Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Author Spotlight: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 PM 0 comments

MEREDITH RUSSO lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her two children. If I Was Your Girl is her debut novel. You can check out this author here.


Title: If I Was Your Girl
Genre: Contemporary YA - LGBTQ
Author: Meredith Russo
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication: May 3rd 2016
Cover Rating: 5/5
Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, needs to read this book. With everything going on in the world at this very moment, I believe this book couldn't have came out at a better time. It is beautiful and made my heart ache. I was always on the edge of my seat waiting for something horrible to happen. I would flinch or stop reading when I thought something was going to happen. The fact that this book is set in one of the most religious and homophobic states adds to the atmosphere.

If I wasn't given a backstory on Amanda then I never would have guessed that there was anything going on. When she moved in with her dad she lead a very NORMAL teenage girls life. She met a lot of new people that she became friends with and she even had boys trying to date her. Most people don't even think twice about living a normal life and in my opinion NO ONE should ever have to think about it. It should just BE.

Amanda's parents were pretty good about everything that was going on. I loved her mother. And people need to realize that our parents are effected by the things we do. Amanda's mother said she lost Andrew. And I can understand that feeling entirely. Yes, Andrew is still technically there, personality and all the important things didn't change. But for a parent, the person who gave birth to you, to see so many changes in their child... It's difficult to understand but the mother came around and was so amazing. Amanda's dad on the other hand... He tried. He really tried. And in the end I think he was finally accepting things for how they were but it's hard, as a parent, to watch your child go through something you know could end up getting them hurt really bad. Parent's, normally, just want the best for their children.

The only big thing that caught me off guard about this book was how horrible Bee was at the end. Trust someone is such a huge deal but after seeing what Bee did to Amanda and a bunch of other classmates I can honestly say no wonder most people keep their feelings on the inside. If someone wrongs you or things don't go your way and the first thing you think of it revenge then you are living your life entirely wrong. I understand the school was full of teenagers who were hiding their own secrets but that is their business. It is not for some angry, drunk girl to share. But I am so glad that most of the other people in the school seemed to be able to form their own opinions about Amanda, which was shown when she went back to school.

I really didn't expect the book to end the way it did. Yes, I expected the Parker thing to happen. But I expected Grant to be like Parker. Either way, I don't really know what the future will hold considering the things Ruby said about Amanda. It is sad that a mother is transphobic but her son can see past it. Ruby could learn something from her son. Be Kind. Be caring. You never know what the person sitting next to you is going through. And please, for the love of cookies, don't judge. 

Right before I went to post this review I thought of something. Did Andrew ever really exist if she was Amanda this entire time? Just some food for thought.

Overall, I gave this book 5/5 stars.


1) Are you currently working on any more books?
Yes, a YA romance with a genderqueer protagonist, and an adult novel about two incredibly dysfunctional trans women going back to their hometown and messing up.

2) Tea or Coffee?
Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

3) What is your favorite book?
A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett.

4) Which do you prefer, a normal book with words and chapter or Graphic Novels?
I like graphic novels but they're always over so fast! So traditional books.

5) What is the best part about being an author?
Besides that I get to do something I find fulfilling every single day? I get to work in my underwear!

6) What is some advice you would give a teenager growing up in this day and age?
Find your tribe. The internet gives you such a huge advantage over previous generations. Even if you live in a crappy small town you can reach out now and find people who get you.

7) Do you have any hobbies? If yes, what are they?
I really love tabletop RPG's like Dungeons & Dragons. I'm currently running a Shadowrun campaign for my friends!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

REVIEW: My Best Friend's Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 3:00 PM 0 comments
Title: My Best Friend's Exorcism
Genre: Horror YA
Author: Grady Hendrix
Publisher: QuirkBooks
Publication: May 17th 2016
Cover Rating: 5/5
Looking for a horror book with a good plot, an amazing friendship and some crazy unique ideas? Then My Best Friend's Exorcism is the book for you.

The book is about Gretchen and Abby and a few other friends. Gretchen and Abby met in 5th grade when Gretchen was the only person to show up at Abby's birthday party. As you can probably guess they became super close after that. Oh, and it is told from the perspective of the 1980's. So lots of teased hair and hairspray.

The friendship dynamic between Abby and Gretchen is something coveted by so many people. I think everyone wants that ONE friendship. That forever best friend. And I feel like what Abby and Gretchen had was the epitome of that coveted relationship. The bond they had was just amazing even with all the obstacles they faced.

So a few years down the road the girls and some friends decided to experiment with drugs just to see the hype was. Then they went swimming sans clothing. Afterwards, someone goes missing and isn't found until the next day. But when she is found she is not the same person. So, book progresses and, well, read the title. I don't want to spoil anything.

This is the second book I have read by Grady Hendrix and it did not disappoint. He is really good at writing these very out there horror stories but still manages to put a bit of humor and so much more into his books. This book had a great plot, great character representations, great world building and a lot of twisted crap. There were a few areas where the story dragged but it redeemed itself for the most part. Also, there is a part... that some people might be okay with and others might not and my advice to those who are iffy about certain subjects then.... don't read horror books? But this book is a lot less graphic and gore-filled than what I was expecting. I have read more graphic possession books listed for young adults.I think he will be an auto read author for me from now on.

So. Moral of the story? Don't do drugs and don't get possessed.

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.



If you liked this book or are looking for something a bit more violent then I would suggest the following Young Adult books:
The Merciless by Danielle Vega
Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics













*DISCLAIMER* I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the Publisher/Author for allowing me to read and review the book.

PSA for Authors waiting on an Author Spotlight

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 11:22 AM 0 comments
Hello! I just wanted to make this quick update for all the authors who have agreed to be on the Author Spotlight. I am currently not taking anymore spotlights until further notice. I am currently backlogged due to authors or publishers sending me copies of books without responding to the email. So I had no idea half of these books were coming and they started piling up very quick. So I am currently playing catch-up. If you are an author or publisher that would like to know a projected date for your book then please feel free to email me. My contact information is under my Review Format tab. I will take this post down once I am caught up enough to feel confident that I won't get behind again. Thank you to everyone who is participating. It means the world to me and your spotlight will go up sometime very soon!

Much love,
Jennifer

Monday, July 4, 2016

July 2016 TBR + Daily Progress

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:03 AM 0 comments

TBR ADDITIONS
  • And I Darken by Kiersten White - Currently Reading 7/18
  • The Merciless by Danielle Vega




JULY 1-7
Day 1 - Lady Midnight(Page 359) The Problem with Forever(Page 329)
Day 2 - The Elite(Page 64)
Day 3 - The Elite(Page 200) The Problem with Forever(Page 359)
Day 4 - The Elite(Page 269)
Day 5 - The Elite(Finished) The Problem with Forever(Page 410) Hyperbole and a Half(Page 54)
Day 6 - The Problem with Forever(Finished)
Day 7 -

JULY 8-15
Day 8 -
Day 9 - If I Was Your Girl(Page 50)
Day 10 - If I Was Your Girl(Page 142)
Day 11 -
Day 12 - Hyperbole and a Half(Page 136)
Day 13 - If I Was Your Girl(Finished) The Merciless(Page 50)
Day 14 - Lady Midnight(Page 401) The Merciless(Page 85)
Day 15 - Lady Midnight (Page 561) The Merciless(Page 99)

JULY 16-23
Day 16 - And I Darken(Page 50) Lady Midnight(Page 574)
Day 17 - Lady Midnight(Finished) And I Darken(Page 78)
Day 18 - And I Darken(Page)
Day 19 -
Day 20 -
Day 21 -
Day 22 -
Day 23 - 

JULY 24-31
Day 24 -
Day 25 -
Day 26 -
Day 27 -
Day 28 -
Day 29 -
Day 30 -
Day 31 -

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Summer Bi-Annual Bibliothon 2016 TBR July 3rd - July 9th

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:32 PM 0 comments



1. Read The Group Book - The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

2. Free Choice/ Wild Card Book - The Elite by Kiera Cass

3. Read a Book Off of the Host’s List of Recommendations - More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

-Momo’s Choice - The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

-Selena’s Choice - Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9...

-Kelly’s Choice - Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...

-Red’s Choice – Sorta Like a Rockstar by Matthew Quick: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6...

-Emma’s Choice - More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

-Meagan’s Choice - The Archived by Victoria Schwab: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1...

-Kassie’s Choice – Abarat by Clive Barker: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7...

4. Read a Book With Your Favorite Mythical Creature - White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L Armentrout

5. Read a Book You’ve Been Putting Off Picking Up - Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray

6. Read a Book from an Author You’ve Never Read Before - A Small Madness by Dianne Touchell

7. Read a Book in a Different Format than You Usually Read - Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh






EXTRAS:

  • The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L Armentrout - Finished - 7/5



DAY 1 - 230 pages read
DAY 2 - 151 pages read - Finished The Elite
DAY 3 - 163 pages read - Finished The Problem with Forever
DAY 4 -
DAY 5 -
DAY 6 -
DAY 7 - 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Author Spotlight: Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler + Interview

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM 0 comments

Liz Kessler is the author of the best-selling Emily Windsnap series, the Philippa Fisher series, and the middle-grade novels North of Nowhere, A Year Without Autumn, and Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins? She lives in Cornwall, England.

Title: Read Me Like a Book
Author: Liz Kessler
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication: June 14th 2016(US Date)
Cover Rating: 5/5

Have you ever read a book with a language barrier? Not so much that you can't read the language but because the words that are used aren't what you are used to? Well, I have that happen almost all the time when I read books written by a UK author. Normally, that deters me from reading those books. Luckily, that did not happen with this book. This book is about love, hate, sorrow, beginning life and finding yourself and those are all things that defy any language barrier.

Ashleigh seems like any other normal teenage girl. She is in her last year of "high school" and she is meeting new people and having new experiences. One thing that she didn't seem to worry about, at all, was her A-Levels, which I assume is like American's getting A's in our classes. That is, until Miss. Murray comes along. Ashleigh sees how amazing of a teach she is and can't help but want to do better. 

Miss Murray is a young teacher. She is energetic and brilliant and all the students really love her. After all, getting a little bit of positive attention from Miss Murray seems to be the best thing to have happened to most of the students for a long time. She tries to push everyone to their potential but takes an extra special liking to Ashleigh. Miss. Murray sees the spark behind Ashleigh's eyes. She knows that Ashleigh has the potential to be something amazing. 

The friendships and relationships in this book are very realistic. Cat is a good friend. She does get a little annoyed with Ashleigh's selfishness. I don't honestly think Ashleigh was being selfish but that is just my opinion. Then we have Robyn. Cat's "replacement". Robyn and Ashleigh become pretty close very quickly but then something happens and we get to see Robyns true colors. Things do end up getting worked out in the end but I don't think Robyn reacted the way a REAL friend should have.

Then we have Ashleigh's parents. This book is more than just a Young Adult novel. A good chunk of the book deals with divorce and the impact it has on everyone's life. Read Me Like a Book is just an overall great story with plenty of real life issues. It isn't sugar coated or dumbed down. It puts into perspective what REAL people have to deal with on a daily basis when they are just trying to live their lives.There is one big aspect to this story that I do not want to say, no, it isn't exactly a spoiler, but I think it would be better if the reader finds out on their own. I honestly thought this book was going to be another Student-Teacher relationship book with a lot of horrible consequences but it wasn't. It was so much more with so many other issues going on at once. Most books will only focus on one little issue and revolve the entire book around that. This book does not do that and that is why it is so realistic.

The ending of the book was sad, but very real. I have hope for Ashleigh's dad. I know he will come around but I am not sure about Jayce's mother. This is definitely realistic of today's world. Sadly, a lot of kids lose their parents because the are "different" or "wrong". And it is so heartbreaking knowing a parent can just turn their back on their child like that.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.



1) What was the inspiration behind Read Me Like a Book?
Well, I had an amazing English teacher when I was at school. She changed my life in lots of ways. I was always quite a naughty child and then she came along and encouraged me to put my energy into writing and studying literature instead of being naughty, and somehow it worked! it was as if she saw my potential, where other teachers had only seen my behaviour. And this inspired me to want to write something about an amazing teacher who has a profound effect on a pupil. Of course, for Ashleigh it went much further than this in terms of her emotional attachment. 

Also, I guess I was inspired by coming out myself!

2) Which cover do you like better for Read Me Like a Book?(American or UK)?
TOUGH QUESTION!!! I adore the UK version of the book and it was made by an artist who is a friend of mine. However, I absolutely LOVE the US one too. I’m going to have to call it a tie!

3) If there was a way to turn a gay person straight do you think most people would take that opportunity so they no longer have to deal with the hate and shame that society places upon them?
Wow. You know, I don’t even think I’d like to attempt to answer this. For two reasons. One because there simply isn’t a way to do this and there shouldn’t be, because it’s not the gay people who have the problem, it’s society. And two, because I can’t speak for most people. I can only speak for myself. And for myself, I’d say that if someone told me that they had a way of doing this, I’d tell them to look inside themselves and ask themselves why they believe it’s necessary for them to try to do something like this - and to suggest that they learn to become more accepting of people loving who they want instead. 

4) Do you agree that the Young Adult genre has exploded over the past few years? 
In some ways, yes. There is more YA around than ever before, and a few titles have gained a lot of attention, which is fantastic. It’s a tough, crowded market though, and not an easy ride for authors by any means!

5) Do you think the UK is more harsh than the USA towards the Gay community?
I honestly can’t say - and again, it feels like quite negative phrasing. I’d prefer to take a more positive slant and say that I believe times are changing in both the UK and the US and that attitudes are becoming more and more positive all the time - and this is a great thing.

6) If you had to choose between writing only ONE really amazing, impactful book and not making a lot of money on it or writing a bunch of light hearted books but having a steady income which would you choose and why?
Ha! I ask my fellow authors a similar question to this quite often. I have to say, even when I write lighthearted books, they still have quite important messages in them, so I don’t know if I’d be able to choose between these. If I didn’t make a steady income, I wouldn’t be able to keep writing, and I have to keep writing as it keeps me sane and happy! But I would love to write one amazing, impactful book. Gosh. This is unfair! I can’t choose! I work really hard! Please let me do a little bit of both!!!!

Friday, July 1, 2016

REVIEW: Soundless by Richelle Mead

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 PM 0 comments
Title: Soundless
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication: November 10th 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5

This book is extremely sensory. I never realized that there are pretty much no words for conversing outside of speech. The book uses words like "said, say, replied, etc" and these are words I had only reserved for speech. But the characters in this book use sign language. I guess same can go for text over a phone or computer. This person said this, this person said that, but really, that haven't SAID anything because you can't hear them. This was just the main thing I kept thinking about as I read this book.

One of the other main senses that was prominent in the book was sight. Fei describes colors so beautifully that it made me realize that a lot of people probably take these simple, everyday things for granted. But Fei drinks in all the beautiful things in her life because, aside from her ability to paint, there isn't much beauty in her village. Or at least that's the conclusion I came to. But sight was soon to be another luxury for Fei's small village. 

Li Wei was a very noble man. When comparing him to Fei's betrothed, whatever his name was, you can't help but wonder why and how people were sorted into their job fields. I know having a wonderful art skill is one of the higher trade skills but Li Wei could carve beautiful things. So why was he in the mines? He is also a very honorable man. After all is said and done he does right by Fei and it was definitely a great way to end the story... Even if I do want more.

I feel like a lot of people went into this book hoping for this amazing, epic fantasy journey and they came out disappointed and because of that they failed to see the real beauty of the book. Yes, it does have love and a bit of adventure. But you need to imagine what these people feel. This book is more than fiction. It can teach people what it's like to be different. To struggle because of certain disabilities. And it shows that what most of us view as a disability really isn't. How can something you've never known disable you? Plus, the book is more Myth than fantasy. It is a somewhat retelling of the Chinese Pixiu myth. Pixius were these magical protectors. 

Towards the end of the book is where the Chinese Mythology becomes very noticeable. You get to learn about Pixius and the myth surrounding them and just what they meant to the little mountaintop village. Then you also get to see just how easily a corrupt ruler can take advantage and completely isolate people. But the ruler wasn't alone there. Why did Fei's people stay on that mountain? I know there were dangers. I know they were told this entrance was blocked off, this cliff could cause an avalanche. But why did they just blindly believe these things? Why did no one ever venture off and try to find a better life? Creatures of habit maybe? But they were all hungry. You would think people would go off and try to find food.

With all that aside, I think Richelle Mead did a wonderful job on this book. She captured colors, sounds, and so many other senses very beautifully. I think one of the main things that probably confused people was the conversations. They didn't have quotes or he said, she said. It was just Italic lines of communication that you have to decipher who was talking at the time. I do, however, think the book should have been marketed differently. Maybe for it Chinese Mythology retelling rather than just saying it's fantasy. Yes, it has a ton of fantastical elements but the story is based around mythology. I would love to read more of this story. I know it's a standalone book but I truly loved the world and everything I learned from it.

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.



Here is a link if you want to learn more about Pixiu's: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixiu

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