Book review: Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Source: Purchased

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts. 

I had seen a lot of hype for this book when it first came out and when I saw the author signing at a book festival I went to last year, I figured I might as well buy it. It was probably the most awkward encounter I’ve ever had in my life, which I don’t fault the author for since it just illustrates what happens when you throw two introverts who’ve never met before together and expect them to interact. Anyway, it took me a while to finally pick it up, and… I have some thoughts.

First of all, Tessa is not like other girls and Eric is always taking off his shirt to show off his six pack, so it’s basically the same two characters as every other YA book that’s come out over the last decade. Sure, there are some differences. Tessa is agoraphobic and Eric is famous. They mostly converse through Twitter, and Tessa doesn’t know that the person she’s been talking to is actually her celebrity crush.

I didn’t think that I’d have a problem with the premise, but I kind of do. I don’t necessarily mind that a celebrity is hiding his identity when he talks with a fan for the first time. I get that. But Eric lets it go on for so long and he doesn’t seem to understand that it’s not okay to lie about who he is when he and Tessa become close enough to consider meeting in person. Eric also had such an attitude about his fans that I found it surprising that he would even entertain the idea of befriending one of them, especially a superfan like Tessa.

The side characters in the book are absolutely ridiculous. Tessa’s mother is a blatantly horrible person. (Like most YA parents, I guess.) Her therapist is awful. The person from her past that she’s so scared of? Something was definitely missing because that whole story didn’t make a bit of sense.

The “cliffhanger” at the end is actually painfully obvious if you’ve paid attention at all to what’s happened throughout the book. I even went ahead and read some spoiler-filled reviews of the sequel to confirm that this story ends exactly as I expected it to.

I can’t think of anyone I’d recommend this book to. I’m glad it’s off my shelf, but it’s already in my donate pile.

#killingthetbr: ten months on shelf


Have you read Follow Me Back? What about the sequel?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Reading Challenge Update

May felt like a pretty good reading month, so I’m hoping it was a good month for my reading challenges too. I’m excited to take a look at my progress!

Monthly Motif is a reading challenge hosted by girlxoxo.

May’s theme was one sitting reads and I read a few books for this prompt:

June’s theme is diversify your reading. I have a ton of diverse books on my TBR but please feel free to recommend some to me!

I read a total of 16 books in May, which puts me 26 books ahead of my goal.

Popsugar hosts a reading challenge every year. You can find out more information on their website.

I was surprised to find out that I didn’t read any books toward my Popsugar challenge in May! I’ll have to try to read some in June!

Romanceopoly is a reading challenge hosted by Under the Covers and Peace Love Books.

Romanceopoly continues to be the reading challenge that I struggle with the most, but at least I checked off a few more prompts in May.

The prompts I checked off were:

Modern Mrs. Darcy hosts a reading challenge every year. You can find more information on the website.

I checked off one prompt for the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge in May:

I’m almost done with this challenge! I only have two prompts left.

I thought I might read more than three books for this challenge in May, but that didn’t happen. (As usual, I got distracted by library books.) The three books that I read were:


How are you doing on your reading challenges? Do you have any recommendations for me? Let’s talk in the comments!

Book Review: The Senses by Matteo Farinella

The Senses by Matteo Farinella
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Source: Borrowed

Step into the world of the senses . . . Meet the four mechanoreceptors of touch, examine our taste buds up close, discover the link between smells and memories, and learn how optical illusions trick the cells in our eyes into seeing things that aren’t there…

In this humorous, detailed, yet still accessible book, neuroscientist and illustrator Matteo Farinella takes the reader on a wild ride through key figures and fascinating facts about each of our five senses, describing the most up to date research alongside illuminating drawings and diagrams that even the most scientifically un-savvy will enjoy!

Here I am again with a review of a book I never actually intended to read. There I was at my library, checking to see if they’d added any new graphic novels to their collection, when I was distracted by the cover of The Senses. I read Farinella’s Neurocomic earlier this year, and, while I didn’t hate it, I also didn’t really love it. I figured I’d give him another try with The Senses, and I’m glad I did.

This is a very basic introduction to the senses, going into the major organs of the sensory nervous system and how they work and communicate with each other. I think my favorite section was the one on taste, probably just because I really enjoy cooking (and eating).

The art honestly is not my favorite, but it’s very functional. That said, I didn’t read this graphic novel for the art, I read it because the topic interests me and I thought I might learn something. I don’t know if I learned anything that hadn’t already been covered in my anatomy and physiology classes, but I still had fun reading this one and would definitely recommend it to someone looking for a basic summary of how the sensory nervous system works.

#mm19: one sitting reads


Have you read The Senses? Are you interested in neuroscience?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart

Fly on the Wall by E. Lockhart
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: March 14, 2006
Source: Purchased

At the Manhattan School of Art and Music, where everyone is unique and everyone is ‘different’, Gretchen Yee feels ordinary. It doesn’t help that she’s known as the girl who sits alone at lunch, drawing pictures of her favourite superhero, just so she won’t have to talk to anyone. Her best (and only real) friend is there for her, but that’s only if she’s not busy – she’s always busy! 

It’s no surprise that Gretchen isn’t exactly successful in the boy department. Her ex-boyfriend is a cold-fish-sometimes-flirty ex who she can’t stop bumping into. Plus, she has a massive crush on a boy named, Titus but is too scared to make the first move. One minute he seems like a sensitive guy, the next, he’s a completely different person when he’s with his friends. She can’t seem to figure boys out!

Gretchen has one wish: to be a fly on the wall in the boy’s locker room. What are boys really like? What do they talk about?

I can’t review this one without spoilers, sorry.

I’ve had Fly on the Wall on my TBR since it came out thirteen years ago. I never quite know what I’m going to get when I read an E. Lockhart book. There are some books by her that I’ve liked (like her Ruby Oliver series) and others that I really haven’t (like Genuine Fraud). It seems like a lot of her books have really mixed reviews, and Fly on the Wall is no different.

Let me start by saying that this is one of the easiest books that I’ve read in the last few months. It took very little effort to read it, and before I knew it, I was done. I don’t think I spent more than two hours reading the whole thing. There were parts of it that I really liked. The ending, in particular, was very cute. I also liked Titus and the way he stood up for Brat, and everything that happened with Malachy and Katya. All of this is why I gave it two stars and not one.

Everything else, though? Weird at best. Incredibly problematic at worst.

This is where the spoilers really get going.I’m going to be blunt here. You see how, on the cover, it says in big, bold letters, “How one girl saw EVERYTHING” — well, everything is referring to penises. I think it’s really important to just put that out there. A good chunk of this book is made up of the fly version of Gretchen sitting on a locker room wall and ogling her classmates’ penises. She flies up close to one guy to get a good view. She makes comments about penis size and compares her ex to his classmates. It’s all very creepy.

As if that isn’t weird enough, Gretchen also decides to grade all of the boys based on their butts. Like… letter grades. How odd. There are full descriptions of so many butts. It was like being inside Tina Belcher’s mind.

I mean, I don’t really have a problem with teenage girls exploring their sexuality. I think it’s great that this book talks about how Gretchen gets turned on when she sees a naked guy, how it’s a totally different experience than seeing her classmates clothed. Especially in 2006, this wasn’t really a thing in YA books. But let’s be honest here for a second — these guys have no idea that one of their female classmates is creepily staring at them. I could not get over how weird and creepy it was for this girl to be nonchalantly examining her classmates’ penises and butts without their knowledge and not finding anything wrong with it. I would’ve hoped for this to be challenged at least a little bit, but nope. Gretchen just resumes her normal daily activities one day and it’s like none of this ever happened.

Can I also talk for a second about two MAJOR plot points that were never resolved? First, we have Carlo and Xavier who get bullied for taking an African dancing class instead of a sport that the other boys in the grade deem acceptable. I can definitely see this happening. Gretchen witnesses them being made fun of and even beaten up for it, and then… nothing happens. It’s totally forgotten about, despite multiple scenes featuring these characters. I didn’t necessarily need justice, but something would have been nice. And then, my biggest question while reading this book, what exactly was happening to Gretchen’s body while she was a fly? Was she just kind of in a coma? If she wasn’t eating or drinking, how did she stay alive? How did she even become a fly? How did she get turned back into a human? SO MANY QUESTIONS. NO ANSWERS.

One thing that I didn’t really understand was the slang in this book. Literally every character refers to penises as “gherkins” and breasts as “biscuits.” Gherkins… okay, I guess that makes sense. But BISCUITS? It took me some time to figure out what that was referring to. It was just… so weird. What was the point? It was almost like either the author or the publisher was afraid to use any anatomically correct terms (or actual slang words) and had to make up these weird food-related words for an entire school to use.

I don’t know that I can really recommend this one as anything other than a very odd, very fast read.

#killingthetbr: three months on shelf


Have you read Fly on the Wall? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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ARC Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

I almost always love Christina Lauren books, so I was very excited to see The Unhoneymooners pop up on Netgalley. After I requested it, I kind of forgot that I had it until about three days before its release, when I panicked and started reading it immediately. Luckily, this book was very fun and I read it in two sittings. The 432 pages honestly just flew by.

I always love Christina Lauren’s heroines. They’re usually goofy, clumsy, and often embarrass themselves. But they’re also confident, intelligent, and just the right amount of snarky. Olive is no exception. She has a bit of a reputation for being prickly, but she’s just honest. She doesn’t put up with any nonsense. I could probably learn a thing or two from her.

It’s not just their heroines that I love, though. Their heroes are great, too. Aside from a few rather frustrating scenes, Ethan was a great love interest. While he initially came off as kind of stand-offish (or even rude), once he and Olive got over their differences and actually talked, he was a great guy. I loved how particular he was about the food he’d eat because SAME.

I loved the way the relationship developed between Olive and Ethan. Enemies-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and Christina Lauren did it perfectly here. The teasing, the banter, and the turn to romantic feelings was done so well. Another of my favorite tropes? Fake dating. Watching Olive and Ethan pretend to be newlyweds while being so uncomfortable about it was great. I loved it.

So, why not five stars? There were a few things that didn’t sit quite right with me, but I think that getting into them would be kind of spoilery. I will say that they were still small enough issues that I flew through this book and ended up loving it. I’d highly recommend this to anybody looking for a cute enemies-to-lovers romance.


Previously: AutoboyographyDating You/Hating YouJosh and Hazel’s Guide to Not DatingLove and Other WordsMy Favorite Half-Night StandRoomies


#killingthetbr: 4 months on shelf


Have you read The Unhoneymooners? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin

Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: April 17, 2014
Source: Freebie

Twenty-year-old Clementine Avery doesn’t mind being called bitchy and closed off. It’s safe, and after being burned by her high school sweetheart and stalked by a professor her freshman year of college, safe sounds pretty damn good.

Her number one rule for survival? No dating. That is until she accidentally signs up for a romance writing class and needs material for her latest assignment. Sexy RA Gavin Murphy is more than happy to play the part of book boyfriend to help Clem find some inspiration, even if that means making out … in the name of research, of course.

As Gavin and Clem grow closer, they get entangled in the mystery surrounding a missing Boston University student, and Clem unwittingly becomes a possible target. Gavin tries to show Clem she can handle falling in love again, but she knows she has to be careful because her heart’s at stake … and maybe even her life.

DEAREST CLEMENTINE is a stand-alone novel with two companion novels. This New Adult romance is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.

I don’t give away any of the major plot twists in this review, but there are some spoilers.

Oh dear. It’s time for another negative review. I wanted to love this book. I really did. Once upon a time, it was recommended by Krista & Becca Ritchie. It was a recommended new adult book for my Romanceopoly reading challenge. It has a 4.11 average on Goodreads and 4.6 average on Amazon. Did I read a different book than everybody else? I don’t even know where to start.

I guess the first thing I want to say is that if you’re not okay with women constantly being referred to as sluts, whores, skanks, and prostitutes, you should probably avoid this book. I have never understood why women have to make these kind of comments about each other, and this book has characters doing it in both a loving way (weird) and a negative way (just inappropriate). It was so odd because Clementine’s roommate, Jenna, is almost celebrated for having constant sex with her boyfriend, but other women in the book are disparaged for it. I get that you hate your crush’s ex, but is it really necessary to talk about her like that? (Answer: No, it’s not.)

The next thing I want to talk about is the whole publishing aspect. I mean, I’m not even a writer, but I’m pretty sure the way publishing is talked about in this book is not at all realistic. Like “oh my professor really liked this story I wrote so he got me published.” WHAT? In what universe does a random professor at a random university have that much influence? Or “a blogger with a big following stumbled across my book and it became an instant bestseller.” It’s nice to think that one blogger could have that much influence, but it’s just not realistic.

I also didn’t feel much of a connection at all between the main characters. I’m pretty sure that Clementine and Gavin only start hooking up because they both think the other is hot. Which is totally fine (and at least realistic) but then don’t have them be “in love” a few chapters later. They hardly even talk! Just because Gavin carried drunk Clementine home from a bar one time doesn’t mean that they know each other.

Now let’s move on to the mystery. This is the most ridiculous mystery I have ever read. The disappearance of a student is something that happens, sure. But, honestly, the perpetrator was blindingly obvious from the beginning of the book. I almost expected the twist to be that this particular character didn’t commit the crime, because there were about twelve thousand hints dropped that he did.

And Clementine’s family? Their dynamics didn’t make any sense to me. Supposedly Clementine is an heiress to a financial mogul father and famous fashion designer mother. Her family cut her off for some vague reasons that I completely did not believe, but nobody in her family knew that she was struggling financially. I mean… it just didn’t make sense. Why did they cut her off? What really happened? How did nobody notice?

The only saving grace in this book was that Gavin wasn’t the typical broody jerk love interest. In general, he was a really kind, patient, and understanding. He didn’t pressure Clementine to do anything she wasn’t ready for and seemed like he genuinely tried to be a good guy. That said, the way he expected full honesty from Clementine while refusing to tell her why he was spending so much time with his ex (and giving a pretty unrealistic reason for his ex randomly being half-naked in his dorm room) was totally unfair.

All in all, this is a pretty stereotypical new adult book. It falls into a lot of the common new adult tropes without adding anything new to the genre. I can’t say that I enjoyed reading it at all, but at least it’s off my TBR now.

#romanceopoly: taxi
#killingthetbr: 1 year, 1 month on shelf


Have you read Dearest Clementine? Do you read new adult books?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: August 27, 2015
Source: Purchased

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions…

When I bought this book, I knew nothing about it other than it had a fun title and I’d heard good things about Patrick Ness. I started reading it without having even read the synopsis, and I knew almost immediately that I’d love it.

I’ve read countless YA books about the “Chosen One.” There’s Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Mortal Instruments, Throne of Glass… I could go on. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that trope. When it’s written well, it can make for a really good story. One of my all-time favorite TV shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, also bases itself around this trope.

Ness takes this trope and turns it around, focusing instead on the kids who aren’t involved in all of the supernatural happenings. While the indie kids are off in the background dealing with vampires and zombies and ghosts and mysterious blue lights, Mike and his friends are sorting out their own problems. They’re dealing with relationship drama, mental illness, stress about graduation, and less-than-stellar parenting. This book deals with a lot of issues in a relatively short amount of pages.

I think my favorite part of the book was the almost sassy descriptions of the indie kids at the beginning of each chapter. I also loved the way the seemingly unrelated activities of the indie kids were woven into the story toward the end. Quite honestly, there was very little that it didn’t love about this book. Also, bonus points for tons of cats.

I would highly recommend this book if you’re interested in seeing a common trope turned on its head and maybe even made fun of a little bit. I can’t wait to read more from Ness.

#killingthetbr: five months on shelf


Have you read The Rest of Us Just Live Here? Which book by Ness should I read next?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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