Book Talk: Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

Book Talk: Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila SalesTonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales
Published by Farrer Straus and Giroux on September 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: This Song Will Save Your Life
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. 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

Arden is recklessly loyal and always has been. She cares about her friends and family and really does a lot for everybody but lately she’s feeling like she’s being taken forgranted and that maybe she loves and cares for people just a bit more than they love her. An existential google search has her stumbling upon a blog called Tonight the Streets Are Ours that’s written by a guy named Peter who ends up writing things that speak directly to her soul and who she ends up pouring over his every entry. On a whim she and her best friend take off on a road trip to find this guy whose life she feels so connected to for one wild night in the city where she learns a bit about what she needs and wants as well as the fact that Peter might not be who she thought he is.

a2*muses on internet life and curation of our lives and all the things*

a4This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales is a book I super love. Like really high up there for me. Tonight The Streets Are Ours didn’t quite make me feel like that one did but I really did enjoy this one (I mean, I read it in a whole afternoon) and it made me think A LOT about internet life because Leila weaves a lot of interesting thoughts about how we curate our lives for the internet.

[Keep Reading]

Book Talk: Underwater by Marisa Reichardt

Book Talk: Underwater by Marisa ReichardtUnderwater by Marisa Reichardt
Published by Farrer Straus and Giroux on January 12, 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. 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

Morgan survived a horrible tragedy — one that she feels partly guilty for because of an act of kindness she did that day. Racked with fear and guilt, Morgan has not been able to leave apartment she shares with her mom and brother and truly move forward after everything that happened. She’s lost her friends, attends high school via the internet and her therapist comes to her home once a week to try to work through this with her. And then Evan moves in next door and she’s confronted with the life that she’s missing and his presence starts to stir in her a desire to see the outside world again.

a2Very heavy book, oof. Need something happy next!!

a4

One of the worst feelings is finishing a book and just not really feeling what you know you probably should have. Which is really sad because there were moments in this book that were great and really affected me.   I should be overwhelmed with emotional connection given the content of this novel but I just wasn’t in the grand scheme when I finished. In small moments, yes. I was there. But when I finished I was like I was left wanting more overall.

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Book Talk: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Book Talk: The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkoskiThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Series: The Winner's Trilogy #1
Published by Farrer Straus and Giroux on March 4, 2014
Genres: YA Fantasy
Also by this author: The Winner's Kiss
Format: Hardcover
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

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

 

 

 

 

book synopsis

The Winner’s Curse is set in completely fictional world where a people called the Valorians conquered the Herrani people who lived there before. They took over their land and turned them into slaves. Kestral, the daughter of a military general, lives a life of great wealth but her only two options as she becomes of age are to be married or enter the military — two things that aren’t exactly what she wants. As she and her friend Jess are out in the market one day she sees an auction taking place for a Herrani boy about her age who seems pretty defiant but Kestral impulsively decides to buy him as soon as the auctioneer says he can sing. As they begin to get to know each other more, Kestral begins to know her feelings for him aren’t something that society will be okay with. In those moments they share, she feels something that ignites her but she has no idea the secrets that lies behind Arin’s  eyes.

good books to read

I finally read The Winner’s Curse — perhaps one of the most talked about books of the season and I have to say, as soon as I closed this book, I had this insatiable need for the next installment. If you like stories where you get lost in the world, The Winner’s Curse will take you far, far away. It took me a little bit to get into, it’s a pretty slow build of the world and characters to start, but the storytelling will just dazzle you when you get into it.

1. OH MY HEART. This romance. The romantical element in Winner’s Curse was brilliant and refreshing. I have always loved forbidden romance type stories but they really need to have some real depth in them and consequences I can feel. This isn’t some predictable kind of love story but this forbidden slow dance that just leaves you breathless and your heart pounding especially at the end. It’s not simple or easy or even really a “romance” but more of these forbidden feelings that are just starting to really be explored before the SHIT HITS THE FAN. Arin is her slave, she bought him herself, but she feels something for him and she experiences these consequences on a small scale as rumors fly about them. I could feel this tension and I loved the slow burn feel to their story. It wasn’t an immediate sort of thing but these great small, scattered moments that were carefully weighed between the two of them. It become even more tense as the reader learns about Arin’s secrets & feelings.  Aching, aching, aching <—— my heart.

2. The writing & storytelling was PERFECTION. I don’t have much to say about it but that. It’s just perfection. Everything is written so brilliantly. And while, initially it took me about 50 pages to really get into it, the way the story is told it’s just so hard not to be absorbed into this new world and its political structure, the character and the romance. And the plot just moved along at a great pace that kept me engaged and at times on the edge of my seat. Marie Rutkoski knows how to tell a good story!

3. Kestral is a fantastic heroine that really stood out to me: So many heroines I read these days are always so much of the ass-kicking variety (which I LOVE) but Kestral was admittedly an awful fighter. But Kestral is SMART. Very strategic and cunning and curious. I also love that she wasn’t really focused on romance but her curiosity is more what initiated her attraction to Arin. There was something in him that she sensed and she wanted to know. I think it’s because they both had this rebellious sort of kindred spirit thing going on but I equally loved Kestral and Arin and who they were and what they fought for.

4. HOLD ON TO YOUR PANTS! This action got quite intense: The story starts a bit slow but like a good chess game the pieces are being moved in a subtle manner until SHIT HAPPENS and oh does it happen. I was gasping for breath when I realized what was going on and what it meant for our heroine and the story and then the action just kept coming at me and was relentless until the very emotional ending. I felt like an emotional piñata — the story just kept beating the hell out of me as all my emotions and FEELS (anger, sadness, shock, betrayal, triumph) exploded out. I was left empty and broken by the end and DYING for book 2 which I think is going to be even thrilling and exciting and political and things between Arin and Kestral will be even more tense.

5. It made me think differently of fantasy as a fantasy newb: As someone who is new to the fantasy genre I was pretty limited in my knowledge to what fantasy was. I was wondering WHERE ARE IS ALL THE MAGIC AND DRAGONS AND THINGS. I saw the completely made up world but I thought fantasy = fantastical elements always but alas after some googling, because I was curious why this had the label of fantasy,  I was schooled on what fantasy is.

 

book reviewsThe Winner’s Curse is a book that really just has it all — great storytelling, absorbing writing, compelling characters, action, a political structure with much depth and a romance that isn’t predictable or flimsy. It’s a book that has this fantasy newb head over heels and anxious for the next installment because my EMOTIONS are a hot mess over that ending and I’m frazzled all my the various tensions (political, romance, etc). Somebody get me a margarita, stat!

 

 

short book reviewThe Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? What did you think of it?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales | Book Review

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales | Book ReviewThis Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Published by Farrer Straus and Giroux on September 17, 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Tonight The Streets Are Ours
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

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

four-half-stars

 

 


Elise has always been on the outside and gotten picked on and endures school with no friends. She makes one last attempt to create a new Elise and try to fit in but it fails in the worst way and she thinks she just can’t bear it anymore. After she hits an ultimate low, she wanders off to walk one night and ends up in front of a warehouse where a secret party is happening and she meets people who welcome her in and accept her rather than looking at her the way her classmates do. Once inside she falls in love with the rush of the music and finds herself enthralled with DJing. As she falls more in love with DJing and feels like somebody, things at school seems to get even worse as her past sticks with her.

This Song Will Save Your Life was actually a bit of a surprise for me. It sounded like a fun contemporary novel that I would LIKE but I didn’t expect it to really make the kind of impression that it did and hit me square in the heart. I’m DEFINITELY going to be checking out Leila Sales others books if this is what I have to look forward to because she writes a damn good story with characters that feel familiar yet feel so unique. Its spirit pulses from the pages, right through to your veins and reverberates in your soul — a feeling reminiscent of any great concert or night out dancing where your ears are still buzzing and the music still pounds within you.

The official synopsis does not even prepare you for how heartbreaking Elise’s story is in terms of how she gets made fun of and bullied. She was genuinely different and I felt so bad for her for the shame she felt in that. I remember that feeling of needing to blend in during high school and it makes me ragey now to think about how much of my self I hid. It was heartbreaking to see how she was treated and to know just how lonely she was. I don’t want to say too much about the specifics but your heart will BREAK for Elise (and you’ll want to hulksmash some people)  and what she has to endure but you will root for her as she begins to be okay with the things that make her different and find people who help her embrace who she is.

I’m not going to lie. Leila Sales had her work cut out for her to convince me that “teenage DJ” wasn’t going to be super corny. I will tell you that she successfully proved me wrong and I felt like I was walking into the club with Elise for the first time and feeling so excited every step of the way. I could feel the energy and I loved how the setting was written perfectly. Music has been amazingly lifesaving in my own life and I could just FEEL how it was invigorating to her and stirred something inside her. I was a little nervous at points in the book to think this story was going to follow the trend of romance being what redeems or saves someone but Leila stayed true to the title and Elise truly is one of the most kickass characters ever.

ALSO TO NOTE…the supporting characters are MY FAVORITE EVER. Seriously. I loved so many of them that I could write 5 more paragraphs but I WON’T…just please go open this book and meet them.

 

Absolutely LOVED this book. I expected I would LIKE it but I didn’t expect that I would feel so strongly about it and that it would have been such a touching read for me. I loved Elise’s story and the uniqueness of the setting and plot. Teenage DJ could have been a corny concept but Leila Sales nails it. Heartbreaking at times, honest and inspiring in that you don’t necessarily have to CHANGE to find yourself but you just have to see those perceived weaknesses or quirks as your strength and learn to be comfortable in your skin. The power of music and TRUE friendships that don’t try to change you also really resonated with me.


This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

 

Let’s Talk: Did you read this one?? What did you think of it — similar thoughts to mine or different? I’d love to hear them either way! Did you think the whole Char & Elise thing was going to be cliched “he saves me” storyline at certain points? Who was your fave minor character? I rather loved Mel and obviously Vicky!!

four-half-stars

Review: The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

I was really ecstatic when I heard that that David Levithan was writing an adult novel because I love me some David and I read quite a bit of adult as well…and because it was about loooove. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I knew if it was like most of David’s novels I’d feel some sort of connection to it.

The Lover’s Dictionary was SUCH an interestingly lovely read that I DEVOURED in a day. Each page contains a passage of prose that reflects a word from the dictionary and it is written as though it is a dictionary entry. The passages range in length, some being a sentence or two and some being half of a page long, and follow the love story between a nameless narrator and his lover. You feel kind of a distance at first because you are only seeing snippets (not chronologically) of their love story and because they ARE nameless but you find yourself reading these intensely intimate thoughts and raw emotions and this couple becomes so exposed as the book gives glimpses into some of the most joyful and exciting times in their relationship as well as some of the most difficult and trying times in their relationship.

This book was really such an honest portrayal of the many facets of love as it examines the joys, the doubts, the heartbreaks, the sacrifices and the different nuances and quirks in the love affair between two people. Some passages made me laugh, cry and reflect on my own relationship as certain feelings or situations would hit close to home. The writing was exquisite and I found myself bookmarking page after page thinking that each passage was my new favorite only for it to be dethroned by another.

Some I wanted to share:

 
ineffable, adj.
these words will ultimately end up being the barest of reflections, devoid of the sensations words cannot convoy. Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.
autonomy, n.
“I want my books to have their own shelves,” you said, and that’s how I knew it would be okay to live together”
 
placid, adj.
Sometimes I love it when we just lie on our backs, gaze off, stay still.

There are SO many wonderful lines and passages in this book but I tried to pick some shorter ones that stood out in my mind.

My final thought: This book was a gem! Upon finishing it I just held it close to my chest because I was amazed at how raw it was and how much I connected with it. I thought of the moments that made my heart flutter in my relationship, I thought about the doubt and the act of learning how to trust in a relationship, the beauty in the mundane and the wonderful journey love really is despite how hard it can be to love and let yourself be loved in a relationship. The prose was something to be savored and I have no doubts that I will read this book again as it has a permanent place on my shelf. Levithan’s delivery was creative and I found the his connection to each of the words to be genius. I’d recommend to lovers of adult fiction who don’t mind something different and who don’t need to be wooed by a fast moving plot.

Review On A Post-It:
four-stars
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