Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Reset Button

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 8:38 AM 0 comments

Hello everyone! I know no one really reads this stuff but I still feel the need to write it.

For the next 18 days I'm probably going to be pretty busy and MIA from the book world. Today, February 28th, I am going to be attempting to get as many reviews and other posts up as possible.

Starting March 1st, I will be stepping back and trying to find peace of mind. I have been extremely depressed lately. I haven't been cleaning, reading, sleeping, eating, organizing my shelves or any other things I usually do frequently.

I wanted to do a little list on here to see if these next 18 days have any progress towards some of my goals. So here is a list of things I want to get done in the next 18 days:

All of March's posts done
Finish Caraval
Get laundry under control
Husband's Anime shelf
Husband's lego shelf
Finish bunny's room
Read 10 books of my choice
Finish last 2 Author Spotlight posts
Hold off buying any new books(preorders don't count)
Find my passion for reading and living again
Lose 20lbs(currently 415.6)
Try to nap less and SLEEP more
Get more things done during the day
Stop looking at most activities as a chore
Visit my sister without her asking
Start waking up at 6
(Might periodically add more)

I might even add pictures when I'm done certain things.

I feel the need to do this because I am barely living. We don't have very long to be here anyways but when you don't even want to get up most days, your quality of life is even shorter. My outlook on everything is that it's a chore. I don't enjoy shopping or seeing my sister because I feel like it's a job. Not some fun time being spent with someone I love. I always tell people that I am fine. I'm not depressed. But the more I think about what I am writing here, the more I am realizing that that might be a really big lie. And I need to change that.

So thank you guys for listening. I hope to be back soon and I hope I will be a better me when I do return! I will be making update posts for when I mark something off the list so please keep an eye out for that.

Monday, February 27, 2017

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale + Author Interview

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 5:30 PM 0 comments


Peternelle van Arsdale is a book editor who never thought she'd write a book. She lives in New York City, where she is at work on her second novel. Visit her at http://peternellevanarsdale.com.


Title: The Beast is and Animal
Genre: YA Fantasy-Fairytale
Author: Peternelle van Arsdale
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication: February 28th 2017(ARC says March 7th)
Cover Rating: 4/5


Lately, the YA book world has been taken a storm by fairytales and all the amazing retellings. What could be better than a twist on your favorite childhood tale? I personally LOVE that retellings are a big thing right now. I know, soon, they will die out just like Twilight and its Vampire craze. But unlike with Twilight, fairytale retellings can capture a wider audience of readers with their diverse stories and characters. Fairytales have so many elements that I feel it is entirely possible for them to outlive all the other book crazes. But, what about original fairytale ideas? The Beast is an Animal falls into that category. Maybe, one day, people will be writing retellings about this book.

This book starts off with a rather 'Salem Witch Trials' event. Woman gives birth to twins. The town somehow ends up seeing those twins as being evil. Town makes sure the mother and twins are exiled. Small town hive mind is a dangerous things. But that situation did lead me to an idea and left me wondering a lot. That idea being, do people create their own monsters? Their own tragedies? Or is everything just destined to turn out this way whether someone acts on an impulse out of fear or not.

So, the book is told around the comings and going of the twins. They are called soul eaters. I feel like the best way to describe them would be to say they are Dementors except in a more human form. They serve a similar purpose, is what I am getting at. These sisters seek as form of revenge on a family member that didn't help them when the town was trying to kick them out. From this act of revenge, we meet a new character, Alys. I pronounce it 'Alice', but I could be entirely wrong. Alys lost her family because of the soul eaters. She is picked up by a man on his way to her village to do a trade and that is where the story truly begins, at least for me it does.

The man Alys meets is named Pawl. I ended up really loving Pawls character. I really wish he could have taken Alys and raised her or something other than the situation that did end up happening. But that would have meant the end for the book so I understand why that couldn't have happened.

After everything with Alys village and the other kids is sorted out Alys has to figure out some stuff and she ends up going in the place where The Beast is said to live, the fforest. Yes, fforest, that is not a typo, even though I did think that the first time I saw it. And from there I cannot say much else or I'm afraid I would be getting into spoilers.

So, to recap, the book starts out in a tiny village. I would like to give you guys a year so you could better imagine what things looked like but the best I can do is say that it's a village where you would think Little Red Riding Hood would take place. There is a Beast that the villages fears(which really makes me think of Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge). There are paranoid villagers that end up on a witch hunt which, I feel, caused their downfall, creepy ass nursery rhymes and then an adventure where a girl ventures out in an attempt to try to repair herself, her world and to get away from people before her secrets become known and she is branded a witch herself. But also to finally figure out what The Beast's true purpose really is. I am just going to stop here, if you aren't convinced that you need this book in your life then I feel sorry for you!(just kidding... or am i?)

With all the fairytale aspects aside, this book has a very scary and hard to swallow meaning behind it. Fear. Fear makes people do the most insane and horrible things. With all the stuff that is happening with the real world this very moment, and although this book is a work of fiction, the meaning and morals are still very real. Fear makes entire towns, cities, countries, etc, do horrible things. Hitler? Slavery? The very real war we are still a part of today? I don't think telling everyone they need to learn how to love people even when they are different is going to ever work in this world. It isn't love, or even hate, really, that makes this world so terrible. It is fear. Fear is the root of most evil and FEAR will be the wrecking ball that tears this world apart.

A little extra to add to the review. This is more on a personal level. When I was younger, around age 7 or 8, I started watching horror movies. Nothing like the good old SciFi channel, right? Well, now it's called SyFy and I haven't been on that channel in years. But before it became mainstream, it gave me my love for all thing macabre. One of the movies I loved the most was called Ginger Snaps. Over the past few days I found myself flashing back to scenes of those movies(yes, there are 3 in total). I couldn't figure out why until I sat down to write this review. The third movie takes place in a village much like the one in this book. I not entirely sure why this book connected in my memory to those movies but I'm entirely okay with that and am happy for the reminder that those movies exist.

Overall, I gave the book 4/5 stars.



REVIEWER Q+A:

1) Series or Standalone: I believe the book is a standalone but I would be okay with more books in this world.

2) Would you recommend it: Yes. Especially if you are enjoying the fairytale retelling craze. This book is an original story but is a fairytale to me.

3) Glad you read the book: Yes, I actually am. And I am not eagerly awaiting the authors next book! Especially now that I know it's going to be another dark fairytale!


1) What inspired you to write The Beast is an Animal?
I was most inspired by the classic Grimm fairy tales that I red as a child and have been obsessed with every since. They’re quite dark, and even the ostensibly good characters behave in terrible ways. As an adult I’m still fascinated by the idea that we’re all good and bad combined. That’s definitely an underlying theme in my novel. 

2) Are you a coffee, tea or soda drinker? Any drink suggestions?
Primarily a tea drinker. My new obsession is matcha latt├ęs, which I make at home (unsweetened), with almond milk. I got myself a nifty little hand-held milk frother that does a great job. They’re also wonderful cold in the summer. 

3) What was your favorite part to write in The Beast is an Animal?
I’d have to say the prologue, which I wrote before I even knew what the novel was going to be. It was such a magical writing experience. I sat down and wrote those twelve pages in one single flow of inspiration. 

4) What is your favorite genre? Do you have any book recommendations? 
I don’t have a favorite genre, I’m pretty omnivorous—although certainly I go through stages in my reading where I seem to be drawn more to one thing than another. The books that have meant the most to me in terms of forming me as a writer are the three that make up the HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy by Philip Pullman. Recently I particularly enjoyed V.E. Schwab’s A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, and I’m looking forward to finishing that trilogy. Right this second I’m close to finishing Margaret Atwood’s CAT’S EYE, and it’s so suspenseful I almost can’t bear it. 

5) Are you currently working on any more books?
Yes, I’m at work on my second novel. It’s also a dark fairy tale that should appeal to the same readers as THE BEAST IS AN ANIMAL, but it has a completely different setting and set of characters. 

6) If you had to pitch your book to a potential reader, in person, what would you say?
It’s a dark fairy tale about how fear makes people do terrible things, such as build walls and turn our backs on the most vulnerable members of our communities.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

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

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 PM 1 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 0 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.*

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