Wednesday, April 26, 2017

BIRTHDAY REVIEW: Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray - 5 Stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:00 AM 0 comments
Title: Defy the Stars
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Little Brown
Publication: April 4th 2017
Cover Rating: 100/5

Claudia Gray is one of my top three favorite authors. She was actually my first ever favorite Young Adult author. I found a copy of one of her books at a local thrift store during the huge vampire phase the world was going through and I fell in love with her work. This book was no exception.

Characters:
This book had a ton of characters. We have Noemi, she is a young Genesis soldier who is supposed to risk her life for the safety of her planet. Then we have Abel. He is an enemy mech-droid for the Earth army that is set on destroying the people of Genesis so that they may inhabit the planet because the people of earth killed their own. Those are our main characters. The story is told back and forth from their perspectives. 

Then we have a ton of side characters that are mostly important to drive the plot home. I think the most prominent of these characters was probably Virginia. She helped the main characters reach their overall goal and was in more than one scene.

Plot:
The book is centralized around a few planets and a rather large war that is destroying the galaxy. Earth is the bad guy, or so it would appear. Genesis is a planet where everything is clean and they don't use a lot of machinery and if something isn't broken then they keep it and don't both with upgrading their technology. This has proved to be rather bad with Earth attacking them in an attempt to take over the planet and move the inhabitants there. Without newer and higher tech gear, Genesis is pretty much just buying time. 

On the other side of the war is Earth. They have an army of mech droids they send to fight the people of Genesis. These mechs are very deadly against the dwindling forces of Genesis. Abel is, technically, a part of these mech droids. He was stranded 30 years ago near Genesis. His crew and maker abandoned the ship and Abel was left there to rot. But he didn't rot, as mechs have a very long lifespan, but being alone for 30 years has some pretty crappy effects on a person or, in this case, a mech-droid.

After Noemi and Abel's stories become entwined the plot shifts a little to a mission to stop the war. We go on this adventure with them to try and get supplies needed to destroy something that would, ultimately, help Genesis with the war and survival of their people.

So, the plot of the book is war. 

World Building:
I really enjoyed the world the author made for us. I normally don't like Sci-Fi settings but considering she is a favorite author of mine, I had to, at least, give it a try. I was afraid it was going to be very Star-Trekky and I would hate it. But, Luckily, the only REAL Sci-Fi aspect of the book is the fact that it took place in space and a few other planets. Then you have the whole Mech-Army situation. The whole book had a kind of Avengers feel to it with the mechs. But I ended up really enjoying the entire book. 

The world building was fine, yes, but I did have a few issues with picturing certain things. I couldn't really grasp the layout of the ship Abel was stranded in and that kind of sucked considering that was the main point where most of the story took place. But other than that, I really loved some of the images I had swarming in my head. I really would have loved to see more of the Earth from the book, though. 

The ending just killed my soul entirely. You know how people sometimes talk about being at a funeral and instead of crying they want to laugh hysterically? That is how I felt when the book ended.  ABEL!!! I know there will be more books but still. I needed them to be together. I NEEDED IT. And now I get to sit here for another year and be sad. BUT, this book will get reread a bunch of times, just like the authors Firebird trilogy. -swoon-

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.



Friday, April 21, 2017

As I Read Review: Hunted by Meagan Spooner - 3 Stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 11:00 AM 0 comments
Title: Hunted
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Author: Meagan Spooner
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication: March 14th 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5

April 4th 2017

1:31pm - pg 48:
So this book is supposed to be a Beauty and the Beast retelling. So I'm guessing Solmir might be the books version of Gaston. But Solmir isn't disgusting and he doesn't treat Yeva/Beauty as a stupid girl. Maybe this is role reversal. Will I hate Beast?

1:53pm - pg 86:
The father better be okay... also, I do like Solmir but there is a small part of me that feels like he is too desperate.

I really like the creepy Beast parts at the beginning of each chapter. But he isn't a normal version of the Beast. He has multiple people inside of him like Legion. We are many.

2:05pm - pg 94:
Interesting... very interesting. I can't wait to find out exactly what curse this specific beast is under.
I also can't help but wonder if Solmir is involved or at least a part, whether he knows it or not.

2:12pm - pg 105:
I loved the stories Yeva started to tell. I can really see the parts that are retelling.
I'm also finding it weird that it was expected that someone would rescue Beauty. Maybe that is how the Beast viewed women. A man has to come and save a beauty.

This version of the retelling is definitely making me think of Beastly by Alex Flynn. The way Beast reacts to anyone seeing him reminds me of how the guy in Beastly reacted. But this beast, his reaction might be more that just his looks. Maybe it is part of the curse? We shall see.

2:19pm - pg 119:
Ha! That is right Mr. Beast. That is what you fricken get for assuming a man had to save a woman!
The stories seem to be this tales version of the books that were so prominent for the original versions.
I am at the part where the beast starts to shift his feelings.
And I am really interested in this whole Firebird thing. It is a very interesting story.

April 5th 2017

9:41am - Page 200:
Okay so after stopping last night and starting again today... UGH! The dog!!! Really?!?! You don't do that crap. Haven't you see movies where that crap happens? People don't like it. I know it survived but still.

ALSO... My blogger app didn't save like 4 update so I am over here all angry and annoyed. Blah!!

11:14am -pg 255:
OH NO SHE DIDN'T. Revenge is such an ugly thing and I wish she wouldn't have done that.

11:19am - pg 261:
Ahhh now its becoming very Beauty and the Beasty.

Omfg I bet you anything this son of a b***h married one of the other girls.... I just feel like he did. Ugh

Uh huh. You better not have dude. Glad I was wrong.

OH NEVERMIND!!! You asshat. I shouldn't be mad because she wasn't that upset but still, what a fricken asshat. Gross!!

11:31am - pg 275:
Hmmmmmm

FINISHED REVIEW:

Alrighty then. I finished it. I didn't really find much wrong with it other than the fact that I have heard this story told in about fifty other Young Adult fantasy books.

Girl. Small town in some kingdom. Some archaic, small town hive mind bullcrap about women needing to be quiet, uneducated and proper. And that women aren't worth anything if they are unwed or without child. Blah Blah blah blah blah. Then this one specific girl defies all odds and she wants to be a hunter or a assassin or some other crazy thing women aren't allowed to be. The girl is always a badass, always trying to avenge or get revenge. Girl meets guy. Girl and guy have feelings for each other, usually instantly, and it's ALWAYS either forbidden or unwholesome for their love to exist. Sound like anything you've read lately?

The book, however, was actually fairly unique is its representation of Beauty any Beast.

I can't be too harsh on this book though as Beauty and the Beast retelling always touch a soft spot in my heart and this particular story wasn't as horribly sexist as most of its brethren. BUT THAT ENDING pissed me right the hell off. This is a standalone book, if I'm not mistaken, and the ending just happened. One minute there was some form of action or plot and then BAM everything was okay and they lived Happily Ever After. That's it. Beauty had apparently gotten over her father's loss completely and broke a curse that didn't seem to make a lot of sense, magically. So yeah, that ending was rushed and doesn't even seem to fit with the book in terms of giving answers irs driving me crazy. And not good crazy, either. The best way I can describe the ending is.... have you ever watched a horror movie that came on normal cable television? Well the sex scenes and certain crap is edited out to allow for commercials and to fit it into and certainly time slot. I feel like the ending was edited out and the replacement was horrible.

I was very hasty with giving the book 5/5 stars because its a Beauty and the Beast retelling. So I am biased because that is my favorite story of all time. But after sitting on it for a while I realized the book wasn't that special. It wasn't a BAD book. It just wasn't unique, at all. Imagine watching your favorite show or movie over and over again. You still love it but it's the same thing over and over so you know what you are going to get. Except imagine going in each time expecting a different outcome.

So, I had to downgrade the rating to 3/5 stars.



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

REVIEW: Before I Die by Jenny Downham - Valeria

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 8:55 PM 0 comments

Rate:
5/5

Goodreads Descriptions:
Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and drugs with excruciating side effects, Tessa compiles a list. It's her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of "normal" life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. Tessa's feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa's time runs out.

Review:
Jesus.  This one has been on my TBR for YEARS but had totally forgotten what it was about. As soon as I started I remembered Now is Good, with Dakota Fanning when I watched it on Netflix YEARS ago. I fucking BAWLED when I saw the movie and the book was no different. 

It is not sugar coated as many other books can be with this topic. 
To me, they bring an unrealistic view of the nastiness of the disease, how absolutely deteriorating it is. But this one brings the harsh truth to not just the main character but those around. Tessa is also not selfless like so many fucking characters out there where they simply seem perfect and shit. But Tessa isnt selfish either. She isn't annoying like that. She is a teen, she acts as any teen in her position would be acting and thats why I appreciate this book. I am the total opposite of her but she sure as hell acts the way I know I would.

Recommend it?
Very.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Release Day Review: Missing by Kelley Armstrong - 5 stars

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 8:45 PM 0 comments
Title: Missing
Genre: Young Adult Mystery/Thriller
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher: Crown
Publication: April 18th 2017
Cover Rating: 3/5

I honestly forgot how much I loved Kelley Armstrong's writing. Before I transitioned over to young adult books I was big on the whole Stephen king, crime/mystery/thriller adult books and paranormal romance. The first book I ever read by Kelley was a mass market copy of a bunch of short stories for her werewolf series. I didn't know what they went to. I just read them then I had to go looking for the actual series and I was in love. After I switched over to YA I picked up a book from her here and there but I never read them. After reading Missing, I am regretting not reading them and wondering how I forgot that I loved her work.

So, onto the review. How exactly do you write a spoiler free for a mystery suspense book? The best part about these kinds of books is that you aren't supposed to know what is going on. You are supposed to be lead down a trail of confusion and unanswered questions. Why else would a mystery book exist if that wasn't the end result? 

We have three main characters. Winter Crane is the narrator. Then Lennon is thrown into the picture and after that, Lennon is replaced by his brother, Jude. So we don't really have any points where we have all 3 characters but they each have very pivotal parts in this book.

Winter lives with her 'dad' in a rundown trailer. Her father won't be winning any "Best Parent" awards. She would rather sleep in the woods, surrounded by feral dogs, than sleep in the trailer with her father. She is med school bound and trying to get out of this shitty town they landed in after her mother died. The town her sister ran away and left Winter in. The town where a lot of people seem to want to get out of and things just don't seem right. But the town suddenly starts to get a little more interesting.

Enter Lennon. Winter saves him from the feral dogs that drove him up a tree. He isn't from the area but he had met a friend of Winter's at a concert a while back and had come to visit her. Then it turns out he isn't exactly the best at telling the truth. And that leads us to meeting out next character...

Jude! He is Lennon's "Irish twin" brother. Meaning they are only ten months apart. Once Jude is involved with the mystery that is going on, everything starts to get messy and fast paced. We find out exactly who Jude and Lennon's family IS and that leads us to some very interesting plot twists and wrong guesses as to who the bad guy really is. 

I couldn't help but love Jude. He was smart and a great fighter and was just a really good guy. I did have some weariness though, with how Lennon was. I was worried Jude would be the same. The book actually made you believe one thing or another about the brothers. 

The great mystery in the book is a missing person/murder situation and Winter and Jude are trying to find out what is really going on. That leads then through a lot of scary and strange situations. I was actually starting to the think the book had some paranormal elements to it because of a few parts, that's how creepy it got. But in the end everything was figured out and I was pretty okay with the ending. I do want to know what happened with Edie and her family. What happened with the killer. And what happened with Jude and Lennon's "parents" and how the mother came to be in the situation she ended up in. 

Ahhh this book was just so fricken good. Go read it. I cannot explain anything else in this review without some spoilers but seriously go read it! 

In the end, I really LOVED this book. It was a very complex mystery and it was creepy as hell. I am a horror movie queen. Always have been since I was seven or eight. So nothing really scares me anymore but there were parts of this book that had me putting it down and listening to make sure my house was safe. I also don't think reading the book in four or five hours during the dead of the night helped me. I really recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good creepy mystery. Since I read this book as an eARC from NetGalley, I think I will purchase the hardback after it comes out so I can reread it. And I am NOT someone who rereads books often. 

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

REVIEW: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - Valera

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 4:23 PM 0 comments
Rate:
10/5

Goodreads Description:
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.

Review:
JESUSSSSS
This book... This book leaves me speechless, I wanna throw this book at everyone's face aimlessly wave my arms around until they read it.
The book is real as fuck. I just.. I seriously can not bring up a solid thought to sum up this book besides IT IS THE COLD HARD TRUTH!

I am not part of the community affected in the book, but as a Latina, I feel similarly oppressed due to my ethnicity. I don't want to get into what affects Latinos because the topic of this book is about the Black Community. So I will talk as an outsider, since for Latinos, it is a different path.

I had a huge rant planned but I have decided against it after a friend of mine said okay, the political talk is good but youre not really talking about the book... So lets tone it down 1000 words or so.

Starr talks about how since she was a child, her parents would have to warn her about the police and how to act if she was ever caught, to keep her nose out of trouble and her head down. A grand portion of readers possibly can't relate to this, but Starr makes sure you feel just as stretched as she does, that the reader feels the fear. 

Thomas wrote some amazing characters. Starr becomes a different person from the one she initially was, and you can see this by the friends she surrounded herself with. As the book goes on, she realizes that one of her best friends is honestly not the greatest person on earth. Hailey (I went audiobook route, not sure how its spelled) is the kind of girl that we have all met at some point, maybe we are that person. The kind that claims to be a non racist yet turns a blind eye to oppression and has compassion for the oppressors. Hailey HAS been us when we make stereotypical assumptions about minorities, making them as a joke and sure, people laugh but that is just the thing, Hailey takes and makes it as a joke and when she gets called out for it, she gets offended, just as offended as the receiver of the joke is. 

Here we see how much Khalils' murder affects not just those that knew him but his whole community. The officer that shot Khalil starts to excuse his behavior and making up reasons for having shot him and holding Starr at gun point. Starr knows the truth though. And that scared her for the first half of the book. The fact that she didn't know to what lengths the police would go to keep her quiet. Now, the book wasn't an us vs them story. Starr knew and admitted that not all police officers where bad, she herself had an Uncle who was a cop. She was scared and angry at those that admired and the actual officer that shot Khalil.

In the book we also see another thing that personally I have been no stranger to. Protesting just because everyone is. Personally I have never been one to go out and protest and march. I don't know if you guys know what im talking about but a few years ago there was a whole outrage about Kony and the invisible children students were outraged beyond words and did all sorts of protest... For about a month at best. And then no one mentioned it again. People did it just because everyone was doing it, because they could get out of class in the name of doing something good. In the book, most of the students in the school get out of class in order to march for Khalil, which would seem like a good thing, but from the very beginning, it is clear that the students just didn't care, Hailey is the one that shines the light on this, mentioning how grateful she was for the protest, meaning that she could get out of her English class and skip the test she was not ready for. 

The book is full of things we have all seen at one point or another, whether its in real life or in the news. The book real, this book doesnt SPEAK the truth, it SCREAMS the truth. A truth that we all need to keep in mind, that we all need to be aware of. 

Recommend it?
FUCKING
YES
YES
YES
STOP READING
GO BUY IT, BORROW IT, CHECK IT OUT. 
Jesus, anything, everything. 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

REVIEW: The Gender Game by Bella Forrest - Valeria

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM 0 comments
Rate:
4/5

Goodreads Description:
For fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent
comes a story like no other... 


A toxic river divides nineteen-year-old Violet Bates's world by gender.

Women rule the East. Men rule the West.

Welcome to the lands of Matrus and Patrus.

Ever since the disappearance of her beloved younger brother, Violet's life has been consumed by an anger she struggles to control. Already a prisoner to her own nation, now she has been sentenced to death for her crimes.

But one decision could save her life.

To enter the kingdom of Patrus, where men rule and women submit.

Everything about the patriarchy is dangerous for a rebellious girl like Violet. She cannot break the rules if she wishes to stay alive.

But abiding by rules has never been Violet's strong suit.

When she's thrust into more danger than she could have ever predicted, Violet is forced to sacrifice many things in the forbidden kingdom ... including forbidden love.

In a world divided by gender, only the strongest survive...
 

Review:
So I was interested in this book because it is pitched as recommended for Divergent and Hunger Games fans, and I happen to be both. 
It was not wrongly, its not the first time I read a book by this author but I was still afraid that it wouldn't be good and that it would seem a little too much like Divergent and the Hunger Games. But she did such a magnificent job in making the story her own. 
We the readers get a job description of why the societies separated (Matrus ruled by Woman and Patrus by men) and how they treat members of the opposite sex. To be honest I feel like that whole topic was not far fetched from reality, specially in certain areas of the world, whether the author researched and drew from those ideas is a whole nother thing unknown to me but it makes this dystopian  that much more interesting. There is good world exploration throughout the book. 

Violet

Her story starts off in a way that is just such a perfect way to pull anyone into a story, it gets the adrenaline running, and theeeeen shes in jail, actually, she was in jail for most of her life. Add this to her little brother being taken away from her life and being orphaned, she has become very harsh and closed off. Now, it COULD get a little annoying how fast she would get mad at things or just how mistrustful she would be but it made sense all the way through. Violet is pretty much impulsive due to this. She wasn't my favorite character ever, sometimes I wanted to shake her, but hey, no book is perfect and she kind of had a reason to be the way she is.

Lee and Viggo
So Violet interacts with these characters the most and I am a slightly bit confused about who I am supposed to like and who will later on stab us in the back, I feel like we end up knowing more about Viggo personally. And hardly anything about Lee, I mean, if other books have taught me anything, there might be a good solid reason for this in the other books. Romance-wise there isnt much going on in this book that personally I like.
It isnt a topic of importance which I feel fits fantastically in the plot overall, I mean, to be honest it can be super annoying when a book gives you insta love or where the characters are super in love in a short around of time and one of them or both seems totally different than the originally where, you know what I mean? Like if Violet was all heart eyes by the end of the book, forgetting her original purpose, I wouldve been pissed. So far, there might be something there, there could be something in the future, but for now, they both have a mission, and that's their main focus. 

The ending of the book was all over the place. I am not going to lie, I had to read the climax of the book twice because I was like wait wait wait wait, what?
There was so much going on, in a good way, like, personally I was so pumped about it that I was flipping pages like crazy which could be the reason that I got confused and had to go back xD So.. that is my fault? 

Recommend it?
Yup, I do.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Author Spotlight: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer - 5 STARS!

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 8:52 PM 0 comments
BRIGID KEMMERER is the author of LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury; April 4, 2017), a dark, contemporary Young Adult romance; THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington, December 29, 2015), a New Adult paranormal mystery with elements of romance; and the YALSA-nominated Elemental series of five Young Adult novels and three e-novellas which Kirkus Reviews calls “refreshingly human paranormal romance” and School Library Journal describes as “a new take on the supernatural genre.” She lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons. You can visit her at www.brigidkemmerer.com


Title: Letters to the Lost
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication: April 4th 2017
Cover Rating: 10/5

If you want to read a very sad, beautiful and meaningful book then Letters to the Lost is the book for you.

We have two main characters, Juliet and Declan, and the book flip flops back and forth between both of there perspectives. Both of our characters have suffered severe family losses. Juliet's loss is more recent but Declan's loss, although four years old, is still fresh because of the path he took with his life. Juliet wrote letters to her mother and left them at her grave and one day, Declan happens to be in that same cemetery and finds her letter and decides to reply. This sets the pace for the rest of the book and the two form a penpal type bond while neither party knows who the other is? It was amazing to see just how much a person can open up to a stranger. Sometimes it's just easier to spill your guts to someone who doesn't know you and can't judge you.

Juliet is introduced as a girl who recently lost her mother in a tragic accident. She is not coping with this loss well, at all. In fact, it seems like she is getting worse. She quits everything she loves and she just moves inward on herself. Aside from her being unable to cope, she is also unable to move forward with life and her teachers have stopped giving her passes for "dead parent syndrome". One thing I did notice about Juliet, she isn't exactly the most observant person in the world. This observation comes from an email conversation that happens more toward the end of the book. Maybe someone else will notice it or, at least, I can hope someone else notices it so I don't feel so OCD about it.

Declan(really awesome name, Mrs. Kemmerer) is the troubled kid that has a record. So basically he is a stereotype. Or so it would seem from the way his classmates, and even his stepfather, talk about him. But there is so much more to him. So much more, and no one sees this because he doesn't show it. But what reason does he have to show it when people have already painted their pictures of him and changing someones view isn't exactly an easy task. So he just slipped into the persona and accepted it. But, the letter he finds left in front of a headstone in the cemetery he is mowing for community service, moves something in him and maybe, just maybe, he doesn't want to be the guy everyone seems to KNOW he is. Maybe, he wants to be happy and move on from the disaster that happened, not once, but twice. Declan was letting TWO days out of his entire life dictate who he was. But now? I guess you will just have to read the book and find out! Oh yeah, don't swoon too hard!

The relationships in this book are amazing. Normally side characters don't add a ton to the book but all of these characters and relationships were pivotal and added so much more to the story. I think that the more information we get from side characters the more we can get to know our main character and who they are as a person, especially before the book began, and that is very important because that is when we as reader start to connect with the character.

There is a ton of tragedy in this book. Now, normally, I get annoyed with books that over use tragedies. But this book... this book was written so well that the tragedies are believable. I didn't find myself rolling my eyes or shaking my head about the bad luck and it actually made the story more impactful.

There was a pretty big plot twist at the end of the book and I truly hope Juliet can learn to forgive her mother. No one likes to speak ill of the dead but it has to be hard to process things you find out after the fact. Aside from the plot twist, I was very satisfied with how everything wrapped up.

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.



Okay, so these afterthoughts are going to be a bit spoilerish so if you haven't read the book and hate spoilers you should probably not read this but I am going to try to be as vague as possible.

Spoilers in...
3
2
....
1
What the hell happened with the yearbook picture?! I feel like that was a constant plot point and it was left open. I know it might not seem like much, and it really actually shouldn't be, but this plot point was the cause of fights and unwanted memories. It was pretty important to me. The other thing is... did Juliet decide to take pictures again? I have a feeling she did but it would have been nice to know for sure



1) How did you become an author?
I started writing when I was in middle school, mostly because I ran out of books to read. The first story I remember writing was about a boy with wings who escaped from a research facility. It was completely silly and ridiculous, but it was a lot of fun. It wasn’t until my late teens that I started to think I could write a full book, and it wasn’t until my late twenties that I thought I had enough talent to become a full time writer. 

2) What is your favorite book you have written?
This answer changes all the time, but right now, it’s Letters to the Lost. 

3) Who is your favorite character in Letters to the Lost?
Such a tough question! I think it’s Rev. He’s already become a reader favorite. When I put him on the page, I wasn’t sure what he’d do, but I love how he turned out. His book, More than We Can Tell, will be available April 2018. 

4) If you weren't an author what would your dream job be?
Probably a high school math teacher. I love working with kids, and I love math. 

5) If you had to pitch Letter to the Lost to a potential reader what would you tell them?
I would tell them it’s a story about a girl who copes with her mother’s loss by leaving letters at her grave, until a stranger writes back and they form an anonymous friendship – not realizing that they know each other in real life, and they don’t have the greatest opinion of each other. It’s all about learning to look beyond the surface of the people around us, because we all have a side to ourselves that we don’t show the world. 

Release Day Review: The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 12:11 AM 0 comments
Title: The Last Thing You Said
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary/Tough Issues
Author: Sara Biren
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication: April 4th 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5

This book was heavy. I read it in one 3-hour sitting about a week ago and I still can't stop thinking about it. That's a good thing, I suppose, right?

Death is a complicated situation. It can either bring people together, tear them apart OR both. The majority of this book is spent watching death tear people apart. And I don't just mean the main characters, Lucy and Ben, I mean everyone. The mothers and fathers and aunts and uncle, you get to see it all. Death really messes up a family but the worst part is, the person who died, would never want her family acting this way.

Trixie. This book wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for Trixie. Last summer, Trixie, Ben, Lucy and Clayton(Lucy's brother) were all relaxing in the water. Then Trixie decided to have a swimming race to the island no too far from where they were floating. Her heart gives out during the race and her friends are unable to save her. Swimming was something she loved. She died doing something she loved and it took almost the entirety of this book for people to realize that. Yes, it is still a tragedy. And that tragedy ripped families apart because those families let her death do that. And that is not something Trixie would have wanted, at all. The bits and pieces we get about her and her life throughout this book paint a picture of a loving, caring, beautiful girl with a soul that matches. The author didn't just tell us that Trixie was an amazing person and expect us to go along with it. No, she showed us who Trixie was and that is exactly the right thing to do. So, after her death, we are left with Lucy and Ben, her best friend and her brother, and we get to see just how badly losing Trixie messed them up.

Lucy is our main character. We get to see things through her eyes, past and present. I really enjoyed her flashbacks and her Trixie's(you'll find out what these are if you read the book). With these we got to know Trixie even though she was dead. It's always nice to get a back story on a deceased character instead of the author just saying 'blah blah is dead' and moving on. Now, Lucy herself, I have multiple feelings towards her. She had moments where I was sad with her and then there were moments where I wish she would just stop the stupid crap she was doing. She was definitely a case of smart girl making stupid decisions.

Lucy and Ben are left to navigate life without Trixie and it really shatters their worlds. Ben turned self-distructive and that made this entire situation even harder to bear for Lucy. He hurt Lucy and that made losing her best friend AND seeing him anywhere extremely hard. Especially since Lucy is playing nanny to Ben and Trixie's little cousin so she sees him almost every day.

I loved Ben. Don't get me wrong. I was half and half between wanting to hug him and wanting to rip his face off. I also think that he was forgiven way too easily, especially after the HORRIBLE shit he said and did. But, love isn't just another 4-letter word, it is encompassing and full of every emotion you could possibly think of. Love is raw. Love is giving someone all the trust in the world that they won't rip you apart but it is also forgiving them if they do rip you apart. Love is the most sought after thing in this world. So why shouldn't it hurt like hell? Why shouldn't it give you every emotion this world has to offer? Life isn't worth living if you don't get to feel everything it has to offer. With that being said, I hope he gets his anger issues under control because he can be a great guy when he doesn't let his rage control him.

Simon... UGH. I don't even know if I want to go there, but I guess I have to. He was a fricken creeper. He was so disgusting and lowkey controlling. I have no idea how Lucy could stand to do that entire 'relationship'. God, just thinking about it makes me sickened. I would rather lick a skunk than have been in Lucy's shoes that summer and I'm so glad he got put in his place. I'm not sure if this is how the author meant for Simon to be perceived but I can't really imagine what else she would have been aiming for.

The setting of this book was really beautiful. It took place in a small town on the water. The residents all seemed to know each other and it was a pretty nice feeling. I don't know if the author based it off of an existing town or made it up entirely but either way she definitely made it come to life. The author is also very talented in making real, believable characters.

So, with all the back and forth emotions this book made me feel, I can say that I loved it. I hated some of the situations and I got angry at some people, but if a book doesn't made you feel SOMETHING then it has no right being a book. Lucy's parents were okay people. Her brother was a mooching ass-hat. Ben's parents weren't exactly the greatest. I understand they lost a daughter but they still had a son. Sadly, this is the common situation if a parent loses a child and has other children.

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.



Monday, April 3, 2017

Tome Topple Round 3 TBR - April 7th-20th

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 10:11 PM 0 comments
I am participating in the third round of Tome Topple. It starts at midnight on April 7th and goes to 11:59pm on April 20th. Basically, you just have to read books with over 500 pages. There are also 5 challenge that I will post below.


CHALLENGES: 
1. Read more than 1 tome
2. Read a graphic novel (graphic novel bindups count)
3. Read a tome that's part of a series
4. Buddy read a tome (use goodreads and twitter to find buddies!)
5. Read an adult novel


MY TBR:

  • Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
  • The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
  • The You I've Never Know by Ellen Hopkins
  • Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • It by Stephen King
  • Black Witch by Laurie Forest
  • (MAYBE) A Court of Mist and Fury(only if I finish ACOTAR)

Yes, apparently I am trying to kill myself with this TBR, lol. We shall see what all gets done! I will be doing a YouTube TBR video for this as well and probably doing updates over there too. So my YouTube is https://www.youtube.com/user/bookaholics8991

PrePub Review: Other Breakable Things by Kelley York + Rowan Altwood - 5 STARS

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:58 PM 0 comments
Title: Other Breakable Things
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary with Illness
Author: Kelley York + Rowan Altwood
Publisher: EntangledTeen
Publication: April 4th 2017
Cover Rating: 5/5

I sort of feel like anything I say about Other Breakable Things would be a spoiler. It was a very good book and the events were just very unexpected, to me at least. So I am going to try and make this review short and as vague as possible but still good enough that it makes you guys want to read the book!

So we have Evelyn and Luc. They became really close friends right before Evelyn had to move to Arizona for her mothers new boyfriend. I will take about Evelyn's mother in the next paragraph. Then, Evelyn comes back three years later. And in those three years, Luc has pretty much stopped keeping in contact with Evelyn. So, Evelyn goes over to Luc's house and leaves a familiar gesture on his porch so he would know she was back and thus begins this extremely beautiful and sad journey of love, pain, hate, agony, happiness and death.

I know what you are thinking and, YES, Evelyn's mother is such a horrible person that she deserves her own paragraph. This woman... Men matter to her more than her own damn daughter. She uproots Evelyn at every chance she got just to be with a guy that never lasts long OR a guy that ends up doing something this woman will live to regret.

Luc was a very touch and go character for me. One minute I thought he was sweet and the next minute I wanted to slap him. He didn't seem to understand that pushing people away so they don't get hurt if he dies isn't exactly how life works out. In fact, it actually hurts the people around him even more. He was too busy pushing people away to live his life and I think that was one of the sadest parts of the story.

These two end up on a road-trip together and shenanigans ensue, sparks fly and feelings got hurt, a lot, but this journey was the beginning, and sadly the end, of something beautiful and innocent. Love is the biggest emotional roller-coaster anyone could ever go on. I am pretty sure if someone could find a way to use love as currency, it would be worth a lot more than anything we currently have. I truly enjoyed getting to know Evelyn and Luc. I really loved Luc's hobby, too. The author really fleshed these characters out and made them as realistic as possible. Yes, there were some situations that seemed a bit out there but that doesn't mean they can't happen.

The ending sucked soooo much! I really wish Evelyn and Luc could have established their relationship three years ago and just let everything take its course. I did, however, really like the little twist with the ending. I would have bet money that the first pages of the book meant one thing, not the other. And I would have lost money. Evelyn was such a brave character. People like her need to exist in real life.

Overall, I gave the book 5/5 stars.








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