Thursday, February 16, 2017

REVIEW: The Sky Between You and Me by Catherine Alene - 4 Stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 PM 0 comments
Title: The Sky Between You and Me
Genre: YA Contemporary - Mental Illness
Author: Catherine Alene
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication: February 7th 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5

The Sky Between You and Me was a book I was actually pretty iffy on picking up. I did request it so I could review it but then I realized I am pretty ignorant to any and all things farm or horse related. I don't herd cattle or do 4H club stuff, although, I do own a bunny and that is the extent of my farm knowledge. I am glad that I pushed through the beginning because the rest of the book was pretty good. But it was so slow for the first 50 or so pages that I did find myself wanting to pick up another book. After those pages? I got the book done in one sitting. 

So we have Rae as the protagonist. She lives with her dad on a farm. The entire town she lives in is pretty much close, farm town people. Everyone knows everyone and people help each other. That means, her best friend is from the town, her boyfriend is from the town, so everything in pretty close knit. Rae lost her mother a few years back and it has just been her and her dad. Rae strives to be just as good as her mom when it comes to rodeos.  And her striving for this make her want to lose 5 pounds so she can fit in her moms old saddle better. That is where everything starts to go wrong and it just spirals out of control.

On top of Rae's declining health, a new girl had just moved to town to live with her grandmother. For some reason this sparks jealousy in a girl who normally isn't jealous. I also think this girl moving in was maybe the breaking point for Rae and her eating disorder.

I would definitely say Rae is an unreliable narrator. I had no idea whether the stuff between her boyfriend and the new girl was actually happening or if her messed up brain was actually amplifying some of the stuff. If it wasn't all in her head then Cody was a horrible person. I understand being friendly and wanting to help the new girl but some of the things he said/did were way out of line.

Then we have Asia. She is Rae's best friend and ends up being just like Cody with the new girl. She also wasn't exactly very understanding of Rae's situation and you think she would be considering they have been best friends for pretty much their entire lives. So I was kind of pissed about her being like that. I know how hard it can be to be friends with someone who is mentally ill and I also know what it's like to BE the ill one. Both sides are pretty crappy but you can't turn your back like that on someone who needs you. No matter how much  they try to push you away. 

I felt pretty satisfied with the ending. I am glad Rae ended up where she was. Things definitely could have ended a lot worse for her. Mental illness is really no joke and it can cripple anyone at any age. I know Rae is a fictional character but there are hundreds of thousands of girls out there who are just like her right now. This is silly but I hope Rae moves on with life and is fine. And I hope anyone suffering the same pain can move passed the horrible crap and go on to live a great life!

Regardless of the fact that I didn't know a lot of things about horses or farm life, I can say that Catherine Alene could very well be the next Ellen Hopkins. Yes, I know no one could ever really BE Ellen Hopkins but I have hope that it could one day be possible. This book had a lot of emotions and a really hard hitting subject and that is how Ellen's books are. 

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

REVIEW: History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera - 4/5 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:00 AM 0 comments
Title: History is All You Left Me
Genre: YA LGBTQ Contemporary with Mental Illness
Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication: January 17th 2017
Cover Rating: 3/5

Love fucking hurts.

Honesty is the best policy, right? So here is some honesty. I picked this book up thinking it would just be a quick YA M/M relationship book with some sad parts. I didn't expect much more. But what I got, was a lot more. Yes, it has the M/M relationship but it is also about mental health and love and loss and a lot of pain. It is about trying to find your way back to happiness and some semblance of normality after your life has been turned upside down and shaken.

We have a few main characters. Griffin is the narrator then we have Theo, Wade and Jackson. Griffin, Theo and Wade are a threesome. The best buds group we see all over the place. Then things between Griffin and Theo change. The entire dynamic of the friendship changes, as well. Even though they both promised it wouldn't. 

So we have Theo and Griffin dating. Theo is older which means there are a lot of decisions to be made about the future. With the impending future, Griffin makes a choice that he thought would be best for the situation. I, personally, believe what Griffin did was very mature of him. Well, that was until the book progressed and I saw that what he did had some pretty negative effects on both boys. Mostly mental. And that leads to this horrible spiral downward with their friendship and any future plans they might have had. Jackson also had something to do with the future plans changing.

Something ends up happening to Theo that brings a lot of issues to the surface for Griffin. And we get to see that horrible spiral in his mental health that actually started long before Theo but became worse with the circumstances. Then you throw in Jackson, Theo's new boyfriend and Griffin clone. Yea, things get a little messy. And with this messy situation, Griffin just keeps making it worse. I hate what he did to his parents and his immaturity with thinking he NEEDS to do certain things. He thought he had his best interests in mind but he really wasn't mentally stable to say that.

I really don't like how Griffin dealt with his emotions. He just stuck his dick in stuff in order to try and push the negative and crazy thought aside. Obviously this didn't work too well for him. But I am proud of how he progressed by the end of the book and I really approve of the decisions he made regarding Wade and Jackson. And I also really loved the relationship everyone kept with Theos family. Just because your biggest connection to someone isn't there anymore doesn't mean you have to tuck tail and leave. A lot of people seem to think that a break up or death is an end to relationships you had with the other persons family. It doesn't need to be that way and it really shouldn't be like that. 

The ending took on a darker tone that I was expecting. A lot of blame goes around when someone dies from an accident. Normally, that blame and guilt is un-found and people just need to move on from that. Sometimes that grief and despair will destroy you if you let it run rampant. Even though the ending was dark and had a big plot twist situation, I still felt it was a proper way to put everything to rest. 

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.

Friday, February 3, 2017

REVIEW: Last Years Mistake by Gina Ciocca - Valeria

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 PM 1 comments
Title: Last Year's Mistake
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Author: Gina Ciocca
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication: June 9th 2015
Cover Rating: 4/5

Meh, I didn't really get into this book, it took me a while to get into, towards the middle I stopped and left it for a while and then it was collecting dust on my bedside table. 
I was gonna put the book back on my shelf but I knew that if I did put it back, I was never going to pick it back up xD
It wasn't bad. You must understand that it was not bad. But it was just.... Not memorable to me, which is a shame because I had very high hopes for it, I was super excited to get it xD 
Kelsey got a bit on my nerves to be honest, maybe its what she did? XD No Spoilers here though.
One thing that at first irked me, but then I ended up liking was the change in times, going back and forth, it prevented it from being predictable, you know?
At first I didn't like it because I was getting confused and stuff.. But that's just me.. I'm a dumb.. person xD
I don't regret reading it but I don't think ill be rereading it either. 

Recommend it?
I honestly don't know what to say for that

Overall, I gave the book 3.5/5 stars.

*You can see Jenny's review for this book here.*

Monday, January 30, 2017

REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne - Valeria

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 PM 0 comments
Rate: 2.5/5

Goodreads Description:
The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places. 

Okay I feel like I will say this a lot. But the only way I can forgive this is if I look at it as if I had read a fiction. Instead of it being a book to be taken as canon. 
If you havent already gotten where I am going with that previous sentence and my rating. Ill come out and say it.
I was disappointed.
Oh no, its going to be one of THOSE reviews.
It is

The characters where ackward to me and forced and various points in the text. The characters we once knew from the previous books seemed to be completely gone. I understand that they are grown up and incluenced by all the things they had to go through but come on. What they made them seem like what just a complete 180 from the original them. Ill give kuddos to the fact that they played with our feelings with some of the scenes and go through different possibilities of the future for previous actions. 

But again, on the way they changed the characters, without spoiling on who it is, I will only say this. They mutilated what was thought of a previous character, they just dragged him/her through the mud!
That is literally what is felt like. In a particular part of the play, it feels a if I was reading fanfiction withing fanfiction. Funny enough, the overall plot twist of the book I had been discussing with my best friend before, like months before release, how she used to have this idea as a kid from the Harry Potter world, and then I read the play and something parallel to what she told me happens, I found that to be kind of funny.
This book left me a lot more questions and unrest than I wouldve hoped or expected, this just leaves all these sorts of questions that J.K. Rowling and company will need to write about to make the whole world flow smoother.
If you read the book, you might have the same thoughts as to what I am talking about.

Over all. Im glad I read it just to have it out of the way in my life buttttt I wont be considering it to be a real thing in my life, ill just blissfully act like it was fanfiction. I am hoping that the acting in the actual real life play will make me feel better about this installment though, that my minds rating for this will go higher.

 If you are easily swayed from one way of thinking easily, then maybe you should skip out on this one. As hard as it may be. Unless you can look at this as some fanfiction you shouldnt take seriously.

Monday, January 23, 2017

REVIEW: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma - Valeria

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 PM 0 comments
Rate: 5/5

Goodreads Description:
She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending. 

This book really makes you think about what is right and was is wrong
And I feel like this review could be really long as I try to say what this book made me feel and think but I feel like at the same time I will not make a lot of sense as I try to explain

I guess I will start with the fact that if you plan on reading this book you really need to be mentally mature for the content
It is not an easy content to read and it is definitely not for everyone

I had been wanting to read this book for a really long time but I am glad it took me so long to actually get to it because I maybe would not have been actually ready mentally to understand it

So I personally dont have any brothers or sisters but I do know that I have half siblings that I have never met, ever through my dads side (he has never been in my picture) so I dont think I would think the same or try to comprehend as much as someone who does

Well... I guess that with any option it just varies from person to person

Anyways, throughout the whole book I just kept trying to keep an open mind
Trying to think back to the times when people thought homosexuality was wrong and in todays world more people have come to realize that it is not wrong but it is natural and it's okay 
So I try to think of the whole incest think in that light, that we might consider it wrong today but maybe in the future we all realize that we were wrong and its okay to love whoever you want
But it was hard for me to imagine that and it would make me stop and try to come to terms with what I thought about that whole issue and trying so hard to stay open minded to the love but couldnt

Like I said, it could be because im a single child and I just dont understand what its like to have such a close relationship with someone blood related?

Its all just very confusing to try to grasp and maybe accept

But damn did this book make me think
It was a damn good book
As hard as the topic was, it was a damn good read and huge kudos to the author for taking this huge step and writing it and not being scared (probably was) for the possible backlash it couldve had
Such a taboo topic

Recommend it?
You really need to be fully mature for this read
it is not for everyone
It really isn't

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Blog Tour: Because of the Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez + REVIEW - 4.5 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 8:00 AM 1 comments
Jenny Torres Sanchez
JENNY TORRES SANCHEZ is a full-time writer and former English teacher. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, but has lived on the border of two worlds her whole life. She lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband and children. For more information about Jenny just click on her picture and you will be taken to her website!

Title: Because of the Sun
Genre: This book is a genre of its own
Author: Jenny Torres Sanchez
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication: January 3rd 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5

Because of the Sun is a unique book told in three parts. The first part is before the accident. The second part is after the accident. And the third part is a whirlwind of a lot of things. Past, present, pain, sorrow, happiness, agony, insanity and, most important of all, healing. 

Dani is the opposite of her mother. She works her ass off to be that way. I found myself really connecting with Dani and her pain. She really wanted to hate her mother for all the horrible things she had done. But, in the end, she couldn't hate her mother and I am so glad she couldn't because it made her a stronger person. 

While I'm sitting here, trying to figure out what points in the book to remark on, I realized that the book is fragmented in my head. There are many events(Paulo, his abuela, Shelly, abuse, school, movies, etc) that feel far away and pointless while others seem to drive the story and get in your face. But I can't piece out the book like that because ALL of these things, no matter how trivial they might seem, made the book what it was. They made Dani who she was and who she was becoming. Sometimes even the tiniest things have a big impact.

I went into this book thinking it was going to be a diverse read. For some reason my brain just thought the main character wasn't a white female. And while the protagonist isn't diverse in race, the book more than makes up for that with the plot and side characters. 

When you read the synopsis for this book it makes it seem like The Stranger plays a HUGE roll. Dani fought to get the book. Yes, she did read it throughout the story but it was always something in the background. It's not exactly a bad thing I just thought it would be more prevalent because of the way it was mentioned in the synopsis.

Abuse.... Let's discuss this. Abuse is horrible no matter what form it comes in. Sometimes, I feel like it's genetic with how many people because abusers after being predisposed to it. I mean, it really could be genetic if you look at it as a mental illness. Regardless of whether it is genetic or not, it is still something that is swept under the rug, hidden behind bedroom doors and whispered about between housewives that know it is happening to someone they know. Most abusers have a trigger and the most common trigger is alcohol. But there are people who are just so wicked that they don't need an external source to elicit the screwed up side of them. 

The past seems to always come back to haunt you. Sometimes, it's not even your own past. It's the past of someone you love. Someone you are close to. And it's not fair that you have to face another person's past. Something you had nothing to do with. But you do it because there is no way around it. Dani had to face her mother's past but her mother wasn't even brave enough to face it herself. Shelly had to face her demons. Demons that her own mother stood up to. So Ruby, Dani's mother, seemed to be the odd one out. 

The ending of this book was beautiful and so sad but I believe Dani and Shelly will finally be okay. They have a long road of healing ahead of them but they are strong and have each other to lean on.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.

*Disclaimer* - I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review that would be used on a blog tour. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

REVIEW: Forever, Again by Victoria Laurie - 5 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 3:00 PM 1 comments
Title: Forever, Again
Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery
Author: Victoria Laurie
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication: Decemmber 13th 2016
Cover Rating: 3/5

Ahhhh! (Yes, I am aware that is totally unprofessional but come one people, reviews are supposed to be about how you felt!!) I loved this damn book. Yes, I said damn. I am quite aware of this. The synopsis made the book sound like it was just some murder-mystery that some teenage individuals were going to try and solve. Yes, it was sort of like that but it was also so amazing and paranormal and really fricken awesome. 

So we have Lily, Cole, Amber and Ben. Amber and Ben were murdered in 1985. Lily and Cole are somehow connected to Amber and Ben and they are trying to solve their murders. Those characters and the murder are pretty much the main focus of the book. Then you have some horrible snotty psychotic grandparents and a cheating dad, a pregnant secretary and BAM a book fit for a Lifetime TV movie. I think I will leave it at that. 

***Spence's situation with his dad and trying to protect his mother and sister hit a little too close to home. Listening to the excuses he made about why they keep his dad around are excuses I remember giving to the same questions. No one really understands abuse in a family unless they have lived through it. This situation made me so sad. Then what happened, and hearing that Spence still cared so much about someone who made his life miserable was painful. Spence seemed like a really amazing guy.*** This was written while I was still reading the book. Then everything went down and I was just kind of sitting here dumbstruck by the stuff that happened and what Spence ended up doing. Spence knew how nasty his mother was. I have no idea why he would want to take such risks for someone so horrible. I thought maybe the abuse made her that way but I think she was always like that. I  also have some suspicions about Spence's father and his mothers involvement in that little scenario. 

Strangely enough, the book did not end how I thought it would. You know how people can just guess the killer or the bad guy within a few minutes of reading the plot? This book didn't have the predictability. I actually really loved the ending. I do still have a few questions like if the Bennetts weren't actually involved in any of the incidents then why did the grandmother do what she did with the salon? She wasn't the nicest person. Lily does mention why this happened but I can't see doing something THAT drastic for a person out of the kindness or your shriveled up little Grinch heart. But, in the end, I think that little heart was starting to thaw. THEN I want to know how everything ended with Cole and Ben. Since Lily said Amber had moved on, what does that mean for Ben?

I had all intents and purposes of rating this book 4.5/5 stars. But I got so sucked in towards the end that there is no way this book deserves anything less than 5 stars.

The last little thing I wanted to add was this: I find it really awesome when a real place I know ends up in a book I am reading. I was reading another book along side this one and it mentioned Housing Works Cafe and I just giggled because that it where I tend to order a lot of my used books from on Amazon. Forever, Again mentioned one of my favorite sub places. It's just the little things like this that make me really appreciate that, even though the books are fiction, sometimes authors use real places.

Overall, I gave this book 5/5 stars.

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