Welcome to yAdult Review, a space where two girls review novels from across the genres, from YA and MG, to fantasy and sci-fi, to historical fiction and mystery, with a sprinkling of non-fiction too. We hope you enjoy your stay here as much as we enjoy ours.

Tag Archives: publisher: simon and schuster

16059149Magnolia by Kristi Cook
Release Date: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In Magnolia Branch, Mississippi, the Cafferty and Marsden families are southern royalty. Neighbors since the Civil War, the families have shared vacations, holidays, backyard barbecues, and the overwhelming desire to unite their two clans by marriage. So when a baby boy and girl were born to the families at the same time, the perfect opportunity seemed to have finally arrived.

Jemma Cafferty and Ryder Marsden have no intention of giving in to their parents’ wishes. They’re only seventeen, for goodness’ sake, not to mention that one little problem: They hate each other! Jemma can’t stand Ryder’s nauseating golden-boy persona, and Ryder would like nothing better than to pretend stubborn Jemma doesn’t exist.

But when a violent storm ravages Magnolia Branch, it unearths Jemma’s and Ryder’s true feelings for each other as the two discover that the line between love and hate may be thin enough to risk crossing over. – Goodreads

Review:

Oh this book. HEARTS IN MY EYES FOR THIS BOOK. I honestly did not expect to love Magnolia as much as I did, but Jemma and her personality sucked me in.

Magnolia is the story of Jemma, who from the moment she was born was set up to be with Ryder Marsden. Their families have been BFFs for years, but nothing has really worked out where the two families could become one, until Jemma and Ryder were born, within six weeks of each other. Their parents were BFFs throughout college and in the case of their fathers, their whole lives. Jemma wants none of it.

In eighth grade, Ryder was a jerk to Jemma in front of his friends and that has stung her and she holds a bit of a grudge. The thing about Jemma and Ryder is they are teenagers through and through. As an adult, I wanted to slap them and tell them to just talk, but things don’t work out that easily when you’re teenagers. Heck, they don’t work out that easily when you’re an adult! While a lot of their problems would have been worked out if they just talked, there was something sweet and organic about the way they did work out.

Magnolia takes place in Mississippi in the middle of storm season, Jemma’s parents go out of town for a family emergency and they tell her if anything goes wrong to contact Ryder. Ryder is always there for her, in a friendly way. During this storm however, slowly they begin to get closer and understand each other better than they ever did. They bond over how similar their lives are and how much they hate that their lives have been planned out by their mothers. Ryder will be the perfect SEC quarterback and Jemma will be the perfect deb who is also a Delta Gamma. These are things that they aren’t sure they want themselves, but their mothers are super sure that this is THE PLAN.

Jemma, for years played the perfect daughter. While she isn’t the textbook Southern Miss., she is very nearly perfect. Cheerleader, good younger daughter, loving sister, A-student, she is sick of her life being planned for her. She wants to go to NYU, she wants to do film school and be her own person. Her parents don’t understand this. They want her to be that perfect mold of a daughter that worked out so well for their eldest. As a reader, Jemma wasn’t perfect, I spent most of the book frustrated at her because I kept yelling “USE YOUR WORDS” to her, even though Jemma is by far one of the most self-aware characters I’ve ever read. There was a point during Magnolia that Jemma was questioning some of her life choices up to that point and she questioned herself if it was a form of rebellion purely because of  boredom and this box her mother constantly puts her into?

This book was such a refreshing read from what I was reading around this book. I started it at 10:30PM one night and stayed up to after 1AM finishing the book. I miss reading books like that. I want more books like Magnolia.


18189606Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: ALAMW2014
Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

The Pre-Sloane Emily didn’t go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn’t do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um… – Goodreads

Review:

4.5 rounding up to 5. 

What do you do when  you are only know as someone’s best friend? That is Emily’s life. She is not known as someone’s boyfriend, but someone’s best friend. Which is an awesome twist on usual trend of “only known as someone’s girlfriend and we’ve broken up. HOW SHALL MY LIFE GO ON.” Since You’ve Been Gone opens when Emily wonders where Sloane went. Sloane disappeared in the middle of the night and Emily is waiting for her to come back. While waiting for her to come back, Emily receives a letter in the mail from Sloane full of things she should do.

Emily is convinced if she completes this crazy list, Sloane will come back. She wants her BFF back. But this book is more than that. This book is full of growth and what it means to be yourself, your true self, when your daredevil of a best friend isn’t pushing you into things. As much as this book is nothing like my relationship with my BFF. Or any of my close friends. I don’t hang with daredevils. I hang with people who push me out of my comfort zones, but they also respect when they look at my face and see the panic attack coming.

Emily spends the entire book growing, and it is awesome to see. She gains a new group of friends: Dawn, Frank, Matthew. Three people who do the crazy things with her, but also call her on things when she needs it. Which is what friends do. Matson, was also able to have the friendships grow organically. Nothing felt forced or caused me great pain while reading. I also, always appreciate a Mumford and Sons reference. (Shocking. I know.)

I devoured this book in about a day. The only reason it took me that long was the fact I had to go to work for 9 hours. Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone is strong. And I cannot wait to see what is from her next if it makes me feel anything how Since You’ve Been Gone made me feel, it will be an amazing book.

 


19715106Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In this funny, frank, and tender new memoir, the author of the New York Times bestseller A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette recounts how opening a restaurant sparked the f irst crisis of her young marriage.

When Molly Wizenberg married Brandon Pettit, he was a trained composer with a handful of offbeat interests: espresso machines, wooden boats, violin-building, and ice cream-making. So when Brandon decided to open a pizza restaurant, Molly was supportive–not because she wanted him to do it, but because the idea was so far-fetched that she didn’t think he would. Before she knew it, he’d signed a lease on a space. The restaurant, Delancey, was going to be a reality, and all of Molly’s assumptions about her marriage were about to change.

Together they built Delancey: gutting and renovating the space on a cobbled-together budget, developing a menu, hiring staff, and passing inspections. Delancey became a success, and Molly tried to convince herself that she was happy in their new life until–in the heat and pressure of the restaurant kitchen–she realized that she hadn’t been honest with herself or Brandon.

With evocative photos by Molly and twenty new recipes for the kind of simple, delicious food that chefs eat at home, Delancey is a moving and honest account of two young people learning to give in and let go in order to grow together. – Goodreads

Review:

I’m not really sure how I found out about Molly, I believe it was one of those situations where I clicked a link to click a link to click a link. One day I should talk about the Wikipedia game and how I rocked that shit in undergrad. Back to Molly and her story. Molly is married to Brandon, a man who changes his mind and changes it often, but she is okay with that, because she knows him. Not only does she know him, she loves him and she supports him. This is why when he decides to open a restaurant she doesn’t blink and fully supports him. She knows that he’ll change his mind and things will change. They always do.

Things changed alright. Just not in the way she was expecting. Brandon was continuing to continue his dream and it seemed that the restaurant was really going to happen and Brandon and Molly have no idea how to run a restaurant. They know how to work in a restaurant, but not actually run it, or be the boss of people. They create Delancey from the ground. While they rent the structure of the building, and from there they remodel the whole thing. Between themselves and their friends they do it. They made Delancey into what it is today.

I’m not sure what I expected when I went into Delancey, but I do know that I devoured it. I read it as an eARC on my kindle app and I kept telling myself “one more chapter…” before bed and then next thing I know, I finished it. I was drawn into Wizenberg and her family story about how she knew things would change but they changed in a completely different way. She’s the one who changed. The restaurant changed. Brandon changed. They learned a lot about each other and the uncertainty of life. The book also featured recipes that are important in Wizenberg’s life. Not only food they’ve made, but food that was important to them while the restaurant was being built. It was an excellent, quick, memoir.


13547250Poison (Legacy #2) by Molly Cochran
Release Date: December 4, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Source: Library
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Arthurian legend mixes with modern-day witchcraft in this haunting sequel to Legacy, which Publishers Weekly said “should please the legions of paranormal fans looking for a sophisticated supernatural thriller.” After the riveting—and romantic—events of Legacy, Katy has won Peter’s heart and is now claiming her place in the magical world. Though half the students at her boarding school come from witching lines, the use of magic is expressly forbidden at Ainsworth, so as to keep the witching world hidden from the blue-blooded preppies, aka Muffies, who also walk the halls.

But the Muffies have at least a notion of magic, because Katy catches them staging a made-up ritual—and to her astonishment, the girls collapse at Katy’s feet and fall into comas. When Katy is blamed, she becomes desperate to clear her name and finds herself battling all odds to harness her growing magical powers in order to save the Muffies and dispel the Darkness once more. – Goodreads

Review:

Oh this book series. I am not sure why I continued with it if I’m being honest. With the first book, I decided that it was good but nothing memorable happened. Doesn’t seem like a reason to read the second one, does it? Well, I did, and once again, nothing memorable happened. I was recently discussing this book with a friend and I honestly had no idea what happened or a character’s name. Thankfully I took notes, otherwise this review could be summed up with “:-\” High quality book blogging my co-blogger puts up with over here,

The same group of characters are involved in this story: Katy and Peter and a few new ones. Peter’s uncle and a new BFF for Katy. All four of these characters will annoy you in some shape or form and if they don’t please explain to me why, because oh boy did they make me want to throw this book. Katy is a typical teenager in a YA book, needy and clingy to her boyfriend. Bella from New Moon is that you? Because this book is told from Katy’s point of view, it is clear that she isn’t used to sharing Peter with anyone, including his new found rich uncle who wants to help Peter get into Harvard. According to the headmistress, Katy is the girl that will bring Peter down and this, understandably, affects her. That being said, I’m not saying Peter is innocent. He is a bit of a jack-ass throughout this novel. If this was real life there is no way that this relationship would still be together because it is beyond rocky…at best.

Not only does this cause Katy to essentially lose whatever backbone she has, her new friend, Verity, is, to put it nicely, an asshole. She is self-righteous and it is her way or no way. That affects Katy, as it should any teenager. Hell, I’m in my 20s and I’m finally ridding myself of those people. So I understand it, but in a YA novel, it’s getting to be overdone and frankly I’m getting sick of it.

That is two tropes I’ve had enough of in this book and I was about halfway done. One of the big scenes in this book takes place at what every girl dreams of in high school: the big winter formal. (Please note the sarcasm, I did not count down every minute to the winter formal. I didn’t even go to the winter formal. Tina: wtf is a winter formal anyway? We had homecoming.) Katy doesn’t want to go to the winter formal, but at the beginning of the book Peter talks her into going at least for five minutes and then they’ll get pizza. HAHA. Notice my use of “beginning of the book,” by the middle of the book, after hanging out with his uncle, Peter decides doing his uncle a favor is more important than taking your girlfriend to the dance. I get it, I do.  You want to impress your uncle who will help you get into your dream school, you’re going to help your uncle. At the expense of your girlfriend, who the town already hates.

There is also a bit of a mystery throughout this novel, but the mystery was such a back burner to me in comparison to wanting to throw the book so often. Will I be reading the third book? I think I can safely say that this is one series I will not be finishing. I, too, am shocked.


10627210Legacy (Legacy #1) by Molly Cochran
Release Date: December 20th 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

When her widowed father dumps 16-year-old Katy Jessevar in a boarding school in Whitfield, Massachusetts, she has no idea that fate has just opened the door to both her future and her past. Nearly everyone in Whitfield is a witch, as is Katy herself, although she has struggled all her life to hide her unusual talents. Stuck at a boarding school where her fellow students seem to despise her, Katy soon discovers that Whitfield is the place where her mother committed suicide under mysterious circumstances when Katy was just a small child. With dark forces converging on Whitfield, it’s up to Katy to unravel her family’s many secrets to save the boy she loves and the town itself from destruction – Goodreads

Review:

I accidentally started this book series. I picked up the second book from the library, got all the way home and realized I was missing some important parts (like reading the back of the book closer!). This book is the story of Katy, who’s father legit dumps her at this mysterious boarding school on the East Coast. Katy comes to find out that the boarding school is owned by her family, on her mother’s side. The mother that Katy does not discuss since her mother died.

From the first step she takes on campus Katy is hated. Hated. And she has no idea why. She comes to find out she comes from a long line that can do magic. A powerful line no less. (Of course it’s a powerful line!) Katy not only has to adjust to this, but adjust to the fact her family has a few twisted things in their past. Plus, she is having to deal with her father and his girlfriend who have never really understood what was going on in Katy’s life.

While this is a good story, I’m completely neutral to the book. I shut the book, started the second one and have no real memory of it. I didn’t hate the book while reading it, not at all, I mean, I picked up the second book! I just had not strong memories of the book. While I still recommend it because it was enjoyable read, it was just not memorable.


kirkmanI Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids by Jen Kirkman
Release Date: April 16, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Source: Netgalley
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Chelsea Lately regular Jen Kirkman is “childfree by choice.” Here’s what she’d like to say to everyone who can’t stop telling her she’ll change her mind.It’s hard to be an adult. You have to dress yourself and pay bills and remember to buy birthday gifts. You have to drive and get annual physicals and tip for good service. Some adults take on the added burden of caring for a tiny human with no language skills or bladder control. Parenthood can be very rewarding, but let’s face it, so are margaritas at the adults-only pool.

Jen Kirkman’s stand-up routine includes lots of jokes about not having kids (and some about masturbation and Johnny Depp), and total strangers constantly approach her and ask, “Who will take care of you when you’re old?” (Servants!) Some insist, “But you’d be such a great mom!” (Really? You know me so well!) Whether living rent-free in her childhood bedroom while trying to break into comedy (the best free birth control around, she says), or taking the stage at major clubs and joining a hit TV show—and along the way getting married, divorced, and attending excruciating afternoon birthday parties for her parent friends—Jen is completely happy and fulfilled by her decision not to procreate. I Can Barely Take Care of Myself is a beacon of hilarious hope for anyone whose major life decisions have been questioned by friends, family, and strangers in a comedy club bathroom. And for everyone who wonders if Jen will ever know true love without looking into the eyes of her child. (A girl can dream.) – Goodreads

Review:

I grabbed this book on Netgalley cause of the title. I could say I’m joking but I’m not. I am a person who decided at a young age that I am going to be childfree. I don’t like children. I didn’t even like them when I was one. I am an eighty-year old who yells at children to get off her lawn in the body of a twenty-four year old.

Kirkman takes us on a tour of her life from when she was single and living back with her parents, to when she got married to a man who didn’t want children, to the end when she was divorced but still not wanting children. It was nice to get that back story first to understand Kirkman and laugh with her throughout her trials and tribulations of growing up in New Jersey to working for Chelsea Lately.

This book didn’t disappoint. Throughout the book, Jen Kirkman discusses fears of being childless I didn’t even know I had until I read her thoughts. That being said, this book gets really repetitive quick, because really how much can you say about not wanting children? Hint: Not much. However, Kirkman’s writing style and sense of humor shine and make this a worthwhile read.


zeldaSigned by Zelda by Kate Feiffer
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

An aspiring handwriting analyst tracks down her missing neighbor in this caper from the author of The Problem with the Puddles.

More than anything, eleven-year-old Lucy wants to be the world’s most famous handwriting expert. “You can learn a lot about a person through how they write their I’s,” she tells her friend, Pigeon—who just so happens to be a talking bird. When Lucy’s neighbor Zelda goes missing and the only clue is a cryptic handwritten note, Lucy is determined to crack the case using her graphology skills. With some help from Nicky, who lives upstairs, and plenty of advice from Pigeon (who just so happens to be very opinionated), can Lucy decipher the whereabouts of her apartment building’s missing resident? – Goodreads

Review:
I’ve been on a middle grade/grade school book kick lately. I am in the final stretch of graduate school and the only way to not complain as much is to read books of my childhood, or books I wish I had in my childhood. Signed by Zelda is one of those books I had when I was a child.

Lucy has moved to New York City from Savannah, GA. It’s a complete change to her. What helps her through this change is the fact that she has a love of handwriting, and her friends in Georgia sent her with a notebook dedicated to handwriting. She loves signatures and what they mean. As a child, I was on Lucy’s side. I found handwriting fascinating. A group of my classmates and I learned how to write together and yet our handwriting was completely different from one another’s.

This book even gives a few lessons throughout the novel by telling the reader that different aspects of writing mean different things without making it seem like HEY LOOK YOU’RE LEARNING! Which is always awesome for a book of any reading level. Lucy moves into an apartment building, and above her lives Nicky, and above Nicky lives his Grandma, Zelda. One day Grandma Zelda goes missing. Nicky, with the help of Lucy (and her handwriting detective skills), and a talking pigeon (who has their opinions and plenty of them), go on the hunt for Grandma Zelda.

I understand that it sounds weird, but it works. And it works extremely well. With many twists and turns it is an excellent grade school book with the right amount of history, learning and mystery in it.