Friday, January 23, 2015

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Book 1 in the Hundred Oaks companion series

Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: December 1, 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Format: eBook // 290 pages

Filed under: sporty main character, football
What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though — she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she's ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he's also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan's feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart's on the line?
There was a lot of talk about Breathe, Annie, Breathe in mid-2014, so naturally I wanted to pick it up. Unfortunately, I'm the type of person who has to start a series, even a companion series, with the first book. So here we are. Also, can we talk about the cover? I am not a fan of it at all ...

Catching Jordan follows a girl named Jordan who is the captain of her high school's football team. She has no plans in being romantically involved with any boys — the only thing she's working toward is to one day play football for University of Alabama. Having an unsupportive dad isn't an obstacle with her best friend Sam Henry around, but when a cute boy named Ty moves to town ... staying focused has become a bit harder.

Finally, another contemporary romance I enjoyed reading! Although there is a lot of talk about football, it isn't particularly difficult to understand. The pacing was good — not too quick and not too slow — and for the most part, it was believable. Some of the lovey bits could've been done better (I'm a harsh critic when it comes to romance) but I might be biased :p I also had a few problems with the way Jordan dealt with some of her relationships (with Sam Henry, her best friend, and Ty, for example) but nothing major.

One of my favorite things about Catching Jordan is how well each character is defined. I find that a lot of side characters are just there to be there, but it was evident that Jordan's friends and family members were actually involved in her life. I love how all of her football guy friends are so protective of her, both in the game and out!

Although Jordan is really passionate about playing football, we get to see another side of her through poetry. We know that her mom bought her a journal to write in, but being able to actually read some of the poems she writes shines a different light on her and makes her more relatable.

Ty was definitely swoon-worthy in the beginning, but he fell flat after a while. There was this mystery of who he is and what happened that brought him to town, but finding out wasn't enough to keep me rooting for him. As for Sam Henry, I LOVED HIM. SO MUCH. I could do without knowing he has slept with a ton of girls, but reading about his football touchdown dances and his refusal to depart from his Cracker Jacks football necklace was so fun. Discovering new things about Henry is definitely something to look forward to in Catching Jordan. I'd ask for a Sam Henry best friend in my life, but my boyfriend would probably kill me :p

"One day this past summer when Henry was over, he said that graph paper bedding turns guys off and that if I ever want to get laid, I can't bring a guy home to a room that reminds them of algebra and the nerdy girls on the math team." (p. 29)

"I want him to think of me as a girl, not one of those people in a professional eating contest, like Joey Chestnut — the guy who ate sixty-eight hot dogs in twelve minutes." (p. 87)

There is no doubt I'll be continuing the rest of this series. (Jesse's Girl, the sixth book in the Hundred Oaks companion series, is coming out later this year!) *crosses fingers for future Sam Henry cameos*


Are you picky about the order in which you read companion series? If you read Catching Jordan or another book written by Miranda Kenneally, did you like it/them?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Explaining YA to the Non-Bookish

Some time last year, I was talking with my boyfriend about the many YA books being turned into movies (Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars, Mockingjay, etc.) and he made fun of me for calling young adult "YA". He knows what the young adult genre is, but he didn't think it made sense for me to abbreviate it because "nobody but you would call it that."

Having been part of the book blogging community for a little while now, "YA" is written EVERYWHERE. More times than "young adult," I'd think! But to people who don't read at all (like my boyfriend — although I did get him to read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire!) I understand why it could be kind of confusing.

While I was waiting to get a new phone at the Apple store, the guy who helped me out asked about the type of books I like to read after I told him I like reading. Remembering the conversation with my boyfriend, I said "mostly young adult fiction" (in case he wasn't a reader) and his response was "oh, like the ones with vampires?" I was SO confused. Luckily, my brother (who was with me) knew he was talking about Twilight.

It's kind of strange knowing that the first thing people think of when they hear "young adult" could be Twilight. It's a bit sad too, because Twilight has given YA a bad reputation (I've only read the first book so I don't have much of an opinion about the series/movies) so I brought up The Hunger Games because I figured it was one he would most likely know.

Talking about YA with people who don't read isn't a problem to me — the only issue I have is coming up with examples. Without YA book-to-movie adaptations, I have no idea what I'd say.

So how do you explain what "YA" is to people who aren't familiar with bookish terms? Would you rather just say "young adult" and avoid confusion? If you mention popular YA books to describe the genre, which ones do you use?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols

Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols
Book 2 in the Superlatives trilogy

Genre(s): Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
Format: eARC // 336 pages

Other books by Jennifer Echols: The Boys Next Door, Such a Rush, Dirty Little Secret, Biggest Flirts
In this second book in The Superlatives trilogy from Endless Summer author Jennifer Echols, Harper and Brody think they’re an unlikely match — but the senior class says they belong together.

As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents’ bitter divorce left her wondering what a loving relationship looks like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been pushing her to ask Brody out.

Brody doesn’t lack female admirers, but Harper can't see herself with him. He’s confused about the match too. Yet they find themselves drawn together — first by curiosity about why the class paired them, then by an undeniable bond.

The trouble is, though they’re attracted to each other, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating well. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But they feel so changed from making the effort, they can’t forget each other. What if this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all?
After reading Biggest Flirts (the first installment in the Superlatives trilogy, which I did a book review for!) I knew I had to pick up Perfect Couple. In Biggest Flirts, we follow a witty and daring girl named Tia. In Perfect Couple, we follow one of her best friends, Harper — a total opposite from Tia. Harper is a hard-working girl who is passionate about photography. She kind of reminds me of someone who would be labeled a "cool nerd" :p

Although I found the storyline to be a little too perfect, it was enjoyable. The books in these series are a lot of fun to just read. It's kind of like binge-watching a reality show — you don't need to think too much and there's just the right amount of drama. The only (small) thing that really bothered me was Harper and Kennedy's relationship. He was mean and snobby, and there didn't seem to be a single thing Harper liked about him. I also think Echols made it a bit too easy to root for Harper and Brody!

I love that we're able to learn a bit more about the side characters (like Sawyer, who will be in the third book!) and see how they are viewed in another perspective. I think Echols set up the third book for us very well :)

If you need something cute and quick to read, picking up Perfect Couple would not be a bad idea. I don't think you'd need to pick up Biggest Flirts to read Perfect Couple because it's more of a companion novel.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Looking Back in December 2014 — American Authors and Graduating (!!!)

Hi everyone! It took me some time to gather most of the things I did in December, but here it is :)

Amulet, Books 2-6 by Kazu Kibuishi • This One Summer by Jillian and Mario Tamaki • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins • Boomerang by Noelle August • Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

My favorite read of the month has to be Boomerang — this book made me laugh so much! It was tough to choose because I LOVE Amulet, so get into that if you haven't read it yet!

  • A local radio station hosted a holiday mixer and Stephanie invited me to go with her! Like I mentioned in my Goodbye, 2014 post, Andy Grammer, Matt Nathanson and American Authors performed and I loved every bit. They are all great live!
  • I watched Elf the Musical! I am a HUGE fan of Elf, so my boyfriend took my youngest brother and me to watch. The person who played Buddy was a bit different than movie Buddy (personality-wise), but I liked it. I didn't mind the way they changed the storyline to be more "musical-esque", but the movie will always be my favorite.
  • I GRADUATED FROM UNIVERSITY! Which means I am no longer in school! So far I am jobless, but I don't mind taking a short break to relax and job search (with as little stress as possible!)

  • The Fellowship of the Ring — I rarely watch movies because I always choose to watch TV instead (episodes are way shorter), but I did it. I watched a three hour movie. I have been meaning to properly sit down and watch The Lord of the Rings because 1) I know I'd enjoy it if I actually pay attention and 2) it's just something you have to do. Even though running away from orks and other random fantastical creatures got a bit repetitive, I LIKED IT. (I don't think I like it enough to read the books though ...)
  • The Theory of Everything — Okay, so I didn't end up finishing this movie because it was a bit dull. Don't get me wrong though, Eddie Redmayne is an INCREDIBLE actor. There just wasn't enough drama to keep me interested.

  • Luck by American Authors — This song was my jam in December. I listened to it every single day after that concert and I STILL love it.
  • Silent by Tori Kelly — Another reason to read The Giver and watch the movie. I've loved Tori Kelly for quite some time now, so I'm happy to see her reach bigger audiences.
  • How You Get the Girl by Taylor Swift — This song is just so much fun to sing and dance along to.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but ... I wasn't too into Christmas music this year. I loved Pentatonix's new album, but nothing else stood out to me :/

I hope you had a swell time at the end of your year. Out of all the things you did in December, what was most memorable? What was your top favorite read?