Merry Wanderer of the Night  + [YA]

Just Contemporary Mini-Reviews: It's Raining Cupcakes, Choker and Overprotected

I like mini-reviews. I don't do them terribly often, partly because I talk/type too much to be consistent with 'mini' anything, but I also have a lot of books that I would love to spotlight during Just Contemporary, so I'm chearing and doing three.:)

These three books are completely different from each other, and have pretty much nothing in common besides being Contemporary and books that Ashley very much enjoyed and since those are the 'requirements' for posts in November, I'm totally doing it!

It is not even kind of a secret that I love Lisa Schroeder. Like, a lot. I've read all her books, I've loved all her books and I talk about her all the time. But I was a tiny bit nervous to read It's Raining Cupcakes because it's very different from her other books. Not only is it MG, but it's also written in prose, not verse. But, it was a Lisa book and I wanted to read it, so I did. And it was seriously so charming and delightful and just so much fun.
At first I thought it was just going to be a light fluffy book about cupcakes and baking, but there was quite a bit more to the story, which surprised me. Isabel want to enter a baking contest that will get the winner sent to New York. She has always dreamed about going places and this would be an absolute dream come true for her. But her best friend, Sophie, who always seems to get whatever she wants is going to enter too. And Isabel has some great ideas for recipes to send, but her mom, who has just opened up a cupcake shop wants her to submit a cupcake recipe because it would be great publicity. And Mom is heavy on the guilt trip, and Mom is (in Ashley's opinion) depressed (although it's hard to nail down exactly what she is, or how to explain it) and Isabel needs to decide where her priorities lie. And that's something that's hard for a 12 year old to learn, and in this instance, while I totally understood where the mom was coming from, I was also really upset at how selfish I felt she was.
So, this is yet another win from Lisa Schroeder. It's completely and totally different in style, feel, and tone than her other novels but it's definitely worth a read.

Overprotected by Jennifer Laurens is a book that really surprised me. I've always been pretty upfront about the fact that I don't generally read books that are very romance heavy, but I won a copy of this from the author and it just really appealed to me for some reason, so I picked it up and I just loved it! It was exactly what I was in the mood for (how great is it when that happens?!) and it just made me happy. I don't know that I would have liked it so much if I had read it at any other time, but as it stands, I seriously enjoyed it.
It's very definitely a romance novel for teens and the romance is the most important part of the story. But it didn't really bother me this time around. It was a fun book with interesting characters (even if I probably wouldn't want to know a single one of the IRL) and the 'danger' that Ashlyn's father perceives her to be in is just real enough to be believable. But I will say that Ashlyn's dad is a major creeper. He didn't really feel like an overprotective father to me. He felt more like a jealous and possessive lover/ex-boyfriend which seriously igged me out. He's obsessed with her, with keeping her close and making sure that she belongs to him. Seriously — CREEPY!
I will also say that I was initially worried about Colin and Ashlyn falling for each other, because how could you want to be with someone that is not only okay with creeper dad keeping you totally locked up, but being the one who enables the locking up. But Daddy misleads Colin and he is not aware of the full extent of his job until he gets there. He thought he was going to be more bodyguard, less prison guard, which made me feel better about their situation.
I honestly wasn't expecting to like this one as much as I did, but it was the perfect book at exactly the right moment and I had a lot of fun reading it.

Choker by Elizabeth Woods is the most different and the heaviest of these three novels. It's a Contemporary story but it is also a bit of a thriller type. (which are also Contemporary, but seem to get their own genre... Greedy, aren't they). In Choker, Cara is kind of an awkward loner. She hasn't had any really good friends since she moved away from her best friend in 5th grade (or thereabouts) and now she is either ignored or teased by the other kids at school. It's tough being that kid. There's nothing necessarily wrong with her, she's just that shy, quiet kid that no one really talks to. But then her old best friend shows up in her room. Some bad stuff was happening at home and she's run away and come to Cara for a safe haven. They don't tell Cara's parents because Zoe is very probably in some real trouble and doesn't want anyone to know where she is. And then some seriously weird and freaky stuff starts happening.

I was surprised by this book because a lot of it caught me off guard. I wasn't expecting the story to go where it did, and watching the dynamic between Cara and Zoe was very unsettling. Zoe is not a very nice person and although she's the best friend Cara ever had, even Cara is starting to get weirded out by her. Cara is a character that I think people can, at least initially, relate to. She's an outsider with a crush on one of the cutest boys in school, no one notices her and when they do finally start paying attention to her, it's to be mocking and cruel. My heart went out to her, but she definitely makes a bunch of bad decisions.

And then the ending. I kept waiting for something to happen and I thought I knew what it would be. And then, it wasn't. At all. And maybe I should have seen it coming, but I totally didn't and it was definitely one of those, like, whoa moments for me.

If you are looking for something a little out of the norm, this is one that is definitely worth looking into. It's not going to be for everyone, and I get that. But I for one was most definitely a fan.