Genre: Young Adult

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Aug 12

Remember Me – Review and Tour!

Book Reviews, Book Tours 0 ★★★★

Remember Me – Review and Tour!Remember Me by Chelsea Bobulski
Published by Feiwel and Friends on August 6, 2019
Genres: Historical, magical realism, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 256
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Goodreads four-stars

In this eerie and suspenseful YA, a teen girl discovers what connects her to the hotel she calls home as horrifying visions lead her to the truth.

Nell Martin is moving again, this time to the Winslow Grand Hotel, built in 1878. As Nell is settling in, strange things begin to happen. Doors lock of their own accord, writing appears on bathroom walls--and most horrifying of all--visions of a dead boy permeate her waking life. Thinking it was her mind playing tricks on her, she soon finds the past and the present colliding as she learns horrific details of a murder that happened at the hotel in 1905 involving a girl named Lea.

Nell and a mysterious bellboy must relive that day in hopes of finally breaking a curse that imprisons them both. And Nell discovers what truly links her to the history of the Winslow Grand Hotel.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Be sure to check out the entire tour lineup over at The Fantastic Flying Bookclub! Also scroll to the bottom to enter the giveaway. 🙂

I was not, honestly, expecting this book to be creepy. In my experience most YA books that try to be “horror” or even just plain mystery are usually only vaguely so. I am thrilled to report that Remember Me was better than most! I actually felt the hair on my arms raising at points. It was awesome! It did have a little trouble getting off the ground, in my opinion, but once the settings (yes, plural, as the POV alternates with a modern day one and a historical one) were established I absolutely couldn’t put it down. Highly recommend if you enjoy both YA and mystery/paranormal type books!

My one caveat: mental illness is somewhat used as a plot device. Treatment is given respect and not made fun of, and Nell’s feelings about her mother’s death and her subsequent therapy and very common, but I didn’t like the way it was made to be just a result of a THING in the plot. Terribly vague to avoid spoiling.

This is a very hard book to review because of the risk of spoiling, which really would ruin a lot of the story…so here are some quotes to whet your appetite! It really is an amazing, multi-layered tale and I strongly recommend it. Also, there’s a good bit of sweet, swoon-worthy romance. 😉

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It’s as if the air is heavy with their presence, every year and every guest superimposed on the other, all occurring in the same place, standing on the same floors, surrounded by the same walls. The only thing separating us is time.

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He does not have to say the words: Or else. They are implied in the tightening of his fists and in the memories of bruises hidden where no one could see. “Yes, Father.”

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I just keep feeling my hair twisting in midair, keep hearing the bulbs shatter, keep seeing those bodies lying on the floor, drenched in blood, and the man standing over them, asking me to join them.

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He looks at me with a hunger so intense, I feel it radiating down to the tips of my toes. He looks at me like I’m the only thing he wants. The only thing he’s ever wanted.

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I understand kissing now.

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About the Author

 

Chelsea Bobulski was born in Columbus, Ohio, and raised on Disney movies, classic musicals, and Buckeye pride. She’s always had a penchant for the fantastical, the stories that teach us there is more to this world than meets the eye. She has a soft spot for characters with broken pasts, strange talents, and a dash of destiny in their bones. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a degree in history, she promptly married her high school sweetheart and settled down in Northwest Ohio with her notebooks and daydreams and copious amounts of chocolate. THE WOOD is her debut novel.

 

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four-stars

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Jun 03

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Book Reviews 1 ★★★½

Stepsister by Jennifer DonnellyStepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Published by Scholastic Press on May 14, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 352
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Goodreads three-half-stars

Isabelle should be blissfully happy – she’s about to win the handsome prince. Except Isabelle isn’t the beautiful girl who lost the glass slipper and captured the prince’s heart. She’s the ugly stepsister who’s cut off her toes to fit into Cinderella’s shoe ... which is now filling with blood.

When the prince discovers Isabelle’s deception, she is turned away in shame. It’s no more than she deserves: she is a plain girl in a world that values beauty; a feisty girl in a world that wants her to be pliant.

Isabelle has tried to fit in. To live up to her mother’s expectations. To be like her stepsister. To be sweet. To be pretty. One by one, she has cut away pieces of herself in order to survive a world that doesn’t appreciate a girl like her. And that has made her mean, jealous, and hollow.

Until she gets a chance to alter her destiny and prove what ugly stepsisters have always known: it takes more than heartache to break a girl.

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“Have you forgotten what I am? I am the heart’s first beat and its last. I am the newborn lamb and the wolf that rips out its throat. I am the bloodsong, crone.”

Stepsister is the story of what happens to Cinderella’s family after she marries her prince and leaves them for the palace life. I was SO excited for this book, and I loved the cover, and the premise! So, while I enjoyed it and finished it pretty quickly, this was unfortunately one of those books where I really felt like I read a different book than what other reviewers read. I saw several reviews that said it was incredibly dark, and gritty, and feminist…and while it definitely tries to be all of those things, it doesn’t quite pull it off. I think one of the main issues I have is that the book is simply too short to successfully BE what it was aiming for. I was quite surprised when it arrived, as it seemed like a very slim volume for the tale I was expecting – it comes in at 352 pages, in a book shorter than your usual hardcover. It feels rushed, and as a result I wasn’t able to fully believe in the characters or their feelings.

HOWEVER. I was still extremely curious all the way through, as it isn’t ever exactly clear how Isabelle and Octavia (the other stepsister) will reclaim themselves and their circumstances. I expected a lot more darkness, but to be honest the most horrifying thing happens in the first chapter (and isn’t a surprise) when both sisters mutilate their feet in an attempt to wear the glass slipper.

*insert Jeopardy theme song*

I kept waiting for something else bloody and awful to happen but it really…didn’t. And yes, I know, what kind of a person does this make me…I’m trying not to think too hard on that. 😛 I also loved the idea of the wolf within, slumbering under the heart of a girl who had been told to be quiet and still and stay in her place.

More Things I Liked

  • Both sisters have very unconventional interests (Octavia is a mathemetician, and Isabelle is a tactician) that have been smothered by their mother and society in general. I loved how they grew and blossomed and came into themselves as the story progressed.
  • There are some real zingers in here…

“The feeling that you want to own someone body and soul, spirit them away from everyone else, have them all to yourself forever and ever and ever,” Hugo said dreamily. “It’s called love.”

“No, it’s called kidnapping,” said Tavi.”

  • The bet between Fate and Chance was pretty interesting. I wish there had been a little more explanation of how they came to be in their current form and the mapwriting…etc.
  • THE FAIRY GODMOTHER!!!! OMG. I don’t want to spoil anything but holy crap this is my favorite fairy godmother interpretation of all time.

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May 30

Two Like Me and You – Review and Tour!

Book Reviews, Book Tours 0 ★★★½

Be sure to check out all the other blogs on the tour over on XpressoTours!

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Two Like Me and You – Review and Tour!Two Like Me and You by Chad Alan Gibbs
Published by Borne Back Books on May 20, 2019
Genres: Modern, Young Adult
Pages: 298
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Goodreads three-half-stars

Edwin Green's ex-girlfriend is famous. We're talking cover-of-every-tabloid-in-the-grocery-store-line famous. She dumped Edwin one year ago on what he refers to as Black Saturday, and in hopes of winning her back, he's spent the last twelve months trying to become famous himself. It hasn't gone well.

But when a history class assignment pairs Edwin with Parker Haddaway, the mysterious new girl at school, she introduces him to Garland Lenox, a nursing-home-bound World War II veteran who will change Edwin's life forever.

The three escape to France, in search of the old man's long-lost love, and as word of their adventure spreads, they become media darlings. But when things fall apart, they also become the focus of French authorities. In a race against time, who will find love, and who will only find more heartache?

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Two Like Me and You is a quirky, funny debut novel about two teenagers trying to navigate their own mental and emotional growing pains, and their quest to help an old man find the girl he lost in the chaos of World War II. I was a bit skeptical of the tone of the book at first, but soon it becomes apparent that Edwin, our narrator, just has a rather anxiety-filled yet still somehow irreverent way of looking at life. And that he’s still not over his now famous ex-girlfriend, Sadie.

Parker is hilarious and so unashamedly herself, I absolutely loved her. I would love to see another book from her point of view. She isn’t afraid to take chances (to the point of stupidity, at one point, but thankfully no one was harmed), and she isn’t afraid to be different. That’s my kind of girl!

There is a lot of stuff going on in this story that just…would never, ever happen. I know it’s fiction, of course, but still. I expect my contemporaries to be a little more realistic. For instance, there is NO WAY IN HELL any nursing home would have let an old man go off with two high school kids. Definitely not the way it’s explained away in this story, anyway. Also all the running around and dodging of police? Come on, y’all. Just be prepared to have to suspend a little more disbelief than you might be use to.

The romance was cute, very puppy-love like. Edwin is sweet, but he has a lot of growing up to do. Parker does right by him though. She totally does. You’ll have to read it to find out what I mean!

Overall this was a very enjoyable read, lighthearted but with some really heartfelt bits when Gordon is telling his story of being in France and meeting the love of his life during the war. I was expecting a little more of a Letters to Juliet type story, but I was still quite satisfied with how this turned out. 3.5/5 stars!

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May 28

No Place Like Here – Review and Tour!

Book Reviews 3 ★★★★★

Be sure to check out all the stops on the tour over at Prism Book Tours!

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No Place Like Here – Review and Tour!No Place Like Here by Christina June
Published by Blink on May 21, 2019
Genres: Modern, Young Adult
Pages: 272
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Goodreads five-stars

Ashlyn Zanotti has big plans for the summer. She’s just spent a year at boarding school and can’t wait to get home. But when Ashlyn’s father is arrested for tax evasion and her mother enters a rehab facility for “exhaustion,” a.k.a. depression, her life is turned upside down.

The cherry on top? Ashlyn’s father sends her to work with a cousin she doesn’t even know at a rustic team-building retreat center in the middle of nowhere. A self-proclaimed “indoor girl,” not even Ash’s habit of leaving breadcrumb quotes—inspirational sayings she scribbles everywhere—can help her cope.

With a dangerously careless camp manager doling out grunt work, an overbearing father trying to control her even from prison, and more than a little boy drama to struggle with, the summer is full of challenges. And Ashlyn must make the toughest decision of her life: keep quiet and follow her dad’s marching orders, or find the courage to finally stand up to her father to have any hope of finding her way back home.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

No Place Like Here was so much more than I expected! I went into it thinking I was getting a somewhat fluffy summer camp novel (at only 272 pages I finished it in half a shift at work – yes, my job is that slow). While there were fluffy aspects, it was so much deeper and touched my heart in ways I was completely surprised by.

Ashlyn’s entire world has been turned upside down. All her plans for the summer have gone out the window. Her parents BOTH seem to have abandoned her. She’s been shipped off to stay with relatives she hasn’t seen for nearly a decade. She plans to just keep her head down and her mouth shut, just like she has for the entire life she’s spent with her overbearing, self-centered father. But then she realizes that she does still have a family that cares about her, and she starts to grow into herself. She grows SO MUCH in this short book, it was really amazing and yet still very believable.

I loved that she didn’t just grow up and shut her parents out. She grew up and at least tried to start the healing process with them. Her mom’s struggle with depression felt realistically portrayed, and I really appreciated the positive mental health rep in the book! Getting help is NOT a weakness, or a waste of time. YES!

Also, a HUGE thank you to Christina June for not making this a “romance is the answer” story. There is a little flirtation, a little kissing, a lot of attraction – but no real romance. So many stories portray romantic relationships as the cure-all for what ails us and it’s just so not true!

Now I need to go back and read the books that came before this one. Apparently some of the same characters show up, so I’m personally hoping that after No Place Like Here we get to hear more of Baxter’s story…

5/5 stars. I loved this book! I’ll be waiting for anything else Christina June puts out.

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Apr 29

The Cold is in Her Bones

Book Reviews 1 ★★★

I won an ARC of this in a GoodReads giveaway (my second, in HOW many years of entering)!

The Cold is in Her BonesThe Cold Is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on January 22, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 288
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Goodreads three-stars

One girl must uncover secrets of the past to save her friend from a terrible curse in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption inspired by the myth of Medusa.

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla's whole world is her family's farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she's forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Girls who run from what frightens them don’t get what they want.

The Cold is in Her Bones is a loose retelling of Medusa’s story. I was expecting a lot more Greek influence, to be honest, so I was a little disappointed. It feels much more like a fairy tale of the British/German type, and the setting is very obviously inspired by that era, not ancient Greece. Maybe it was just me! Oh, and I was expecting snakes of the creepy variety. Um, there’s ONE. Well, one at a time. And they’re CUTE, not creepy.

A specific place or time is never given, so it feels sort of like a historical and sort of like a fantasy world. The writing itself is intriguing, though it seems a little jerky at times. In the beginning we start off with one character, and then we never see her again until much, MUCH later. So that was a bit odd.

Overall, this is a story of a girl, Milla, growing into herself and not only accepting herself, but seizing her personhood with both hands and lighting up her world. She refuses to be a “good girl” – though not at first. At first she, like many of us, is sad that she cannot be the daughter her parents want and tries very hard to please them. I absolutely loved how she eventually realized her own power and potential and threw off all the societal expectations.

I really wasn’t sure what to make of the old woman, or Milla’s brother, or even what I was supposed to think of Milla’s parents! It was just all very…well, “floaty.” I felt very much like I was drifting along trying to puzzle the pieces together. I felt really sorry for Iris and, much like Milla, only wanted to help her.

I would read something by this author again. I just think this story needed a little more direction and polish. The writing was good and the tone was great. Just…needed a little more.

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Mar 26

Small Town Hearts Review and Tour

Book Reviews, Book Tours 3 ★★★★★

Small Town Hearts Review and TourSmall Town Hearts by Lillie Vale
on March 19, 2019
Genres: Young Adult
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads five-stars

Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.

And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had - to never fall for a summer boy?

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’m so excited to get to share Lillie Vale’s debut novel, Small Town Hearts, with you! Be sure to check out all the tour stops and enter the giveaway below.

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5/5 stars for an adorable, realistic summer romance! I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did. But I was intrigued by the synopsis, being a small-town girl at heart myself, and while I’ve only visited Maine once it was gorgeous and picturesque and I would love to go back.

“The cardinal rule of every beach town is that locals do not get involved with tourists. They always leave.”

Babe is a bisexual baking barista (try saying that five times fast) who is struggling to let go and move on as her life – and her best friends – change around her. Her two bests friends are going on to college, and she’s not. Her choice, but she wants everyone she’s grown up with to stay the same right along with her. But is she really staying the same?

I absolutely loved the way Babe stuck to her guns about NOT going to college and staying in her home town. I think sometimes in all the narratives (and real life experiences) of people leaving home and never looking back, that we forget there are people who love their towns and what to stay there, build a life for themselves in the same place they grew up. On the other hand, I was glad that Babe realized she wasn’t entirely staying the same, she was growing and changing as a person too – even if she stayed in the same physical place.

Levi and Babe were adorable together. Even though their relationship is a little insta-y, it wasn’t insta-LOVE and I appreciated that. After all, insta-LIKE is pretty common and has a large variety of endings, haha. They had chemistry, but the author steered away from things like heavenly boy-sweat and sparks flying from the touches of fingertips. Thank you. I also loved that they both knew, pretty much from the start, that their relationship (whatever it was at the time) might not be permanent, and they were okay with that.

Babe’s issues with Elodie, her ex-girlfriend, were difficult to read about. Elodie is not out, and Babe has been for years, so that really threw a painful wrench into their relationship. After their breakup, Babe eventually – after a lot of tears and pain – moves on. When Elodie comes back to town after a year at college, Babe didn’t crumble. She had realized how much Elodie hurt her and how much she was a selfish person, and wasn’t going to let her do it again.

She was deflecting, trying to unload the responsibility of her decisions on me.

Having let people do this to me more times than I can count, I actually teared up that Babe found the strength within herself to call Elodie out on it. YES. Because it is damn difficult.

Also I desperately wanted some of Babe’s baking confections. OMG. I was EXTREMELY disappointed that there were not recipes for these…I mean, come on! That’s just cruel. Maybe someone will be inspired to come up with some? Because I know I’m not that talented…just page me if it happens.  Kthx.

Highly recommend for a breezy summer read that still has some substance. I loved it and am very excited to see what debut author Lillie Vale comes out with next!

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Mar 18

The Waking Forest Review

Book Reviews 0 ★★★½

The Waking Forest ReviewThe Waking Forest by Alyssa Wees
on March 12, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, magical realism, Young Adult
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads three-half-stars

The waking forest has secrets. To Rhea, it appears like a mirage, dark and dense, at the very edge of her backyard. But when she reaches out to touch it, the forest vanishes. She’s desperate to know more—until she finds a peculiar boy who offers to reveal its secrets. If she plays a game.

To the Witch, the forest is her home, where she sits on her throne of carved bone, waiting for dreaming children to beg her to grant their wishes. One night, a mysterious visitor arrives and asks her what she wishes for, but the Witch sends him away. And then the uninvited guest returns.

The strangers are just the beginning. Something is stirring in the forest, and when Rhea’s and the Witch’s paths collide, a truth more treacherous and deadly than either could ever imagine surfaces. But how much are they willing to risk to survive?

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I sort of do know what she means, sitting here in the semi-dark and the semi-silence. I have a scratchy, restless feeling, as if my soul were grinding against my skin, my bones, not necessarily wanting to get out but urging my body to go to impossible places, convinced I can touch the stars and not burn.

The Waking Forest is a story that is a true journey. I wasn’t EXACTLY sure what to expect going into it, and I was almost halfway through before I was even sure what the heck I was reading! Perhaps not the most stellar start for a debut novel, BUT. Bear with me – and bear with the book, too. While I did only rate it at 3.5/5 stars, I also feel it is totally a book worth reading and I will gladly be reading the next novel that Alyssa Wees comes out with.

The first half of the book is told in alternating chapters between Rhea, in our modern world, and the Witch of the Wood, in a very odd dream-like world. I was SO confused as to what was supposed to be happening in these…but the writing is beautiful. If you are not into heavy descriptions and very sustained metaphors, you might not enjoy it. It’s a very different style from what I’ve been reading recently, so it took a little while for it to grow on me. But grow on me it did, and eventually the prose (which could, admittedly, be considered kind of “purple” prose) was just painting these amazing pictures…so even if I was turned around and had no idea where the story was going, I was just enjoying the journey.

Eventually the two tales merge, and that is rather…mind-bending. There is enough foreshadowing that you sort of see it coming, but not…not…in the way it played out, or at least I didn’t. The story shifts to an entirely fantasy world, with incredible creatures and magic. I really wish the magic had been better explained! I was still kind of confused by how everything worked in the end, but it was glorious and shiny and I liked it.

My absolute favorite part was Rhea’s relationship with her sisters. These four girls are kicking ass and taking names and making no apologies – and dealing with their own issues along the way. There is some beautiful encouragement for those of us who struggle with anxiety in these pages – and the characters aren’t considered less than or incapable because of it! I loved it. Absolutely loved it.

Overall, The Waking Forest isn’t perfect but if you like fantasy and quirky characters, definitely give it a try. And keep an eye out for more books by Wees!

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Feb 28

You Asked for Perfect Review

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★★

You Asked for Perfect ReviewYou Asked for Perfect by Laura Silverman
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on March 5, 2019
Genres: Modern, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads five-stars

Senior Ariel Stone is the perfect college applicant: first chair violin, dedicated community volunteer, and expected valedictorian. He works hard - really hard - to make his life look effortless. A failed Calculus quiz is not part of that plan. Not when he’s number one. Not when his peers can smell weakness like a freshman’s body spray.

Figuring a few all-nighters will preserve his class rank, Ariel throws himself into studying. His friends will understand if he skips a few plans, and he can sleep when he graduates. Except Ariel’s grade continues to slide. Reluctantly, he gets a tutor. Amir and Ariel have never gotten along, but Amir excels in Calculus, and Ariel is out of options.

Ariel may not like Calc, but he might like Amir. Except adding a new relationship to his long list of commitments may just push him past his limit.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

You Asked for Perfect absolutely gutted me. Shattered my heart. All the feels.

I was not expecting this. In fact, I put off reading this book for a LONG time, because I was so much less excited about it than about Girl Out of Water, Laura Silverman’s first book (which is, um, apparently one of those books I meant to write a review for and never got around to…oops). However, since I’m trying to be a good little reviewer – and also, hello, academic stress, I can relate – I picked it up last week.

Ariel Stone is the classic, driven, overachiever student. Except he’s Jewish and bisexual. Also, he’s waaaaaaay stressed out, and despite the 10+ year age difference I can so relate.

I used to like studying. That burst of satisfaction when new material clicks. The competitive gratification of finishing a test first, knowing you got everything right.

YES! So true! But then there is the pressure we type-A people like to put on ourselves…and the expectations of our family/teachers/friends…and next thing you know, studying is about as fun as plucking your leg hair out with tweezers.

If I stay any longer, he’ll see what’s happening. He’ll see I don’t understand. I’m not smart enough. I’m an imposter. If I’m going to lose everything I’ve worked for, at least I don’t have to do it in front of an audience.

I really just wanted to wrap Ariel up in a big hug. Like, this kid put so much stress on himself, and he cares so much about his family – and, oh, let’s not forget Amir, because Amir is cool on his own and he and Ariel together is just adorable. Oh, and his FAMILY! Actually, both of their families…why did I not have relationships like this as a teenager? They are supportive – academically and emotionally. The sibling banter is fun and believable. I liked that the story included Ariel’s little sister Rachel, and showed just HOW YOUNG the academic pressure can and does start. It broke my heart, not just Rachel, but Ariel, and Isaac (another young savant that is a secondary character but also struggling).

“If it’s not important to you, why do you tell everyone I’m applying there? It’s all you guys talk about. Like it’s the only worthwhile thing about me.” My voice begins to shake. “If I don’t get in, that’s it. I’ll be Ariel, the one who didn’t get into Harvard. I’ll let everyone down. I’ll let you guys down. And I might not get in. I really might not, because I’m not perfect. They asked for perfect, and I’m not.”

Ariel really grows so much through this story, even though it takes place over only a few weeks. He realizes a lot of his pressure is internal, and he realizes that sometimes…people are more important than academics. Basically he came to the realization that I wish I had, years and years ago. Realizing that sometimes, a couple of extra points on a test aren’t worth missing quality time with family and friends. Oh, and he also got a cute boyfriend out of it, which is always a plus. 😉

5/5 stars. Go buy it, go read it, go hug it.

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Feb 11

Comics Will Break Your Heart

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

Comics Will Break Your HeartComics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks
Published by Roaring Brook Press on February 12, 2019
Genres: Modern, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
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Goodreads four-stars

Miriam's family should be rich. After all, her grandfather was the co-creator of smash-hit comics series The TomorrowMen. But he sold his rights to the series to his co-creator in the 1960s for practically nothing, and now that's what Miriam has: practically nothing. And practically nothing to look forward to either-how can she afford college when her family can barely keep a roof above their heads? As if she didn't have enough to worry about, Miriam's life gets much more complicated when a cute boy shows up in town . . . and turns out to be the grandson of the man who defrauded Miriam's grandfather, and heir to the TomorrowMen fortune.

In her endearing debut novel, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks pens a sensitive and funny Romeo and Juliet tale about modern romance, geek royalty, and what it takes to heal the long-festering scars of the past (Spoiler Alert: love).

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Comics Will Break Your Heart was an adorable story with hattips to geeks of all kinds – from the greats of British literature to, obviously, comic book fans! The plot is loosely based on Romeo and Juliet, only the two families in question are descendents of patriarchs who together birthed one of the greatest comic book franchises of all time, only to have a bitter falling out.

Mir and Weldon are both likable characters, young people approaching the end of high school with the usual amount of trepidation and flailing about as they try to figure out their place in the world and what they want to do with their lives. They meet by sheer accident, when Weldon’s misbehavior prompts his high-powered, fame and fortune focused father to send him away for the summer, to his aunt and uncle’s house in the small town he has rarely seen. Despite his undercurrent of resentment and propensity for lying, Weldon is charismatic and charms just about everyone he meets. Mir has a work ethic to rival most adults, desperate to rise above her family’s extreme economy of existence. I liked that she didn’t seem embarrassed by her admittedly rather eccentric parents, but she knew that their choices were not going to be hers. I could understand her resentment of being forced to the extremes of frugal living – such as buying a second hand Monopoly and painting rocks to replace the missing pieces.

The cast of side characters was endearing too, even if I felt that their stories were left unfinished. I loved Mir’s friends Evan and Raleigh, and I hope maybe the author plans to write more about them at some point. Evan especially! He was just so sweet and kind and clearly cared so much about Mir. I really liked that even though he wanted to care about her in a more-than-friends way, when she said made it clear she wasn’t interested he completely dropped it, but remained a great friend. A lot of guys could take a lesson! 😛

The Romeo/Juliet plot was a little weak, mostly because of its predictability. The adults of the two families have had some hard feelings in the past, but their reasons for estrangement sound weak, especially the way Weldon’s aunt presents her case.

4/5 stars. I loved the descriptions of fandoms and comics, and Comic Con. It definitely appeals to the inner (and not so inner) nerd!

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Jan 31

Maud

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★★

MaudMaud by Melanie J. Fishbane
Published by Penguin Teen on April 25, 2017
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
Pages: 376
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Goodreads five-stars

Fourteen-year-old Lucy Maud Montgomery—Maud to her friends—has a dream: to go to college and, just like her idol, Louisa May Alcott, become a writer. But living with her grandparents on Prince Edward Island, she worries that this dream will never come true. Her grandfather has strong opinions about a woman’s place in the world, and they do not include spending good money on college. Luckily, she has a teacher to believe in her, and good friends to support her, including Nate, the Baptist minister’s stepson and the smartest boy in the class. If only he weren’t a Baptist; her Presbyterian grandparents would never approve. Then again, Maud isn’t sure she wants to settle down with a boy—her dreams of being a writer are much more important.

Life changes for Maud when she goes out West to live with her father and his new wife and daughter. Her new home offers her another chance at love, as well as attending school, but tensions increase as Maud discovers her stepmother’s plans for her, which threaten Maud’s future—and her happiness—forever.

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Maud is an engaging fictionalized account of the early life of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the creator of the Anne of Green Gables books beloved the world over. While a work of historical fiction, the book encompasses many known facts and events of Montgomery’s life. I was very surprised to see how very similar, in many ways, her growing up years were to those of her character Anne. It was also very sad to see how, unlike Anne, she never really seemed to have support or love from much of her family. I was very intrigued to say the least, and will be looking at a full length biography of her in the future.

I was struck by how hard Montgomery worked to be able to write her stories. In a time when women were expected only to marry and have children, and anything else was considered strange or even evil, she chose education over even her current happiness or in some cases relationships with her family. She seems to have been a feminist before the term was coined. Though she did of course later marry and have children, it was only after she was an established and successful author.

The author takes time to shed light on the condition of women’s rights at this time in Canadian history, as well as the plight of some of the native people such as the Metis. There is also particular emphasis on the conflict between different denominations within the Christian church.

The author has included a brief historical biography in the back of the book, along with specifics about what happened to certain characters. This really helped to tie up the story, especially since this particular book ended before Montgomery was even eighteen.

4.5/5 stars. Highly recommend for anyone who has enjoyed the Anne of Green Gables story!

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