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text 2017-08-01 14:31
My July 2017
Artificial Sweethearts (North Pole, Minnesota) - Julie Hammerle
The Perfectly Imperfect Match (Suttonville Sentinels) - Kendra C. Highley
Lumberjanes Vol. 1 - Noelle Stevenson,Grace Ellis,Brooke Allen
Die Stadt der besonderen Kinder: Roman (Die besonderen Kinder) - Ransom Riggs,Silvia Kinkel
Thor, Vol. 1 - Coipel Olivier,J. Michael Straczynski
Wilde Like Me - Louise Pentland
Artificial Sweethearts - 5 stars
The Perfectly Imperfect Match - 5 stars
Lumberjanes Vol. 1 - 5 stars
Die Stadt der besonderen Kinder - 4 stars
Thor, Vol. 1 - 5 stars
Wilde Like Me - 5 stars

 

Favorite book(s) of the month: every single one of them

 

Books started this month but haven't finished yet:  Ich, Eleanor Oliphant

 

THIS HAS BEEN SUCH A GOOD READING MONTH.

I didn't expect it. I felt a bit of a reading slump coming but I powered through it. YOU GO, GIRL!!!! And I loved every single book I read this month.

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review 2017-07-10 06:05
Burned
Artificial Sweethearts (North Pole, Minnesota) - Julie Hammerle

Tinka & Sam are neighbors with a common cause.  They are sick of others trying to set them up with people completely unfit for them.  They mean well, but really, who can choose but you for a significant other?

 

Sam is interested right away.  Only he has virtually no experience with which to entice Tinka to be his.  So he goes along with the scheme he unwittingly started out of desperation.  Along the way, they start to feel more real.  If only they could both be on the same page.....

 

This book was seriously what we call a slow burn.  I was really turned off by how shallow and petty most of the characters were.  I was about to put the book down - when, would you believe, it started back the other way.  I felt every feel with this story and at the end was never so happy to get my HEA.  At least I think I got one.  Anyway, I give this book a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and its publishers.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-01 14:05
Artificial Sweethearts!!!
Artificial Sweethearts (North Pole, Minnesota) - Julie Hammerle

First things first: I received this book through NetGalley.

This book comes out july 10th.

 

This book is the second book in the North Pole, Minnesota series. But it's one of those series, were the books centers around different characters in the same setting/town and you don't have to read all the books or don't have to read them in order. I haven't read the first book, but I'm sure I will check it out sometime.

 

Summary: It’s not chemistry between Tinka Foster and Sam Anderson that made them agree to fake date. With her parents trying to set her up with an annoying pro-track golf student, and intentionally single Sam’s family pressuring him to bring a date to his brother’s wedding, they could both use a drama-free summer.

So it’s not his muscular arms and quick wit that makes Tinka suggest they tell everyone they’re both taken. Definitely not. And it’s not butterflies that makes a kiss for appearances during the lake party go on way too long—so long that Sam wishes it were real.

But Tinka keeps people at arm’s length—she’s always been second best, even to her parents. And her relationship-for-show could crush everything when she realizes she’s done with fake, pretend, and second-best.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains bikinis at the lake, a lot of making out in dark theaters, and a meet-cute you’ll read twice.

 

I have read a lot of fantasy and thriller in the last couple weeks, contemporary wasn't one my radar that much. So, when I got my usual Entangled Teen email, showing me ARC's I could request, I was all for it. And this book was just what I needed at the moment.

 

This was super easy to get into. The writing was fun and just amazing. You want a fun and easy summer read, HERE IT IS.

 

The characters are great. We have Tinka and Sam, the two main characters. They both have their issues. They both have their problems. No, just being together, doesn't solve their problems. They do that themselves. I also loved the side characters in the story. Sam's family. I loved Jane, Tinka's friend from school and Karen, Tinka's friend from way back when. 

 

I loved all the relationships. The rocky one between Tinka and her parents. The broken friendship between Tinka and her childhood best friend Karen. The fun and easy friendship between Tinka and Jane. I loved Sam with his family. I loved his brother Matt with his fiance and later husband Hakeem. I loved that element. Also I wanna read a whole book about them. JUST SAYING!!!

 

Of course I loved Tinka and Sam. I'm a sucker for fake-dating stories. GIVE ME ALL OF THEM. Seriously. It won't be much of a spoiler, telling you, that the whole fake dating thing will lead to real feelings and trouble ahead. I expected that. BUT I LOVED IT.

 

The characters went through such a journey in this story. So wonderful to read. Tinka and her parents worked things out, she finally got to tell them what she really wanted in her life. I loved the baking element, made me hungry and crave sweets but it was super cute. Sam got to lean on his siblings for once. And just everything. I know this review is a lot of me feeling things but this was just SO DAMN CUTE!!!!

 

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text 2017-06-25 11:29
Reading progress update: I've read 14%.
Artificial Sweethearts (North Pole, Minnesota) - Julie Hammerle

This is such a fun and easy read. Just what I needed right now.

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review 2016-07-18 01:34
The Sound of Us by Julie Hammerle
The Sound of Us - Julie Hammerle

I received this book for free from Pan MacMillan in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

SUMMARY

TV nerd Kiki is off to a summer camp for an opera singing scholarship, where she jams contemporary pieces in the basement with a hot nerdy drummer at the camp for a golf scholarship. When her teachers forbid any kind of singing outside of opera, Kiki has to figure out if she will follow her heart or the rigid choices she seems to have locked herself into.

 

PLOT

Cicero (kee-ke-roh) ‘Kiki’ has decided to follow in her big sister Tina’s footsteps and study opera at university, even though Tina spent most of her study time partying and most of her post-graduate time being unemployed, even though the camp costs tens of thousands of dollars and her parents are convinced she’s not even going to ‘stick with it’. I was particularly excited to read this book because when I was Kiki’s age becoming an opera singer was on my very short list of things I’d quite like to get paid doing as an adult but I quickly learned I didn’t have what it takes (ie a soprano range – there are very few good roles written for mezzo-sopranos in operas, and tenors get all the most beautiful arias), so I was somewhat disappointed to find Kiki spent most of her time practicing alone. Without anyone teaching her how to use her voice. Opera singers have a very specific sound they are trying to create, and it’s hard and takes years of training by a competent teacher. And her voice teachers were more interested in kicking them out of class if they weren’t perfect through a first run than actually teaching them anything. So the overall aspect of a ‘opera camp’ was a bit disappointing.

 

The other main plot was Kiki’s love of TV, specifically this show called Project Earth, and her bonding with the other campers because of it, specifically Jack the hot nerdy drummer who grows quite close to Kiki despite carrying a secret that would break her heart. Kiki herself makes friends outside of Twitter and even kisses a couple of dudes but in amongst this there’s a mole watching the students for any kind of rule-breaking. There’s only seven scholarships to go around and too many students, so some will do whatever it takes to get rid of the competition. This especially sucks because Kiki, for some reason, doesn’t seem to give a shit half the time about the rules, and encourages the other kids at the camp to drink and break curfew then, when her parents threaten to send her to a non-music university, she backflips, suddenly gets much better, and is determined to win a scholarship.

 

CHARACTERS

Kiki isn’t actually sure if she wants to be an opera singer. That’s the thing that annoyed me most. Opera singing isn’t easy, it takes a lot of work, and Kiki would rather jam doing contemporary songs, and writing her own songs. She got her parents to fork out thousands of dollars for a future she’s not even sure about when she’s seen her big sister fail in the same industry. She’d rather talk about TV on Twitter all day which hello, I totally get, but it’s like she’s using the camp itself to experience university life without being a university student. I do like how she can bond with other people when they have Project Earth in common, and I like how eventually she finds her own voice (so to speak), I just don’t like that even from the beginning she wasn’t sure if the camp was something she wanted to do and only auditioned because her BFF (soon to be ex-BFF) did. It’s not exactly like opera singing is a fall-back career, but that’s how Kiki’s treating it. I liked Kiki’s narrative voice and her entire character arc even if it was a conclusion I was a little disappointed with.

 

The other characters are mostly forgettable except for Brie the bitch who turns out isn’t such a bitch and Jack the hot drummer whose connection to Kiki is instantaneous but whose romance definitely could not be described as ‘insta-love’, if you could even call it a romance.

 

WRITING

While I liked the inclusion of Tweets at the start of every chapter, I was thoroughly annoyed that for a novel supposed to be about student singers, there was no teaching going on whatsoever. The teachers at Kiki’s camp were horrible and I would be demanding my money back. Kiki didn’t learn anything except that she didn’t really want to be an opera singer. I liked the fictional TV show Project Earth and all of its backstory mixed with songs and bands Kiki actually names so I could look them up on Youtube.

 

PACING

The pacing was fine. I was enjoying the book a lot as I was reading it and it seemed to me to be a quick read. It didn’t really stop and dwell on any ‘filler’ bits and in fact what could have been a long drawn-out romance between Kiki and Jack had its stops put in it pretty quickly due to some regular teenage drama. The camp was only six weeks long so there was a lot to jam in there and to me it didn’t really seem to drag or lose the pace at all.

 

OVERALL

There are very clearly some good things about The Sound of Us and also some things I didn’t enjoy. Overall I think it was a good reading experience even if it didn’t quite deliver what I was hoping it would.

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