Thursday, March 31, 2016

An ARC Review Catch-Up Post

Remember when I said I wasn't feeling much motivation to do anything? Well the result of that is way too many ARCs that I have read but not yet reviewed for my blog. So yeah, this post is basically a catch up post for some of those ARCs.

Title and Author: Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan
Source: NetGalley
Scheduled Publication Date: April 1, 2016
Goodreads Synopsis: When Max receives a mysterious invite from the untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, he has to ask: why him? After all, he's Mr. 2.5 GPA, Mr. No Social Life. He's Just Max. And his favorite heist movies have taught him this situation calls for Rule #4: Be suspicious. But it's also his one shot to leave Just Max in the dust... Yeah, not so much. Max and four fellow students-who also received invites-are standing on the newly defaced water tower when campus security "catches" them. Definitely a setup. And this time, Max has had enough. It's time for Rule #7: Always get payback.

Review: Okay, so this book was actually better than I thought it would be. It was a cute and quick read and I laughed out loud on more than a few occasions. After reading more than a couple of really heavy books, I was happy about that. Max is one of several outcasts that are invited to a secret meeting of the Chaos Club, a club known for their pranks. Little do they know it's a setup. Like any other good heist movie (a genre Max seems to be very fond of), the people being setup must go for payback. So this little band of outcasts who would never otherwise get together bond over trying to setup the Chaos Club and pull pranks that they frame the club for. Yeah, I know that sentence sounded confusing but it really isn't. The problem is that these people start pulling pranks that are a bit vicious in order to get revenge on certain people and the whole "let's set up the Chaos Club" plan starts to go awry. Max was such a goofy, but lovable, character and I loved his struggle with revenge vs. justice. He was just a typical hormone driven teenager. Nothing super unusual there, but I liked it. There's some mystery and unrequited love and tons of mischief and mistakes, which is of course very common with all teenagers. The friendships were awesome and there were a few twists that I saw coming and a few that I did not. Max's parents were actually there, which is AWESOME. They cared about where he was and they actually noticed (and cared) when he got in trouble. 
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Go ahead and buy this one. It's such a fun read!

Title and Author: Every Heart A Doorway (Every Heart A Doorway #1) by Seanan McGuire
Source: NetGalley
Scheduled Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Goodreads Synopsis: Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world. But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

Review: Here was my only real problem with this book: it was too short! At less than 200 pages, it's really more of a novella than a book but I really enjoyed it. Basically Nancy is a girl who stumbled into the Underworld, where she spent a lot of time before being exiled back to her regular and boring world. Her parents were worried because she was missing for so long and thinks Nancy's stories about the Underworld are just a sign that she is insane. Enter Mrs. West and her school for children. On the surface, the school is designed to help people like Nancy, just not in the way that the parents want. This school is for people (mostly girls) who are having trouble coping with their regular lives after being in another realm.  This story is just so weird and creepy, but in the best way. It is almost a story about what would happen to Alice after she came back from the rabbit hole. And what do you do if you would rather be in this other world, but you can't find a way back and you hate the regular world with all its boring people. Yeah, that's what this school is like. Every single student spent time in a different realm and they all sound kind of intense and crazy and yet fantastic at the same time. Nancy does get caught up in a mystery at the school and that is what drives the plot. I won't give away the mystery or what happens, but I will say that I got chills more than once. I wanted more time with all of these fantastic characters and the ending just left me wanting more. From what I understand, this is the start of a series, but the next one is really just a prequel that describes one of the worlds that one of the students traveled to. Whatever the plot line is, I will be reading it for sure. 
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!

Title and Author: Dear Nobody: The True Diary of Mary Rose by Gillian McCain
Source: NetGalley
Scheduled Publication Date: April 1, 2016
Goodreads Synopsis: Dear Nobody is a true teen diary so raw and so edgy its authenticity rings off every page. The words and drawings of Mary Rose present a gritty, powerful, no-holds-barred true experience of a teen girl so desperate to be loved, so eager to fit in that she'll go to extremes that could cost her her life. This is not a story about addiction. Or sexual promiscuity. Or cystic fibrosis. It's the story of a young woman with a powerful will to live, who more than anything wants to be heard...and loved.

Review: Okay, so the opening and the ending of this book (and the title obviously) indicates that this was a true story and a real diary of a teenager named Mary Rose. I hate ripping on a memoir, but I will because I just didn't get this book at all. But maybe I'm not ripping on her story, as much as I am ripping on the editing. They said that there were many more entries besides the ones in the book, but they only included some of them. I get that there was probably not enough room for everything. But here's the thing: the editing and the sequence of events and everything that was included was just bad. During the course of the journal, Mary Rose kept writing letters to someone named Haley, who was supposed to be her best friend. The problem was that we never find out anything about Haley. Where is she? How did they meet? Why don't they see each other or talk more? Mary Roses's life just plain sucked. It was depressing and I really wish I had felt some kind of emotional connection to her, but I felt nothing. She has cystic fibrosis, she is an alcoholic and a drug addict who went to rehab more than once, she has an alcoholic mother who keeps going back to the same abusive boyfriend and she makes really, really bad choices with men. Everything was just bad. There was so much alcohol and drugs and unsafe sex and I felt zero connection with the main character. The synopsis mentions she has cystic fibrosis and yet this was not mentioned until more than halfway through the book. Suddenly, she is pissed off because no one knows how bad this disease is and suddenly she is talking about all of her treatments and pills and all these people she knew who died from this disease. This was another issue with the editing. Up until this point, there had been well over a year's worth of entries and yet she doesn't mention this disease AT ALL? That was just weird. Like I said, these entries were all negative and zero positive, so it was just depressing. I got tired of hearing how lonely she was or hearing her talk about yet another jerk that she was in love with. Annoying. The worst part was that there seemed to be no point to this book. What was the point of publishing these entries? What was the moral? Even in the epilogue, when they talked about Mary Rose, they never, ever said what we were supposed to take away from it. The bottom line was that even though there were a lot of emotional topics covered in this book, it made no impact on me at all.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.

Title and Author: My Kind Of Crazy by Robin Reul
Source: NetGalley
Scheduled Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Goodreads Synopsis: Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can't quite seem to catch a break. It's not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells "Prom" in sparklers on her lawn...and nearly burns down her house. As if that wasn't bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank's dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him-and his "work." The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.

Review: This was an interesting read. I liked the story and I did kind of like Hank. He didn't really have much ambition and he seemed to be content to work in a supermarket and skip college, but I get that. His father is an alcoholic and they are both still grieving the loss of Hank's mother and brother from five years before. They have very little money and it's kind of hard to dream when everything costs money. And there's that whole thing where his dad is a jerk who is constantly talking down to him and insulting him. So Hank is kind of beaten down, but he is obsessed with superheroes (I love that he has his own comic) and it does seem like he wants to be a hero to someone. Enter Peyton. I really, really enjoyed their developing friendship and they were so sweet together. The issue was that Peyton had so many red flags and Hank ignored them, mainly because he wanted to be the one to save her. That damn superhero complex will get you every time. Of course the friendship turned into something more and as it did, Hank's need to save her grew. Besides the whole pyromania thing, Peyton also has a crappy family life and you are never sure what is really going on. Honestly, I was so intrigued by Peyton's issues because you NEVER see pyromania talked about in books. I know this was Hank's story, but I wanted to know more about her issues and where it came from and where to go with treatment. I just didn't feel this book gave me that. I really hate when books insinuate that all mentally ill people need is a relationship and everything else in their life just falls into place. Like I said, I understand why Hank felt the need to save her. The problem is that this book does nothing to dispel with that notion. I won't give anything away, but Peyton did some things that were a serious cry for help and yet, there was almost no resolution with that. The ending was so clean and tidy and it should have been messy, ESPECIALLY with Peyton's mental health issues. I kind of felt like the book was leading up to this whole climax with her problems and then the resolution left me very unfulfilled. In terms of Hank's superhero complex and Peyton's mental issues, there was very little character development there and that bothered me.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Borrow this one. It was a good read. I just had a few issues with the treatment of mental illness and the character development.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Paperweight by Meg Haston

Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert. Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid. Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn't plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.

This book was so incredibly harsh. And raw. And painful. And probably a million other adjectives. 

If you have ever had disordered eating, this book will be triggering for you. It was for me. For me, I never got as bad as Stevie, but I was pretty messed up. There was a time when I would eat less than 1000 calories a day and work out about two hours a day seven days a week. It was brutal. I eventually started eating again, but the problem was that there was a LONG time when I would go from one extreme to another: I would either severely restrict my calories or I would binge on everything in sight. I am better now, but it has taken a long time to learn my hunger cues and eat normally. It's still a struggle though. Okay, so what is the point of that very long ramble? The point is that because of my experience, I could relate to Stevie so well. Stevie was mean and distant and cynical and she refused to see that she had a problem. She thought that no one could possibly understand what she was going through. 

The book begins with Stevie entering treatment and there are flashbacks to how Steve's issues with food began and how her brother died . . . though it took a while to get that part. This book was HARD to read, especially with my issues around food, but man it was so incredibly realistic. Her constant comparisons of herself to other girls, her talk of willpower and her constant obsession with food and trying to count every single calorie that went into her body . . . all of it was completely realistic and so relatable. I loved her therapist and I loved the other characters in the eating disorder clinic. They all had their issues and most of them were attempting to get better, which Stevie had a hard time with and judged them for. Sometimes her thoughts could be hard to take because she is so judgmental and depressed and angry. But there is also a LOT of character development here. I don't really mind that she's so unlikeable because she had issues. She was going through a lot. She also struggled with drugs and alcohol and guilt over her brother's death and a VERY unhealthy friendship with a girl back home. 

Do you know what I really loved about this book? NO ROMANCE! There was kind of a hint of something in the flashbacks (no spoilers), but this book is ALL ABOUT her recovery. There are too many times when a relationship is seen as "the answer" in books about mental illness, so that was refreshing. And I know her dad wasn't shown a whole lot in this book because she was away getting treatment, but I could still tell that he loved her and wanted her to get better. He was the one who sent her to treatment after all. 

Have I mentioned how hard this book is to read? It's worth repeating. But it's completely worth it.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - The Best of the Best

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. This week's topic is top books that I have given five stars to lately. Looking at my Goodreads shelf, I am super picky with my five stars. So I decided to list the top books I have given a four or a five star rating in the last month.

1.Paperweight by Meg Haston 
2. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
3. Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan 
5. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
6. Alight by Scott Sigler
7. Nora and Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
8. Return Once More by Trisha Leigh
9. Saint Anything by Sarah Dressen
10. The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith
11. The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison
12. Bright Side by Kim Holden 

I highly recommend every single one of these books. They are all good in their own way. Don't Get Caught is really the only book on here that was funny and made me laugh. Every single other book on this list is either serious or serious heartbreaking. I am such a masochist.

Have you read any of these books? What were a few of your last five star reads?

Monday, March 28, 2016

DISCUSSION: Lack of Motivation

Have you ever just not been in the mood to do anything?

Lately, it feels like I have been going through the motions on my blog. I take too long to respond to comments, I procrastinate with writing discussion posts and reviews and I haven't been reading as many blogs in the last week. I am trying really hard to drum up some enthusiasm, but I just can't.
Don't get me wrong. I still love blogging and I love you guys and I still get a thrill whenever someone comments on one of my posts. So I do want to apologize if I have seemed lackluster in my responses. I just feel like maybe I have writer's block or maybe I just have other stuff that I would rather be doing.

I can't even blame it on the time change because time changed for us in Italy just yesterday. Of course, you can expect things to get a bit worse now because this time change is already kicking my ass.
I don't really know why I haven't had any motivation. Maybe I just feel a pressure to post so many blog posts every week and sometimes feeling like I have to do something makes me want to do anything but. I know this whole "must post five times a week" thing is all in my head and I am sure it will pass eventually.

Right now, these are the things I have been doing instead of blogging:






Other random stuff

Okay, so you guys get the idea. I have so many books on my TBR pile and way too many ARCs and I have been reading some pretty freaking amazing books. And I have been having a hard time tearing myself away from great books to write a blog post.
This is pretty much me at 1:00am and 8:00 am and 12:35pm and 5:15 pm and . . . yeah, I could go on and on.

Speaking of great (and heartbreaking) books, I just finished one, which is the only reason I stopped to write this post. (P.S. Bright Side by Kim Holden will break your heart and leave you in a pile of tears).
I know this post has been kind of rambling, but that is pretty much how my brain has been lately. Now I will leave you with a really stupid joke that makes me laugh for really no reason. But I need the laugh and maybe it's just stupid enough for you to chuckle as well.

Question: What is blue and smells like red paint?

Answer: Blue paint!


And with that, I feel super accomplished that I finished a post today and now I deserve chocolate.

Do you ever feel unmotivated? Do you have any other super cheesy jokes to entertain me? Since I was sobbing over a book fifteen minutes ago, laughter is good.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Alight (The Generations Trilogy #2) by Scott Sigler

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is April 5, 2016.

This book picks up where Alive left off, with Em and the others landing on the planet of Omeyocan. It did take me a while to get into this one. Part of it may be that I forgot about some of the characters from the first one and it's been a while since I read Alive. But some things I remember: Em is still the leader and Aramousky is still acting like a zealous jerk with questionable motives. And of course both O'Malley and Bishop have a thing for Em, but since the romance wasn't a huge focus in this book, I will forgive the kind of love triangle.

Em and the kids are concerned about food and their new planet so they spend a lot of time exploring their new world. The first quarter of this book was kind of slow for that very reason. The new planet was just not that interesting at first. It took a while before anything happened with that. The first part of the book was just bits of them exploring the planet mixed with bits of the power struggle between Aramousky and Em. The power struggle stuff was infinitely more interesting. Aramousky was a complete jerk, but I wanted more of him. Is that weird? Yeah, probably. I still loved Em in this book. I mean, she is so bad ass and she actually stops to think things through, unlike others on the ship (umm, I'm looking at you Aramousky). This book focuses a lot more on the personalities of different people on the ship. There is a lot of fear and anger that leads many kids to buy into what Aramousky is selling.

Without giving any spoilers, there are new discoveries on this planet and new things to fight. These are just kids with the fears and hormones that kids have, but they also must make very adult decisions. Yeah, when Em felt an overwhelming rage that she didn't know what to do with or why she felt it, I had to laugh. Sorry, but that is exactly what being a teenager is like. But maybe some of it leftover from Matilda and the other Grownups. They have to figure out their food supply and how to deal with some mold that is infecting everything. And I will also say that I loved the Springers. When the Springers entered the picture, the book started picking up speed and the new planet became so much more interesting.

The last half of this book was crazy good and it was everything that Alive was and more. There were so many crazy twists and turns. I really, really can't give too much away of what I loved because SPOILERS. But man, I didn't see ANY of it coming. There were secrets revealed about Matilda and what the symbols on their heads mean and there was a brutal fight, but that's about as much as I can say. Seriously, Sigler has written a dystopian book that is so different from anything else I have read. The last 100 pages were SO INTENSE! And that ending . . . OMG! I desperately need the sequel NOW!!

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one! Bottom line: even though it started a bit slow, I ended up LOVING it and you need to read this series!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Best Books I Never Reviewed

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. 

I read so fast and so much that I can't possibly review every thing I read on this blog. So these are my favorite books that I never reviewed.

1. The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
2. To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
3. Denton's Little Deathdate by Lance Rubin
4. Saint Anything by Sarah Dressen

5. The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry
6. Tiny, Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton
7. The Song of David by Amy Harmon
8. Kindred by Octavia Butler
9. Return Once More (The Historians #1) by Trisha Leigh
10. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

Do you review everything you read? What are a few of the best books that you have not reviewed?

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway for the February release of your choice! You have until March 27!

Monday, March 21, 2016

DISCUSSION: Does a movie trailer make you want to read the book?

Okay, so most of the time when a movie comes out that is based on a book, I have already read it. Maybe it's because I read a lot of popular books. Or maybe I read the books before they get so popular that a movie must be made. Maybe it's a little of both.
I have a confession: there are times when I only read the book because the movie trailer looks amazing.

I don't like admitting that because it means I am giving in to the hype and I only want to read a book because it's popular. But yeah, sometimes I am just a big sheep. There, I admit it. Whew. Now I feel better.
If the movie trailer looks great, then I just know the book will be great. And how can I possibly watch the movie before reading the book??
It's insanity, right?

One movie trailer that recently inspired me to read the book was Room by Emma Donahue.
P.S. I have read that book and it is amazing. I have still not watched the movie yet, but I will soon. The actress who stars in it won an Oscar!

The trailer for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies looks pretty kick ass. I didn't have very much interest in reading this book before, but now that it is a movie, I am all over it.

Do you ever read a book just because you saw the movie trailer?

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway for the February release of your choice! You have until March 27!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Nora & Kettle (Paper Stars #1) by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Seventeen-year-old Kettle has had his share of adversity. As an orphaned Japanese American struggling to make a life in the aftermath of an event in history not often referred to—the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II and the removal of children from orphanages for having "one drop of Japanese blood in them"—things are finally looking up. He has his hideout in an abandoned subway tunnel, a job, and his gang of Lost Boys. Desperate to run away, the world outside her oppressive brownstone calls to na├»ve, eighteen-year-old Nora—the privileged daughter of a controlling and violent civil rights lawyer who is building a compensation case for the interned Japanese Americans. But she is trapped, enduring abuse to protect her younger sister Frankie and wishing on the stars every night for things to change. For months, they've lived side by side, their paths crossing yet never meeting. But when Nora is nearly killed and her sister taken away, their worlds collide.

This book was so incredibly beautiful and moving and amazing and I really don't know if I can do this book justice. Everything about it was perfect! I am a really, really fast reader but for this book, I had to force myself to slow down and savor it. Every single word was perfection.

I freaking loved the characters. First of all, this book takes place in a time period that isn't often talked about. It is set after the horrible period in American history where Japanese Americans were placed in "internment camps." Kettle and his friend, Kin, are homeless and live with a group of Lot Boys. These boys are all of Japanese ancestry and they all have a fear of authority due to their time in the camps. Kettle had been forcibly removed from an orphanage to be taken to a camp, while Kin's mom actually died of TB while inside the camps. Both of these boys, along with the children they take care of, have emotional scars from this time and the amount of racism in America does not help. Kettle and Kin had to dodge physical blows and name calling at every single turn. There were people who obviously felt bad about the camps, but wanted to forget anything had happened. Then there were people who still thought Japanese people were dangerous and bad. It was so incredibly sad, but man, I loved, loved, LOVED Kettle. He was so incredibly brave and loyal and protective. He worked awful (and very dangerous) jobs to pay for food for his lost boys and he refused to steal to do it. 

Then there was Nora. My heart broke for Nina on every single page. On the outside, things looked great. She was very well off and she seemingly had a great family. Her dad was a famous civil rights lawyer who was trying to get compensation for the Japanese Americans who had been placed in the camps. The problem was that Nora's father was an abusive and controlling and sadistic man. I hated that man with every fiber of my being. But Nora was so incredibly strong. She had a sister, Frankie, and she was wiling to do ANYTHING for her. Frankie was partially deaf and needed a hearing aid because of an injury that their father inflicted when she was young. Nora vowed to make sure her dad never laid a hand on her again and she took so much punishment for it. There was one scene where Frankie tried to comfort her and she said "You saved me." I just lost it at that point. My eyes tear up right now just thinking about it. Their relationship was the most beautiful thing in Nora's life and I adored Frankie so much. It was so twisted that this man was so focused on getting justice for others on the outside, while he treated his family like they weren't even human. 

The book goes back and forth between the two POVs. Their lives kind of intersect and overlap, but they still don't meet each other until more than halfway through the book. I was waiting and waiting for them to meet and I was not disappointed. I don't want to give away any of the plot, but I loved their interactions. These two people had so much in common and they were destined to meet. 

It looks like this book MAY get a sequel. The author has a sequel outline, but it depends on how well this one does. So basically, you need to read this book NOW!! Read it because I know you will love it and then you can give it a rave review and then we can get that sequel!

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one for sure!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

The apocalypse will be asymmetrical. In the aftermath of a plague that has decimated the world population, the unnamed midwife confronts a new reality in which there may be no place for her. Indeed, there may be no place for any woman except at the end of a chain. A radical rearrangement is underway. With one woman left for every ten men, the landscape that the midwife travels is fraught with danger. She must reach safety— but is it safer to go it alone or take a chance on humanity? The friends she makes along the way will force her to choose what’s more important. Civilization stirs from the ruins, taking new and experimental forms. The midwife must help a new world come into being, but birth is always dangerous… and what comes of it is beyond anyone’s control. 

I am still trying to wrap my head around this book because it was so different and so much more . . . everything than the usual dystopian books I read. I know that sounds vague, but it's kind of hard to say just how much I loved this book.

First of all, we never, ever know the name of the narrator of this book. We know it's a woman who is a midwife and who survived the mysterious plague that wiped out most of the female population. Oh, and she's bisexual. That's it. I know that the woman is a total bad ass and I want her on my side if there is an apocalypse . . . especially if there is an apocalypse where most of the women are killed. This woman shaves her head and dresses like a man so that it's safer. A world without women means that when men do meet a woman, they turn into these animals and rapists and it's just awful. This book kind of ping ponged between first and third person POV, which was distracting to a certain extent but it was also kind of perfect. This women meets all these people along the way, some safe and some not so safe and she gives a different name every single time. See, this woman forgot her name after being sick from whatever illness this is. The narrator of the book would just call herself whatever name she gave to her friends. So you got a different name almost every chapter. The world is an awful place in this time and women are treated like property. They are kidnapped and raped and used for procreation, except EVERY BABY DIES (yes, even the ones born to healthy mothers). It's so twisted.

This book does read like a history book, mostly because it is. The unnamed midwife keeps a diary so that others will know what she went through. The book starts with a group of male students studying these books and taking such exquisite care of them so that they aren't destroyed. So yeah, sometimes I felt a bit of a disconnect because of the history book angle, but I still could not put this book down. The world building was amazing and I freaking loved the main character. I loved that she was bisexual and I loved that she stole a huge supply of birth control when she could. I have mentioned how much I love birth control in books before and it's even better in dystopian novels. When every baby is dying, you really want to take all the precautions you can, you know? I loved that this woman gave birth control to some of the women she met along the way. I love the fact that she didn't trust anyone and yet, she still gave some people a chance. This book was gritty and depressing, as most dystopian books SHOULD be. There is no romance or perfect hair or evil government that needs to be overthrown. This book will make you angry and uncomfortable and traumatized and yet there is so much empowerment here too. This book makes me realize how much I take simple things like books written by women and birth control for granted. And also, I LOVED that she was such a voracious reader. There was one scene where she got a gift of a box of books. The special thing about these books is that they were all written by women and she cried. She cried because these women were most likely dead and she cried because it might be generations before there are new books written by women. God, I loved that scene.

This book came out a few years ago, but apparently Elison is working on a sequel. I am so excited to see what else she has in store for us.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Spring TBR

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. This week's topic is books on my Spring TBR.

Argh, I have SO MANY BOOKS that I need to read this Spring. 

ARCs on my TBR

Books coming out soon
Very excited because A Court of Mist and Fury, The Rose and the Dagger, and Unexpected Everything are all coming out on my birthday. Happy Birthday to me!! 

Books I already own
Yeah, this is totally doable right? Did anyone else have a small panic attack while thinking of all the books that need to be read RIGHT NOW?? No? Guess it's just me then.

What books are on your Spring TBR?

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Monday, March 14, 2016

DISCUSSION: The 5 Stages of ARC Rejection Grief

If you ask any blogger about ARCs, they will tell you they are not in it for the free books. And for the most part, that's true. I didn't even know about ARCs until I started my blog.

But if you ask any blogger about whether they care about ARCs . . . well, that's a different story. I think we all play it pretty cool. I think we all feel a little giddy when we hit that "request" button and we wait anxiously by our email for that approval notice. We all pretend that it doesn't break our hearts when we get rejected. Sure we think it, but we never say it. I may not blog just for the ARCs, but I still care dammit!

Here are the five stages of what I go through whenever my request for an ARC gets denied. The grief is real people.

1. Denial

Yes, I know it's been three months since I've submitted my request but I could still get approved, right?
Maybe no one at the publishing company is checking their email?
Maybe they're on vacation?
It's okay that they denied my request. I have enough ARCs on my plate anyway. Really, I don't need any more books.

2. Anger

Who are they to turn me down??
I hate that stupid rejection email!!
3. Bargaining
Maybe I could submit the request again and convince them HOW AWESOME I AM!!!
What if I promise them lots and lots of cake and rainbows??
If only they would just approve me, I swear I would give the book such a good review. THEY WON'T REGRET IT!!

4. Depression

Rejection hurts.

5. Acceptance

Okay, I can't take it personally. There are lots of legitimate reasons for my request to be denied.

The time it takes me to go though these five stages can be anywhere from five minutes to an hour. But then it's over and I'm fine and I move on to the ARC request . . . . then the process starts all over again.

Do you ever feel these stages of ARC rejection grief? Can you relate? PLEASE tell me I'm not the only one!!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

February Wrap-Up Round-Up Giveaway

I am so excited to be hosting the giveaway for the monthly wrap up, hosted by Feed your Fiction Addiction.

Since this is a giveaway based on the February Wrap-Ups, I thought I would give away ANY book that was released in the month of February, up to a $17 value. There were so many books released in February that I am sure you will have no problem choosing one.

Here are just a few of the releases from February.
You are welcome to choose a book not on this list, as long as it was released in February and as long as it does not exceed a $17 value. 

The giveaway is international, as long as The Book Depository ships there free of charge (find that out here!The giveaway will run until March 27. I will randomly choose a winner on March 28. I will send an email to the winner and if I don't hear from the winner within 48 hours, I will choose another one.

This is a scavenger hunt type giveaway. A February Wrap-Up post is not required. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: South Of Sunshine by Dana Elmendorf

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is April 1, 2016.

In Sunshine, Tennessee, the main event in town is Friday night football, the biggest party of the year is held in a field filled with pickup trucks, and church attendance is mandatory. For Kaycee Jean McCoy, life in Sunshine means dating guys she has no interest in, saying only “yes, ma’am” when the local bigots gossip at her mom’s cosmetics salon, and avoiding certain girls at all costs. Girls like Bren Dawson. Unlike Kaycee, Bren doesn’t really conceal who she is. But as the cool, worldly new girl, nobody at school seems to give her any trouble. Maybe there’s no harm if Kaycee gets closer to her too, as long as she can keep that part of her life a secret, especially from her family and her best friend. But the more serious things get with Bren, the harder it is to hide from everyone else. Kaycee knows Sunshine has a darker side for people like her, and she’s risking everything for the chance to truly be herself. 

This book made me mad. Not many books make me mad, so I was trying to think about just why this book made me so mad. I was born and raised in a Southern town. Apparently, this author grew up in Tennessee, but I find it hard to believe that she has been there in the last thirty years or so. There were SO MANY exaggerated stereotypes of Southerners that I just got pissed off and it interfered with my enjoyment of the story. Now there are racists who live in the South. Obviously. I'm sure a lot of you thought, "DUH." But here's the thing: the racism of 2016 is SO MUCH MORE SUBTLE from what was in this book. The people in this book thought nothing of calling people derogatory names. There was also some rivalry between some white kids and some black kids and the white kids refused to hang out with the black kids just because they were black. Yeah, that would not happen. The people of the South are not the type to treat a minority any differently to their face. Nope, doesn't happen. (Yeah, I know I'm not really making Southerners look great, but just bear with me. SOME Southerners are awesome. I know a few of them. I AM one of them. But some of them are like that). Also, Kaycee mentioned that people didn't care if a girl was gay if she lived in a trailer park. Nope, not true either. If there are people in the South who don't like gay people (and there are PLENTY of those), class does not make any difference. 

And do you know how many times Kaycee called the people around her rednecks or bigots? Probably as many times as she mentioned her "secret feelings." Oh wait . . . is Kaycee gay? Does she have "secret feelings" that she is trying to hide? Yeah, it's real easy to get that impression because she only mentions it EVERY PARAGRAPH. Seriously, WE GET IT. YOU'RE GAY. Let's move on, okay? Okay, and I hated the introduction of Bren so freaking much. First of all, Bren comes from Zimbabwe and the entire school is freaking in love with her. Let's ignore the fact that people in the South would normally be more suspicious of a nonwhite person coming from another country, ESPECIALLY the Southerners in this book. Yeah, but it doesn't make sense that everyone in the entire school would be in love with her just because she's new and she's beautiful. 

Besides the fact that she mentioned her "secret feelings" thirty times within the first ten pages, I hated Kaycee for other reasons, namely her treatment of a girl named Chelsea. Yeah, I assume Chelsea had big breasts because they called her "Chesty." That freaking pissed me off. Then she called Chelsea a skank and a bitch and a heifer for flirting. Really?? Also, Kaycee was a bit of a hypocrite. She spends most of the book denying her sexuality, but then she criticizes Chelsea for denying the fact that she was a bisexual. Okay, whatever. But every time Kaycee said "Chesty," (which was a LOT) I just wanted to smack her.

So all of these issues occurred within the first 10% of the book and I was so close to DNF'ing it. Then I just read it as fast as possible to get it over with. There really wasn't a whole lot of relationship development. I wasn't even that emotionally invested in Kaycee's coming out because it was all political. She mentioned the politics of it a lot, as opposed to the emotion that would come with going against what your entire town thinks is wrong. This book was just kind of boring and very, very infuriating.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Just skip it. Please.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Characters

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. They feature a different top ten list every week. This week's topic is supposed to be characters that I loved but others hated or characters I hate that others love. But eh, I have no idea who loves or hates the same characters that I do. So this is a list of my favorite characters ever . . . or at least, favorite characters since I joined Goodreads because those are the only ones I remember.

1. Liesel from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 

2. Kady and Ezra from Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristof

3. Nastya from The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

4. Laney from The Black Iris by Leah Raeder

5. Scout and Atticus from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

6. Marie from All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

7. Moses from The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

8. Katniss from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

9. Isabelle from The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

10. Joe from You by Caroline Kepnes 

Who are some of your favorite book characters?

Monday, March 7, 2016

Gilmore Girls Book Tag

Who else is freaking ecstatic that Gilmore Girls is coming back?!? 
I am in love with this show and I have been binge watching the entire series all over again on Netflix. I can't wait until the revival!! I just hope the four episodes they have coming out will bring the series to a great close (cause, let's face it, the last season did not end like I wanted it to #teamjess #lorelaiandlukeforever).

In honor of this wonderful, wonderful show, I created a Gilmore Girls tag! This is the first book tag I have ever created myself and it was so much fun. Searching for Gilmore Girls gifs brought back so many wonderful memories. Have I mentioned how much I adore this show?

Rory and Lorelei - a book with an awesome mother/daughter relationship
We'll Always Have Paris: A Mother/Daughter Memoir by Jennifer Coburn - a book where a mom takes her daughter all over Europe throughout her childhood . . . it's kind of awesome.

Rory - favorite character who is a bookworm
Okay, this one was tough. There are SO MANY amazing characters who love books. There are about fifty characters that come to mind, but my absolute favorite is Liesel from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.
Paris - a character who is snarky and completely honest, almost to a fault
Parker from Not If I See You First by Eric Windstorm - she didn't take anything from anybody and she didn't hesitate to tell people what she thought. I could imagine it would be hard to be friends with Parker in real life, but like Paris, you would grow to love her.

Lane - book with an awesome best friend
Gabby from Maybe In Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid - Everyone needs a Gabby in their lives.

Sookie - a character who makes you laugh
Denton from Denton's Little Deathdate by Lance Rubin - Denton just made me laugh in so many ways.

Lorelei and Luke - a book about best friends who fall in love
Emmy & Oliver from Emmy & Oliver by Robin Fenway - They were so adorable together!

Jess - most swoon worthy fictional boyfriend 
Thorne from Cress by Marissa Meyer! There was just no contest. I adore him.

Lorelai - character who is super clever and quick witted
Shahrzad from The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - I loved her barbs!

Logan - character who is a bad boy with that you can't help but love 
Okay, I am going to repeat myself here and name a character from The Wrath and the Dawn: Khalid! Yes, he has done awful things (much worse than Logan), but he has his reasons and I just want to hug him and make it all better (much like Logan).

I tag anyone who is a Gilmore Girls fan!! Have you ever watched Gilmore Girls? Are you excited about the revival?