Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler

Book Title: Twenty Boy Summer
Author: Sarah Ockler
Published Date: June 1st, 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
"Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Okay."
"Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?"
"Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?"


According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review:
I had heard so many beautiful things about this book and I was so excited to read it, but I was never fully invested in it. The characters didn't interest me at all and that's so crucial for me in order for me to love a book. I found myself bored by the characters, particularly Frankie. Holy hell she was a pain in the ass and while I understood that she was grieving, it wasn't an excuse for her to be a terrible person.

The pacing was very slow and I found myself skimming pages and then realizing that I wasn't missing anything major. Nothing exciting or even remotely interesting was happening. Frankie was obsessed with Anna losing her virginity, which I found to be very creepy. Anna's virginity was no one's business but hers. Yet Frankie was obsessed with finding Anna a summer fling and I found Frankie's boy obsession to be quite grating.

I also didn't feel like the characters were as developed as I would have liked. I wanted to see more about Frankie actually dealing with her brother's death in a constructive way and not in a "become more girly & boy obsessed way" I wanted desperately to connect with these characters and that just didn't happen. Major disappointment.

I wanted to cry and swoon, but that didn't happen. I was expecting to bawl like some of my other blogger friends did. I was expecting Matt and Sam to both make me swoon for different reasons, but that didn't happen. In fact both boys seemed rather bland and I think that had to do with the lackluster character development.

In short, this book just didn't work for me. I'm definitely disappointed as I had such high hopes for this book. It kills me to give this book 2 stars but I am going to have to as I didn't enjoy this book. Hopefully someone else will love it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Book Title: Noggin
Author: John Corey Whaley
Published Date: April 8th, 2014
Publisher: Atheneum Books For Young Readers
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review:
Eeeeeep! This book was such an awesome treat. It was quirky, interesting and it managed to combine science fiction elements with a contemporary feel. I really wasn't sure how I'd feel about it because I am so picky about my science fiction stories and this one seemed so out there that I wasn't sure how I would feel about it. I mean come on, a kid's head is sawed off of his body after death and then it's stored in the freezer of a cryogenic facility in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, they are able to reattach the head to a donor body and magically Travis wakes up?

Doesn't that sound just a bit far fetched?

It definitely did to me, but I fell for the characters. For Travis's family he was basically gone for 5 years, but to Travis it feels like only seconds have passed. Suddenly everything is different, his best friend Kyle retreated back into the closet, Travis's longtime love Cate is now engaged to another guy and Kyle's sister, who five years ago, was a gangly 9 year old has transformed into something of a hottie.

It was Travis's voice that hooked me. He was desperately trying to find his place in the world again. Yes, he was a little obsessive about Cate and that did drive me a little batty, but I had to keep reminding myself that he had been gone for 5 years, but to Travis it felt like he had only been gone a nanosecond. He was trying to reclaim his friendship with Kyle even though he didn't understand what had happened to Kyle. Why had Kyle slipped back into the closet?

I really enjoyed this book, but I felt like the ending was a bit rushed. I wanted a little more resolution in the end. It felt very open ended and while I can see why that was done, I craved more. Craving more is definitely the mark of a great book. I going to give this book 4 stars. I definitely need to buy myself a copy of this book.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #47

This feature is from Tynga's Reviews.

Have I mentioned how much I love my library? Oh man, they have some amazing YA books, which is awesome since I don't have enough money to buy books at the moment. I picked up 5 books at the library, including two books I was VERY excited about. I think I am going to stop putting holds on books so I can catch up on my reading.

Do you guys REALLY think I can keep that vow? Yeah, probably not.

Let's see what I added to my shelves this week.

Bought
-
Received for Review

-Edelweiss-
The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

Won
-
Gifted
Signed bookmarks from author Christa Desir.

Borrowed From Library
Graduation Day (The Testing #3) by Joelle Charbonneau
Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die #1) by Danielle Paige
That Summer by Sarah Dessen
To All The Boys I've Loved Before (To All The Boys I've Loved Before #1) by Jenny Han
Vitro by Jessica Khoury

So definitely let me know if you are excited about any of these books or if you have already read them. You can even let me know which library book to start with if you want.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Book Title: The Truth About Forever
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin Group
Published Date: May 11th, 2004
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble

Synopsis from Goodreads:
A long, hot summer...

That's what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy's father.

But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister's project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl's world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?

Disclaimer: This book is a library book.

Review:
What a huge disappointment this book turned out to be for me. I know I am definitely in the minority with this book, but I could not get into it at all. I struggled pretty much the whole way through. Macy is considered a "good girl" she is smart, spends her summer evenings prepping for the SAT's and has a "perfect" boyfriend who expects her to be perfect as well. See, right there I would have had an issue. 

Macy's boyfriend Jason was awful. When she tried to express her feelings for him, he called her clingy and didn't want anything to do with her. Plus he was BORING. Holy moly, he acted like a 40 year old businessman instead of a kind teenager with a good heart. Macy hasn't known any different and it takes her several weeks after Jason departs for Brain Camp, for her to realize that Jason never made her feel good about herself. 

In fact, he was constantly critical of her. In the letters he sent her in the beginning, he criticized her for not being devoted enough to a library job, the letters he wrote to her included reminders of things she needed to keep on top of at the library. He basically treated her like crap and Macy simply thought "I know how he feels about me." She was brainwashed into thinking that this relationship and the way Jason was treating her, was okay.

The parts about the catering were at least mildly interesting, but the character development definitely lacked. No one really grew, there wasn't any intriguing story arcs. Wes, was boring too, but at least he was a decent individual whose goals didn't stop him from being a good person and a friend to those who needed him.

I think a lot more could have been done with Macy's grief and how she dealt with it. I felt that storyline wasn't as present as I was hoping it was. It could have made for a very emotional book, and that would have vastly improved the book. I don't think the author went for it as well as she could have.

The book itself was very slow and I am really not a fan of books that are this slow. That coupled with the lackluster character development and the boring-ness of Macy & Wes' relationship forces me to give the book 2 stars. I am really bummed about it, but this book just didn't work for me. I definitely seem to be in the minority, so definitely give it a try.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Review: One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

Book Title: One Man Guy
Author: Michael Barakiva
Publish Date: May 27th, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Genre: LGBT YA
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
A heartfelt, laugh-out-loud-funny story of romance, family, and self-discovery.

Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.

Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again.

Disclaimer: This is a library book.

Review:
This book was PERFECT!

I am so, SO glad Blythe & Lili pushed this one on me. I tend to have very similar tastes in books with these two ladies so I had a feeling I'd love this book. And I was right. I loved the insight into the Armenian culture as I didn't know anything about it. It sounds depressing and sad, but the only knowledge of the Armenian culture was through the Kardashians. 

However, I loved learning about the family and food aspect of the culture. I was drooling over the foods Alek and his family made throughout the book, which is funny, because I don't generally go for the types of foods depicted in the book. Yes, Alek's parents were strict, but I got the feeling that was par for the course in Armenian families. I thought the whole thing about his parents packing his lunch & laying out his clothes to wear was a little much. I mean he IS fourteen. But again, that was part of the culture.

It is Ethan who teaches him the difference between "have to" and "want to" Ethan encourages him to break the rules and do something that he wants to do instead of what his parents say he has to. Ethan is the one who helps Alek realize he's gay. It was nothing Alek had ever considered before. He had had girlfriends before, but it had been awhile.

It was Alek's best friend Becky, who encouraged him to go after Ethan, to tell Ethan how he felt. I loved that Alek had a female best friend. I really think opposite sex friendships are very underrepresented in YA, so I was excited to see Becky & Alek's friendship continue throughout the book. I really loved that Becky didn't abandon Alek when it was revealed that Alek was falling for Ethan. So many teenagers lose friends when they come out, thankfully Alek did not.

Their first kiss was so adorable, sweet and just so PERFECT. I totally thought that Ethan would kiss him first, but I actually liked that Alek initiated the first kiss. I felt that it actually made so much more sense than it would have if Ethan had initiated the kiss. 

This book was about family, friendship, and realizing who you really are. I cannot say enough amazing things about this book. It was funny, cute, romantic. It really was an absolutely perfect book and I'm so excited and happy that I read it. 5 stars to this book that stole my heart.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Review: Ten by Gretchen McNeil

Book Title: Ten
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Published Date: September 18th, 2012
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Thriller
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
SHHHH!
Don't spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.


It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?

Disclaimer: This is a library book.

Review:
Holy crap on a cracker, this book was terrifying. I really need to remember not to read thrillers like this in the middle of the night.  Unless, of course, I don't want to sleep. I wasn't sure what I was getting into with this book. I had heard mixed things about it, but I had had my eye on it for awhile and so I wanted to at least give it a shot. 

I am so glad I gave this book a shot. From the beginning, it's clear that things aren't what they seem. The supposed host is not there, even though this is her parents house and she sent out the invite.

Or did she?

After the DVD with the creepy message is watched, things go from lighthearted fun, to terrifying reality. Teens are being picked off left and right, each of them more disturbingly than the previous one. Before too long, the remaining teens are forced to realize that either there's someone else in the house with them who's killing everyone. Or, and probably more disturbing, the killer is one of them.

This book was filled with twists and turns and I honestly had no idea what was going on. At any one time I had 5+ scenarios running through my head at once. I didn't know what to expect, who to trust, who was behind everything that was going on at the house.

I wanted more character development aside from Minnie and Meg. I didn't feel like I got to know Vivian, Lori, Gunner or any of the others all that well. Really the character development issue is my only complaint. The book was fast paced, which I loved and it totally left me in a state of confusion until the end. I love when books do that.

I am going to give this book 4 stars. If you like YA thrillers, then you should definitely give this one a try. It was a great read and I am excited to read Gretchen McNeil's next book.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Review: Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens

Book Title: Never Knowing
Author: Chevy Stevens
Publish Date: July 5th, 2011
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Genre: Adult Mystery
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
The second novel by Chevy Stevens, author of bestseller STILL MISSING.

At thirty-three Sara Gallagher is finally happy. Her antique furniture restoration business is taking off and she’s engaged to a wonderful man. But there’s one big question that still haunts her — who are her birth parents? Sara is finally ready to find out. 

Sara’s birth mother rejects her—again. Then she discovers her biological father is an infamous killer who’s been hunting women every summer for almost forty years. Sara tries to come to terms with her horrifying parentage — and her fears that she’s inherited more than his looks — with her therapist, Nadine, who we first met in "Still Missing." But soon Sara realizes the only thing worse than finding out your father is a killer is him finding out about you. 

Some questions are better left unanswered. 

"Never knowing" is a complex and compelling portrayal of one woman’s quest to understand where she comes from. That is, if she can survive…

Disclaimer: I got this book from the library.

Review:
I was really excited about this book when I first started it, but that excitement waned as I read the book which really bummed me out. I was excited about this book because I love stories about adoption. Plus I knew very little about my own father so I wanted to see how Sara's story played out.

I feel like I've said this multiple times recently, but I don't have to like the characters in order to like the book. However, Sara was obnoxious. I get wanting to know about your biological parents. I get wanting to know where you came from, but clearly Sara's birth-mother didn't want to talk to her and after finding out that her father was the infamous Campsite Killer, Sara should have just dropped it. 

I found her to be very selfish and I completely agreed with Evan, her fiance, the entire book. She didn't know how to just let it go. She put her fiance in danger, she put her daughter in danger. Not cool and she definitely was not protecting Ally even though she swore up and down that protecting Ally was her priority.

The character development was lacking pretty much across the board, which bummed me out.  as I put very high emphasis on wanting well developed characters. The most well developed character I thought was Ally. It's hard for children to be well developed characters in books, but that was one thing that Stevens did well in this book.

The pacing was great and I did enjoy the ending of the book. It was exactly how I would have ended the book if I were Stevens. However the character development and most specifically, Sara's actions throughout the entire book really ruined the book for me. So that is why I am going to have to give the book 3 stars.I didn't hate it, but I also didn't love it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Book Title: The Beginning of Everything
Author: Robyn Schneider
Published Date: August 27th, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? 

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

Disclaimer: This book is a library book.

Review:
Ever read a book in on sitting and then try to talk about the things that happened in the book, but come up wordless? Well that was me with this book. I read it in one day and I honestly can't think of anything major that happened in the book. It felt like a whole lot of nothing.

Normally I like relationships that burn slowly, but I have no idea what drew Cassidy and Ezra together. I didn't feel the spark between them. I didn't want to root for them which is never a good sign. Obviously I liked Cassidy better than I liked Ezra's ex, but that still doesn't say much.

I am not someone who has to like the characters in a book in order to like the book itself, but in this book, the only characters I actually liked were secondary characters, Toby & Phoebe. I didn't care for Ezra or Cassidy. Ezra was not swoony and I found myself confused for the majority of the book about what exactly had happened to him. Cassidy was flaky and I felt like the circumstances behind her tragedy were brushed over too quickly.

The ending was too rushed. I felt like a lot of things happened very quickly at the end and I was having to reread pages to make sure I didn't miss something major. The thing with Cooper at the end was brutal and I think totally not needed. It actually upset me because of how graphic it was. I'm sure the same effect could have been made using a different tactic.

I'm so bummed that I didn't enjoy this book. I had such high hopes for it, but it just didn't work for me. I didn't feel the chemistry between the main characters, it didn't feel like much happened until the very end and the ending was quite rushed. For that reason, I have to give it 2 stars.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: Tease by Amanda Maciel

Book Title: Tease
Author: Amanda Maciel
Published Date: April 29th, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
From debut author Amanda Maciel comes a provocative and unforgettable novel, inspired by real-life incidents, about a teenage girl who faces criminal charges for bullying after a classmate commits suicide.

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault. At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media. In the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her own role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

With its powerful narrative, unconventional point of view, and strong anti-bullying theme, this coming-of-age story offers smart, insightful, and nuanced views on high school society, toxic friendships, and family relationships.

Disclaimer: This was a library book.

Review:
It was no secret that I couldn't finish my e-ARC of this book. It was too personal and as a former victim of bullying, I couldn't swallow it without remembering my own experience with bullies and the acts of bullying I was subjected to. After talking to a few blogger friends, specifically Jamie, I decided to get it from the library and give it another shot. 

This book really doesn't have a lot of decent characters, but thankfully, I don't need the book to have decent, likable characters in order for me to actually like the book. Sara was not a likable character. She was beyond mean to Emma, she refused to see where she had done wrong and she didn't see how it was a double standard of sorts for her to call Emma names, but heaven forbid Emma do anything like talk to Sara's boyfriend. I do think Sara was a redeemable character which is much more than I can say for Brielle.

Brielle was the instigator of this stuff. She was always the one to come up with these "pranks" to hurt Emma and I think Sara, though she prided herself on knowing how to stand up for herself, was very much a follower. I think Brielle kind of controlled Sara and while I know Sara should have put an end to it, I don't think she was brave enough to. 

In high school you have all of these expectations about sex and if you don't measure up, then you are considered "weird" or "stupid" even "frigid" and "prude"

"I don't- I mean everyone has sex." -Sara-
"Not everyone does in high school." -Teresa-
"Well they're supposed to." -Sara-

See, what did I say? Expectations.

The ending was my favorite part. Watching Sara realize exactly how she contributed to Emma's suicide was a very satisfying journey. I would actually argue that Sara's storyline was the most compelling part of the entire book. Watching her realize that yes she was to blame. So was Brielle. Her statement at the end of the book made me sob. It was beautiful and eloquent.

The split timeline was sometimes difficult to follow, and it was definitely hard for me to read sometimes. The flashbacks to where Brielle & Sara bullied Emma was hard for me to read because I've been in Emma's position before and it was awful. High school was absolute hell and sometimes I begged for it to be over. I'll be honest, yes I did think about suicide, but I never attempted it. 

I ended up enjoying this book more than I expected to. It was an important book and it was a book that transported me back to high school, a place I never, ever wanted to return to. I think high school students need to read this book. They need to know that their words can hurt. They need to know that their actions can hurt. 4 stars to this book that told the story from the point of view of the bully.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Review: Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl & Ali Benjamin

Book Title: Positive: A Memoir
Authors: Paige Rawl & Ali Benjamin
Publish Date: August 26th, 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Memoir
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository 

Synopsis from Goodreads:
An astonishing memoir for the untold number of children whose lives have been touched by bullying. Positive is a must-read for teens, their parents, educators, and administrators—a brave, visceral work that will save lives and resonate deeply.

Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth, but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. On an unremarkable day in middle school, she disclosed to a friend her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. From that moment forward, every day was like walking through a minefield. Paige was never sure when or from where the next text, taunt, or hateful message would come. Then one night, desperate for escape, fifteen-year-old Paige found herself in her bathroom staring at a bottle of sleeping pills.

That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning. Paige's memoir calls for readers to choose action over complacency, compassion over cruelty—and above all, to be Positive.

Disclaimer: I got this ARC in an exchange with another blogger. Thanks again Lili.

Review:
Words cannot express how much I loved this book. I am going to try and do it justice but I doubt I will. Paige Rawl's experience was so much like my own in middle school that sometimes I had to put the book away and just concentrate on breathing before I broke down in sobs. And sometimes I sobbed anyway. 

Having a life-threatening illness myself, I have often felt isolated and kids in school (middle school and especially high school) treated me like garbage. And no one ever did anything to help me. In middle school, I was told "boys will be boys" as they called me awful names, pulled chairs out from under me, used their height and size to overpower me as I tried to leave the room. No punishment was ever doled out to them.

And in high school, especially my sophomore & junior years, it was even worse. Boys would hide my wheelchair so I couldn't walk very far, they would call me names and tell me my mom should have killed me. They sprayed their disgusting cologne into my backpack so no one would come near me. 

They even started harassing my mom. 

But the worst incident came on February 13th, 2003. I was heading to class when one of them shoved his shoe into the spokes of my wheelchair. Of course I couldn't move so I tried to pull the shoe out of the spokes. He kept a hold of the shoe so it wouldn't come out. I grabbed his wrist and he pulled away, and when that happened, the wheelchair tipped over with me still inside of it. 

There was also an incident with pudding being hurled at me from across the room. I remember that because that was the first time I had people helping me. One person ran to get a teacher and 3 girls followed me into the bathroom to help me clean up. 

At this time I was in a private school with a supposed "zero tolerance for bullying" statement. However, the boys who taunted me were from families with a lot of money. The high school was small so of course nothing was ever done to them. Senior year was much better as we had a new principal who was on my side 100% and he finally came through for me.

Reading all about what Paige went through took me straight back to middle school and high school. I remembered all too well the desperation I felt when no one would stick up for me. I remember feeling so angry and so sad that people were too afraid of the bullies, too afraid of losing money to stand up and do what was right.

I had teachers like Miss Ward who wouldn't defend me and who would actually blame me even though I was simply trying to defend myself. So I definitely understood Paige's frustration there. I really think Paige must have been in my head because so much of what she wrote about were things I experienced.We have different health problems but we still faced bullying every single day. Except for the different health problems, I feel like I could have written this exact book with so many of the same things happening to me.

I spent the majority of the book in tears and wanting to give Paige a big hug. This book needs to be in every school library. This book needs to be required reading for students and educators alike. Bullying is still such a widespread issue and I don't think enough is being done to protect the students. I absolutely adored this book and it's getting 5 stars. It was raw, honest and emotional, exactly the way I was hoping it would be.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #46

This feature is hosted by Tynga's Reviews

Holy moly, this week brought me a lot of books. I got for from NetGalley and one from Edelweiss. I also got a book in a trade with another blogger, so thanks Lili! I also got 10 books from the library. I REALLY need to stop getting books from the library. My TBR is getting even crazier. Yet, my willpower continues to be zero.

Let's see what landed on my shelf and in my Kindle this week.

Bought
-
Received for Review

-Edelweiss-
Random by Tom Leveen

-NetGalley-
Lailah (The Styclar Saga #1) by Nikki Kelly
Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten
Followers by Anna Davies
Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner

Gifted
-
Trade
Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl & Ali Benjamin

Won
-
Library Books
Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor
Days of Blood & Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor
 
Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3) by Laini Taylor
Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs
Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
 One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Truth or Dare (Truth Or Dare #1) by Jacqueline Green

So let me know if you've read any of these or if you are planning to read them at some point.

Bloggers Mentioned

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review: All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays #1) by Cristin Terrill

Book Title: All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays #1)
Author: Cristin Terrill
Published Date: September 3rd, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Series: Book 1 in All Our Yesterdays series
Book Link: Goodreads

Synopsis from Goodreads:
 What would you change?

Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend, James, since they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it... at least, not as the girl she once was. Em and Marina are in a race against time that only one of them can win.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Disclaimer: This was a library book.

Review:
This book was a crazy, fun ride. I really wasn't sure what to expect and clearly I hadn't read the synopsis as I had no idea time travel was involved. I love books that involve time travel. They make me happy. So of course, when I realized time travel played a crucial role in this book, I fell in love with the book even more.

Marina, James, Em and Finn were all fascinating characters and they made me want to keep reading even though I spent a good chunk of the book totally confused. In this book, being confused was totally okay. Finn especially, was incredibly swoony. Oh man, he was adorable. I could tell very early on that I'd love him and I was right.  He protected Em as best as he could from the craziness that unfolded.

The world building was amazing, I could totally picture the places in the book and I consider that to be a really good mark to how much I was going to love the book. World building can make or break a book for me and in this case, the book was made.

I would love to keep talking about the book, but so much happened that I really don't want to spoil it for the few people who still haven't read it yet. I cannot believe I waited so long to read this book. The ending was mindblowing and amazing and so, SO crazy. It was an awesome book worthy of the four stars I am going to give it. I am so excited to see what happens next.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Reading For Fun

As a book blogger, I have so many opportunities to read books early. While it's a wonderful thing that I feel so lucky to be able to do, it's also hard because I no longer have the time to read the books I really want to read. I have schedules to think about, deadlines to meet and publishers to connect with. While I do love what I do, I sometimes have to put the brakes on things and admit that I've had enough and that I desperately need to throw away schedules and deadlines.

And sometimes I just need to read some "me" books for awhile. No matter how many review books I have waiting for me. No matter the deadline or the schedules. Reading books just for me allows me to remember how much I love reading a book with no review expectations. It's freeing and definitely something I still enjoy.

Recently, I got a new library card and have been reading only my library books for the past week and a half. It has been truly awesome to read books just for me. I thought it would stress me out not reading review copies, but it hasn't. Actually it's made me more excited to read upcoming books. I haven't stopped loving to read, but the excitement had definitely faded recently as my review list has grown steadily. Reading books just for me has actually succeeded in reducing my stress, which I think is totally awesome.

Book bloggers are often under a lot of pressure. Pressure to read, read, read and then to review, review, review. Not to mention building and keeping contacts with publishers & authors. And for most of us, we do this for fun. Most of us have jobs, school & other obligations. Book blogging isn't all we do and we aren't just book bloggers. We have a life outside of this fun hobby.

So, remember that it's okay to break from your reading schedule to read a book just for you. If you need to throw out a schedule sometime to get your reading mojo back, just do it.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review: 45 Pounds by K. A. Barson

Book Title: 45 Pounds (More or Less)
Author: K. A. Barson
Published Date: July 11th, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother. 

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

Disclaimer: This was a library book.

Review:
This book was hard for me to read, mostly because I never struggled with my weight the way Ann did. So it was hard for me to understand the struggle that she had gone through. However the more broader topic of fitting in was one that I definitely understood. I never really fit in as a kid or as a teenager because I have serious health issues. That kinda stuff makes you stand out, even if you try hard to fit in.

This book also touched on family dynamics and while I am a child (and adult) of divorce, my family isn't as dysfunctional as Ann's is. Ann's father & stepmom treat her like garbage, even having her come over to their home under the guise of wanting family time with her, when really they just wanted her to babysit her baby half brother. That part infuriated me.

At home she has her mom and stepdad and two younger siblings, Judd & Libby. Her mom is seemingly "perfect" until Ann realizes the way her mom talks about food, particularly around Ann and Libby is dangerous. Libby is already worrying about getting fat and dieting and other dangerous food related things. Ann wants desperately to model healthy habits for her younger sister since apparently, her mom doesn't want to. 

And of course, Ann has an older brother who we don't really see much of until the very end of the book. I wanted to see more of Tony and was disappointed because I think there was a lot of backstory from his end that we didn't get a chance to see.

Acceptance is a big theme here. Ann has to learn to accept the family she's got, a friendship that is dead in the water. Accept that her mom is not perfect and that mistakes have been made. Most importantly Ann learns to accept her body for what it is and I think that is the biggest message for teen girls and even teen boys. 

Body acceptance is a big thing as a teenager and so many kids go the extreme route and it ends up being something they always struggle with. It was definitely an enjoyable book and because of that, I'll be giving it 4 stars. I do think it should be required reading in middle school and high school, because it was a very important book.