Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Fifteen Seconds of Normal Review

Fifteen Seconds of Normal
By: Alex Marestaign 

Step 1: Transfer high schools Step 2: Hide your Tourette’s Step 3: Find your fifteen seconds of normal Kaeya Garay has a plan. And it seems to be working.But when a curious interruption named Thatcher Kelly stumbles upon her “safe” place in the school’s abandoned art gallery, her grand plans for normalcy are suddenly derailed. Set over the course of three weeks, Fifteen Seconds of Normal is the quirky saga of a literature obsessed teen on the edge of a meldown and the hope driven heroine who begins to pull him back. Fans of Eleanor and Park be warned. You won’t be able to put this one down. 

Everyone is familiar with those internet memes? What many tend to forget is that those pictures are of real people. With lives. And Hearts. Thatcher Kelly becomes familiar with this in the beginning of Fifteen Seconds of Normal. When his “normal” is snatched away he finds a new one in the hidden art gallery where he meets the beautiful Kaeya Garay. A girl with secrets of her own. 

I’ve met people with Tourette’s and I didn’t know much about it really until I picked up this book. The storyline begins like any other contemporary read but stretched into the unknown territory about the harsh judgmental society we live in today. 

Thatcher Kelly is a sweetheart, honestly, there needs to be more guys like him out there. It almost seems rare now to find one. OR maybe I’m not looking hard enough? Either way, his selfishness and devotion to his sister makes this protagonist a cuddly teddy bear I want to hug every moment. 

Kaeya Garay took me a while to be able to pronounce her name. Something about the “e” in the middle just threw me off. But her character and perfect flaws made up for it. She channels the classic teenager in high school. She just wants to be “normal.” Which is shown as she constantly tries to jump hurdles that she only needs to walk around. As the reader, you learn along with her about the lesson of just being yourself. 

The overall storyline was good, but I feel like the author could have stretched it out a little longer. Add a bit more drama maybe? Allow the relationships to grow and get more intimate? It would make the book a little more longer and add more emphasis to the characters. Because the book flew by way too fast; or maybe I just plowed through it because of how great it was. 

Either way, this book is filled with good content, interesting characters, and full of cute little jokes and quirks. I highly suggest it. 

[A Review copy was sent in exchange for an honest review] 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

P.S I Like You Review

P.S I Like You
By: Kasie West

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

Ever since discovering the magical stories of Kasie West, I have been a huge fan. So of course I had to jump on the new book that came out and read it in a single night.

I have to say, this is one of my favorite stories of hers and not just because the main character shares the same name as me, or resides in the same state, or loves to write. Basically Lily is me and we are the same (Kasie West did you stalk me or something because you literally wrote me into a book). 

The banter and awkwardness of Lily Abbott makes the book quirky and you can fully get a taste of what she is like in real life. We are all a little bit of Lily in faces of crushes and enemies which is what makes this all the more relatable. I can't count how many times I've been ridiculously horrible and cringeworthy in front of a guy. 

Speaking of guys, the beautiful YA guys in this books is swoon-worthy. I don't want to give away who the secret writer is but let's just say you'll be happy. Like giddy and excited. Maybe even squeal a little bit.  I absolutely love how Kasie makes her characters flawed and human, yet completely perfect in all the same way. Even using a cliche story-line, she makes it into the most unique love story I've ever read. 

I think the lyrics in the book deserves their own awards in itself. Did Kasie herself write them? Because they are beautiful and deserves Taylor Swift to sing them in sparkly costumes. I wanted to write the lyrics in my notebooks. 

I also want to applaud Kasie for having it set in Arizona. There's something fun about reading a book based in the place you live. When it mentions a place you've been, a city you know by heart, it makes reading all the more fun. (P.S Kasie, I literally am writing this while wearing shorts and a t-shirt with big fuzzy socks to justify the fact that it's winter, even in Arizona). 

Overall, it was a good book to read and even though it made me yearning for a cute boyfriend, it was beautiful and heartwarming. Therefore it's a 5/5. 

Some of my favorite quotes from this book include:

1. )

“Who are you talking to?”


“You do that a lot.”

“I know. I’m the only one who understands me.”

2.) “You’re my favorite way to pass the time. But time stands still when you’re on my mind.” 

3.) “If a penny can bring luck and a dime can grant a wish, how come my eleven cents hasn’t bought me what I need.” 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Tea-rific Teahouse

(Instagram: Thereallilycooper)
When I was little, my grandmother would always bring out her old teacups and prepare a tea party for the two of us.  We would dress up in her pearls and big hats, and speak in British accents.  After she died, every once in a while, I would go have tea in her honor at local tea shops.  On one of my ventures, I discovered, in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, in between a flower shop and an art museum lays a quaint little tea shop known as Teaspressa. Alison DeVane, the founder of Teaspressa, was an avid coffee drinker until migraines and other health problems started to come in the way. Hence, the creation of Teaspressa: a healthy alternative to coffee, and filled with just about the same amount of caffeine. This cafĂ© offers a quaint atmosphere, cozy tea blends and pastries, and picture-perfect opportunities for the everyday Instagrammer. 
(Instagram: Thereallilycooper)
The Goodyear resident was a contestant on the reality show “Shark Tank” in early 2016 and competed for the 50,000-dollar prize. Though ambitious, the judges were a little confused by her idea and thought she jumped into the show too early.  However, she shook off the criticism and opened up Teaspressa a few months later. DeVane’s shop offers many different types of teas, ready to take home, or drink there. If you ask, they will even make glamorous latte art on top. Though she was shot down on the reality TV show, she has certainly proved herself worthy of owning a successful business.
The moment a customer walks in they are met with the aroma of fresh cut flowers and a mix of spices. Light streams in through the windows and accents the clean, and pristine place while soft music plays in the background, transporting an everyday person to Paris, a world of white marbled tables, and colorful macaroons. Patrons walk in and out, smiling and laughing about their everyday life; there are even cute lovebirds that giggle, hand-in-hand, sharing a cupcake made fresh from the oven.  Over on the shelf are little teapots and old vintage photos from the sixties of the owners’ grandmother. Each delicate touch is purposeful and holds meaning. Nominated “Best Tea Spot,” by Arizona Foothills Magazine, the atmosphere of Teaspressa is booming with love and happiness; a nice break from the depressing world outside, filled with arguments of politics and war.  There is nothing more soothing or more pleasant than walking into this wonderland, and being met with a free sample and a smile.
(Instagram: Thereallilycooper)
The foundation of Teaspressa was to make a healthy alternative to coffee, while still evoking all the great things that come from the drink. They have managed to do it in a healthier, more enjoyable way. Coffee can create many problems for your body and have risks. Nicole Hoey writes, “…higher intake and continual moderate use are thought to have distinct adverse effects on the health of numerous body systems, including cardiac, gastrointestinal, and renal organs”.  Tea is a much healthier alternative to it and lessons the risks tremendously. Teaspressa offers tea that hydrates, while still caffinates you.  There are many different variations of tea for customers to try, so one will never get bored. Their London Fog is a favorite among everyone, giving you a blanket of warm vanilla on the very first sip. The Black Rose Latte is also a big success, with a black tea blend and rose gold sugar cubes, this fancy treat is a must try for the avid tea drinker. The desserts to the side are so beautiful to look at, you won’t want to eat them. There are small cakes and cupcakes made fresh that morning, perfectly made macaroons with rose gold painted on them, soft and fluffy croissants with powder sugar, and soft cookies that melt in your mouth. Each little treat is sure to make the day a little brighter. 

(Instagram: Thereallilycooper)

Photographers and professional Instagrammers will have trouble trying to take pictures of everything in the shop. From the greenery on every table, to the large neon, white, sign that says, “Stop and taste the roses,” every person will be scrambling to take a cute shot.  One of the biggest attributes that Teaspressa provides, besides the delectable pastries and soft teas is their lighting. It says in the PSA Journal that, “the best pictures come with the best light”. Teaspressa has white walls, with translucent light and large windows that allow natural light to leak through, which makes it the perfect spot to create a beautiful photo to show friends. Using only the basic colors of white, green, and copper, it allows someone to put together an appealing photo that looks professional, when it was really only taken with an iPhone. Even on the sunniest of days, to the dark dreary nights, the shop is able to keep up with its picture-friendly lighting, and odds and ends that give it character.
(Instagram: Thereallilycooper) 
No matter what kind of day one is having, Teaspressa will fit any mood or need. With its classy atmosphere, delectable cuisine and healthy teas, and picture perfect shop, it’s a must visit place for artsy students everywhere. Whether you like to Instagram, or just need a quiet spot to read, Teaspressa is the point on the map to go to.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

How To Make Out Review

How To Make Out
By: Brianna R. Shrum


Sixteen-year-old Renley needs three thousand dollars for the math club’s trip to New York City, and she knows exactly how to get it: she’s going to start a how-to blog where people pay for answers to all of life’s questions from a “certified expert.” The only problems: 1) She doesn’t know how to do anything but long division and calculus. 2) She’s totally invisible to people at school. And not in a cool Gossip Girl kind of way.

So, she decides to learn to do . . . well . . . everything. When her anonymous blog shifts in a more scandalous direction and the questions (and money) start rolling in, she has to learn not just how to do waterfall braids and cat-eye makeup, but a few other things, like how to cure a hangover, how to flirt, and how to make out (something her very experienced, and very in-love-with-her neighbor, Drew, is more than willing to help with).

As her blog’s reputation skyrockets, so does “new and improved” Renley’s popularity. She’s not only nabbed the attention of the entire school, but also the eye of Seth Levine, the hot culinary wizard she’s admired from across the home-ec classroom all year.

Soon, caught up in the thrill of popularity both in and out of cyberspace, her secrets start to spiral, and she finds that she’s forgotten the most important how-to: how to be herself. When her online and real lives converge, Renley will have to make a choice: lose everything she loves in her new life, or everyone she loves in the life she left behind.

How To Make Out was one of those books you can never put down until you read every single page twice. On the outside, the story looks to be just one of those normal "chick flicks" type books. But beneath the surface, in-between each page, is a beautiful story of a broken girl and how much she misses her run-away mom, wants her dad to notice her, and aches for true love. The depth to Renley is deeper than the ocean and she keeps it locked away. It takes a few mistakes for her to learn her true potential and who she really is as a person. 

I have never rooted for a fictional character more. Shrum had me on my toes between two beautiful, and kind men for Renley. I about held my breath at the end, and then spit out my water I was drinking at her choice. The author crafted this beautiful love story in a way that's not cliche or a love triangle in any form, but a raw and soft love, thats relatable to any teenager. 

Each chapter has it's own set of laughs, jokes, and embarrassing moments that will make you cringe. But as you read the story, you will grow with the main character, and ultimately come out for the better.

How To Make Out are for the girls who need a good love story late at night, that shows, your prince is out there. It just may take a blog, and a best friend to figure it out. 

Rating: 4/5


Ride by: Chase Rice

The Mess I Made by: Parachute 

I Hate You, I Love You by: Gnash 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Everywhere We've Been Review

Everywhere We've Been
By: Sarah Everett

Addison Sullivan has been in an accident. In its aftermath, she has memory lapses and starts talking to a boy who keeps disappearing. She's afraid she's going crazy, and the worried looks on her family's and friends' faces aren't helping.
Addie takes drastic measures to fill in the blanks and visits the Overton Clinic. But there she unwittingly discovers it is not her first visit. And when she presses, she finds out that she had certain memories erased. 
Flooded with questions about the past, Addison confronts the choices she can't even remember and wonders if you can possibly know the person you're becoming if you don't know the person you've been.

Now, usually I am not a fan of books with lost memories, and the whole plot is them trying to figure them out but wow this story took that concept and twisted it up into a new obsession for me. 

Addison Sullivan is an average girl with a love for the viola (it is not a violin).  Insert a tragic accident resulting in some strange occurrences by a boy who nobody but she can see. Which is basically like me and every fictional boy ever to date. 

Meanwhile we get a flash back on what happened eighteen months ago and the adventures she goes on, mistakes she makes, and the things she does. Piece by piece, you start to put two-and-two together and things start to shift. But you won't be ready for the ending. Nope. Which I am dying to spill but for the sake of you, I won't. 

This book brought out so many emotions in me; I would sit up in my dorm bed and be reading for hours. My roommates literally made fun of me for how invested I got into the story. It's a typical love story but with a huge twists and cute unique dates that I hope my future boyfriend will do for me. 

The message behind the story will haunt you after you read and forever. It teaches us why the past is important, and we shouldn't try to escape the bad memories.  We should focus on the good. What happens before will shape us into our today, and we can't ignore that. 

Overall, this book was a win, and deserves a 4/5 stars. 

Book Playlist: 

The Words by: Christina Perri
Love You Like The Movies by: Anthem Lights
Closer by: The Chainsmokers
Someone New by Hozier

Down by Jason Walker
I Will Return by: Skylar Grey
When I Look At You by: Miley Cyrus (Addison to her viola) 
Morning in America by: Jon Bellion 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Glitter Review

By: Aprilynne Pike

Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.
When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.
Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.
But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.

Out in stores October 25th

I went into this book with a very blind eye. I knew it had something to do with drugs, and a kingdom, but other than that I couldn't really wrap my mind around the setting of this story.  So I'll explain it for the confused ones not understanding the synopsis: 

The rest of the world is normal, jeans-wearing, improper humans. But in Versailles, France, a billion-dollar company bought the city and transformed it into their kingdom. Where everyone dresses like they were in the Marie Antoinette days (with an actual reason but I don't want to spoil that). 

From the very first page I was intrigued. Sure, I was super confused for the first few chapters until they finally explained why the heck they dress and act like they do, but it was interesting nevertheless.  I have always loved princesses and evil kings so this book was right up my ally. 


Danica is a girl with ambitions that doesn't include being a Queen and wife to a killer. She wants out, something her mother has never allowed and now she has a very small time-frame to escape this life she has been forced into. 

Saber: Mysterious, hot, kind, basically everything we all want in a love interest. The hot love scenes will not disappoint and his backstory will make you want to cry. He is the type of guy we all want to rescue us and make his princess. 

Justin: Anger issues, power issues, bipolar... he's just got a lot going on in his big King brain (probably cause his head is so big and the small crown is cutting off his circulation).

Plot: Basically a breaking bad mixed with royals. I can't say who would be who character wise but it does have the same elements and deaths scattered throughout. You think you know what's going to happen, but when it does occur, it's not quite like what you would expect... times a million. It makes you yearn desperately for the sequel. I'd even bribe the author with Glitter to receive it if it was real...

Originality: Ten billion stars for this whole original plot. I've never read anything close to it.  How did Pike come up with this? Was she just sitting at a table eating breakfast and decided she wanted to write a book about a girl stuck in a Marie Antoinette life trying to escape it by dealing drugs? This whole book could get it's own genre and I can see it sparking other ideas for authors on how to push the envelop of the world. 

I give this book a 5/5 stars for its Characters, Plot, and Originality. I held onto each page for dear life and never wanted it to end. You can bet I will be waiting for the sequel. 

Book Playlist: 

Theme Song: Gasoline by Halsey 

You've Got Me Flush by Future Generations
Any Other Way by We The Kings
Thief by Alexander Jean
Inhale Exhale by Rebellion 
Iris by Hannah Trigwell
Kiss From A Rose by Seal

*Was provided with an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Monday, October 3, 2016

Outward Blonde Review

Outward Blonde
By: Trish Cook
Sixteen-year-old Lizzie Finkelstein is a hard-partying socialite who lives a charmed life with her mother in Manhattan. After a public drunken escapade results in both an arrest and an embarrassing viral video online, Lizzie’s parents stage a late night intervention. Lizzie finds herself whisked away to Utah to learn a lesson or two about taking responsibility at Camp Smiley, a wilderness survival program for troubled kids.
Camp Smiley is a far cry from Lizzie’s high society life in New York. Without her stable of luxury hair/makeup items, her teacup Pomeranian, contact with the outside world or access to social media, Lizzie must face the harsh conditions of the outdoors. Grouped with troubled campers in which she’s certain she has nothing in common (except Jack, who’s pretty hot), Lizzie must now learn to dig her own toilet in the woods and build a fire by rubbing two sticks together before the camp will ever let her go back to her former existence. She has a choice: get with the program, or get out of there.

I don't know what I would do if my parents sent me to camp against my will; let alone one that makes you hike ten miles in a day for fun. I can barely do ten push ups without being winded. So when I cracked open the book and was transported into the world of Lizzie Finkelstein, I could relate a little with her. 

She hates outdoors, loves shopping, fashion know-it-all, and generally a nice person (most of the time). Though she does have a lot to work on: Rude, harsh, spoiled, manipulative... to name a few.

But yet through this book you see the journey of a broken soul trying to find her way back. Which is something we can all relate to. Lizzie represents teenagers everywhere trying to find themselves in a society that determines it for you by look. 


- Relatable Protagonist
- Underlying meaning
- Comedic gold
- Douche bag guy
- Adorable love interest
- crazy back stories

- Spoiler to back stories
- Not enough connection to love interest
- Sometimes awkward language used

There was a page around the third chapter that had a documentation of the "campers." Along with the descriptions of what they did. I liked the little commentary documents but these I didn't enjoy. I think the anticipation would have been better if we had to figure out what they did to get sent to the camp on our own.  A huge plot twist could have been made then. 

I also think the spark formed between Lizzie and him (not going to give it away don't worry) should have grown a little more. In a way it wasn't there but there at the same time. I love the love interest and think he would be perfect for Lizzie... I just wished the love would have grown and been shown a little more before the huge reveal. 

Also when Lizzie is texting her friends, sometimes she would use slang and weird stuff teenagers don't really use anymore... or ever. 

For the long haul I liked the book. The plot and one-liners were great, and the ending was adorable. I'd give it 3.5/5 stars. It reminded me a lot of Legally Blonde in a way because of the different world Lizzie is transformed into... and how she deals with it. 

Fans of Legally Blonde and Miss Congeniality will eat this book up and not want to put it down. The comedic writing style with the few sentiment and important moments will keep you hooked. 

*Was provided with an ARC in exchange for an honest review