Fairytales IRL Book Tag

Hey peeps and welcome to another book tag! I find I don’t do these as often as I thought I did, and this one’s been going around very recently to a few people on YouTube, so I decided to join in on it because I LOVE fairytales! You can check out Jessethereader’s video here!

I haven’t actually read a fairytale in a while. I’ve read a few retellings and stuff, but otherwise I pretty much just watch the Disney adaptations (which is fine with me). I love the tropes and the hope that a lot of fairytales can inspire … when they’re, you know, not being told creepily and stuff.

somethinginbetweenSo this tag was put out by Harlequin Teen inspired by the release of Something In Between by Melissa de la Cruz, a contemporary book about a Filipino girl who’s done everything expected of her, has gotten really good grades, and even gets a scholarship to her dream college – and then it all falls apart when a family secret gets out and she is no longer eligible for that scholarship. She then does what she never has before: rebel. She tries to do a lot of the things teens do before they graduate and that’s when she meets the son of a congressman.

It sounds interesting and cute, and I’m just really interested to do this tag! In the tag you’re teaming up tropes with contemporary stories, so here we go:

1 . Fairy Godmother: a contemporary trope where a fatherly/motherly figure guides a misguided protagonist.

girlagansttheuniverse

I had the hardest time thinking of someone for this one and then I GOT IT. Dr. Daniel Leed from Girl Against the Universe! He’s a really cool psychiatrist and I felt like he really did a good job of helping to guide Maguire down a healthy path by challenging her and allowing her to figure things out on her own.

2. Prince Charming: a contemporary character who takes on a quest for his or her love interest.

toalltheboysivelovedbefore

I think that Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before definitely fits the bill for this one because she wrote letters to each guys she’s had a crush on before, and even though it backfires on her, it’s still as though she’s on a quest to find that “perfect guy,” and all that. She’s a dreamer and adorable and I love her.

3. Forbidden Fruit: the contemporary trope of giving in to temptation.

everything

I think that Maddy from Everything, Everything fits this description to a T because she was without everything in the outside world for the majority of her life. When the boy next door moves in, of course she’s interested and gives into temptation and discovers a lot about herself in that time.

4. When the Clock Strikes Midnight: a contemporary trope where the characters must fear an impending moment.

thisiswhereitends

Okay, so this one is kind of just scary because, well, it’s a book about a school shooting: This Is Where It Ends. I know the kids in the school weren’t expecting it at the time or anything, but as the hour progressed, more and more people were just terrified of what would happen next. It’s truly terrifying.

5. The Big Bad Wolf: an antagonist so powerful that the hero feels helpless against it/him/her.

myheartandotherblackholes

I’m going to have to go with the depression and suicide in My Heart and Other Black Holes because, speaking from experience, that antagonist is extremely powerful and you do feel helpless against it in those situations. I thought that Aysel did her best to climb out of that hole and I applaud her for it because it isn’t easy.

6. The Power Within: a contemporary example of unexpected power from a character who imagines themselves to be ordinary.

everylastword

So I’m going to go with Sam from Every Last Word because she deals with a form of OCD that causes her to have obsessive thoughts that could potentially lead to harmful outcomes, but usually they’re just daydreams or harmless things. As she writes poetry and talks about her illness through that, she really takes hold of herself and I think that that is truly amazing.

7. The Grand Ball: a contemporary trope wherein a character faces a major moment of fitting in.

fangirl

I’m going to say the same thing as Jesse and talk about Cath from Fangirl because she was so introverted and shy and scared at the beginning of the book that it was near impossible for her to make friends (even though Levi tried really hard all the time). As the book progressed, though, she began to open up more, to stand up for herself, and to really shine. I think she definitely faced that major moment and took it all in stride.

8. Fairest of Them All: a contemporary pressure for outer beauty that challenges the importance of inner beauty.

eleanorandpark

I think Eleanor & Park really hits this on the head because the two main characters are a red headed girl who lives in poverty so she’s pretty much wearing the clothes she makes herself, and the only half-Korean boy who likes to wear dark clothes and listen to “strange” music compared to the other kids. Though, I do love both of them because they don’t care what anyone else thinks and they each really bring out a positive outlook in one another when it comes to that.

9. The Evil Stepmother: a contemporary character who invokes anger or resentment for stepping into another’s role.

noneoftheabove

I think for this one I’m going to go with Kristin from None of the Above because she is really like her own evil stepmother. When she’s diagnosed as intersex she becomes so disgusted with herself that it’s like she wants to do everything she can to pretend she’s not who she is, and that’s not healthy. I think a lot of resentment formed as a result of that.

10. Happily Ever After: the contemporary belief in finding happiness in the end even when the road to get there had its struggles.

simonvs

Have you met my friend Simon from Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda because he’s adorable and I love him. He also went through a crap ton of, well, crap, to get his happy ending and even though some of what he dealt with was hard to see, I’m glad he did manage to get through all of it and be happy.


This was a much more difficult tag than I was expecting for some of these questions, but I also liked them because they had me thinking about just what kinds of characters I’ve seen and read about, and how each of these different tropes really do play a part.

Let’s Chat! ≧◡≦

What are some of your favorite tropes in books? What are your least favorite? Who do you think of when you think of the Prince Charming or the Big Bad Wolf? Tell me all the things!

Girl Against the Universe Book Review

girlagansttheuniverseTitle: Girl Against the Universe
Author: Paula Stokes
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Pages: 379
Format: Received Hardcover in May Uppercase Box

Maguire is bad luck.

No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the roller coaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away may be harder than she thought.

This book was full of surprises in many good ways and I enjoyed every bit of it.

This story follows Maguire, a sixteen year old girl who’s life has been less than awesome since the deaths of her father, uncle, and brother five years prior. She blames herself constantly when bad things happen around her and she finds that it’s safer if she just stays home, under her blankets reading a book where she can’t hurt anyone.

That’s until her therapist, Dr. Daniel Leeds, gives her “shrink homework,” challenges for her to complete if she wants to take a trip out to Ireland with her mom to meet her father’s family for a memorial service. These challenges are to push Maguire into trying to regain her life back, to take back what the Universe took from her, so to speak, and so she reluctantly agrees to these challenges.

And that’s where she meets Jordy, a tennis player dealing with his own problems and also meeting Dr. Leeds to deal with those problems.

Maguire goes through an awesome transformation as this story progresses. She isn’t completely “cured” by the end, but she makes steps toward becoming better and reclaiming her life for herself, which makes everyone in her life proud – but especially her.

I thought that this book was so well done in terms of the mental illness of PTSD and OCD that was displayed because, as I’ve probably said before, not everyone’s mental illness is the same, even if it falls under the same name as someone else’s. Stokes did a good job of writing about how much Maguire’s illness affects her every day life: from five-second checks to make sure everything around her is safe and no one will get hurt, to the panic attacks she has at the beginning, to eventually becoming comfortable enough with friends around to do more than she ever would have thought possible.

Maguire is very cautious of her surroundings and also doesn’t reach out to others to talk about her issues in the beginning. As her relationships grow and she becomes more confident in herself (which is subtle, but still noticeable), she does talk about her issues more and the friends that she has are very supportive of her and never tear her down or tease her mercilessly because of them. I loved being able to see progress in her and that she wasn’t afraid to stick her ground when she knew she couldn’t go through with something and that she was also willing to try out more and more things with different people that she previously wouldn’t have opened up to because of it.

Jordy is a tennis athlete who’s eighteen years old and still has his parents running his life for him – and he hates it. He wants to take control of the reins and decide his future for himself, but he’s also afraid. He was charismatic and real a lot of the times when he wasn’t being Tennis Jordy. I liked him a lot and felt that he was just another teen dealing with his own issues and trying to break out of that and do things for himself instead of for others. I also liked that he didn’t force Maguire to do anything she didn’t want to and would go the extra mile to make sure she knew that he was being cautious.

The friendships in this book were also a delight to read about, even if they weren’t the main focus of the book. The friendships with Jade and Penn were both healthy and different, which was great to see not only in Maguire’s situation, but in a YA book. Even when I thought one character was going to be “the bad guy,” she ended up just having a misunderstanding and she became okay again in my book.

Maguire’s relationship with her mother even mended itself as a result of Maguire taking steps to get better. They didn’t have a bad relationship or anything, but they still grew closer and stronger together as a result. It was so uplifting to see a positive mother figure with a presence in the book. Even Tom, Maguire’s stepfather, gained some brownie points! It was so awesome to read about.

The romance in the book, too, was well done because Maguire and Jordy started off as friends and the feelings between them slowly started to blossom. Nothing was ever forced and both were very awkward about it at times, but I felt the connection they had. Even though there was uncertainty there because of Maguire’s feelings about herself being cursed, the two managed to communicate even when it was hard (sometimes with the help of friends).

Overall I highly enjoyed this book a lot more than I was expecting. Even the tennis scenes were interesting to me! I’ve never played tennis before, but it’s made me want to watch or try for fun. The dynamic in this book between all of the characters was a healthy one, and I couldn’t have asked for more in the regard.

I rated this book 5/5 stars and highly recommend it!

The Score Book Review

thescoreTitle: The Score
Series: Off Campus #3
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: January 11, 2016
Genre: New Adult – Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 361
Format: Purchased eBook

He knows how to score, on and off the ice

Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she’s going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di-Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands.

It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over

Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition, girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love.

This is the third novel in this companion series and it was just as sexy, fun, and addicting as the last two.

In this novel we get a more in depth view from Allie and Dean, the two best friends to Hannah and Garrett, and I thought that it was fun to see into their world and lives and how they act together as they get to know one another more. I knew that there would be lots of sex in this book, but wow, I think this one had the most out of all of the books in this series thus far. It also had its own share of drama just like the others.

Allie is very much a go getter when it comes to her focus in life. She wants to become an actress and either work in film and TV shows, or on the stage. She had never really considered the stage before until recently when she played a part in a show, and though that is one of her primary focuses in her life, she is also very much attached to relationships that she has. So after recently breaking up with her boyfriend, Sean, she knows that she can’t take him back because he would just be holding her back since he practically forbid her from chasing her dreams. I’m glad she didn’t end up taking him back because that would have been a very toxic relationship. But I think the way it was handled was a genuine reaction upon a break up with the conflicting emotions, the lingering feelings, and the knowledge that it won’t work out if she were to go back.

She also cares very deeply for her father, who has multiple sclerosis, and wants to take care of him as much as possible, even though he’s in New York. During her fling with Dean, I could see how much she not only cared about being with him (and boy was it hot and heavy a lot of times), but that she was grateful to him that he was willing to help in whatever way possible.

Which brings me to Dean, who was a major playboy because it started out hot and heavy with him in the beginning. But as time passed and the fling with Allie started to happen, I started to get a better sense of who Dean was and that there was more that what was on the surface. Yes, his family has money and the name of their family can get them places, but I loved his carefree attitude and that he rarely, if ever, relied on his family’s name to get him whatever he wanted. He was still a sex fiend, that’s for sure, but I think what was most enjoyable about it was how much careful attention he gave to Allie during those times. As their fling progressed into something more serious, it became clearer of his feelings toward her and how he was willing to do anything for her.

That’s not to say he didn’t have his faults because there as a major one that happened in the book that caused his whole world to shatter and for him to practically be a walking zombie for a while. He turned to drugs and alcohol during this time and though it was something that irked me, it was realistic because people deal with grief in many different ways. But, overall, I really enjoyed his character. I loved when he was teaching the kids of the Hurricanes hockey team, as well as a little girl, Dakota, how to skate. It was clear where his heart was, even if he didn’t realize it, and I thought it was kind of sweet.

As I said, this book is nothing short of steam and drama because oh my, I was fanning myself in almost every other chapter. Seriously.

There was a lot of chemistry from the start, and though Allie was adamant that she doesn’t like casual sex, and it turned into a fling, turned into a relationship, I thought that it was realistic and well done. Dean and Allie were less “opposites attract,” and more like they completed the other. I loved that they each turned to the other during difficult times when they otherwise would have turned to their friends (because hello, developing feelings here!), and even though they’d bicker and had a strenuous time at one point, neither forced the other to do anything they didn’t want to do, which I thought was key.

Overall, I highly enjoyed this book just like the rest of this series. It was fast paced and well done, and though I could have done without the drugs and so much sex (there was more in this book that the other two, I noticed), I did highly enjoy it.

I rated it 4.5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

The Mistake Book Review

themistakeTitle: The Mistake
Series: Off Campus #2
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Genre: New Adult – Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 297
Format: Purchased eBook

He’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hookups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have to work for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat, and she plans on driving him wild.

This second story in the Off Campus series was fun, sexy, funny, dramatic, and so, so awesome. I really enjoyed it more than the first, and I really liked the first book.

Since this is a companion series, there isn’t much in way of spoilers, but there are different characters that are focused on and introduced in this book, but they were all just as dynamic as the last group of characters.

We have Logan, who makes a reappearance in this book as one of the main characters. He’s Garrett’s best friend and another player on the hockey team at Briar. As such, he’s quite the player and he has sex with a lot of different girls to fill a void in himself – which he does realize toward the beginning of the story. I absolutely loved his character to pieces. He’s sarcastic, but sincere (or tries to be) and I think he really shined when he met Grace. I love how much he cares about his family and is willing to sacrifice his own happiness and future to help out when he can because of the situation at home. There isn’t as much animosity between him and his father as there was between Garrett and his father in the last book, but there was still a bit of drama unfolding there due to situations out of Logan’s control. I will say, though, that I loved the way he treated Grace and how they really melded well together. Also, he’s wicked funny, which made him brighter in my eyes as a character.

Then we have Grace, who is a freshman at the beginning of the book and turns to a sophomore about a third of the way through. She’s quiet and hard pressed to mix and mingle with others, but she tries her best with her friend, Romona, and that’s when she ends up meeting Logan. I thought that her character was very level headed and grounded in reality, but she still had a bit of fire in her when the time called for it. She had me smiling and reminding me a lot of myself in ways, which was very much appreciated as a reader. I thought that she handled situations well given what some of the ones she was thrown into were, and I also like how she is very creative in coming up with challenges for Logan to complete in order to gain her trust back. Clever girl.

As far as the story went, I really enjoyed this one. It was steamy almost right from the get go, which was a bit of a surprise, but when the mistake happened, oh man. I could see where Logan blew it big time, and frankly, I don’t blame Grace for being to put off by him. This plot centered around him trying to fix what Logan broke and realizing what he wanted, craved, and, frankly, needed in his life. But it also centered around Grace finding herself and understanding that she doesn’t have to bow to anyone’s will simply because they want her to – she’s her own person who can make her own decisions and stick to them.

I thought that the way they were written was very well done and that they bounced off of each other wonderfully. I loved the tension between them, the hot romance, as well as the dating aspect. I also enjoyed the family bits thrown in there and how there was some give and take toward the end on that aspect. It wasn’t just a steamy romance, but a little bit more, and I think it was done well.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was well paced, steamy, funny, and not so much centered around hockey as the last one, but was still present, and it focused more on relationships of different kinds: romantic, friendships, and family relations. It was very enjoyable and it definitely made me excited to continue this companion series.

I rated it 5/5 stars and highly recommend it.

The Deal Book Review

thedealTitle: The Deal
Series: Off Campus #1
Author: Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Genre: New Adult – Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 342
Format: Purchased eBook

She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good.

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

This story was sexy, funny, with touches of drama and realistic situations that made me feel sad for the characters. It was a romantic story about two college students who strike up a deal that if Garrett helps Hannah get the attention of a boy she likes, then she’d help him study for a class so he doesn’t lose his place on the hockey team – and things get interesting from there.

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this as much as I did, if I’m being honest. I’ve heard good things about it, and I think maybe it’s because it’s my age group, but it was totally something I could envision happening on a college campus and how a relationship could develop between two unlikely people.

Hannah is a spitfire. She’s kind of quiet and likes to keep to herself, but she made a promise to her best friend, Allie, that she’d be more social in their junior year of college and meet people and do more things. I thought that she was very level headed and well within her element. She knew who she was, and tried to not let what happened in her past define her. Though what did happen did make things complicated for her at some points, the fact that she found help through Garrett – someone she thought was so unlikely to help in any way – and I thought that it was both brave and wonderful of her to do so. Not that Garrett was a bad choice, but by explaining to him why she was broken and what she hoped could “fix” her was brave.

Garrett was totally cocky and I loved him. Though, like Hannah, I thought he was a pain sometimes, I knew that that was just how he was and that he really had his heart in the right place and many times he showed with his actions about how much he cared not only for her, but others, too. He progressively became much more open about his own past and his own problems, and we got to see first hand the one responsible for said problems. I was proud of him for being able to be strong and do something about it.

The dynamic between these two started out as a hate to love relationship, and I thought that it worked really well. At first they couldn’t really stand each other, but they grew to be friends over time, which I thought was super awesome. Even if the friendship stage didn’t last as long as what I’d expect, I still highly enjoyed their relationship dynamic because they grew with each other and developed with one another, bouncing off the other and brining out the good in each.

Yes, there were sexy times, and yes, they were detailed, but I thought that they were well done. There weren’t any hints of abuse and the way that it went about with the situation really made those moments sweeter -and steamier- in my opinion.

The plot of the book focused around helping Garrett pass an ethics class, but it also focused on college life, friendships, parties, getting to know others, and branching out of your comfort zone. Both of them had their own hurdles to overcome, but they did well with each hurdle. There was enough drama to keep me reading and wanting to know what happened next.

Overall, I thought this was a well-written new adult read and that the characters were dimensional, the setting was awesome (hello, home state!), and that the story went on an upward direction.

I rated this book 4.5/5 stars.