Thursday, January 26, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Nowhere Near You (Because You'll Never Meet Me #2) by Leah Thomas

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is February 9, 2017.

Ollie and Moritz might never meet, but their friendship knows no bounds. Their letters carry on as Ollie embarks on his first road trip away from the woods--no easy feat for a boy allergic to electricity--and Moritz decides which new school would best suit an eyeless boy who prefers to be alone. Along the way they meet other teens like them, other products of strange science who lead seemingly normal lives in ways Ollie and Moritz never imagined possible: A boy who jokes about his atypical skeleton; an aspiring actress who hides a strange deformity; a track star whose abnormal heart propels her to victory. Suddenly the future feels wide open for two former hermits. But even as Ollie and Moritz dare to enjoy life, they can't escape their past, which threatens to destroy any progress they've made. Can these boys ever find their place in a world that might never understand them? 

I hate to say this about this book, but it was somewhat disappointing. I absolutely loved the letters and the friendship between Ollie and Moritz in the first book. I still loved their friendship, but I felt like the storyline was a bit lacking. The end of Because you'll never meet me kind of switched modes from Contemporary to Science Fiction. It kind of threw me, but not enough to detract from my enjoyment of the story. This story picks up on that Science Fiction story and I have to say that it's just weird.

Ollie is still grieving the loss of his mother and he is on a journey with his doctor to find more kids like him and Moritz. Ollie is still allergic to electricity and it's interesting to see the different ways they try to cover Ollie and protect him so he doesn't seize up and so he doesn't cause every electric device to fail. Part of the charm of this book was Ollie seeing the world for the first time. He was so amazed by everything, even little things like the smell of a big city. He has been living in the woods his entire life so he is innocent in so many ways. But a part of my issue with the book was that Ollie was so pushy at times. I know that being isolated for so long affected his social skills, but he still annoyed me. When meeting a few of the kids, he demanded to know their stories and got annoyed when they wouldn't. And when his doctor was upset about something, he tried to demand that he tell Ollie the truth about everything. I just wanted to shake him sometimes to make him realize that no one owed him their story, especially when it was as painful as some of the kids they encountered.

I was a little disappointed by the slowness of the storyline. Ollie and his doctor only met a couple of the other kids. Most of the time was spent dealing with too many things: there was Ollie's allergy to electricity, his first journey outside the woods, the stories of the two kids they met and the secret that the doctor was keeping. On Moritz's side, there was just one issue: the issue of a new school with a boyfriend and his unrequited love for Ollie. When it came to Ollie, I just felt like there were so many issues that I wasn't satisfied with the resolution of any of them. Moritz's story was very slow moving and I had a hard time being invested in his story.

I still think the letter format worked really well and I absolutely loved the friendship between Moritz and Ollie. They had such a lovely banter and way of drawing each other out. I just had an issue with pacing and some of the plot. I still love Leah Thomas's writing. I just wish this story were a little less disappointing. I would love to see another book involving these two, mainly because there was a bit of a twist and I loved the ending.
 


Buy/Borrow/Skip: Borrow this one. It's not as great as the first one, but it's still worth reading for the friendship alone.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Sky Between You And Me by Catherine Alene

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is February 7, 2017.

Raesha will to do whatever it takes to win Nationals. For her, competing isn't just about the speed of her horse or the thrill of the win. It's about honoring her mother's memory and holding onto a dream they once shared. For an athlete, every second counts. Raesha knows minus five on the scale will let her sit deeper in her saddle, make her horse lighter on his feet. And lighter, leaner, faster gives her the edge she needs over the new girl on the team, a girl who keeps flirting with Raesha's boyfriend and making plans with her best friend. So she focuses on minus five. But if she isn't careful, she's going to lose more than just the people she loves, she's going to lose herself to lighter, leaner, faster...

I wish I had known when I requested this one that it was written in verse. I am kind of picky when it comes to those because there have only been a few that I have really enjoyed. I was really interested in the premise of a girl (Rae) who becomes anorexic because she wants to be lighter for her horseback championship. In some ways, this book was well done. I thought the portrayal of her eating disorder was very realistic. Rae starts out like any other girl. She is concerned about her weight yes, but she doesn't start out thinking that she needs to lose so much weight and she is going to stop eating to do it. It's just about losing five more pounds. But then she decides to lose just five more . . . and so on and so on. She constantly obsesses about food and she feels less hungry the longer she goes without food. Rae constantly compares herself herself to the new girl in town, Kierra. It's annoying, but I get it. I loved the family stuff. Rae's mom was a horseback rider and she died years ago, but she is very close to her father.

I was not a fan of the people in Rae's life. Everyone notices Rae's eating disorder, but no one seems to want to do anything about it. Her best friend, Asia, seemed more annoyed about Rae not eating than concerned. She would call out Rae for not eating in front of everyone and she would just dismiss Rae when she wouldn't eat like Asia wanted her to. And Rae's boyfriend was no better. Cody seemed supportive enough at the beginning, but he continues spending time with Kierra, knowing that it bugs Rae. And when Rae loses all that weight, does he seem concerned? Not really. He makes a comment about how no one likes to hug a skeleton. Really? Crazy. Part of the problem I had with this book was the boy drama. I wanted more about the eating disorder and also more about the horseback rising championships. The horseback riding was kind of a subplot and there wasn't as much written about the competition aspect as I would have liked. And I hated that Rae spent so much of the book mad at Kierra for nothing and worried about whether she was stealing her best friend and her boyfriend. It kind of overshadowed the eating disorder part.

My other problem was with the writing. Honestly, the narrative was just not that good. It didn't even seem like verse so much as a regular narrative that was formatted differently. Maybe the unique formatting was an attempt to add more depth to the story, but I thought it fell flat. I just couldn't connect emotionally to the characters. It was an okay story, but the combination of the boy drama and the narrative just disappointed me.

Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

DISCUSSION: Goodreads Challenge

Does anyone else obsessively look at their Goodreads challenge every time they finish a book? Or is that just me?
I told myself that I would set a number and then try to forget about it.
Umm, yeah. Sure. 
I should have known better, right?

I am so incredibly competitive. The worst part is that I am in competition with the most competitive person I know: myself. It's not enough for me to be on schedule. No, I feel like I have to be ahead. And I feel like I have to beat my own number. I set my goal for 200 books, but you just know that I will do everything I can to go above that. I don't even know why I bother setting goals.
The other day, there was a Goodreads error. One day, my challenge said I was six books ahead of schedule. The very next day, the challenge said I was one book behind.
To say that I was panicked is an understatement. I thought that I had a LOT of reading to do to get back ahead of schedule. Luckily, it was just a Goodreads error and my numbers were corrected within the day.

I would like to say that I realized my panicking was an overreaction and that I deleted my Goodreads challenge and that I decided not to worry about it. 
Yeah, there's laughter in my head now.

I guess I will just embrace the competitive part of myself and read, read, read to get even more ahead of schedule. I don't know if that will happen, but there is something satisfying to seeing my challenge at the end of the year and seeing just how well I did with it.

So let's discuss: do you participate in the Goodreads challenge? Do you have a hard time forgetting about the number when you do?

Thursday, January 19, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Loving Vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case by Patricia Hruby Powell

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is January 31, 2017.

From acclaimed author Patricia Hruby Powell comes the story of a landmark civil rights case, told in spare and gorgeous verse. In 1955, in Caroline County, Virginia, amidst segregation and prejudice, injustice and cruelty, two teenagers fell in love. Their life together broke the law, but their determination would change it. Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of a Supreme Court case that legalized marriage between races, and a story of the devoted couple who faced discrimination, fought it, and won. 

This book was a little different from what I thought. For one thing, I wasn't really sure whether it was historical fiction or nonfiction. The narrative is in verse and it's telling the story from the POVs of Richard and Mildred Loving. It also has quotes from George Wallace (an awful Governor of Alabama who was a BIG opponent of school integration)and newspaper clippings and quotes from Supreme Court justices sprinkled throughout the book.

On one hand, I think the story of the Lovings was so sweet and so important to this country. These people just wanted to live their lives. They had children together and they were so young. They didn't marry until after their second child, but they got married because they loved each other and because they wanted to make a family for their kids. There was so much about this book that made me angry. I hated the sheriff that was out to get them and looked for excuses to get them in trouble. I hated that Mildred and Richard couldn't just be together. I hated that Mildred had to deal with lower class movie theatre sections and hand me down books in her school. I absolutely loved Richard and the fact that he never saw her as anything but an incredible woman. He didn't care about the color of her skin. There was one scene where the lawyer asked him if he wanted to tell the court anything for him. His response was pure Richard. It was simple and sweet: "Tell them I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can't live with her in Virginia." They didn't even want the attention or the court case. They didn't want to set some great big example or set precedent for other couples: they just wanted to be together.

I guess the main thing I didn't like about the book was that it was told in verse. I am picky about those kinds of books. It doesn't always work. Even though I admired this couple and rooted for them, there were times when I felt a bit disconnected from their emotions and everything that was happening because of the way it was presented. It is still a worthwhile read though. 


This book was a little different from what I thought. For one thing, I wasn't really sure whether it was historical fiction or nonfiction. The narrative is in verse and it's telling the story from the POVs of Richard and Mildred Loving. It also has quotes from George Wallace (an awful Governor of Alabama who was a BIG opponent of school integration)and newspaper clippings and quotes from Supreme Court justices sprinkled throughout the book.

On one hand, I think the story of the Lovings was so sweet and so important to this country. These people just wanted to live their lives. They had children together and they were so young. They didn't marry until after their second child, but they got married because they loved each other and because they wanted to make a family for their kids. There was so much about this book that made me angry. I hated the sheriff that was out to get them and looked for excuses to get them in trouble. I hated that Mildred and Richard couldn't just be together. I hated that Mildred had to deal with lower class movie theatre sections and hand me down books in her school. I absolutely loved Richard and the fact that he never saw her as anything but an incredible woman. He didn't care about the color of her skin. There was one scene where the lawyer asked him if he wanted to tell the court anything for him. His response was pure Richard. It was simple and sweet: "Tell them I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can't live with her in Virginia." They didn't even want the attention or the court case. They didn't want to set some great big example or set precedent for other couples: they just wanted to be together.

I guess the main thing I didn't like about the book was that it was told in verse. I am picky about those kinds of books. It doesn't always work. Even though I admired this couple and rooted for them, there were times when I felt a bit disconnected from their emotions and everything that was happening because of the way it was presented. It is still a worthwhile read though. Highly recommended.


Buy/Borrow/Skip: Borrow this one.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: For The Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser

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

Three thousand years ago a war took place that gave birth to legends - to Achilles, the greatest of the Greeks, and Hector, prince of Troy. It was a war that shook the very foundations of the world. But what if there was more to this epic conflict? What if there was another, hidden tale of the Trojan War? Now is the time for the women of Troy to tell their story. The story of Krisayis, daughter of the Trojans' High Priest, and of Briseis, princess of Pedasus, who fight to determine the fate of a city and its people in this ancient time of mischievous gods and mythic heroes. 


I'll admit it: I am totally obsessed with Greek mythology and all of the Greek gods. Maybe it's the ruthlessness or all the death or all the obsession with sex or I don't even know, but I love stories that feature them. I actually thought this book was more about Helen of Troy because that's basically how the Trojan War started. But this story was really about the women behind some of the men fighting in the war. This story was inspired by Homer's Iliad and the author wrote about a few of the female minor characters in that poem and how their actions affected the war. And I had no idea until Started reading that the gods would play such a prominent role in the story. That was a pleasant surprise.

There were two POVs and it did take me a bit to figure out which woman was which. There is Krisayis, who is daughter of Trojans' High Priest. She is in love with once of the princes, but since she is just a priest's daughter, she doesn't stand a very high chance of getting approval to marry him. Also, her father is insistent that she become a priestess when she turns sixteen. Then there is Briseis, the wife of Mynes. Because of a prophecy by the gods at her birth, it took her a long time to find a man willing to marry her and then she falls in love with the prince. I loved both of these women. They were so feisty, especially for the time period, and they both were so determined to fight for their city. Sexism played a huge role in this story, as you would expect, and I loved that neither of these women were content to just sit around and wait for stuff to happen. They fought for their city and their friends and the men that they loved. Of course, the men underestimated them and I loved it when they fought back.

In addition to the two women, there were chapters that talked about what the gods were up to and what they were planning. The gods knew who exactly was going to win the war (destiny and all that), but it didn't stop some of the gods from helping their favorites and interfering when they could. They knew who was going to live and who was going to die. I found it so amusing that the gods basically treated the humans like their little playthings. Because this involved Greek gods and the Trojan war, we kind of know how some things will turn out and we definitely know that people will die and there will be tragedy all over the place. And this author did not shy away from the death, so that makes me love her. I know, I know: I love it when people in books die. I'm evil.

This book was so exciting and well written. The characters and the plot were so on point. The best thing is that the author is coming out with another book based on more Greek mythology and I CANNOT WAIT!! I need more from this author!
 


Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Underrated Books!

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 favorite underrated books. Underrated could mean a lot of things, but for this list, I went literal. This list includes books that have the fewest amount of ratings on Goodreads. All of them have fewer than 300 ratings and with the exception of one, all of them were read by me last year.


1. Little Cyclone: The Girl Who Started The Comet Line by Airey Neave - One of the characters from Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale (AMAZING book!!) was loosely based on this woman. Loved learning her story.

2. Forever and One Week (Spirits of Saoradh #2) by Caroline Cairn - Awesome romantic fantasy. 

3. The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt - Maybe the low ratings on this one is because it is being released today. But I still added it because it was a wonderful read.

4. Speed of Life by J.M. Kelly - Moving story about twin sisters, one of whom has a child.

5. Break Me Like A Promise (Once Upon A Crime Family #2) by Tiffany Schmidt - I wasn't a huge fan of the first one in this series, but this one was really good.

6. For The Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser - Greek gods and a retelling of Homer's Iliad. What's not to love??

7. The V-Word: True Stories About First-Time Sex by Amber J. Keyser - This book was hilarious and moving and I adored it. If I had a daughter, I would really want her to read this one. I could relate to so many of the essays in this book.

8. Bad Boy by Elliot Wake - Not as good as his other books, but still an important look at a transgender person and what they have to go through (physically and emotionally) to change genders.

9. The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz - Such an exciting dystopian/zombie book. It was so unique and more people need to read it so that they will release a sequel!

10. Dismember by Daniel Pyle - This is the only book I did not read in the past year. I read it three years ago and it still haunts me. It's suspenseful and so thrilling.

11. Nora and Kettle (Paper Stars #1) by Lauren Nicolle Taylor - I am still blown away that this one hasn't received more reviews. It was one of my favorite books from last year. I desperately need the sequel to this one!

So tell me . . . have you read any of the books on this list? What are some of your favorite underrated books? Any recommendations?

Friday, January 13, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles

I received this ARC from NetGalley one exchange for my honest review. The schedule publication date for this book is January 31, 2017.

It's been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who's still reeling from her father's shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors' mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods--only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X. X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe's evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands' rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.

Woah. Okay, that's about all I have. Woah. I went into this book with such low expectations, but woah. 
I guess I'll have to give you guys something more coherent than woah, right? 

Okay, here goes. The world building and the plot for this story were out of this world amazing. The book started with a prologue, kind of in the middle of the story, but then it worked. And man, I was hooked from the first paragraph and this author did not let up for a single second. Nope, not a second.

First, there is Zoe. Zoe and her brother Jonah are still grieving the death of her father from months earlier. She is your typical teenager that loves her brother, but still gets annoyed by him and calls him a brat. I actually think Jonah was one of my favorite characters. God, he was so cute and he loved his big sister so much. In the beginning of the book, he is sleeping in the same bed with her and he actually tied his skateboard to himself and to Zoe so that she couldn't leave him without knowing about it. And then they talked about a poem he had written after his dad died . . . when it talked about him not knowing what to do with his heart . . . I lost it. So sad. Zoe was kind of a meh character. Even though she was one of the main characters, I didn't ever really feel connected to her or drawn to her. Maybe it was because more of the book was dedicated to X's POV than hers. I did like that she was adventurous and a caver. More attention could have been focused on that just because it is so rare to see a caver in YA (or any fiction at all, for that matter). But I was satisfied with the caving scenes they did have. And I thought that Zoe was a pretty great sister to Jonah. She had her moments where she was annoyed at him, but you could tell that she really loved him. 

X was hot and amazing and so sweet and he brought her food! I don't normally buy into the whole insta-love thing, but he did save her dogs and he brought her a mound of French toast and bacon and onion rings and chocolate cake. Plus, he had the whole tortured soul from hell kind of thing going on. So yeah, I would love him too. I loved his backstory and I am glad that there was such a huge amount of the book devoted to him. Jeff Giles did a freaking amazing job on the world building for Lowlands (Hell) and I loved his fellow bounty hunters (prisoners), especially Ripper. Ripper was a woman who was in the Lowlands because she killed a servant in the 1800's and she was so wonderful. She was very protective of X and acted a bit loony, but she had his back when it counted. 

This book was almost nonstop action and that ending KILLED me! I saw part of it coming, but there were still some twists along the way. And it looks like this may turn out to be a series. I am sure the publisher is waiting to see how this one does first. So all I can say is: READ THIS BOOK NOW!! I want as many people to read it as possible because I NEED A SEQUEL!! 

Buy/Borrow/Skip: BUY!!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is January 17, 2016.

Ninety seconds can change a life — not just daily routine, but who you are as a person. Gretchen Asher knows this, because that’s how long a stranger held her body to the ground. When a car sped toward them and Gretchen’s attacker told her to run, she recognized a surprising terror in his eyes. And now she doesn’t even recognize herself. Ninety seconds can change a life — not just the place you live, but the person others think you are. Phoenix Flores Flores knows this, because months after setting off toward the U.S. / Mexico border in search of safety for his brother, he finally walked out of detention. But Phoenix didn’t just trade a perilous barrio in El Salvador for a leafy suburb in Atlanta. He became that person — the one his new neighbors crossed the street to avoid. Ninety seconds can change a life — so how will the ninety seconds of Gretchen and Phoenix’s first encounter change theirs?


YES!! This book far exceeded my expectations. Phoenix comes from El Salvador and he came across the border so that he could get his brother away from the gang violence and the people that were looking to kill him. Phoenix is living with two women who took him in while he waits for word on whether he will be granted asylum status and his brother is living in a facility in another state waiting on word about whether he will be able to stay in the country. Meanwhile, Gretchen has PTSD from a robbery and assault months earlier. Both Phoenix and Gretchen were affected by gang violence, but in very different ways. 

This was such a moving story and I loved both of these characters. Phoenix was so determined to save his brother and he went through so much to get here that I just wanted him to be able to stay. Phoenix's story just broke my heart. He made some mistakes and he carried a lot of guilt, but he was just trying to do the right thing for his brother. This book shed a lot of light about the gang violence in El Salvador and how hard it is for people to come across the border and what happens when someone tries to get asylum in this country. What I really loved was the author's use of the Spanish language. I have read a few other books where the author didn't do anything but drop some well known words in, like "amigo" or "buenos dias." It's like the author is just trying to do that to make us realize the character speaks Spanish. But I loved the author's use of that language and her knowledge of the culture and city of El Salvador. It felt so authentic. The author obviously did her research and she does talk about that in the author's note at the end. 

Gretchen was such a survivor. Her story touched me as well. The author did a great job of showing how the assault and robbery affected her life and how everyone just wanted her to be the person she used to be, but that was never going to happen. I also thought Gretchen showed a lot of growth. In the beginning, she is a bit judgmental about members of gangs and why someone would choose to go into that life. Part of her feelings are because of the attack and part of them are because she has never went through what Phoenix did so she couldn't possibly understand. But I loved that she acknowledged her judgment and she realized she was wrong.

I loved the relationship between Gretchen and Phoenix and I also loved that this was not a story about how love can "cure" trauma. I have read too many of those books and they just aren't realistic. Gretchen has been through so much and during her first meeting with Phoenix, she mistakes him for her attacker. But then she realizes it's not him and she forces herself to apologize and become friends with him so that she can get out of her own head. Their relationship was so sweet and they had great chemistry. But I loved that they started out as friends. They got to know each other and opened up to each other. 

This was such a beautiful story and I honestly can't think of anything I would want to change. The characters and the plot and the writing were all incredibly well done. I guess my ONLY issue was that things wrapped up a bit neater in the book than they probably do in real life. But it's a book so I can forgive it. Highly recommended!


Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

I received this ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is January, 17, 2017.

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course. To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart. If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

I adored Silvera's first book, More Happy Than Not and when I heard about this one, I just knew it was on my most anticipated list. While I didn't necessarily love this one the way I loved the first one, I still found it incredibly moving. Griffin is not an easy character to like sometimes, but I still sympathized with him and I kind of understood why he did what he did. I mean, I don't understand exactly because I have never suffered the type of loss that Griffin has, but I understood his need to be self destructive and his need to push people away. The love of his life (and his best friend) has died and most people don't really understand why he can't just "get over it." He wasn't even dating Theo at the time of his death and I think most people think he should move on pretty quickly because he's so young. Adam Silvera did such an incredible job of getting into Griffin's head and making me feel his pain and his grief. 

Griffin wants to hate Jackson because Jackson and Theo were in love at the time of his death, but surprisingly they become closer, mainly because they are just about the only ones who understand what the other is going through. There were times when I wanted to hug Griffin and times when I wanted to shake him because he was being so stubborn and refusing to let anyone help him. The book goes back forth between present day and the history of Theo and Griffin's relationship. I loved their relationship so much. They were friends for so long before they became a couple. They had great banter and incredible chemistry. Just a side note that I absolutely loved the fact that both Griffin and Theo were gay and were together and no one cared. Their sexuality was not a huge thing like it is for some books with LGBTQ characters. I loved that it was just another aspect of who they are, much like Griffin's obsession with Harry Potter. 

This book was incredibly raw and moving and shows Griffin's moving journey from grief to acceptance. There is so much history that we only gets bits and pieces of and gradually, we understand exactly why Griffin feels so guilty about his history with Theo and we also see that Theo was just as flawed as any one else in the book. 

So there was something that I think was missing from the book. I mean, it was moving and passionate and sad and all of that, but it took me a while to figure out what was bothering me about the book. Finally, I realized that it was the treatment of Griffin's OCD. I guess that felt kind of like a side note to the book and it wasn't given the attention that it deserved, mainly because Griffin's grief was overwhelming everything else. But from everything Griffin said and did throughout the book, I could tell the OCD was more than just "quirkiness." It was affecting his life and everyone kind of made excuses for it. I hated that he didn't really get diagnosed with anything until towards the end of the book and I felt dissatisfied with not just the treatment of the OCD throughout the book, but the resolution of it as well. I think that's the main thing that kept this from being a perfect read for me. I still think it's worth reading though, especially if you are a fan of Adam Silvera's work.


Buy/Borrow/Skip: Buy this one.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday - 2016 Releases Still On My 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 2016 releases I meant to read, but didn't get to. 










What 2016 releases are still on your TBR? Are there any on this list that you have read and loved? Or even read and hated?
SaveSave

Monday, January 9, 2017

DISCUSSION: Going Out Of My Comfort Zone

I didn't put this on my New Years' resolution post (maybe that was my subconscious way of not holding myself accountable or something), but one of my bookish goals for this year is to read outside my comfort zone.

Looking at my stats for last year, most of the books I read are young adult contemporary.

I love young adult books and I certainly don't plan on giving those up anytime soon. It's weird though because I read way more young adult fiction now than when I was actually a young adult. But I do feel like I want to spread my wings a bit and read some more books outside of my favorite genre.

There are just sooooo many books out there. Is it weird that I feel guilty for not reading everything I can get my hands on?
There are certain genres that I rarely read and I really want to change that.

Romance. Yes, I read plenty of contemporary books that have romance in them, but generally I ignore books that are 100% about the romance. And this goes for young adult or adult. I read a lot of romance when I was younger and I have read some romance as an adult, but not much of it. I am open to new adult or adult fiction.

Recent romance reads that I have added to my TBR
Nonfiction - This is probably the one genre that I read the least. Unless I am really interested in the subject, it's hard to get enough interest in nonfiction books to buy them. Actually, it's hard to generate enough interest in nonfiction books to buy them, even when I am interested in the subject. But I have discovered quite a few nonfiction books published last year that I really want to read.

Recent nonfiction reads that I have added to my TBR.
Classics - Am I the only one who has a hard time getting through the classics? The writing style is usually just so . . . antiquated. Nevertheless, I do want to read a lot of the more popular classics.

Classics on my TBR


Do you have any recommendations for me in any of these categories? Or any recommendations for books besides YA contemporary? What genres are outside of your comfort zone?
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Friday, January 6, 2017

DISCUSSION: New Years' Resolutions

I know this is about a week late, but HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I hope everyone had a great holiday. Mine was spent watching college football playoffs. Georgia has had a sucky season, so I'm rooting for my husband's team. Alabama. Roll tide!

Anyway, it's that time of year again, where resolutions are made and then quickly forgotten about by February. Or is that just me?
Instead of calling them resolutions, I am going to call them goals. That way, maybe I will feel better when they are forgotten about by February.
1. Request fewer ARCs.

I have had this goal for a few months and it's going really well. I am only requesting ARCs that I am really excited about.
Hopefully, that will mean fewer ARCs on my TBR list and maybe more ARCs that I actually love. We'll see how that goes.

2. Buy fewer books.

I know. This goes against everything that I believe in. But I can't believe just how many books that I bought last year, but haven't read!
I'm not going on a book buying ban per se, but I think the only books I will buy for a while are ones that go on sale with Amazon. I mean, if the price of a book I really want goes from $10.99 to $1.99, I pretty much have to buy it, right?
3. Come up with another feature for the blog.
I feel like my blog has gotten a bit stale. I had a weekly feature last year on non bookish obsessions and I may bring that back.

4. Read more blogs!

I really hate it when I get behind with my Bloglovin feed. So many of you are kind enough to read my blog and I want to be better about returning the favor. It's hell on my TBR, but I love reading what you guys have to say!

5. Be better about responding to comments . . . but don't stress out if takes a few days or even a week to do it. 
I'm getting better about this, but it's hard. So if I don't respond to your comment for a week, try to cut me a little slack, okay?

6. Create a Facebook page for my blog.
I am horrendous when it comes to Twitter. I will tweet consistently for a week, then forget about my account for months at a time. But I am on Facebook all the time. So maybe creating a Facebook page for my blog would allow me to interact with you guys even more.

So let's discuss: do you make New Years' resolutions? What are some book related (or personal) resolutions that you have?

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: The Most Dangerous Place On Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The scheduled publication date for this book is January 10, 2017.

In an idyllic community of wealthy California families, new teacher Molly Nicoll becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to Molly, a middle school tragedy in which they were all complicit continues to reverberate for her kids: Nick, the brilliant scam artist; Emma, the gifted dancer and party girl; Dave, the B student who strives to meet his parents expectations; Calista, the hippie outcast who hides her intelligence for reasons of her own. Theirs is a world in which every action may become public postable, shareable, indelible. With the rare talent that transforms teenage dramas into compelling and urgent fiction, Lindsey Lee Johnson makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with the sorrow, passion, and beauty of life in any time, and at any age.

This book started out very strong. It starts with several of the more popular students in eighth grade and their actions that contributed to the suicide of one student. This section was very gut wrenching and heartbreaking, especially because I know this stuff actually happens. Kids don't realize how their actions affect others and sometimes kids don't even mean to be so cruel. It was interesting seeing Callie's POV and how torn she was in her actions, but she also just wanted to fit in. 

But after that initial section, things kind of went downhill for me. It started with the POV of Molly Nicoll. We get her perspective as she enters the teaching profession for the first time. She is young and optimistic and she cares way too much (yes, that is possible). She is teaching a lot of the kids that were involved in the incident with the student in eighth grade. It's high school now and you can tell that the students have been impacted by that. The book would tell a few chapters from the teacher's POV, but then it would go to one of the students. But it would have one section by one student and then we would never hear from that student again. And there were so many issues that were talked about, but never fully resolved, like Callie's guilt and the sexual relationship between the teacher (not Molly) and one of the students and one of the students being arrested for a DUI and one of the students feeling so much pressure that he cheats on the SAT's (the author never did reveal his score and that was irritating). There was just so much going on and none of it was resolved. Molly gets way too involved with her students and I felt like her growth as a teacher came about way too fast and was kind of unrealistic. Also, I get that a lot of Molly's actions were a bit over the line, but one of the teachers suggested their job was NOT to care, but to teach. Isn't it possible for a teacher to do both? 

This was a book that was supposed to be about bullying, but it ended up having so many voices and so many issues that I didn't really feel satisfied by any of the characters or the plot.


Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra

Born into an affluent family, Leo outwardly seems like a typical daughter of English privilege in the 1870s: she lives with her wealthy married sister Christabel, and lacks for neither dresses nor trinkets. But Leo has a crippling speech impediment that makes it difficult for her to speak but curiously allows her to mimic other people's voices flawlessly. Servants and ladies alike call her "Mad Miss Mimic" behind her back... and watch as she unintentionally scares off every potential suitor. Only the impossibly handsome Mr. Thornfax seems interested in Leo...but why? And does he have a connection to the mysterious Black Glove group that has London in its terrifying grasp? Trapped in a city under siege by terror attacks and gripped by opium fever, where doctors (including her brother-in-law) race to patent an injectable formula, Leo must search for truth in increasingly dangerous situations - but to do so, she must first find her voice.

This book kind of reminded me of a Jane Austen novel. The problem with that is I am not a fan of Jane Austen. The book was slow and something about the writing style just made the main plot points seem . . . not so tragic or suspenseful. I won't give anything away, but there were a couple of times where I actually had to reread a couple of paragraphs because I didn't even realize something major had happened. That was probably my fault though. There were some sections that were just too slow and boring and I would lose focus because of it and then I would miss an explosion or a death. 

I did like the main character though and that's probably why gave it three stars. I really felt for Leo and her stutter. I thought it was interesting that she could mimic anyone's voice (hence the nickname, "Mad Miss Mimic" and I kind of liked the attitude that the imitation of other people was basically a whole separate person inside of Leo. The problem was that Leo never really new what her own voice sounded like. Her sister was trying to basically find her a husband and Leo was desperate for someone who would accept her for who she was. I didn't really care for the love triangle, but I kind of liked the plot. Some of it didn't make sense, but essentially there was a Black Glove group that was terrorizing the city and the government thought banning opium would be the answer. Some things in the plot were predictable. In the love triangle, I could tell who Leo would end up with and I kind of predicted who the bad guy was. But I didn't know why they were doing what they were doing so that was a nice twist. The resolution of the romance was satisfying, but it felt like it took SO LONG to get there. And I still don't understand why the Black Glove group did some of the things they did. 

I can see why other people loved this one a lot, but unfortunately it just wasn't for me. The plot and the characters were well done. I just thought the writing style was a bit blah.


Buy/Borrow/Skip: Borrow. Personally, I feel like I would recommend this one to certain people even though I didn't love it. I think if you are a fan of Jane Austen novels, you would probably like it. 

Bout of Books Update!

This is the page where I will update my Bout of Books progress throughout the week.

Goals for the week:
read at least 5 books 
read for at least three hours every day (180 minutes) 
participate in at least one Twitter chat 
participate in at least two mini challenges 


Progress:

Monday
Books Read: 1
Pages Read: 320
Minutes Read: 225 (3 hours and 15 minutes)
Notes: Finished History is all you left me by Adam Silvera. Believe it or not,  I could have read more today, but I had a horrible migraine and it was one of those migraines that would not allow me to read very much. That doesn't happen very often. 

Tuesday
Books Read: 1.35
Total Books Read: 2
Pages Read: 444
Minutes Read: 250 (4 hours 10 minutes)
Notes: Read The Radius Of Us, which was an incredible book. Started reading For The Most Beautiful: A Novel of the Women of Troy. It's got me hooked so far.


Wednesday
Books Read: 1
Total Books Read: 3
Pages Read: 482
Minutes Read: 190 (3 hours 10 minutes)
Notes: Finished Beautiful: A Novel of the Women of Troy. That one was basically a retelling of Homer's Illiad and it was so incredibly good. Started The Girl From Everywhere. It was good, but the middle is dragging too much. Also did some reading of an unpublished manuscript I am getting paid to critique. The challenge today was to post about a book you would like to see made into a movie.
Thursday
Books Read: 2
Total Books Read: 5
Pages Read: 480
Minutes Read: 285 (4 hours 45 minutes)
Notes: Happy with all the reading I got done today. Finished The Girl From Everywhere. Sorry, but I was not in love with that book. I was bored the whole time. Also finished an unpublished manuscript for critique.

Friday
Books Read: 1
Total Books Read: 6
Pages Read: 375
Minutes Read: 185 (3 hours 5 minutes)
Notes:
 Read Don't Touch by Rachel Wilson. 

Saturday
Books Read:
Total Books Read:
Pages Read: 

Minutes Read:
Notes:

Sunday
Books Read:
Total Books Read:
Pages Read:
Minutes Read: 
Notes:


Books I have read during Bout of Books:

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (4 stars)
The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt (5 stars)
For The Most Beautiful: A Novel of the Women of Troy by Emily Hauser (5 stars)
The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (2 stars)
Devil In Her Bed - unrated and unpublished manuscript
Don't Touch by Rachel Wilson (4 stars)

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