Monday, May 22, 2017

ARC Review: Antisocial by Jillian Blake

Title: Antisocial
Written by: Jillian Blake 
Published: May 16, 2017 by Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Alexandria Prep is hacked in this whodunit set in the age of social media and the cloud. 

Senior spring at Alexandria Prep was supposed to be for sleeping through class and partying with friends. But for Anna Soler, it’s going to be a lonely road. She’s just been dumped by her gorgeous basketball star boyfriend—with no explanation. Anna’s closest friends, the real ones she abandoned while dating him, are ignoring her. The endearing boy she’s always had a complicated friendship with is almost too sympathetic. 

But suddenly Anna isn’t the only one whose life has been upended. Someone is determined to knock the kings and queens of the school off their thrones: one by one, their phones get hacked and their personal messages and photos are leaked. At first it’s funny—people love watching the dirty private lives of those they envy become all too public. 

Then the hacks escalate. Dark secrets are exposed, and lives are shattered. Chaos erupts at school. As Anna tries to save those she cares about most and to protect her own secrets, she begins to understand the reality of our always-connected lives: 

Sometimes we share too much.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

I was totally intrigued by the idea of this books. Mean Girls meets Wikileaks sounds amazing. And it also sounded like an intriguing mystery/ And while it was engaging and interesting, it didn't quite live up to my hopes.

One of the things that I did like about this book was the characters. This is a book full of unlikable characters who felt like realistic teenagers. I think the Mean Girls comparison here was about the characters. Firstly because there was a huge emphasis on the different cliches in the school as well as the idea of popularity. But there was also this whole frenemies thing in the book with the characters not being honest with each other about their thoughts and feelings. But that is kind of one of the things that made them feel realistic.

Much of the book focused on the characters and their interaction and development. There were two interesting narratives here when it came to the characterizations. The first was around your public versus private image. As the hack occurred and people found out the truth of their classmates these two things came into question and made for the drama. I really love books that explore this theme and this one did it pretty well. It didn't have quite the depth that I hope for but I it definitely was interesting.

I think it was also supposed to be a subtle story of friendship. I really like books that have themes of friendship so I was excited about that here. It's a book with quirky kind of nerdy types who make up a group of friends. When the hack came through, their friendships and relationships were tested. Again I think it did an okay job of creating drama and establishing interest while making the friendships stronger for the truth. But for some reason it didn't quite have the heart that books about friendships usually have. Maybe because it spent so long tearing things down it was hard to bring them back together, or maybe it just was just a different kind of friendship story.

I think the biggest thing that held me back from really loving this book however was the mystery, or lack thereof. By the sounds of the synopsis you would think that this is more of a mystery and thriller but it definitely isn't. The mystery, like a lot of this book, was kind of subtle. There wasn't much of an attempt to solve the mystery or even really much of a reveal. I wasn't even all that surprised when they told you who was responsible. But maybe that was because they just moved on from there and there was still a ton of loose ends. The disappointing thing is that there was a lot promise. This could have been a really interesting book with a crazy twist, but it wasn't. The hack was just a means to an end and frankly that disappointed me.

I also feel like I didn't quite love the pacing here. This was a pretty short read and it didn't take me very long to get through but it still felt a little slow. I mean I read an e-ARC and I only looked at how many pages it was when I finished it and to be honest I was kind of surprised it was under 300 pages. It didn't read like a fast and short read. It's not that it was slow, it just chugged along with only basic plot development. Then when it reached it's climax it just sort of moved on. There was some interest and drama but it just hit those points and kept going. When the book was over it didn't have the impact I was hoping for.

Antisocial was an okay read with a lot of promise that it didn't quite follow through on. Yes, it jad unlikable but interesting characters and some intriguing themes, but it was just a little basic and slow despite not being very long.

I give Antisocial by Jillian Blake 7.5 out of 10 stars


Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. This is an okay read but nothing special. I was hoping for a thrilling mystery full of drama and surprises and I didn't get that. This is a subtle story of friendship and the images we portray online versus who we really are but even that was subtle.

Have you read Antisocial? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, May 19, 2017

ARC Review: The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Title: The Love Interest
Written by: Cale Dietrich 
Published: May 16, 2017 by Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan)

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets. 

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad? 

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die. 

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

When I first learned about this book, I knew I needed to read it. I love books that play with YA tropes and one involving spies is totally up my alley. And while this was not quite what I was expecting it was a pretty good read and an interesting debut.

For one thing, I really did like the world of this book. It's sort of an interesting combination of contemporary and dystopia. You have a present day setting but a lot of the trappings dystopia with some interesting technology and a extra-governmental organizational power suppressing people for their own gain. Except this time the people they are oppressing is the people who work for it and not really a larger society. It had definite Dollhouse vibes and I really liked that. I only wish we had gotten more from LIC. I didn't really know what their motivations were here and why they even existed. They could have been super fascinating if we had spent more time with them.

I also did like the characters here. I'm the kind of person who likes unlikable characters, who likes characters who subvert common tropes and so I really appreciated these characters. The fun thing about them is that they were intentionally trying to be cliche but you get their inner monologues where they poke fun at the idea of being a "Nice Guy" or a "Bad Boy." It was tongue in cheek and a fun concept. I think probably though it isn't a concept that everyone will appreciate. It's my kind of humor and I really enjoyed it.

I did also like the character development. Many of the characters here were going along with what they needed to do to win and over the course of the book they had a hard time really deciding if that was what they wanted. I appreciated that the book had this subtle coming of age thing as the characters, especially the main character of Caden figured out who they really are. I thought he had really good development and I also really liked Nathalie's development. She was probably one of the more interesting characters even though I figured her out right away.

But one of my main criticisms is kind of about the characters. Well, it was more about the writing. What I mean is the dialogue. The dialogue in this book was so rough. I know sometimes it's hard to write dialogue that feels genuine and interesting without going overboard. It's a fine line and this book did not walk it very well. The dialogue felt forced. There was either too much or not enough. It honestly sometimes felt like the characters were just narrating their thoughts instead of actually speaking like normal people.

My other criticism is with the pacing. The plot of the book was good and super engaging but it took so long to get to the good stuff. It's not really a spy story, that's maybe the B plot. I want more to the spying and less of the just trying to make the girl like you. Because when that stuff did kick in it was amazing. It took me four days to read the first half of the book because it was so slow I kept putting it down but only two days to read the second half. And then when we did finally get to the climax, which by the way happened at about 90% it felt like it was over too quickly. It could have been a really dramatic and action packed read if it was paced a little better.

But in general, this was a pretty good read. I liked a lot about it. It had an interesting world and engaging characters I just wish the dialogue was better and it was paced a little more evenly. I think it had a lot of promise that it didn't really deliver on for my type of reader but I did enjoy it.\

I give The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich 8 out of 10 stars


Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. This was a pretty good debut and I think fans of more character driven reads will enjoy it a little bit more. It's really a coming of age story masquerading as a spy novel. If you like unique books that play with the tropes or are looking for a subtle spy story then check this one out.

Have you read The Love Interest? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Book Review: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Title: Rose Under Fire
Series: Code Name Verity #2
Written by: Elizabeth Wein
Published: September 10, 2013 by Disney Hyperion

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious women's concentration camp. 

Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that's in store for her? 

Elizabeth Wein, author of the critically-acclaimed and best-selling Code Name Verity, delivers another stunning WWII thriller. The unforgettable story of Rose Justice is forged from heart-wrenching courage, resolve, and the slim, bright chance of survival.

As you may know from my recent review of The Pearl Thief, I am a big fan of Code Name Verity. Reading The Pearl Thief, a prequel to CNV, only made me want to reread that book because I love it so much. So instead of doing that I decided to read the sequel which I have not read despite owning a copy for years. I'm glad that I did because this was a fantastic historical fiction read.

In this book, Elizabeth Wein takes us back to the lives of ATA pilots during WWII (in case you are wondering, yes we do get to see characters from Code Name Verity, but more on that later) but this time we see things from a different perspective of the war. This book took us to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. This one feels like a more traditional piece of historical fiction at the time. We get to see what it was like for those imprisoned by the Nazis. And it was truly horrific. Life at Ravensbruck was not as bad as some of the death camps but it was still terrible. You really get immersed in that world. The horror, the pain, the fear that came with it. It's a tough and emotional read as you see firsthand what people went through. You can tell the author did her research into what it was like for the women in the camp which made it all the more horrific.

And Wein once again proved that she is great at writing complex characters you can't help but relate to. Our main character is Rose Justice who is an ATA pilot alongside Maddie Broddart (now Beauford-Stuart which makes me just squee!). I was really happy to check back in to see what Maddie was up to but the real focus of this novel is on Rose. Rose is a really good main character. She's tough and resilient in the face of a lot of adversity, which is totally what you want in a protagonist. I also really liked that Rose showed her sensitive side. In addition to being a pilot she is also a poet. She wrote some absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking poems that feature prominently in the book. It gave the character a lot of depth. But I don't know that she even needed it. I loved Rose and her voice.

But Rose wasn't the only interesting and complex character in the book. Every character at Ravensbruk was complex and memorable. The camp was inhabited by a diverse group of young women from all over Europe. Probably one of the most memorable were Roza, the Polish "Rabbit" who was experimented on by the Nazi doctors at the camp. Despite everything she had been through, Roza was spunky and tough. She made me laugh and made me empathize. I also found Anna to be incredibly interesting. A lot of times you wonder about the Germans, the workers or leaders at the camps, and hearing from Anna her thoughts on what she had done, the regrets, and how she was attempting to make up for them was fascinating. But every character was just as engaging and complex.

But it's a good thing that the characters were so likable because so much of the heart of this book was in the characters and the way they interacted and related. Like Code Name Verity this is a book about friendship, sisterhood, and the connection you can make in the most unlikely of circumstances. When the book started we got to see the relationship between Rose and Maddie, which I totally appreciated. Seeing things from Maddie's perspective for a bit was super interesting. Then at Ravensbruk the young women really created this found family that was so amazing to see. They took care of one another and did things that could have gotten them to serious trouble to help each other. It gave the book a lot of heart and a lot of hope despite the adversity.

On the whole, Rose Under Fire was a great historical fiction book. It took the reader to an interesting period in history and immersed them in an dark and engrossing story. Plus it had amazing characters and a great story of friendship and found family. It was a fantastic read and I read it in just a few days.

I give Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein 9 out of 10 stars


Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you loved Code Name Verity and have not read this one you definitely need to. Fans of YA historical fiction, especially those set during World War II should definitely read it. It's a great read.

Have you read Rose Under Fire? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Terrible Moms and Mother Figures in Literature

A weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

**** SPOILER WARNING!****

BEWARE: This will contain spoilers. I can't talk about why these Moms are terrible without spoiling stuff. If you don't like or want spoilers then don't read any further. Maybe just skim the titles.

1.) Levana in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - My Review
It's a good thing Levana didn't have any children of her own. I mean she tried to kill her niece by lighting her nursery on fire and then made her stepdaughter scar her face because she was prettier than Levana. That is not mother material.

2.) Mrs. Coulter in His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman - My Review
Also not mother material is the cold and calculating Mrs. Coulter. She does some seriously terrible stuff to Lyra in book one after we learn that she's her real mother. I might be able to let that slide but then she pulls that shit in The Amber Spyglass. NO, Mrs. Coulter. NO.

3.) Maddy's Mom in Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon - My Review
I mean... I get that you want to protect your daughter after your husband dies. That seems normal and natural. But Maddy's mom took that to the next level by insisting that she has a disease she doesn't have to keep her in the house forever. TOO FAR!

4.) Mrs. Thenardier in Les Miserables by Victor Hugo - My Review
Many of you know that I have a cat named Eponine. She's one of my most favorite tragic characters in literature. So of course I have to list her mom. Both her parents are awful. They made her a criminal. Also, she's not their only mistreated and abandoned child. Hell, she's the one they liked.

5.) The moms in The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury - My Review
One of the most memorable moments in the first book in this series is when the main character's mother shows up to eat the sins of the recently deceased king. She's totally awful. And that is the tip of the iceberg because the queen is literally THE WORST!

6.) Adri in The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - My Review
You know I wasn't going to let Adri off did you? She's not as bad as Levana maybe but she's truly terrible. She makes her stepdaughter a servant and then when she find out said stepdaughter is the long lost Lunar princess tries to capitalize on that for her own benefit.

7.) Petunia Dursley in The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling - My Review
Let's not even begin to mention the fact that she made her adopted nephew sleep in a cabinet and do all the chores around the house like a postmodern Cinderella. But she also spoiled her son so much that he because a literal huge brat.

8.) Avery's Mom in Salt and Storm by Kendal Kulper - My Review
A lot of this book I couldn't understand why Avery's mother wouldn't want her daughter to be a witch. Not only did she keep her from doing that but she also kept her from her grandmother too. And she did magic to prevent her daughter from doing magic. Ironic? Yes.

9.) Mrs. Bennett in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - My Review
All things considered Mrs. Bennett isn't that bad. I mean she is brash and brutish and she does care more about her daughters marrying well than she does about their happiness, but when you look at her compared to the rest of the moms on this list she's alright.

10.) Cersei Lannisterin A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin - My Review
Same with Cersei. Really her only redeeming quality is that she loves her children. She loves them more than anyone in the world. But let's be honest, it didn't make her a great mom. Joffery was a holy terror (pun intended) and the other two kids aren't fine but only because she basically ignored them.

11.) The Commandant in An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - My Review
SERIOUSLY! This is like the worst one on the list. I can't believe I actually forgot it. Maybe I rage blocked out The Commandant because she is really a horrible mom, a great antagonist but a terrible mom. She treat Elias, HER SON, like he's useless and unwanted.

There you have it, some of the most terrible mothers in literature to me. What Moms made your list? Who isn't mom material to you? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Series: Chaos Walking #1
Written by: Patrick Ness
Published: September 9, 2008 by Candlewick Press

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. 

With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? 

Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is

I hate so much being a black sheep. Especially in a case like this when I was really looking forward to the book and I know so many people who live this series. And there is nothing technically wrong with this book, it just wasn't for me.

One of the things I did like about this book was the world and setting. I haven't read a ton of Ness' books but the ones that I have read I enjoyed because of the way he played with the tropes, which is exactly what he did here. This wasn't your usual science fiction or your usual dystopian, but it was kind of both at the same time. There were so many interesting and engaging things to the world of New World that I liked. I really enjoyed exploring it and learning more.

I also enjoyed the plot development. This was a book full of action and adventure. There were so many surprises and twists and turns along the way that really kept me on the edge of my seat. I'm such a plot driven ready and I should have loved that about this book. And I did. I did. But a few of the twists were just things that I don't like. Things that are deal breakers for me. Despite really liking it I decided not to finish the series while I was still reading this book. It kind of clouded my feelings of this one and I kind of just wanted it to be over.

But I also don't think I really liked the characters of this book. This is definitely one of those books where many of the characters are not very likable. I usually like unlikable characters but for some reason here it made it hard for me to connect with them. Despite the fact that I do think Todd was an engaging character that it should have been easy to root for, and I did in some ways, I just didn't care what happened to him. I wanted to see him do things, I just didn't mind if they were positive or not. And that's not a very good thing when it comes to an MC. But I wouldn't be entirely honest to say I didn't like any characters because I did really like Manchee. He was amazing. But he was the only characters I really liked.

The one main thing that I did love about this book however was the audio. I decided to listen to the audiobook for this book because I really enjoy the narrator, Nick Poedhl. I'm glad I made that decision because it really worked as an audio. For one thing it's a book where "noise" or being able to hear people's thoughts is a part of the story. That translated really well in the audio format. Plus Nicj did a great job with all the characters and their accents. And it's an exciting and thrilling book which always translates well to audio. If you are interested in the series I would recommend the audio.

This was a good book, I should have liked it. But for very specific, very personal reasons I didn't enjoy it as much as I hoped. This is such a hard book to review. It wasn't a bad book. I liked a lot of elements. It was an exciting and interesting story, it just wasn't for me. If you want to know specifics hit me up on Twitter because no spoilers.

I give The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness 7.5 out of 10 stars


Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. Just because I didn't enjoy this book doesn't mean you won't. I think this is the best example of that. I know a lot of people love this series so I probably would still recommend it, it just wasn't for me.

Have you read The Knife of Never Letting Go? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Friday, May 12, 2017

ARC Review: Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

Title: Noteworthy
Written by: Riley Redgate
Published: May 2, 2017 by Amulet

(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: A cappella just got a makeover. 

Jordan Sun is embarking on her junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts, hopeful that this will be her time: the year she finally gets cast in the school musical. But when her low Alto 2 voice gets her shut out for the third straight year—threatening her future at Kensington-Blaine and jeopardizing her college applications—she’s forced to consider nontraditional options. 

In Jordan’s case, really nontraditional. A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshipped…revered…all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for. 

Jordan finds herself enmeshed in a precarious juggling act: making friends, alienating friends, crushing on a guy, crushing on a girl, and navigating decades-old rivalries. With her secret growing heavier every day, Jordan pushes beyond gender norms to confront what it means to be a girl (and a guy) in a male-dominated society, and—most importantly—what it means to be herself.

*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***

This is one of those books that I didn't realize exactly how much I liked it until the book was over and I didn't want it to be. I'm actually kind of surprised by how much I liked it.

This book is marketed as Pitch Perfect meets She's The Man, which is why I wanted to read it in the first place. And honestly, that is what this book was. It's about a girl dressing as a boy to get into an acapella group. I was totally intrigued but the concept despite the fact that I usually am not really a fan of the girl dressing as a boy trope. And in the end I did enjoy it more than I thought, I'm not entirely sure if it worked here. I do think it made for an interesting concept and really allowed the author to explore a lot of questions about gender, but I kind of felt like there could have been more conflict.

But I think that was my main problem with the book as a whole. There really good have been more conflict. With these kind of plots you expect them to get caught, you expect there to be hijinx and near misses. And there really weren't many of those. It kind of went from nothing to all when it came to this book. And it wasn't just the dressing as a boy part. The B plot here was about the rivalry and that should have been super interesting but it didn't really kick in or get good until much later in the book. I just would have like more drama. And maybe that was because it had a really slow start. It took me three days to read the first third of the book and then I read the last two-thirds in two days. Maybe I just powered through and got to the good stuff or maybe it just was the kind of book that I just breezed through because it was on the simpler end. I think just in general I didn't love the pacing and wanted a more plot driven book.

I think this was more of a character driven read, which is probably why I liked the characters. For one thing, the main character Jordan was really complex and likable. She is one of those characters that doesn't really have things very easy. She has to fight for what she does have so it makes sense when she goes to some extreme measures. But you want her to succeed. You want her to make it and that is the mark of good characterization.

There were also some really good secondary characters here. This is a book with a large cast of characters. One of the things I liked but was also kind of a criticism, is that this is a book full of diverse characters. It really showed a spectrum of characters with different races, sexes, and genders. It had a bit of everything. It showed the diversity of life which is cool but I wonder if it was just trying to hit all the boxes. What I did appreciate about the secondary characters is that many of them were not wholly good. It showed people at their best and their worst:l. It showed people screwing up and being jerks, and it showed people helping others out when they were in need. It was realistic and honest with it's characterizations which I liked.

I also, for the most part, enjoyed the setting of this book. It's a book set in a boarding school which I am a fan of, but it took it further and made it a preforming arts school. And the cool thing about that is we got to see the characters in classes. A lot of times with boarding school books we only see the characters out of class and I appreciate that that wasn't the case here. And as far as the setting goes, it also took us into the world of acapella. I liked seeing them practice and work on their arrangements but I kind of wanted more music. When you compare books to Glee and Pith Perfect you have to remember that you lose something without the actually songs. But that's not a real criticism of this book, it's just my own reminder. Because in general, the setting was good.

On the whole I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would if I'm being entirely honest. It was a good and cute contemporary with complex and likable characters that ended up having some good conflict when it finally kicked in. I just wish it didn't have such a slow start and the conflict was more heightened.

I give Noteworthy by Riley Redgate 8 out of 10 stars


Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. Fans of YA contemporaries should check this out especially if you like stories about acapella and/or boarding schools. I really did enjoy it.

Have you read Noteworthy? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Blog Tour: The Love Interest by Cale Deitrich Guest Post and Giveaway


Thanks to Fantastic Flying Book Tours for having me on the blog tour of The Love Interest. This is definitely one of my lost anticipated reads of the month because it sounds like it's totally up my alley and like a fun and unique contemporary and/or thriller that plays with the tropes. 

The Love Interest

by Cale Dietrich
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQIA
 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg

Synopsis:

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets.

Caden is a Nice: The boy next door, sculpted to physical perfection. Dylan is a Bad: The brooding, dark-souled guy, and dangerously handsome. The girl they are competing for is important to the organization, and each boy will pursue her. Will she choose a Nice or the Bad?

Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to be – whoever the girl doesn’t choose will die.

What the boys don’t expect are feelings that are outside of their training. Feelings that could kill them both.


Being that this is basically a book about teenage spies, something that I am a huge fan of, I thought it woulfd be fun to ask Cale what some of his favorite books about teenage spies are. Here's what he said:

So, this is slightly difficult for me to answer, as I didn’t really set out to write The Love Interest as a spy novel! It’s kinda bizarre, because that’s what it is, but my initial idea was inspired by the meta concept of a training academy for the hot love interests of YA fiction more than it was by spy books. In fact, I don’t think it had truly sunk in that the book I had written was a spy story until I saw the cover. When I saw it for the first time, I was like: “Oh, THAT’S the genre of this book I wrote”. But as I was drafting, I was writing an extremely personal gay coming of age book that was also a meta take on YA fiction.

That said, there are two spy stories that I love that I’ve read recently. The first is YOU DON’T KNOW MY NAME by Kristen Orlando. I thought this was a bunch of fun, and features a truly badass protagonist. I also recently read a 2018 book that everyone should have on their radar. It’s called #Prettyboy Must Die by Kimberly Reid, and it’s a fun and action-packed thrill ride.

Growing up, I loved the Alex Rider books. They are the kind of high stakes, action heavy books with amazing voice that I love. It’s highly possible that these book influenced TLI in ways I’m not consciously aware of.

On the film side, I’m a huge fan of SKYFALL. I had an absolute blast watching that in IMAX It’s just SO cool, and was the first time a James Bond story clicked for me. Kingsman is also a freaking fantastic movie: it’s hilarious and surprising and the action in it is amazing.

Lastly, I think I should mention THIS MEANS WAR, which I have seen, but not for a while. Readers often tell me that TLI is like THIS MEANS WAR if the two guys hooked up, which I think is such an awesome comparison. I need to watch it again to make sure, but yeah, I thought it was worth mentioning!

Thanks Cale for answering my question and sharing some of the spy stories that you like. I have not read or seen many of the ones you mentioned but I do love Skyfall, I mean who doesn't love James Bond. And I have a copy of You Don't Know My Name that I haven't read yet. I may have to move that up the TBR. 


Cale Dietrich is a YA devotee, lifelong gamer, and tragic pop punk enthusiast. He was born in Perth, grew up on the Gold Coast, and now lives in Brisbane, Australia. The Love Interest is his first novel.















Thanks Fantastic Flying Book Tours for having me on the tour, and check out the rest of the tour! I just started The Love Interest so don't forget to come back next week for my review. It sounds totally up my alley. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!