Thursday, April 28, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is May 3, 2016.

Sam Bennett falls for Hadley St. Clair before he knows her last name. When Sam finds out she is that St. Clair, daughter of the man who destroyed Sam’s family, he has a choice: follow his heart or tell the truth about the scandal that links their families. Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.

This book was the first book that hooked me after reading Harry Potter and for that, I am grateful. This was such a bittersweet love story with so much dysfunctional stuff that it’s hard to even begin.

The book is told in two POV’s: Hadley and Sam. Hadley is dealing with the fallout of her parents’ crumbling marriage. The year before, her world was turned upside down when she found out her dad had been cheating on her mom for an entire year. They moved to get a fresh start, but man their marriage was dysfunctional on a ridiculous level. First of all, I completely understand why Hadley’s mom would continue to be angry with her dad. Deciding to give their marriage a shot doesn’t just erase the anger. They were going to couples counseling and Hadley very wisely commented that it seemed to be a waste of money. No kidding. Seriously, her mom just made me mad. I mean, she did things like put a pound of pepper on Hadley's dad's dinner so he would sneeze constantly or leave the vacuum running in the morning (and would refuse to let him turn it off) so he would get no quiet. Those were just childish things and even though he had an affair, I still started feeling sorry for him. He was TRYING. That should count for something, right? Not only that, but Hadley's mom stays gone a lot. In trying to avoid her husband, she ends up avoiding her dad. Poor Hadley.

Meanwhile, Sam is dealing with family issues of his own and there is this whole secret connection to Hadley's family that is evident pretty early. I won't give it away though, but OF COURSE Sam decides to keep it from Hadley. (You know how that will end, right?) Sam has the worst mom. God, she just sucks. His dad left and now she blames Sam for her crappy life and she just treats him like crap. But he takes it, mainly for his sister, who is the best. Sam and his relationship with Hadley was just awesome. There was a lot of slow burn stuff and a lot of chemistry and tons of flirting. But because of both of their issues, they resist the whole relationship thing.

There are some other things going, namely Hadley trying to distract herself by kissing different guys a girl who bullies her for it, and a best friend who judges her for it. Seriously, I wanted Hadley to stand up to Kat so bad because she was a judgmental b**ch. I hated her passive aggressive comments about Hadley's makeout sessions. Ridiculousness.

Despite some of the frustrating issues around Sam and Hadley's respective families, I loved the writing and the emotion and the themes about forgiveness and reconciliation. I thought Hadley was such a well written character and I could relate a lot to her need to hold onto things. I can be the same way sometimes. Loved this story!

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Whisper To Me By Nick Lake

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is May 3, 2016.

Cassie is writing a letter to the boy whose heart she broke. She’s trying to explain why. Why she pushed him away. Why her father got so angry when he saw them together. Why she disappears some nights. Why she won’t let herself remember what happened that long-ago night on the boardwalk. Why she fell apart so completely. Desperate for his forgiveness, she’s telling the whole story of the summer she nearly lost herself. She’s hoping he’ll understand as well as she now does how love—love for your family, love for that person who makes your heart beat faster, and love for yourself—can save you after all. 

"If someone has cancer, they're brave and fighting. If someone is having problems with their mind, that person is only ever struggling." 

This book is so incredibly different from what the premise suggests. I thought I was getting a simple book about a romance where the main character does something she needs to apologize for and . . well, that was about the extent of my expectations. Yes, there is a budding romance (no insta-love, THANK GOODNESS!) and yes the book was basically one long letter to this boy, a plea for forgiveness and a girl trying her best to explain the sequence of events that led to their breakup. But there was also a murder mystery and talk about PTSD and a dad with anger problems and, oh yeah, mental illness! Crazy, right?

So the main character, Cassandra, makes a very startling discovery on the beach one day and this discovery leads to a murder mystery, as well as Cassie's unraveling. After the discovery, Cassie starts hearing voices. These voices are mean and horrible and say disgusting things to her. They make threats and yell and Cassie starts coming apart. Cassie’s dad soon finds out, has her hospitalized and she gets out way too quickly, makes a friend who was in the hospital too, meets the boy who is renting the apartment above the house she shares with her dad, and she struggles on a daily basis with the voice in her head.

The way Cassie deals with the voices and all of the events that follow are compelling and emotional and I just couldn't look away, but I wanted to! Yes, I wanted desperately to look away from Cassie's heartbreak and her mental instability because it was all just so much. That was part of the beauty of this book. Nick Lake writes this amazing account of one girl's struggle to have a life and friends, despite this voice telling her that she doesn't deserve any of it. Cassie was so incredibly brave and REAL. Oh, and she adored books which made me love her even more.

There is also a whole mystery of what happened to Cassie’s mom and when Cassie reveals what happened, it’s heartbreaking for sure. Cassie's mom died three years earlier and that's all we know about it at first. It takes a while for the author to reveal what happened, mainly because it takes a long time for Cassie to admit what happened at all. I was torn about Cassie’s dad: I was torn between hating him and feeling sorry for him. He was a Navy SEAL and as Cassie explains, he has anger issues because of that (that's where the PTSD comes in) and because of what happened to her mom. He obviously loves Cassie. He grounds her when she sneaks out, he gets her help when he realizes she is hearing things, he tries to reach out to her when she gets home from the hospital. But then he also explodes at her for almost no reason and I hated the way he insinuated the missing women got what they deserved because they were sex workers and how he told Cassie not to dress so provocatively because of a killer being on the loose. He wasn’t absent, but he wasn’t really the best father either. But he was there and that counts for something and it was easy to see that he was struggling as much as Cassie. Even though there were times he acted like a complete jerk, I still thought he loved his daughter 1000% and he just wanted to protect her. 

That brings us to the guy. The entire book is told in a mixture of first person and second person POV. She talks to the guy a lot, saying “you this” and “you that” because this is a letter to him. I don’t even know if we found out the name of the guy because of that. I think she mentioned his name once and it might have been Jude, but I am not 100% sure. Their relationship was awkward and also kind of sweet. He was a great guy who obviously was attracted to Cassie, but she was stuck in her own head (literally) so she was oblivious. I loved that there was no insta-love. There was this slow burn friendship turned romance. He helped her and helped her friend and he cared. There was a lot of chemistry, but all the secrets Cassie was keeping was keeping them apart. That was annoying. 

I won’t give too much away about the mental illness aspect of it, but I thought the way Cassie tried to take control was really brave and I got why she went that route. I don’t agree with the fact that she lied to her doctor and her dad. She just insisted on doing everything all by herself and she pushed everyone away. Even though there was some romance in this book, it did NOT overshadow everything else. This book was still primarily about Cassie and her mental illness and it was about reconnecting with her dad and trying to come to terms with what happened to her mom.

No spoilers, but this ending was a little open ended. Some people may get annoyed by this, but I thought the ending suited the book. It was completely open to interpretation and a few of the unresolved issues were a part of Cassie's whole "learn to deal that sometimes crappy things just happen" thing. 

The bottom line is that this book was brilliant and compelling and engrossing and yes, it totally made me cry. There was one scene between Cassie and her dad that had me bawling like a baby. Okay, just WRITING about that scene just now made me tear up. READ THIS BOOK!

Would I recommend this book? HELL TO THE YES!

Monday, April 25, 2016

DISCUSSION: It's not you, it's me: a letter to all the books I have DNF'd in the past week

Dear all the books I have DNF'd over the past week (you know who you are),

I just wanted to apologize for breaking up with you. And I wanted to say: it's not you. It's me.
I know we seemed to be getting along, but I was having a few issues.

See, I had just finished reading the Harry Potter series for the first time and I was having a hard time moving past that very intense relationship. Because of that, I had very little patience for books that didn't hook me from the very first page.

Maybe I should have taken a break from reading after the intensity of Harry Potter. It was my fault, really, for getting involved again so soon. But taking a break from reading just felt so . . . . blasphemous.

When you didn't suck me in from the very beginning, I tried my best to trudge along in the hopes that things would get better. I really did. I thought that maybe I could force the chemistry and maybe I would find myself completely addicted.
Then my mind would start wondering and I would realize that I had read five paragraphs and had no clue what was happening. It wasn't you. It was me. My attention span was awful. I started thinking about what I wanted to eat for lunch or what I had to clean or what was going on with Survivor last week or worse yet, what book I would read next.
Yes, I am sorry to say that I was emotionally cheating on you with other books. I'm really sorry.

Eventually, I just had to face the fact that I was just bored. There was no chemistry, no fire. But I promise: it's not you, it's me.

You are meant to be read and meant to be enjoyed and meant to be loved. And judging by the Goodreads ratings for some of you, there are a lot of people who do love you.
I'm just sorry to say that person isn't me.

Maybe I will try again with you guys one day when I am in a better place. Maybe I won't. But please know that my impatience with slow beginnings and my lack of attention has nothing to do with you.
It's not you. It's me.

Have you ever had to break up with several books in a row? 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Anything You Want by Geoff Herbach

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is May 3, 2016.

Taco's mom always said, "Today is the best day of your life, and tomorrow will be even better." That was hard to believe the day she died of cancer and when Taco's dad had to move up north for work, but he sure did believe it when Maggie Corrigan agreed to go with him to junior prom. Taco loves Maggie- even more than the tacos that earned him his nickname. And she loves him right back. Except all that love? It gets Maggie pregnant. Everyone else may be freaking out, but Taco can't wait to have a real family again. He just has to figure out what it means to be a dad and how to pass calculus. And then there's getting Maggie's parents to like him. Because it would be so much easier for them to be together if he didn't have to climb the side of the Corrigans' house to see her.

Did you ever read one of those books that just made you MAD while reading it? I'm not even talking a little mad here, I am talking full on furious for 85% of the book. Yeah, I was furious with Taco for most of the book, I swear I yelled at him a million times and then somehow I became slightly less angry with him. It was a roller coaster for sure.

Let's talk about the things in this book that had me ranting: 

Taco's dad

OMG, seriously Taco's dad was the WORST. Taco's mom had died of cancer, so his 21 year old brother was "taking care" of him (please note I use that phrase very loosely). The dad had taken a job out of town and MOVED AWAY. Yeah, the dad basically moved out and let his sons just fend for themselves. He didn't even send that much money to help. Taco's brother, Darius, was an alcoholic with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Their mom had made Darius promise to take care of Taco so he dropped out of school and got a job. He did his best, but man his alcoholism was BAD. The dad dropped in occasionally, for holidays and when his sons were in trouble. Great guy. Then when Maggie got pregnant, he was furious with Taco because he had told him not to have girls in the house. Seriously?? HE WASN'T THERE!!! He disappears and then gets pissed off when his sixteen year old son had sex in the home. What did he think would happen?? At one point, he says that he is tired of cleaning up Taco and Darius's messes. REALLY?? 
Given all that, I can kind of understand Taco's desperate need for a family.

Taco's stupidity

Ahhhh, I HATED him for 85% of the book! I swear, the author tried to convey that he was an eternal optimist (because of what his mom said before she died), but he just came off as a clueless idiot who made AWFUL decisions. He climbed the trellis outside Maggie's house to see her ALL THE TIME. When his dad threatened him and told him never to do it again, did he listen? Nope. When they put an alarm on the trellis that scared him so badly he fell and broke his tailbone, did THAT stop him? Nope. HE FREAKING DID IT AGAIN! 
And I get that teenagers can be stupid and clueless about sex, but holy crap, I couldn't take the stupidity. First, he has sex with his girlfriend all the time and no one even thinks about birth control. Then, when Maggie starts getting achy boobs and is moody, he assumes she is possessed by a ghost. Then, he starts trying to calculate her due date (without knowing anything about her cycle) and concludes she must have gotten pregnant before they had sex, so this must be a miracle baby. THEN, he asked her if it was legal to have sex with a pregnant girl. AHHHH, the stupidity DID NOT STOP.
Here's another thing: when she gets pregnant, Taco is an idiot and wants a family, which means he is happy about the baby. Like I said, I can kind of understand why he wanted a baby so badly, but his execution left something to be desired. He makes a plan to get a job, then promptly forgets about said plan and decides to join the school musical instead, which means committing himself to months of rehearsal time. Yeah, that makes sense. 

Taco's eternal optimism

I swear there was something wrong with him. I get being an optimist, but he took it to extreme. Brother gets arrested for DUI and sentenced to prison? No problem. Dad makes him feel like crap? He's just having a bad day? Girlfriend is pregnant? I'll be an amazing father. I just wanted to slap him a little. He is the most delusional character that I have seen in a long time. It also drove me crazy that he never even asked Maggie what SHE wanted to do. He said they could get married and have the baby and when she said she wanted to go to college and do dance, he said, "Great. Good for you." Yeah, because you can totally do college and dance and raise a baby.

So what did I like? 

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT! By the end of the book, Taco grew up and became more realistic about everything. I won't spoil the ending, but I thought everything with the baby wrapped up in a realistic way.

Would I recommend this one? NO! Even though the ending satisfied me and I may have teared up a bit, there was just too much stupidity.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Beyond The Books #4 - The one where I eat tons of peanut butter by myself

Welcome to another installment of Beyond the Books, where I talk about things that I have been loving this week!

Currently Reading:

Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake
I don't know if it's the books or if it's me, but I had to DNF four books before this one. NOTHING was holding my attention. Luckily, this one is working out pretty well for now.

Things I'm loving this week:

1. Alone time!
Don't get me wrong, I adore my husband. But he has been out of town all week on business and I have loved it! I get to stay in my pajamas all day (with the exception of walking my dog, I guess), I have watched a lot of crappy TV that he doesn't like, I have listened to music he doesn't like and I have just done my own thing. I love it.

He comes home tonight and I have missed him, so I guess I am okay with my alone time coming to an end.

2. Weather Puppy App
HOW ADORABLE IS THIS PUPPY?? Seriously, this app is the best, most adorable way to get the weather.

3. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is my favorite food of all time . . . second only to bacon (or as blog reader Tanya called it, pig candy. mmm, delicious pig candy!) I have several different jars of peanut butter and almond butter in my pantry. The warmer weather has mad me crave smoothies like crazy. And what is a smoothie without peanut butter?
Answer: it's just fruit and milk. Now why on earth would I want that?

I kind of panic if I run out of my favorite brand so I always keep a spare jar (or two). I may hate it when I run out of peanut butter, but my dog loves it. Why?
Because she gets the leftovers! And somehow, she manages to scrape every single ounce of peanut butter out of the jar WITHOUT chewing the jar. It's an art. Now she's staring at me because the jar is empty and she wants more.

What's been going on with you guys this week? What are you reading right now? Is anyone out there as crazy about peanut butter as I am?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. 

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl--Isabel, the one the senoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill. Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers--and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life. 

I am still not sure how I feel about this one. I didn't hate it, but I didn't really love it either. The setting was awesome. It was set in Puerto Rico and the details were so vivid that I really felt like I was there. I also loved the writing. 

The problem was the story. It wasn't really what I thought it would be. The premise made it sound like the book would be magical and kind of like a fantasy, but what I got was more of a contemporary mystery. Lucas finds out pretty early that there is no girl with green skin and grass for hair, just an ordinary girl who is trapped inside because of a weird illness. Then there are girls who disappear, one of them being Lucas's kind of girlfriend. I didn't really feel his pain there, mainly because he admitted at the beginning of the book that he had only known her a short time. So I am supposed to believe he is desperate to find her? Suuuure, whatever you say. 

Then he thinks the girls who disappear may or may not have something to do with Isabel, the mysterious girl in the house. Her illness was never really explained and maybe that part was kind of a fantasy. Apparently, she had poison inside her and she had to stay near her dad's plants to stay live. And if she touched someone, she made them sick. Yeah, I didn't really get that either and that is never really explained in the book so don't get your hopes up for an explanation. The resolution of the mystery was kind of anti-climactic, mainly because I didn't care that much. That, and the fact that the resolution still makes no sense. It was weird. 

The problem with this story was that I never fully connected to the characters and while the writing was beautiful, the plot was kind of all over the place and it had a lot going on. The dad was never there (of course) and the mom was dead and there were missing girls and there was a cop trying to find something to charge Lucas with because she hated him or something and there was the whole mysterious illness thing. I had so much trouble keeping my head in this story. It was not nearly as good as it could have been.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Art Of Not Breathing by Sarah Alexander

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is April 26, 2016.

Since her twin brother, Eddie, drowned five years ago, sixteen-year-old Elsie Main has tried to remember what really happened that fateful day on the beach. One minute Eddie was there, and the next he was gone. Seventeen-year-old Tay McKenzie is a cute and mysterious boy that Elsie meets in her favorite boathouse hangout. When Tay introduces Elsie to the world of free diving, she vows to find the answers she seeks at the bottom of the sea.

I was kind of apathetic about this book. There were a few things I liked and a few things I didn't. Elsie is sixteen and her twin brother drowned on his eleventh birthday. That sucks. It was Elsie's birthday at the beginning of the book and of course, no one acknowledged it because they were so consumed with grief. It's awful that her birthday has to be associated with death every year. Elsie's brother Dillon is suffering from anorexia and the only person who can see how sick he is getting is Elsie. I loved that a BOY actually suffered from an eating disorder. I know that happens a lot in real life, but how often does it happen in books? Hardly ever. 

This story is all about free diving and how Elsie is doing it as a way to connect with her brother who died. She wants to remember what happened that day and she just wants to remember him. I didn't know free diving was a thing. It sounds scary and totally unsafe, but Elsie is just rebelling. Her parents won't even let her go near the water because of what happened to Eddie, which I think is kind of ridiculous. Speaking of parents, these are the most absent parents EVER. I mean, I know they are still grieving but they DO have two kids who are alive. You would think they would remember that occasionally. But Dillon starves himself until he's skin and bones and they don't notice and Elsie is doing this terrifying thing on a regular basis and they don't notice that either.

I felt absolutely nothing for Tay, the love interest. Their relationship was just blah. Tay himself wasn't blah. He was very socially awkward and maybe had a touch of ADHD and I loved that. I just didn't feel the chemistry between Tay and Elsie. They were together and then he disappeared and then he was back and Elsie had strong feelings for this, but I didn't. Maybe I just didn't feel the chemistry between the two of them because I didn't really have much emotional attachment to Elsie. She was annoying and immature and didn't have much of a personality. Something else that bugged me was that the author kept referencing some mental health issue that Eddie had, but she never mentioned what it was. That was just annoying. 

This book was an okay book, but not as good as it could have been.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Borrow it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Books That Make Me Happy

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 make you laugh.

This topic was way harder than I thought it would be. I had to go to my Goodreads shelf for help with this one. While going over my shelf, I realized something: I read a lot of serious books. I love books that break my heart. I did manage to find some books that made me happy while reading them. Not all of these books made me laugh out loud, but all of them are reads that just make me happy. 

1. My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One Night Stands by Chelsea Handler - This book was just flat out hilarious. I laughed so hard at all of these stories.
2. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein - Yeah, I know this is a children's book and I DON'T CARE. I reread this one last year and it was just as funny as I remembered it. 
3. The Princess Bride by William Goldman - One of the few books where the movie is just as good. I had a smile on my face the entire time I was reading this one. 
4. Famous Last Words by Ray Robinson - This was an impulse buy and it was such a good one. Some of these last words were a bit poignant and deep, but there were so many that were just hilarious.
5. Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan - I did laugh out loud at some of Max's antics and all the pranks him and his friends played. 
6. Denton Little's Deathdate by Lance Rubin - Yes, a book where the main character knows the exact date he is going to die was actually FUNNY. I loved Denton, but the real laugh riot in this book was his best friend, Paolo.

7. The Martian by Andy Weir - Maybe it's the fact that Mark is stuck all alone on Mars, but he was very sarcastic and very quick with the quips. I chuckled more than once at this one.
8. Matilda by Roald Dahl - Yes, another children's book that is timeless. This one makes me happy every time I read it. I love that Matilda loves books almost as much as I do.
9. We'll Always Have Paris: A Mother-Daughter Memoir by Jennifer Coburn - I loved all the travel in this book. It was very light and I loved it.
10. Bob's Burgers Comics - Is it cheating to put comic books on this list? I don't think so. Comic books are books too people. I love this show so, so much and the comics were almost as funny as the show. This family always makes me laugh.

Help me out: any recommendations for books that are laugh out loud funny? Or even just book that make you happy to read them?

And don't forget to enter my giveaway for the April release of your choice!

Friday, April 15, 2016

Beyond the Books #3

Welcome to another installment of Beyond the Books, where I talk about things that I have been loving this week! I haven't done one of these in a few weeks, so I thought it was about time for another one.

Currently Reading

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) by JK Rowling
My love of Harry Potter continues. I am despising the fact that I have to do regular life stuff, like cleaning and walking the dog and talking to my husband. I just want to sit on the couch with my blanket and my book and read ALL DAY LONG.

Things I am Loving This Week

1. My Blanket from Society 6
I LOVE THIS BLANKET! It is so soft and cuddly and perfect for lying on the couch while reading Harry Potter. I love Society 6 in general though. I could spend so much money on that site. I bought the blanket from Evie Seo and you can check it out (along with her other stuff) here.

Another thing I bought from that site a month or so ago was this pillow. Notice that my dog is TRYING TO STEAL IT! She's trying to steal the blanket too. Good thing I love her so much or this whole trying to steal my stuff thing would make me mad. The pillow came from the store of Cait @ PaperFury and you can buy it here. Also, check out her other stuff at your own risk. You may feel compelled to buy EVERYTHING.
2. How I Met Your Mother reruns
I forgot how funny this show is. Except for the last season. Let's all just pretend the last season didn't happen, okay?

3. Cize workout
I haven't done this workout in a while, but I felt like I needed to switch things up a bit so I went back to it. I am the most uncoordinated person ever, but Shaun T explains the dance steps so clearly and I have (almost) no trouble keeping up. I always sweat so hard when I am doing this workout. It's so much fun that I don't want the workout to end!

4. American bacon
I love Italy. I really, really do. The food here is amazing, but pancetta just doesn't work for my back cravings. For the first time, the commissary on base here started carrying American bacon with NO NITRITES!! Nitrites give me migraines, so I was ECSTATIC to make this discovery. Needless to say, I have eaten a lot of bacon this week.

5. Internet
Last week, my Internet was out for SIX DAYS. It was like the end of times, people. I was forced to take a break from the blog, which turned out to be a good thing for my blogging slump. But being without the Internet for so long drove me crazy. I felt so out of touch with EVERYTHING. And right before my Internet went out, my husband and I had taken a trip so basically I was two weeks behind in responding to blog comments. Oops!

How has your week been? What are you reading now? How great is BACON??

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April New Release Giveaway Hop!

Once again, I am so happy to join the April 2016 New Release Giveaway Hop hosted by Librarian Lavender and It Starts At Midnight!
I am giving one of you lucky readers the chance to win any April 2016 new release of your choice, up to $17. The giveaway is international, as long as The Book Depository ships there free of charge (find that out here!) If you prefer, I will send a Kindle edition via Amazon gift. (Please note: You may only chose ONE of these options!) 

The giveaway runs until April 30, 2016. I will randomly choose a winner on May 1, 2016. If I don't hear from a winner within 72 hours, then I will choose another one.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feel free to visit one of the other participants in the hop!

Good luck!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Klickitat by Peter Rock

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Vivian feels left behind when her older sister, Audra, runs away from home. She believes that Audra will return and pays careful attention to the clues around her. Then, inexplicably, writing begins to appear in a blank notebook. When Audra does come back for Vivian, she’s in the company of a strange man. The three of them run away together and practice wilderness survival. While Audra plans for the future, Vivian continues to gather evidence: Who is this mysterious man, and does he have any connection to the words appearing in her notebook?

This book was rambling and confusing and full of questions. It’s about two sisters who are incredibly close: Vivian and Audra. Audra is a huge brat who constantly yells at her parents, sneaks out of the house and complains about how her parents are “robots” because they expect her to do silly things like go to school or get a job. Insane, right? The parents don’t have a huge role in the book because it really is about the relationship between these two sisters, but the parents were showed enough for me to get a sense that they were frustrated by Audra’s behavior and they genuinely cared about their daughters.

This book was told from the POV of Vivian and I had zero emotional connection with her. First of all, there was something going on with her that required she take pills every day. I guess they were so important that her mom would count them every night to make sure she took them. The problem was that the author NEVER revealed this condition to the reader. It was so frustrating. It was talked about many times. Audra kept saying Vivian didn’t need the pills and her parents just wanted to keep her medicated. The only “symptom” it talked about was some kind of fit that Vivian would have sometimes when she would hold on to someone and not let go. Yeah, I didn’t get it either. 

The rest of the book was just as confusing and there was really no point to the whole story. It was basically about sisters who run away from him for absolutely NO reason. Vivian’s thoughts were all over the place and sometimes it was tough to tell what had actually happened. I didn’t feel anything for Vivian and I despised Audra. Like I said, she was a brat and she kept pulling her sister into her mess. I hated that she had two parents who loved her and a safe place to live and yet, she acted like life with her parents was so miserable. The ending was very unsatisfying and because of how Vivian’s thoughts were, it took a bit to even realize what had happened. When I did realize it, I felt cheated. The main reason I kept reading was to find out what happens with both sisters and it was kind of ridiculous. I didn’t get the sense that anyone really learned anything.

The only thing I really liked about the book was that the title refers to the name of the street that Ramona and Beezus lived on (you know, from the books). The sisters would say that word to each other or leave it as a message when they wanted the other one to know everything would be okay. That part was sweet and I loved those books, so any mention of them is okay by me. That was about it though.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Books On Mental Illness

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 a freebie of sorts. Today, I am posting books that everyone who wants to know more about mental illness needs to read.

1. Paperweight by Meg Haston - A very emotional book about a girl suffering from an eating disorder. Best part: NO ROMANCE!!
2. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - Violet is suffering from depression and Finch is suffering from a mental illness as well (no spoilers). I was a sobbing mess at the end of this book.
3. Underwater by Marisa Reichardt - A story about a girl suffering from agoraphobia. I had a few issues with the ending, but it was still a very unique story.
4. Made You Up by Francesca Zappia - Alex suffers from Schizophrenia. Such an engrossing book. The author did a great job with the symptoms of this one.
5. Your Voice Is All I Hear by Leah Scheier - Jonah suffers from Schizophrenia. One of the things this author did really well was to challenge all the stigmatizations that people with this disease can endure from other people. 
6. Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke - Imogen suffers from depression and binge eating disorder. She also cuts herself. This author did an amazing job with the symptoms that Imogen was feeling. Such a powerful story.
7. Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone - The main character in this book suffers from OCD.
8. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand - Lexie is the main character, but her brother (who killed himself) is actually the one who was suffering from severe depression. The whole book was about his illness and the fact that no one saw any signs he was contemplating depression. 
9. Alice and the Fly by James Rice - This book is narrated by Greg, who has Schizophrenia. Greg is the most unreliable narrator ever and it was incredible to be inside the head of someone suffering from this disease. And by incredible, I mean devastating.
10. I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios - Josh is suffering from PTSD after returning from Afghanistan. We need more books about this issue! This one was a great start though. 
11. Dancing On Broken Glass by Ka Hancock - I added this one as a bonus because I read it way before I started this blog and I don't talk about it that much. That is such a shame because I loved it so much! A moving story about a woman with a devastating family history of cancer and a man who suffers from Bipolar disorder. They are married and make the difficult decision to never have children because of their histories. Naturally, she gets pregnant. This book made me cry so hard, especially when reading about all of the times he has to be put in an institution due to his disease.
What are a few of your favorite books on mental illness?