Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Review: Monument 14: Sky on Fire


Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive and worked together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope.

Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once. . . .

Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with Niko and some others in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected. .

Talk about a series that came out of no where. I had never heard of the Monument 14 books and I read through the second one like wildfire. It's so hard to say anything without spoilers, but I'm going to try. This book bounces between Alex's POV and Dean's. This book takes the kids through the world after the plant explosion where gangs of people have banded together to turn on each other. While reading the book it almost felt like the apocalypses. Neighborhood were abandoned,and people were in a complete state of panic. I loved reading about Alex and Dean's journey that I can't say much more about without spoilers, except if society falls apart tomorrow, I'm convinced I'll be just fine after all of the Dystopian books I've read!

Read the book people!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review: Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

Publisher: Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Rating: 5 STARS

Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to the dead—to people like Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, Amelia Earhart, and Amy Winehouse—though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating the choppy waters of new friendships, learning to live with her splintering family, falling in love for the first time, and, most important, trying to grieve for May. But how do you mourn for someone you haven't forgiven?

It's not until Laurel has written the truth about what happened to herself that she can finally accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was—lovely and amazing and deeply flawed—can she truly start to discover her own path.

In a voice that's as lyrical and as true as a favorite song, Ava Dellaira writes about one girl's journey through life's challenges with a haunting and often heartbreaking beauty.

I thought this book was amazing. I think it's my only 5 stars so far this year. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to properly connect to Laurel when she was telling her stories through letters rather than experiencing it, but it was amazing. I think it was the perfect format for this story. Laurel spoke about her father and aunt, her sister, her new friends in high school, and her first boyfriend.

There were so many feels. I hardly know what to do about it. I highly suggest this book to anyone and everyone. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read this book if you haven't already.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Positive message/ negative message. I don't even know

So I just read the blurb for this new book coming out called Dumplin'. Here it is:

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

It sounds great right, heck I almost can't wait to read it. Now for those of you who wondered why I used the world "almost" here's the section that drew me up short, o show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Now I'm a size 6 in most things, but I was a very late bloomer in high school so I was very very very small. I for one, as I'm sure most of you are as well, am 100% pro #weneeddiversebooks. I love that we're including everything under that hashtag. We're including LGBT, people with mental disorders, those who are physically disadvantaged, those who don't fit gender norms, those who are varying races, and yes, those with varying waistlines. 

Now a reoccurring theme that I have seen in books, movies and so forth is something I like to call thin shaming. Twigs. Bony. Skinny minnie. Unhealthy. Skin and bones. And from a song "All That Bass,"(a song I really like Skinny Bitches). I have noticed that at times, while trying to show full figured women that they are indeed beautiful, we can at times, use negative terminology with regards to those who aren't full figured, and basically... that irritates the hell out of me. One day my friends said that in Easy A Emma Stone looked unhealthy.


She looks fine to me, she's just little. And I really like Meghan Trainor and I'm not trying to slam her or anything, but skinny bitches? Really. I'm just not a fan and I don't even consider myself skinny. I consider myself average, and yet I'm still insulted. Everybody can have body image issues, no matter what their pant size, and calling people twiggy or skinny bitches isn't doing anyone any good.

Now I haven't ready Dumplin' because it isn't even published yet, but that one word in the descriptor got my juices flowing, and this is what poured out. I don't think authors, song writers, or script writers, or even the every day average Joe means to be insulting when they make passive aggressive statements about someone being thin, but just like the word fat can jump out at a person and make them defensive, so can the many comments a person makes about someone being on the smaller side.

So basically I think using fiction is a great way to empower someone, but let's make sure that we're not tugging others down along the way.

If anyone cares to read a little more, here's a blog post called Don't Call Me Skinny that I stumbled across, it's blunt, but interesting.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Rooms by Lauren Oliver

Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: September 23, 2015
Rating: 3 STARS
Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Soooooo, this was a weird book.  I'm not even sure where to begin. So, a family returns to their old home to clean it out before it's sold, and everyone's a mess basically. The house is also haunted so we're told about the story not only from the families perspective, but also the ghosts. I'm not sure what to say about this book. It wasn't really a ghost story in the classic sense, no one was haunted. It was interesting learning about the lives of the ghosts and the family, but if it wasn't for the same mysteries in the book, I'm not sure I would have finished it. How did the ghosts die, who's the third ghost, why does everyone in this family seem to hate each other, but that was pretty much it. That's not to say it wasn't good, it just wasn't my style. The pace was a little slower than I would have liked. I don't know. It just wasn't my cup of tea I guess.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Review: Say What You Will


Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Rating: 4 stars

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

This book is beautiful, moving, and if I was the crying type, I sure it would have happened more than once. Amy has, cerebral palsy and Matthew and a pretty severe case of OCD. After Amy writes a paper claiming that she loves her life exactly the way it is, and has no regrets, and considers herself luckier than her classmates despite her CP, Matthew speaks up for the first time stating that he thinks she’s making it up. There’s no way she can know what it’s like navigating friends, relationships, and confidence issues if she’s never been exposed to them. This statement makes Amy think that he’s probably right. She should be exposed to creating relationships with people her own age, something she’s never done before, but will have to do when she leaves for college the next year. Amy convinces her parents to hire student to aid her throughout the school day and introduce her to her peers, as opposed to adults. Although throughout the book, Amy develops relationship with all of her peer helpers, she’s becomes closest to Matthew. Not only does she appreciate that he’s the only person, other than her mother, who’s even told her something that she might not want to hear (being a disabled girl) but she also notices his OCD behavior and likes that for once, she can help someone else, instead of only needing help.
There was a lot of emotion in this book. I've noticed in reviews that most people didn't connect with Matthew, or like him as much as Amy, but I have to say, I had the opposite reaction. My heart broke for the challenges that Amy faced (and I kind of hated her mother, I understood her, but I still hated her) and I feel like she’s a character to look up to. That being said, Amy has had CP for her entire life, she’s had to fight and struggle her entire life, for what she’s obtained, Matthew however, didn't even know he had OCD until Amy pointed it out to him. He knew that was he was different from his peers and that he’d changed somewhere between Middle School and High School, but for the longest time he couldn't see what the problem actually was. I can’t imagine, developing a disorder like that at such a critical time in my life. The thought is almost too much to handle. My heart broke for Amy, but my heart smushed for Matthew. His character development through the book was AMAZING. It was like he was a completely different person, but he knew that he still had a long road ahead of him, and he took active steps to better his future. Snaps to that. It’s hard to do as an adult, let alone as a kid with a disorder that can literally ruin your entire life. I loved him.

That being said, I had a few issues with Amy. I though she was a great character and well written. I can’t being to comprehend what it’s like to have CP but her character was written in a way that help real to me, she had this disorder, but she didn't let it define her. Awesome. Great. There were times though, where I was furious at how she treated Matthew. No he wasn't physically disabled, but he had some very serious mental problems, problems, that Amy knew about. I thought her actions after prom were ridiculous, and I still can’t figure out why it happened. Sanjay lied and told her that Matthew left the prom without her. Up to this point, Amy has been written as a character who steps up and speaks her mind, and she completely shut him out because she was being selfish and childish, you’re 18 and going to an Ivy League school for goodness sake.

Then let’s talk about the sex… Amy decided that it would be a good idea to have sex so that she would know what to do when she was with someone she really cared about. I can’t get behind that. It doesn't make sense. Nope, I don’t get it. I also don’t understand how she could do something that would so clearly hurt Matthew, and then try to defend that decision, she should have been screaming “I’m Sorry” not trying to defend her actions. She liked Matthew, she obviously liked her. He was just as inexperienced as she was, they could have learned together. There should have been little to no pressure here. It was really the only part of the book that made me blanch. I had to kind of force myself to forget about it and move on. 

I adored everything else though!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Cut Both Ways

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.

Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?

Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.

Deciding who to love, who to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.
Release Date September 1, 2015 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Don't Ever Change

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Eva has always wanted to write a modern classic—one that actually appeals to her generation. The only problem is that she has realized she can't "write what she knows" because she hasn't yet begun to live. So before heading off to college, Eva is determined to get a life worth writing about.

Soon Eva's life encounters a few unexpected plot twists. She becomes a counselor at a nearby summer camp—a job she is completely unqualified for. She starts growing apart from her best friends before they've even left for school. And most surprising of all, she begins to fall for the last guy she would have ever imagined. But no matter the roadblocks, or writer's blocks, it is all up to Eva to figure out how she wants this chapter in her story to end.

Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell, Don't Ever Change is a witty, snarky, and thought-provoking coming-of-age young adult novel about a teen who sets out to write better fiction and, ultimately, discovers the truth about herself.
Release Date July, 7 2015 

Despite the fact that I should have already discovered myself (I'm in my late 20's for goodness sake) I'm still trying to get a handle on everything.