The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

710888yo8klTitle: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
Author: Kody Keplinger
Date Started: July 21
Date Finished: July 23
Format: Paperback from local library

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face. But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. And eventually, through this realization, Bianca begins to see how harmful her unhealthy way of dealing with her problems has been, and finds a way to confront them head on.

Here is another novel that became a movie where I saw the movie first. And because I really liked the movie, I really wanted to like this novel. But….argh. I think I have a love/hate relationship with The DUFF. Because this book’s beginning was really rocky. And I mean, rocky. There was a point when Bianca and Wesley first hooked up that I said that obviously this book was being written by a kid who was writing their first smut scene on fanfiction. It was that bad. But then as the book continued to piss me off – Bianca was WAY too snarky for her own good, not to mention obtuse – it also kept me flipping pages as I tried to figure out if Wes and Bianca would ever end up together.

I am a sucker for relationships where they start off hating each other and then grow to like each other. But one of them is too stubborn to realize it. And that’s exactly what this novel was. I especially liked the whole confrontation between Wes and Bianca that led to both of them realizing that they liked each other, but SOMEONE couldn’t get over him calling her the DUFF to realize that his feelings were true. As much as I hated that part of the scene, it lead to probably one of the best parts of the book, where Wesley Rush finally chases a woman.

Final Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. The book and the movie were completely different. And usually the book is better, but in this case the movie was. While Wesley and Bianca’s relationship was cute and Bianca was still friends with her friends throughout the novel, there were still moments where I wanted to throw this book across the room and just turn the movie on instead.

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My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

12294652Title: My Life Next Door
Author: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Date Started: July 20
Date Finished: July 21
Format: Hardcover from local library

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

I have to admit that I was not expecting much when it came to this novel. The last time Goodreads recommended a book to me because I liked Sarah Dessen I was not all that impressed. But, this time around some of my fellow GR friends had read it and seemed to have enjoyed it so I decided why not? And I’m really glad that I did.

I really liked Samantha and I really liked Jase. Their meet cue was ridiculously cute. “Do you need saving?” From that phrase alone I fell hard for Jase Garrett and knew that I was going to be in for one hell of a ride. My Life Next Door was funny, sad, scary, and romantic at all the right times. There wasn’t one moment that I felt was over dramatic and everything flowed nicely. I especially liked that the big climatic moment wasn’t Sam’s mom finding out about Jase and Samantha’s relationship, but instead something that was unthinkable.

At first I didn’t like Nan, Tim and Clay – they actually drove me insane. Nan, because she was just a little bit too academically driven and didn’t seem to understand that her boyfriend Daniel wasn’t that great of a guy. Tim, because he was rude, obnoxious and at times he actually scared me with his behavior. Even for a guy who was drinking, smoking and taking god knows what, he was really dangerous. That scene where he ‘kidnaps’ Nan and Sam to score some drugs was just…whoa. And then Clay I didn’t like because he was so controlling of Sam’s mom – another character I won’t get into. But as the book went on Tim got off the list because he realized the error of his ways and got clean. Not to mention, in the end, he was the friend that Sam could turn to to get things off her chest.

Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. As I said on Goodreads I didn’t expect to get this emotionally attached to these characters. But I did and it was a wonderful experience. There was even a moment where I had to put the book down because I was on the edge of tears.

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Wolf-Speaker by Tamora Pierce

wolf-speakerTitle: Wolf-Speaker
Author: Tamora Pierce
Series: The Immortals Quartet
Previous Book in the Series:
1. Wild Magic
Date Read: July 20
Format: ebook from the digital library

When Daine is summoned by the wolf pack that saved her life a year earlier, she knows she has to go. She and Numair travel to Dunlath Valley to answer the call. But when they arrive, Daine realizes with a shock that it’s not just the animals whose lives are threatened; people are in danger too. Dunlath’s rulers have discovered black opals in their valley and are dead set on mining the magic these stones embody. Daine learns that Dunlath’s lord and lady plan to use this power to overthrow King Jonathan — even if it means irreversibly damaging the land and killing their workers. On a mission to save both her animal friends and her human ones, Daine has to master her wild magic in order to fight for the kingdom and triumph over the would-be usurpers. Continue reading

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A World without Princes by Soman Chainani

61okrifizrl-_sx334_bo1204203200_Title: A World without Princes
Author: Soman Chainani
Series: The School for Good and Evil
Previous Book in the Series:
1. The School for Good and Evil
Date Started: July 18
Date Finished: July 20
Format: Hardcover from local library

After saving themselves and their fellow students from a life pitched against one another, Sophie and Agatha are back home again, living happily ever after. But life isn’t exactly a fairytale. When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending with Prince Tedros, the gates to the School for Good and Evil open once again. But Good and Evil are no longer enemies and Princes and Princesses may not be what they seem, as new bonds form and old ones shatter. Continue reading

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Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

23308087Title: Flame in the Mist
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Date Started: July 17
Date Finished: July 18
Format: Hardcover from local library

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace. Continue reading

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

519By0NHlmL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Date Started: July 11
Date Finished: July 15
Format: Hardcover from local library

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving? The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real? Continue reading

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Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

OurDarkDuetTitle: Our Dark Duet
Author: Victoria Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity
Sequel to: This Savage Song
Date Started: July 11
Date Finished: July 15
Format: ebook from the digital library

Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human. No matter how much he once yearned for it. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is a terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own. Continue reading

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