Book Talk: Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Book Talk: Mosquitoland by David ArnoldMosquitoland by David Arnold
Publisher/Year: Viking Juvenile- March 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: None, it is his debut!
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

When Mim’s mom and dad split, Mim finds herself suddenly uprooted and living with her dad and his brand new wife all the way in Mississippi while her mom, whose correspondence has become less and less frequent, is in Ohio. When she finds out that her mom is sick, she hops a Greyhound bus to get to her which leads her on a journey where she’ll encounter people who leave a mark on her and be forced to confront some tough things.

a2There’s no way I’m going to be able to explain this book!!

a4What an experience reading Mosquitoland was! I know I’m not going to be able to adequately describe this book or the experience and that’s okay. I’m just hoping you’ll see that beautiful cover or my interview with David Arnold and will want to just rush right to pick it up!! It’s one of those one in a million kinds of books. The kind of book that doesn’t FEEL like anything else you’ve ever read. I really have a hard time comparing it to anything I’ve ever read before, truly. I love experiences like that.

Here’s what I loved about it:

1. ROAD TRIP: I’ve read lots of road trip books but none quite like this. Mim truly goes on quite the adventure as she leaves Mississippi to get to her mom in Ohio. It was like a road trip hopped up on extra shenanigans. I don’t want to slip in too many of the situations she finds herself in but it was quite the wild ride. I kept turning the pages like WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?!

2. MIM: You guys, YOU NEED TO MEET MIM. There’s no one way to describe Mim — I’d say quirky or eccentric but I’m not sure either of those words fully encompass Mim’s personality. I could tell you about her personality or the things she likes but it doesn’t present the whole picture.  She’s Mim. That’s the only way you can describe her. MIM. I’ll assert it as an adjective. Mim in all her Mimness.  That’s all I can say. And when you meet her you will know what I mean. She’s a voice that echos louder than most in the recesses of my readerly mind. She made me snort-laugh unattractively. She made me cry inconsolably. She made me want to shake her but then hug her at the same time. She made me think. She seeks answers and her journey to find them is one you don’t want to miss as she really has to confront some tough things in her past and present. I could go on and on about Mim and her growth and how much of an amazing heroine she is but the takeaway here is….THERE WILL NOT BE ANOTHER VOICE LIKE MIM. She’s an anomaly (but, like, not written in that annoying way in which the author is like LOOK AT MY CHARACTER ISN’T SHE SO QUIRKY AND DIFFERENT). She’s Mim through and through.

3. The writing: There was something so hypnotizing with David Arnold’s writing. The way this story was told was just so VIBRANT. I don’t know how to explain it other than that. It was dream-like. Surreal. Half the time I was like “IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?” or is it one beautifully constructed hallucination?? Or maybe it’s a movie reel in my mind?? It was just told in a different way. He spins some sentences/thoughts that just make you pause before moving on. I dog-earred the crap out of this book for many reasons — profundity, humor, a certain turn of phrase that delighted the cockles of my heart, a heart-warming moment, etc. I also love how the story is revealed with the trip narration and then with letters to Iz. We get slivers of the past that has brought her here mixed with this surreal road trip. Also? How David Arnold explored mental illness in a powerful way. I don’t want to say too much on it because I want people to experience it purely how I did.

4. The cast of characters she meets along the way: There were sooo many excellent characters she crosses paths with who change her and help her along her journey. Every character she crosses paths with come to life so vibrantly in a way that is just SO impressive.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ plot, characters, writing, uniqueness, themes
Nothing really.

Re-readability: Yes!
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Yes!

a5contemporary YA fans looking for something a little different, people who like offbeat indie movies like I do (seriously, it’s so cinematic and I kept picturing it shot like some of my favorite indie flicks), readers who like a wild road trip,

a8Mosquitoland was just delightfully offbeat in the most charming of ways. Mim is a heroine which no adjectives can quite pin down the essence of Mim. She will test your patience but you cannot help rooting for her on her journey. And the writing?! It made me up my dog-earring game! Gut-bustingly funny at times, punches you in the gut at other times. David Arnold is a brilliant author who DEFINITELY brought out the big guns with his refreshing and vibrant debut. What next, David, WHAT NEXT? I cannot wait to see what else he can do.

review-on-post-itMosquitoland by David Arnold

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

A January & February Release I Enjoyed!

I’ve got two mini reviews for you today! Just trying to get caught up — that ever so elusive achievement for me!

 

Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

 

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

Amazon // Goodreads
Published: January 2015
Received a copy for review from the publisher. This is no way influenced the opinions shared.

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: One day Avery think she is a semi-normal teenager and the next she’s being whisked away to Paris and told she has a secret, powerful family who has had a hand in a lot of the world’s history. And then she finds out that she might just be part of the key to decoding an ancient prophecy that has alluded people which makes her a pawn for the people who want to use her to figure out this mystery and also those who want her dead because of the power she could hold.

This one was fun and had me racing through the pages as the stakes kept getting higher and the conspiracies kept getting more layered. I’d heard it described as a YA DaVinci Code (also reminded me of National Treasure) and I can see that totally! You’ve got to suspend some disbelief obviously and forgive Avery for things, as a reader, you see pretty clearly (I totally guessed some things or called bad decisions) but it didn’t detract from my experience. I loved getting to know this dangerous and powerful family that Avery discovers that she has and seeing how lavish their lifestyle is and the secret hand they have in a lot of the world’s history (so much historical goodness). It was exciting and truly mysterious as danger seemed to lurk at every corner and plots to use Avery were a plenty. The only things I didn’t love: the romance (I don’t really feel it in any REAL way) and also I just struggled with the characterization not being as strong as I typically like. I will be continuing on with this series because I love a good, fast paced conspiracy thriller and I’m so interested in decoding this mystery right along with them (hopefully with even more whisking away to foreign countries)! Super entertaining!

RATING

RATING-LIKED

 

 

My Heart & Other Black Holes

My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Amazon// Goodreads
Published: February 10, 2015
I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher. This is no way influenced the opinions shared.

What It Is About In A Few Sentences: The main character has spent much of her life plotting her suicide because she doesn’t want to end up like her father — a man who committed a violent crime that has made her a pariah amongst her peers. She realizes that she won’t carry it out on her own so she finds a website that helps you find a suicide partner which leads her to Roman — a boy so haunted by a tragedy in his family.

I named this as one of my favorite 2015 books I read in 2014 so you may have already seen how much I loved this one! This one was heavy and super emotional but also so full of life and hope despite the sadness crying out from the pages. Reading it made me feel the weight of all the books I own (a lot) on my chest. The two main characters both have some awful things that have happened to them and they feel the burden is just too much and that transferred on to me as a reader.  It’s so hard to read as they plot their mutual suicide and, as the countdown until the day it is supposed to happen, you just so desperately want them to find that one shred of hope to turn back from the plan especially as they start to truly form a bond. Warga deftly explores depression and suicide in a way that just haunts you. I really loved Aysel’s voice — it was just so REAL and honest and her personality was just so vibrant even amongst all the darkness she felt. *kind of spoilery* I was nervous when this book started going into romance territory because I was like “NO. THIS IS SO GOOD PLEASE DON’T SCREW THIS UP” but I thought Warga handled it pretty delicately and realistically and rather than handing us this “LOVE CURES ALL” story I think it was more that Roman became this mirror to which Aysel suddenly could see herself more clearly. Would I honestly have preferred it just to be a friendship? Yep. As a personal thing I think it could have shown it just as clearly how important their connection was in how it sparked some more life-affirming thoughts within them. *end spoiler* Hauntingly beautiful this one was and I dog-earred so many pages because, man, Jasmine Warga can write!

RATING

RATING-loved-it

 

 

 

Have you read either of these? I’d love to know what YOU thought!! If you haven’t read them, do you think they are something you are interested in?

Book Talk: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

Book Talk: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia HandThe Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen- February 10, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: The Unearthly series
AmazonGoodreads

I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

The last time Lex can remember being happy is before her brother killed himself. Now she’s haunted by ghosts that keep her from moving forward — the ghost of her brother, of the guilt and of the life she had before everything happened (like a family that wasn’t broken, a boyfriend, friends). While the grief is shared, she alone carries the burden of knowing about a text Tyler sent that night that could have made everything different.

a2*weeps*

a4

Oh man, you guys. Recently it seems I’ve been reading a lot of books about suicide or the grief experienced from losing a loved one from suicide. My heart, I think, was beginning to look like Swiss cheese and Cynthia Hand just obliterated whatever was left of it with The Last Time We Say Goodbye.  I really super loved her Unearthly series for MANY reasons (seriously that series is AH-MAZING if you dig paranormal) but I loved how skilled Cynthia was in writing some of the heavier stuff in that series and the way, as a reader, she made me feel it. Some of the most moving parts of that series, for me, were her exploration of loss and grief. So I KNEW she was going to make my heart take a beating if she wrote a whole book exploring that. AND SHE DID. OH SHE DID — so poignantly and heartachingly well.

It’s hard to talk too objectively about this book because I feel it TOO MUCH. The way Cynthia Hand wrote Lex’s grief makes me get a lump in my throat just thinking about it. I read A LOT of grief books (for reasons) and this is just so authentic in the way it portrays it not only through Lex but her family. If I hadn’t already known that, in fact, Hand HAS lost someone (her brother) I would have been sitting here just KNOWING that she had because there’s just this intangible quality about the way she writes grief that I just don’t think a person who hasn’t experienced grief and loss truly can do.  Lex’s brand of grief felt a lot like my own after I lost my mom — especially the shutting people out. There were just these little nuances and small moments that Hand just gets right. So right that it hurts. Also, THAT GUILT SHE HAS SURROUNDING THAT NIGHT? A friend of mine had almost the same exact thing happen when a mutual friend of ours committed suicide and I know how intrusive that guilt was.

I loved that we meet Lex months after everything happens. It’s the time, I think, in my own grieving experience where I felt the worst. The house is more quiet because less people are coming over. The phone rings less. You are forced to be alone with your thoughts more because the distractions of death (the logistics, the funeral, the social calls, etc. etc.) are gone and the world expects you to get back into your normal routines and habits….except…you know..like with this person-shaped hole missing from your life. Hand captures that weird limbo where the “formal” grieving happens and the “back to real life” happens SO PERFECTLY. You are still thinking and feeling it so deeply but with that “I AM PRETENDING TO BE FINE” mask on and trying to pretend to give a crap about Normal Life Things/also really caring about those things.

I know I’m focusing on the grief aspect of this book but it’s what made this an excellent read for me because of how intricate Hand made it! I will say the romance is SO WELL DONE. It was sweet and realistic and I LOVED IT SO MUCH. To be honest, I really did love a lot of the relationship explored and how your grief impacts those and changes the dynamic — from friends who mean well but can’t totally understand to the guilt-ridden parents who feel just as wrecked as you do. I think Hand did a great job showing those relationships and how they fracture and change with the weight of grief but mean so much.

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, portrayal of grief, EMOTIONS
just a TAD slow at points

Re-readability: MAYBE. It’s heavy, so I’d really need to be in a mood to tear my heart out.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Yes!

a5fans of Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly series that enjoy contemporary, readers looking for books that deal with loss and grief, readers that want to cry or have their heart torn out, readers who can handle a heavy topic such as suicide, fans of quieter novels

a8I really enjoyed Cynthia Hand’s foray into contemporary YA! It was a HARD book to read. I mean, a clear-your-reading-schedule-because-your-heart-needs-time-to-repair-itself kind of read. It may have been a quieter novel in terms of plot but the way Hand explores loss/grief/guilt/suicide/relationships impacted is just LOUD LOUD LOUD in your heart.

review-on-post-it

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
Also, have you read her Unearthly series?? If not, GET ON THAT. I’m not even a paranormal gal and I loved it so much!

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Series Send Off: The Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty

Check out past Series Send Off posts in which I finish the last book in a series & chat about it plus introduce new readers to the series with my general & non-spoilery thoughts about the series as a whole!

I just finished the 4th & 5th books of the Jessica Darling series FINALLY…seriously I read the first 3 forever ago. I just didn’t want to let go (plus I get distracted by ALL THE BOOKS). So, as per the usual format, I’ll talk about the series as a whole for those who aren’t familiar and then give my thoughts on books 4 &5 as I say goodbye to this series.

jessica-darling-seriesmm

Upon finishing the series I say to all of you who haven’t started the series:

READ IT. It’s one of my ALL TIME FAVES. There is just nothing like it out there. THEY WERE JUST PERFECT FOR ME. There’s just something about following Jessica from high school through adulthood — she voices the struggles, triumphs and confusion of adolescence and that transition into adulthood SO WELL. Everything is so raw and real and the characters feel like real human beings that make mistakes and have flaws. REAL. That’s the only way I can think to describe this series. Also, HELLA funny. Jessica’s inner monologue slays me every time. Her voice is UNPARALLELED.

 

 

What The Series Is About:

The Jessica Darling series follows the charming (and sometimes not so charming) Jessica from high school through adulthood as she chronicles all those life-changing moments with SERIOUSLY razor sharp wit. From falling in love (and out of it), to going to college, to trying to pay your rent as a broke twenty-something, Jessica’s voice just captures perfectly the highs and lows in the journey to and through adulthood in a way that is just so realistic and in a way that is easy to relate to. She puts the difficulties of growing up into words that will make you laugh, reflect and nod along with her. Seriously, she goes through it all!!

 

 

Recommended For People Who Love:

Series that span YEARS (ie from high school into adulthood), contemporary YA (this is a classic!!), hilarious and brutally honest MCs, epic romances

 

 

Thoughts On Fourth Comings & Perfect Fifths
(Skip below to the next section if you haven’t read the series yet!)

 

jessica-darling-series

MAN, Megan McCafferty just captures that awkward “I’m an adult but I don’t feel like an adult” feeling SO WELL in Fourth Comings. I felt like I kept nodding my head like YES IT IS SO HARD TO BE A TWENTYSOMETHING OUT OF COLLEGE. Why do I feel like I’m a fake adult?? Why is it so hard to get all the things you thought you’d have by this point??  The job, the glamorous life, the feeling that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, a romantic relationship that just feels right, etc.

Fourth Comings, man. I thought my heart was going to break with Jessica and Marcus. I mean, there love story has been up and down and I was so happy they were finally back together….and now Jessica is questioning it?? And then he asks her to marry him??? MY HEART WAS NOT OKAY. But I got it? I did. They were in different places in life. How she talks about that made so much sense to me even though I was like NO NO NO. Basically when it came to their romance, this book DESTROYED MY HEART. Like tore into two. But as I watched her try to figure out her answer to him…I realized I admired how honest she was about the whole thing. She loved him BUT. Love is so tricky and I just think sometimes we want something to work out so much because you love someone but it’s not REALLY working yet it hurts so much to let it go. So, even though I was like NO NO NO NO you need to be together..I really understood. She had to be honest about what she wanted for her life. Where she saw it going. Was her love strong enough for him to give up what she wanted? We see a wiser and more honest (in a more self-aware way) Jessica in this one. And it hurt, but it was TRUE. She really saw the whole picture.  GOD I COULD JUST CRY THINKING ABOUT THIS BOOK!

Perfect Fifths — I was not ready for this one. As I started I was immediately like WAIT WHAT IS THIS THIRD PERSON NARRATION??? I wasn’t sure how I felt about it but it was perfect as I read on. I loved getting this complete story with her AND Marcus’s thoughts. Jessica and Marcus and their chance meeting after years of not speaking?? That nostalgic, awkward FEELING it is to be in the presence of the one you loved once? MY HEART. BE STILL. It was definitely a slower conclusion that revolves around their conversation as they meet and a lot of jumping back in time but I enjoyed every minute of it. Every minute of kind of re-living their epic love story that spans all these years (god, I’m reminded of Veronica and Logan here from VMars). There were points where I wanted MORE from this book in terms of fleshing out the adult Jessica and Marcus since they last time we saw them. I felt kind of distanced from their lives. But ultimately, I really loved this conclusion as a fan of this series. It wasn’t necessarily AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER which I kiiiind of wanted for the sake of all that they have put my heart through but I just felt like it was SO fitting for their love story. My love for Jessica and especially Marcus grew even stronger in this book. I just cried as I read the last words because this series was EPIC. I wasn’t okay with it being over because I felt just so attached to them.

 

 

Rating Broken Down By Books
(Links to individual reviews)
:

Sloppy Firsts: 5 STARS!!
Second
Helpings: 5 STARS!!
Charmed Thirds: 4.5 stars
Fourth Comings: 5 STARS!!
Perfect Fifths: A solid 4 stars!

 

 

Farewell Jessica Darling! Growing up with you was a pleasure. I feel like YOU GOT ME and I can’t tell you how many times I nodded like YES YES YES  or THAT’S SO ME or YOU ARE PUTTING WORDS TO SOMETHING I CANNOT DESCRIBE. We would have been bffs if you were a real person. Your honesty and reflection was refreshing and I know I will never meet anyone like you again. Thanks for the major LOLS, the tears and for being you. YOU. YES. YOU. (forever).  (Seriously, I’m really emotional right now because this series is EVERYTHING).  WHY WHY WHY is it over????

 

What did you think of the conclusion to this series if you’ve read it?? What did you think of the series overall?? If you haven’t read it, have I piqued your interest?

Book Talk: No Parking At The End Times by Bryan Bliss

Book Talk: No Parking At The End Times by Bryan BlissNo Parking At The End Times by Bryan Bliss
Publisher/Year: Greenwillow Books- January 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: None, this was the debut!
AmazonGoodreads

I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

Two teens and their parents sell their house and drive cross country with all their belongings across country to follow a doomsday preacher named Brother John. When the end times don’t happen as the preacher said, the family continues to live out of their car since they gave all their money to Brother John and the family is falling apart and fracturing from the bad mistakes and dissent when it comes to what they should do next.

a2*sings It’s The End of the World As We Know it*
(R.E.M was in my head the whole time I read this)

a4No Parking At The End Times was an interesting read for me –I didn’t feel like it really moved me or that I felt much for it but at the same time I hadn’t ever read anything like that and I REALLY loved how Bryan Bliss explored themes like a crisis of faith/religion and homelessness because he did it so well.

1. From page 1 I knew this plot was going to be unlike anything I’ve ever read:  A family is living basically homeless in their van because the parents decide to follow this doomsday preacher who ended up being very wrong about the day that it would happen. It’s evident from very early on that doomsday did not happen like this guy predicted and, like the main character, I’m sitting here going SO WHY ARE WE STILL LISTENING TO THIS GUY? They gave him all their money and they basically thought there would be no WHAT NEXT because they thought they wouldn’t be here on earth anymore. So now, after it doesn’t happen, there is this “what next?” question they are left with because they sold their house and belongings and gave all their money to this guy.

2. The parents in this book = RAGE CITY: Oh man, the parents. I wanted to scream at them as they continue to act like, “NBD let’s just all live in this van together”!! As a reader you are on the same page with the main character, like COME ON WHAT ARE WE STILL DOING HERE WITH THIS PREACHER GUY?? THIS IS A CROCK. But the parents aren’t on the same page. And they keep making some awful decisions. But I was thinking about it, and as FURIOUS as they made me, I almost empathized with them (ALMOST). They left everything and made this decision because they believed it. They never thought there would be anything after that. So now they are left with the “what now?” question. Do they continue to believe this guy even though he was wrong? Do they go home and how because they have no money and no house? And then how do they face everyone who told them this was a bad idea? I think the dad especially just wanted to so badly cling to hope and bought into this guy so much that he was just so blinded to everything.

3. I loved how the main character was forced to explore her faith: The main character grew up as a Christian and knew what she believed in as she actively lived her faith. The family was never into this doomsday, cult-like religion prior to this. As we meet the main character, she is really struggling with her faith after all this happened and now as they are in this situation. She feels betrayed and like this guy has taken advantage of her family. I couldn’t tell whether or not she BOUGHT this stuff with Brother John but I know she had faith before. After all this happens, she’s having a hard time understanding how God would let this happen. She feels doubts she hadn’t really felt before and doesn’t feel connected to her faith in a way she did before. I loved the way Bliss explored this and it felt very  true to the crisis of faith I’ve experienced in my own life but not trying to be preachy/convert people. I

4. I haven’t read many books dealing with homelessness and this book portrayed it in such a raw way: I’ve seen books about homeless teens (and we meet some in this book) but never about a family living together in homelessness. You can feel how uncomfortable and humiliating they feel with living in the van and relying on other people’s good will for food — from the soup kitchens they visited to how they handle brushing their teeth and bathing to parking the van somewhere they can safely sleep. This is all NEW to them and you can see how hard of a transition it is and how sometimes they don’t necessarily feel like they are one of the homeless…until they very much DO. It’s uncomfortable as a reader to see how the parents try to act like this is normal and okay…like it’s a grand adventure. There were these just absolutely raw moments that made my heart ache for them and for all people in their position.

 

a6RATING-LIKED

factors+ plot, themes explored & how well it was done
no real emotional connection

Re-readability: Probably not.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Because it isn’t a fave or one I’d re-read, I’d say no.

a5contemporary YA fans, readers wanting to explore things like homelessness or faith

a8No Parking At The End Times was definitely unlike anything I’ve ever really read in YA. I appreciated how it explored homelessness and a crisis of faith and how it did it WELL. I just wished I had more of an emotional connection overall. That’s where it missed the mark for me personally.

review-on-post-itno-parking-at-the-end-times

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

 

A Smattering Of Mini Reviews

Here we are again…I’m woefully behind on talking about books I’ve read and I’ve been reading faster than I can write about them. I mean, that’s  all true. But mostly I’ve just been a little lazy. So let’s DO THIS:

 

 

The Girl With All The Gifts

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

About In A Sentence (ish): An epidemic. Zombies. Kids. I’m not telling youuuu anything. GO IN BLIND.

Thoughts: This one was one of our book club picks! To me, it was like a cross of Station Eleven and The Walking Dead so I REALLY enjoyed it. Perfect blend of action/zombie stuff and the thought-provoking humanity type stuff I like. I was intrigued by the science of the disease and also the humanization of it through Melanie’s POV and her relationship with her teacher. Her humanization makes all the testing for a cure to take back the world seem so morally grey because SHE IS LIKE A HUMAN. And holy CRAPPPP that ending you guys! I was standing up giving a slow clap when I was able to get my shit together.

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

18249312

There Will Come A Time by Carrie Arcos

About: Mark is grieving the loss of his twin sister’s death and, after reading her journal with the help of her best friend, he embarks on a journey to complete a list of things she wanted to do as he tries to reconcile with the parts of his sister he never knew.

Thoughts: Okay so this was one of those times where I thought this book was BEAUTIFUL, well-written and SO WELL DONE — but my emotions kind of stayed at a relatively low level considering this was story dealing with grief which normally SLAYS me. So I don’t know what really happened THERE (maybe my emotions were in check for once) but I just felt like even though I was dog-earring all these beautiful and heart-wrenching passages I just wasn’t FEELING them so much as I was understanding them. She just NAILED so much about grief — especially how one pulls away and how you feel like NOBODY in the world understands you. Watching him work through his grief as he tries to complete Grace’s list was a bittersweet journey. Overall I really liked it and highly recommend, I just didn’t feel as emotionally connected as I would have liked to be.

Rating

 

RATING-reallyliked

22571771

Love By the Book by Melissa Pimentel

About In A Sentence: A twenty-something expat in London decides to embark on an experiment to date according to the advice from a new dating guide every month.

Thoughts: I wanted to love this one more! I mean, I enjoyed it to some degree but I DON’T KNOWWW. I was hoping for more. I loved the premise because I thought about all the lols and hijinx  that would occur if someone tried to follow dating guide books to the T. And they happened! They just weren’t AS funny or entertaining as I had hoped to be honest. Sure, they entertained me enough (especially the beginning) but I just had hoped for so much more. I also weirdly did not really feel very much for the main character — never felt like I got a grasp of her outside of her dating life. Overall I was entertained enough, especially considering this was loosely based on the author’s own similar experiment, but it wasn’t the amazing laugh-fest I thought it would be.

 

Rating:

RATING-OKAY

 

18667862

Like No Other by Una LaMarche

About In A Sentence: Two teens from vastly upbringings meet by chance and, even though it is forbidden, they forge a connection and their eyes are open to so much beyond what they’ve always known which causes them to question it all.

Thoughts: This was definitely a very underrated book of 2014. It was such a refreshing storyline and romance. I always love forbidden kind of romances and I loved this one to pieces. I loved learning about Devorah’s religion and culture as a Hasidic Jew and I loved even MORE watching her question what she believed to be right for her life and her future after meeting Jaxon who opens her eyes to a lot of things. AND THAT ENDING WAS REALLY SUPER SATISFYING TO ME. *slow claps for THAT* Couldn’t stop reading this one and I want more people to! My heart was totally wrapped up in Devorah and Jaxon’s story!

Rating:

RATING-loved-it

Have you read any of these? What did you think?

Book Talk: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Book Talk: I’ll Meet You There by Heather DemetriosI'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Publisher/Year: Henry Holt & company- February 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Something Real, Exquisite Captive
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1
Skylar has been planning her way out of her small town and the future that would await her if she stayed. She’s gotten into art school and has been working her minimum wage job as summer starts to ensure she gets there — until her mother loses her job and starts slipping back into some bad habits making her wonder if she’ll ever be able to leave her and head off to art school at all. At the beginning of her summer she’s reunited with Josh, a boy she used to work with who is back from Afghanistan after his leg gets blown off, and she encounters a different Josh than the one who has left and they find an unexpected friendship despite their differences.

a2I WANT TO TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THIS BOOK!!!

a4Here’s the thing, my little bookworms. When I like books, I have a varying degree of liking them. I can really like them and I can really love them but it is RARE that I add a new book to my favorites. I’ll Meet You There? When I finished it in November, I felt like it shook me to the core like that of a colossal earthquake to the heart — just rearranging and shifting my heart in the way a truly powerful book will. And as I sit here putting the final touches on this review in January, I feel like I’m still feeling the emotional aftershocks of I’ll Meet You There. I’m making room for this book on my FAVORITES shelf. (I feel like there should be a ceremony for this because I REALLY don’t do this often — no matter how many books I can REALLY love).

So let’s get down to it:

1. The whole book reading experience is what I hope for when I start a book: It was just that perfect storm of a great plot, dynamic & flawed characters (even the secondaries!!) whose pulses I could practically feel as I held the pages, an intense emotional connection, writing that makes me dog-ear a lot and this immediate “I need to read this book again real soon.” I’ll Meet You There just had it all. It’s as simple as that. Everything that I need to make a favorite book was in this. That formula might be different for everyone but I truly believe this is going to be a winner for a lot of people because it objectively has the makings of a great book. Everything Heather Demetrios DID she did it SO WELL.

2. I loved the diversity of the characters: I really loved that Skylar and Josh were just a different POV from what I typically read. Socioeconomically they come from a really poor background which is rare in the YA I’ve encountered. The town feels bleak and dead end and I believed it and their struggles just seemed so real. Before I moved in middle school I grew up in a town sort of like that and Heather just NAILED what it felt like in all its complexities from the charm of it to also the things that make you want to GET OUT. In addition to that, Josh lost his leg in Afghanistan and is now an amputee. Obviously I don’t know what it REALLY is like, so take what I say from that perspective, but it really did feel like Heather Demetrios went to great lengths to write Josh’s perspective with care. I felt his struggles and his insecurities as he gets used to not having his leg as well as PTSD.

3. THEIR ROMANCE: You know those slow-burn romances that builds the tension to the point your heart is just pounding and you are like just all “OMG YOU GUYS KISS ALREADY”….that was this experience. It was the perfectly unraveled relationship that I couldn’t get enough of! AND IT WAS SEXY.

4. EVERYTHING?: I just loved everything okay?? There is not one thing I didn’t love. I loved the setting (especially the quirky motel where they work), I loved their individual storylines. I loved the quotes I dog-eared. I loved how it made me feel and what it made me think about. I loved the dual POVs. I loved how Demetrios portrayed Josh’s PTSD and how raw it felt. I loved how that made me want to help all the veterans in the whole wide world. I loved how it destroyed me in the best possible way but then had me soaring with hope. SO MUCH HOPE. AND LOVE. And God, I just love everything. EVEN THE AUTHOR’S NOTE/ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ARE MOVING!!

 

a6RATING-beyondloved

factors+ EVERYTHING. The whole package. I don’t hand out “favorite book” ratings often so it’s EVERYTHING.
NOTHING. It’s perfection.

Re-readability: OH YOU BET.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? OH YES I AM!!

a5EVERYONE! Especially contemporary YA lovers!

a8I’ll Meet You There was just pure perfection. It’s rare that I find a book that I can call a new favorite and I’m just so moved by it. I love everything about it and highly recommend it. It broke my heart a million times, emotionally captivated me and was ultimately so uplifting. I love these characters. I love their stories. I love this book. I want YOU to meet them.

review-on-post-it

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

PS. Other great reads you might like: Something Like Normal by Trish Doller or The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Book Talk: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

Book Talk: I Was Here by Gayle FormanI Was Here by Gayle Forman
Publisher/Year: Viking Juvenile- January 27, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: If I Stay/ Where She Went, Just One Day/Just One Year/ Just One Night, Sisters in Sanity
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1
Cody’s best friend, who has been away at college, commits suicide. When she goes to clean out Meg’s room at college, she meets her roommates and realizes that there was a lot Meg hadn’t been telling her when she was away for college — a boy who broke her heart and an encrypted computer file that makes her question Meg’s suicide. As she tries to reconcile the Meg she’s learning about, she also pursues the things she finds in the file to find out what really happened to Meg.

a2*wipes away a tear*

a4If you know me, you know Gayle Forman is one of my favorite authors. If I Stay/Where She Went broke my feels and left me with characters I will NEVER forget. Just One Day changed my life, literally. (Loved Just One Year as well). So whenever Gayle has a new book out it’s kind of scary because there is always the potential NOT to love a favorite author’s book (I will need to a bottle of wine and cake to cope if the day ever comes I don’t love a Gayle book). Her books possess top spots in my heart and on my shelf so obviously going into I Was Here I had some MIGHTY high expectations.

But this right here is what I love about Gayle Forman’s books! They are all so different and yet emotionally they poke and prod into depths of the heart and the soul not always explored and always leave me thinking all these very life-examining thoughts and questions. I Was Here was this same experience. And to be completely honest, I Was Here was a book that kept having this residual affect on me the further and further away I got from reading it. I read it in the beginning of AUGUST of last year and I’m still finding new dimensions to it and having new epiphanies about it randomly that make me appreciate it more. That says a lot to me.

 The plot definitely was one that I knew emotionally was going to be hard as I lost a friend (not a best friend but still a friend) to suicide and it’s such an intense, confusing thing as a human to understand.

I think, by nature, suicide is one of those things that makes you examine someone you love. Cody was already feeling the strain of them living these separate lives after Meg left for college and then she begins to find out so many things about her when she talked to her roommates and cleaned out her room. This  added all these dimensions to Meg. Then there’s  the suicide and all those “WHYS” and “what could I have missed/did I not see” made Cody unsure of everything she thought she knew about Meg and the picture of her becomes so blurred.

I think Gayle wrote that raw confusion very well as Cody tried to reconcile her best friend Meg with the Meg she’s learning about. I could FEEL that as a reader, which in some ways made me feel like I didn’t understand Meg so much or connect to her, but I realized it’s because THAT is exactly how Cody is feeling. So many complicated THINGS are being added to the person of Meg that make her feel like she’s seeing her for the first time — she’s exploring all these nooks and crannies she never was aware of. Things that she’ll never be able to see for herself or hear from Meg’s mouth. You can feel the barest and most raw emotions in Cody — anger, numbness, resentment, guilt, confusion, sadness. I felt that gamete of emotions after my friend committed suicide and so I really understood the disorienting head space Cody was in. I think sometimes she feels a little detached from it all because it doesn’t feel real nor like the Meg she knows but at the same time her emotions are driving her in an intense way. I think we get an interesting picture of a friendship, maybe not the one I expected to see explored, but ultimately one that felt very real and raw after something like this.

The majority of the plot hinges on Cody pursuing the things she finds that makes her question everything about Meg’s suicide. It’s one of those DANGER DANGER DANGER moments as the reader because you know it’s not a good idea as she proceeds. But this is what I LOVED about this book!! There’s this deep drive as humans to UNDERSTAND when things like this happen. To find answers. To make sense of it. To know what could have helped. We like order and things that we can wrap our mind around.  Someone to blame. I grieved very closely with the mom and dad of my friend as they were family friends and I’ve seen this desire very intensely in them even years later. Cody wanted to make sense of things and she latched on to this uneasy feeling she had to pursue answers that maybe would make more sense to her. That could make this easier as she grieved and tried to make sense of the fact that her best friend was gone. I think for me, being able to slip in Cody’s head space so easily, made me understand this desire for closure no matter how reckless it seemed.

The romance in I Was Here takes a back seat to the plot and Cody’s grieving and I think it was better that way. When they do start to have a connection, there’s this “hmmm” feeling I had because it’s a little more challenging of a pairing than Mia/Adam and Allyson/Willem in her previous books. Ben had history with Meg so it’s this strange feeling and you can FEEL that Cody and Ben both feel that at first. I think Ben was pretty hot and intriguing in true Gayle Forman boy-writing fashion but their romance was different for me. I think that’s maybe because we only get to see the challenging start of it and both of them are in very confusing, grief-laden places. I think I wanted more to understand their connection in a deeper way but I think that’s where they are at in the story — a very confusing, trying-to-figure-it-all-out place and all they know is that there is this shared and messy connection between them that they would have never expected. I thought more about it weeks after I finished and started to understand it more though I tend to go for the more sweeping romances myself (ie. her other two) and I think even MORE of the romance would have been a disservice to the heart of this book.

 

a6RATING-loved-it

factors+ writing, the depth of Cody’s character, plot, emotional impact
- the romance wasn’t as strong (but I also think it was kind of perfect). I’m still challenged by it.

Re-readability: YES! I NEED to read it again. It’s impacted me so much more in the months since I’ve read it and I just NEED another read because there’s always so much to glean and think about in Gayle’s novels.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? Oh I plan on it!!

a5Gayle Forman fans, fans of books that tackle the intricacies of grief, contemporary YA fans that don’t mind something a little dark (but not overwhelmingly so)

a8This is why Gayle Forman is a favorite of mine. This was quintessential Gayle Forman in that she managed to do something so completely different than everything else she’s written but in that same signature Gayle Forman way — an overload of feels, incredibly layered characters, brilliant and compelling writing and an emotional story that just hits ya hard. This one was heavy but oh so good!! It was heartbreaking but made me think a lot about LIFE. Is this my favorite Gayle Forman novel? No, but how can you compete with a book that literally changed your life like Just One Day did for me?

review-on-post-itI was Here by gayle forman

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
* How did you feel about the romance in this one?

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: The Boy In The Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

Book Talk: The Boy In The Black Suit by Jason ReynoldsThe Boy In The Black Suit by Jason Reynolds
Publisher/Year: Atheneum Books For Young Readers- January 6, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: When I Was The Greatest
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1

Matt has just lost his mom and he and his dad are trying to grieve but his dad is really having a rough time and is hitting the bottle too hard. Matt knows he needs a job and winds up working for Mr. Ray at the funeral home where the pay is good and it helps him in his grieving. When he meets Lovey he finds someone who knows what he is going through and has been through even worse…but seems to have it all together and might just help him through his grief.

a2MUST READ WHEN I WAS THE GREATEST SOOON!

a4

I’m just saying this right now — Jason Reynolds is an extraordinary talent who needs WAY more recognition. I was so, so impressed with The Boy In The Black Suit. It’s smart, moving and

1. The Boy in the Black Suit was a book that I related to immensely: It’s no secret that I gravitate to books dealing with grief –especially that of a parent– and Jason Reynolds explored this with such finesse and beauty. Now, if you hear “grief” in the summary and normally go running, I’m begging you not to. It wasn’t the ugly sobbing sort of book about grief and it most definitely is NOT all about grief. Rather it was just so quietly profound and piercing in its emotion as Matt grieves his mom and tries to find normalcy in the after and tries to deal with that crushing loneliness that seems to separate you from everyone else because nobody seems to be able to truly understand — whether or not that’s true. I cannot even tell you how many pages I dog-eared because I just kept nodding my head like, “YES. Exactly this. I felt this.” I understood his need to watch someone else’s raw grief to know he wasn’t alone. I just connected with him so much and Jason Reynolds tapped into something REAL and raw that made my heart ache.

2. I loved the relationship between Matt & Lovey: I loved that Lovey doesn’t actually come into the picture right away because we really get to know Matt in a way I think we need to in order to show his loneliness but the downside to that is I WANTED MORE MATT AND LOVEY because they were just so smile inducing. Their connection is just so beautiful and honestly it reminds me a lot of how Will and I really connected for the first time in a real way. There’s something so isolating about grief and when you find someone who GETS it, it feels so intense. That’s how Will and I connected at first (I had just lost my mom and he had lost his mom when he was younger) and then it’s what brought us even closer together as a couple when he lost his dad a couple years into our relationship. What Matt and Lovey share is hard to describe but Jason Reynolds lets you FEEL it in such an honest way.

3. Matt’s POV is one of the best male POVs I’ve read in a while: Truly, his POV was just so refreshing and really captivated me. This book is definitely a character driven novel and Matt felt like a leap off the pages type character to me. God, Jason Reynolds is just a fantastic writer.

4. Mr Ray. That’s all I’m going to say: Look, you just need to meet Mr. Ray because he is one of my favorite secondary characters that I’ve met in a while.

 

a6RATING-reallyliked

factors+ writing, characters,
- ending was a little too neat & tidy for me/coincidental

Re-readability: I could see myself getting the urge to reread certain passages.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I would like to. If not for myself, for a friend!

a5people looking for great male POVs, readers who like character-driven novels, fans of more quiet contemporary novels,

a8I really appreciated this quiet yet moving novel and really found a personal connection within it. It was well written and just tapped into something so emotionally honest. Matt is just a wonderful character and there’s so much strength in him and he’s just so easy to like. It’s not just a story about grief but about also community and connecting. I really do recommend it and think it deserves way more attention!

review-on-post-itThe Boy In The Black Suit by Jason Reynolds

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?

 

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Book Talk: Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley

Book Talk: Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn HeasleyDon't Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley
Publisher/Year: HarperTeen- April 2014
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Where I Belong (which I own and DO want to read still), A Long Way From You
AmazonGoodreadsTwitter

I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”

 

A1
Imogene’s mom is a popular mommy blogger whose living has been made by writing about being a mom and sharing every step of Imogene’s childhood with the internet. Now that Imogene is older she doesn’t want all these personal details shared especially because all the kids at her school KNOW about it and she’s been embarrassed by all the intimate details she’s revealed from crushes to first periods to embarrassing pictures. When a school project forces Imogene to start a blog, she decides to use the blog to speak out and tell her mom just how much she doesn’t like being the scrutinized subject of her blog and the whole world knowing every detail of her life — a life she’s trying to figure out for herself.

a2*has things to think about re: all the interneting I do*

a4Ah…so this book. I almost put it down. Truthfully? I kept going because I really wanted to, for once, make my Goodreads goal and so I pressed on. Even though I really should have reminded myself of THIS. Anyways, I really liked the concept of this book but it didn’t quite pan out the way I had hoped.

What I Liked:

- the plot: It was new and fresh and as a blogger felt kind of relevant to me — the daughter of a popular mommy blogger is fed up with her mom’s invasion of privacy and being the focus of her blog (seriously HER MOM WROTE ABOUT HER FIRST PERIOD). I thought it was interesting to explore this culture of the internet and blogs and how it affects those close to us. Plus when you read a book about blogging you are like nodding your head about so many things.

how it made me think about the internet: I think in some areas it was just kind of shallow in its exploration of the internet, being connected and privacy but it did provide this springboard for me to really think about it. It posed some interesting thoughts and questions!

What I Didn’t Enjoy:

- Imogene’s POV: So I didn’t realize, because I didn’t read the summary SUPER well, that Imogene is in 9th grade. I typically don’t go for books with MCs that young personally unless I’ve heard AMAAAZING things or that the MC is a bit more mature. But honestly? She felt way younger than 9th grade. I have a nephew in 9th grade and I just think she came off to me more as 6th or 7th grader. I struggled with her voice the whole time. It was just toooo young for me as a personal preference. I think this one will be better for younger teens for sure and readers who aren’t bothered by this. So this was PROBABLY more a reader preference rather than something technically wrong with the book.

- the writing: Something with the writing just annoyed me a lot. From the blog posts Mommylicious makes to Imogene’s voice itself, it just never jived with me. Mostly every voice just felt contrived and just kind of fakey to me. I can’t explain what I mean by that but nobody felt like a real person.

- Mommylicious herself: I don’t have to like characters to like a book but Imogene’s mom is the worst. I mean, her whole Mommylicious things was so grating and over the top. I mean, I know it was probably intended to be exaggerated like that but I couldn’t take it seriously. Her blog post sounded like something some valley girl teenager would write but somehow she is like mommy blogger royalty. I could have handled that as annoyed I was. But even by the end of the book I never felt like her mom ACTUALLY understood how awful she was. Even after Imogene tries to tell her a million ways. Like WHAT TEENAGER WANTS THEIR MOM TO WRITE ALL THEIR MOST PERSONAL DETAILS ON A BLOG THEIR PEERS CAN READ?? But she just never truly GOT it in my mind.

- The drama was just so over-the-top and threw me out of the story: I eye-rolled a lot. Sage getting mad at her was so over-the-top. Reactions to things were over the top. Mommylicious’s reaction to everything was over the top.  What could have been an actually interesting plot just kept pulling me out of the story from so much ridiculousness and drama that felt so contrived.

 

a6RATING-Not-a-fan

factors+ I liked the plot in theory and I REALLY did appreciate the thought-provoking questions it posed re: internet, privacy, disconnecting, etc.
- Pretty much everything else.

Re-readability: No
Would I buy a copy for my collection? no

a5Tweens maybe?

a8I’m so wholeheartedly disappointed in this one. There was such great potential here but mostly I felt it was very silly though I am appreciative of all the thinking it made me do about all my Internet-ing. I think, for it to have been the book for ME, Mommylicious wouldn’t have to be so ridiculous and over the top (those blog posts just made the tone so, so silly) because there was a lot of room to explore the idea of a famous mommy blogger and the daughter she talks about all the time. It didn’t need to be a SERIOUS book but I needed to be able to take it seriously.

review-on-post-itDon't Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Healy

 

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
* Have you read any books that deal with being connected, the Internet, etc? I’m just really fascinated by it! (YA or adult)

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...