give it a second try after finishing this. It’s such a beautiful full story. I also have to recommend Emily Giffin’s latest, The Only & Only. It’s not a conventional love story by any means but if you like a main character who is really trying to find her place in the world against a setting of college football in Texas — this one will be for you. I could NOT put it down.

One more quick thing… if you haven’t heard about the conflict between Amazon + Hachette, be sure to check out this article in Publishers Weekly. I think it goes without saying that I’m a big believer that buying books from wherever you choose is important because you are supporting this industry and the tireless work of many people. But it’s also very scary to hear about how a retailer is strong-arming not only this publisher but their clientele as well. (Think of it this way. If the Gap does not have the jeans you want, you will find them elsewhere. You will not go without jeans. You will always find another store.)

Whoops! Clearly I had more to say than I thought:)Hope you are all enjoying some free time with friends and family this weekend. If you are traveling to NYC, have a safe trip and remember to take a deep breath and enjoy! xoxo

♥   ♥   ♥

In case you missed it:

♥   ♥   ♥

As always, thanks for visiting!!

June 21, 2014 - 9:01 am

Shelve it: Saturday and Summer - […] man. It’s been about a month since I did one of these. But hello! I’m here. How are you all doing? It’s been a busy few weeks so far — […]

May 27, 2014 - 3:23 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - I’m so happy to hear you liked TFIOS movie because I know you didn’t LOVE the book. And the soundtrack IS TOTALLY AMAZING. I bought it and can say there’s only one song I don’t like. :)

May 26, 2014 - 1:22 am

Lucy - Ooh you saw TFIOS? I bought my tix but will have to wait until June 6. Glad to hear you liked it!

OMG I loved loved loved Everything Leads to You as well. Yay! Perhaps you will like Hold Still better than the Disenchantments? That is a special book.

The Amazon / Hachette situation is so disheartening. Hope it gets resolved soon.

Hope you have a blast at BEA!
PS. Pretty kitty!

May 25, 2014 - 8:01 pm

April Books & Wine - I am glad TFIOS is good.

I need to read Everything Leads To You.

YAYYYYY BEA!

Also, yay buying books, boo strong arm methods.

May 25, 2014 - 3:24 pm

Lola - No 3 day weekend for me as I live in the netherlands. I can’t visit the real BEA, but I’ll be participating in Armchair BEA. I am really excited as it’s my first time participating.
Also your cat looks adorable. I have four rats and sometimes try to photograph them with my books, but they usually don’t want to sit still.
I haven’t read TFIOS yet and don’t really plan on seeing the movie either. I guess I’ll eventually read it, but I am in no hurry to read it. I am afraid I might enjoy it less, because of all the hype surrounding it.

May 25, 2014 - 3:21 pm

Alexa S. - Hiiiii Pepper! Also, thank you for including a link to my (way too long) post, and for sharing the books you’ve bought! I’m also very intrigued by The One and Only now, as well as Everything Leads To You :) Glad you enjoyed them both!

May 25, 2014 - 1:07 pm

Lisa is Busy Nerding - I’m relieved to hear that I’m not alone in not LOVING beyond all loves TFIOS, and to know that you can still like the movie without the over the moon feels for the book. And who doesn’t like a good soundtrack?

Come on, NYC! Bring the summer weather!

May 25, 2014 - 9:25 am

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - Hi, Pepper!!
Oh, interesting to hear about TFioS! I wasn’t a mega-fan of the book either but the trailer actually perked up some emotions in me that I didn’t know I had for these characters. I like both of the leads and I think I like Shailene a lot more in a contemporary setting than I do dystopian. I think she’s good for Hazel.
Ohhh my trip to the bookstore was way worse haha. I left with six books (and they don’t have the one I REALLY set out to buy) and a B&N membership. oops. Guess I better take advantage of that ;)
Happy Sunday! Can’t wait to see you next week!!

Passionate Online Love Advice from Lucy Robinson

Happy Friday, friends! WE MADE IT.

It’s a long weekend (for must of us) which means even more book reading so I wanted to refresh your memory. Last month, I told you (almost) all about A PASSIONATE LOVE AFFAIR WITH A TOTAL STRANGER by Lucy Robinson — a hilarious and sweet book about a main character who starts a business ghostwriting for people on dating websites. So today we are joined by the author herself who shares with us online dating advice via 2014 Lucy to 2005 Lucy.

Lucy Robinson Author

Checking out Lucy’s blog is a must. She’s adorable and hysterical.

Hope you get a kick out of this (maybe pick up a few pointers) and check out Passionate Love Affair, which is ON SALE FOR 99 CENTS (until 5/28) on your Kindle (then it’s back to also affordable $2.99)!

♥   ♥   ♥

2014 Lucy Robinson: Dearest twenty-five year old Lucy. Hello! I’ve noticed that you’ve started Internet dating. I’ve also noticed that you’re looking a bit wild about the eyes. And spending many hours in front of the computer. Is everything OK?

2005 Lucy Robinson: ARGHHH! Mummy! Help me! I’ve gone crazy! I was normal before I signed up for online dating! I was SANE!

2014 Lucy Robinson: Oh my love. I remember you. I remember feeling like that. It was nuts.

2005 Lucy Robinson: There’s this man . . .

2014: There’s always a bloody man.

2005: But he’s so perrrrrfect, big Lucy. He’s amazing. He’s set my world on fire. Nobody’s ever GOT me the way he does. I want his children.

2014: Stop RIGHT THERE. For starters, less of the ‘big Lucy’ please.

2005: *sighs* Right. Sorry.

2014: Secondly, darling, I am worried about you. I think you might be in Internet Love, and that is bad. Internet Love is NOT REAL, Lucy. It’s completely made up. You have no idea if the person you’re chatting to is a mad old hobo who smells of feet, but who happens to be very good at saying all the right things.

2005: NO, Lucy! It’s not Internet Love! It’s REAL LOVE!

2014: *Head in hands* Oh Lucy. I was you, remember? Trust me: STEP AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. He’s not what you want him to be. None of them are. If you were a bit calmer about this whole online dating thing then maybe you’d stand a better chance of meeting a nice man. But, my love, you’re madder than a box of frogs at this moment. Your whole life is centred round Internet dating.

2005: *wails* But I LOVE HIM . . .

2014: Lucy Robinson, listen to me. Listen hard. You are beautiful, lovely, smart and funny. But you are a bit lost at the moment; a bit insecure. You’re relying on some handsome stranger to fill all the little gaps in your happiness . . . But a man can never do that. Not permanently. Learn to love yourself, sweetheart. Learn to trust that you ARE wonderful, you ARE lovable and you WILL find love when you’re ready. All of the men you’ll meet will disappoint you. Not because there’s anything wrong with them, or with internet dating, but because you want more from them than they can ever give you. You’ll end up in a relationship with one of them in two years time, and he’ll break your heart. And you”ll spend months running around after another one who doesn’t even bother to take your calls.

Then in five years, when you’ve given up completely, a gorgeous, kind,silly man will walk into your life and you’ll fall in real love with him.You’ll move in with him, you’ll travel the world with him, you”ll buy a house with him. And your relationship will be easy from the very beginning because by the time you meet him, you’ll have learned to love yourself. So step away from the computer, my lovely. Go off and learn about how great you are - just as you are - and stay away from the internet until you truly believe that!

♥   ♥   ♥

Hugs & kisses to Lucy for stopping in today! This was so much fun!

A Passionate Love Affair with a Total Stranger by Lucy Robinson

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon  Paperback at Book Depository

May 27, 2014 - 3:25 pm

Jess @ Gone with the Words - What a cute fun post!!! I’m totally buying this. :)

May 25, 2014 - 9:01 am

Shelve It: Some Books + Pepper, Estelle - […] Author Lucy Robinson gives online dating advice to her younger self. […]

May 24, 2014 - 12:43 pm

Liz - I love this, I feel like this is good advice for all the single twenty somethings out there, and this book sounds really cute, definitely adding it to my list.

May 24, 2014 - 10:26 am

Alexa S. - This post is just completely adorable! I loved reading Lucy’s advice to her younger self on online dating + falling in love. Ever since you told me about this book, I’ve been dying to read it! So 99 cents only? YES PLEASE.

May 23, 2014 - 9:11 am

Jamie - Haha love this!! I hadn’t seen your review but you’ve sold me on this one! And the cover is super cute!

Estelle: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

The Art of Lainey by Paula StokesThe Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 384
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: breakups, best friends, changing perspective
Format read: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss. (Thanks!)

Summary: Even though her boyfriend breaks up with her at work in front of her friends, she’s still determined to get him back. When her best friend suggests using THE ART OF WAR as a tactic to get Jason’s attention, Lainey enlists her coworker, Micah, to be her “pretend” boyfriend. They will help each other win back their exes. As she hangs out more with Micah, she realizes he wasn’t exactly who she thought and maybe she’s not exactly who she wants to be either.

The Art of Lainey was the pick-me-up book that I desperately needed after a rough day.

I started it after work, and stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it. I just didn’t want to go to bed without a happy ending of some kind. Thankfully, Paula Stokes delivered in so many ways — I laughed, I swooned, I got a little angry, and, in the end, closed the book, completely satisfied and happy I got to hang out with Lainey and Micah for a few hours.

What I loved most about this book was the growth of Lainey’s character. When we first meet her, she’s totally in love with Jason, kind of a slacker at work (even though her dad owns the place), makes fun of her mom’s tea readings, and is totally concerned with appearances, a.k.a. super judgmental, but when life throws her a curveball — a sudden breakup with Jason — slowly but surely Lainey starts to realize just how much she has changed in the past couple of years and how much she may have missed out on because of it.

It’s true that her time with Micah has a lot to do with this. His spiked hair, his smoking, his tattoos — Lainey is clearly letting what he looks like determine what she thinks she knows about him. But as they start going on different dates to psych out their exes and she learns more about him, she realizes she actually likes his hair and the music he listens to, that he is the hardest worker at her dad’s store, she is able to apply that epiphany to herself. Her “other” best friend and how strategic she can be about who they hang out with; how she might go a little overboard on the tanning because she was once told she was too pale. Who is she trying so hard for? It’s certainly not making her any happier.

I’m a sucker for these “let’s date and win back someone else” stories because MOST of the time the chemistry between the two characters pretending comes from somewhere very real, and, as much as they try to fight it, at some point, they can’t any longer. It was really fun to watch Lainey and Micah, both so focused on this goal, sort of break down and realize that maybe they weren’t fighting for the same thing anymore. Micah is genuinely a good guy — not everyone would help a girl with this kind of thing — and I was rooting for him the whole time.

Should I keep gushing about The Art of Lainey? Lainey has a great best friend in Bianca who has her back, day and night, and the rest of the supporting characters (Micha’s younger sister; their school friend, Leo) were well-developed and genuine, adding a fullness to the story. See? See? See? This book was such a surprise; I really enjoyed Lainey’s journey to learn from those around her and become a more compassionate and self-aware person.

Definitely pick this one up for your beach bag this year!

rather be reading worth it icon

Add to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy on B&N

June 1, 2014 - 5:10 am

Judith - Yay! I also read this book in a day, because it was just SO fun. I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and mostly because I thought Lainey was an amazing protagonist. She was very confident, which is not like the main characters I usually read about, but she was also just so fun. I was also really rooting for Lainey and Micah, and I think Bianca is a great friend. I mostly praised this one because I felt it had so many healthy relationships and healthy relationship development, which is great!

May 26, 2014 - 8:19 pm

Sash from Sash & Em - Must make my man work his hair into a baby mohawk. If only!

May 24, 2014 - 9:32 am

Lisa is Busy Nerding - This sounds ADORABLE. And a book I can read in a night? YES PLEASE.

May 24, 2014 - 8:57 am

Sue - Great review. Looking forward to reading this book!

May 23, 2014 - 3:14 pm

Anna - I adored Micah, Lainey and this entire book! Loved reading your review.

May 22, 2014 - 10:29 pm

Brittany @ The Book Addict's Guide - CUTE. I’m not sure if I have this one from EW or not but it wasn’t really on my radar much with all of the other things I have to read. I will definitely pick this up when I’m looking for something cute and fun! It sounds like I’d really enjoy it.

May 22, 2014 - 5:49 pm

tabithasbookblog - I think this may be my next read! I’ve had a copy on my Kindle for a few months now, but I’d never really wanted to read it, but you know… now I do! I’ve been in a “serious book” groove for a few weeks now and I really just want something fun!

Cannot wait for this one!!

May 22, 2014 - 1:33 pm

Alexa S. - I think (no, I actually KNOW) I need this book in my life. It sounds absolutely delightful! I’m always in the market for a fun, thoughtful contemporary. The Art of Lainey sounds really fun! And really great, story-wise and character-wise. CANNOT WAIT.

May 22, 2014 - 1:24 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I’ve been seeing The Art of Lainey all over the book blogospher for the past few weeks, and I definitely want to read it. I’ve been craving contemporary books lately, and this one looks to adorable to pass up.

I do hope Lainey doesn’t drive me too crazy at the beginning, though. Also, I am super excited to meet Micah. I think I might just love him

May 22, 2014 - 10:26 am

Mary @ BookSwarm - Yay for beach bag reads! It think it’s funny that she “practices the art of war” and winds up falling for the fake boyfriend.