Review: You Must Not Miss

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from The NOVL in exchange for an honest review. 

Going into this book, I had no idea what to expect. But damn, this book was so unique and different that I ended up loving it.

When the book started, I wasn’t super into it since it started off like any other high school drama. There’s the bullied girl who befriends other outcasts, the mean girl, etc. To me it seemed to be going down a  path that I’ve seen one too many times.

Then about halfway through, the magical realism element to the story came out and it got weird. But I liked it. As the book progressed, it got darker and even more weird. And I still liked it. A lot. The whole plot and storyline just worked for me. 

What really made the book successful was the the writing style. It went so well with the book. It was easy to read and captured the mood and tone of the book perfectly. It had that contemporary feel with more mysterious and darker undertones. 

Overall, this is one of those books that you have to read for yourself to see if you like it. It’s so unique and different that it’s hard for me to say who would enjoy it. It may be a bit bizarre for some people, but for me that was what made me like it so much.  

Review: When Summer Ends

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free as part of a Storygram book tour. 

When I first started this book, I just thought it would be your typical YA summer romance book. Something generic and cliched. But it ended up exceeding my expectations and being so much more. 

This book was so damn cute. Aiden and Olivia had such a cute relationship. Like that is the teen summer romance that I have always wanted. They were so good together and brought out the best in each other. They complemented each other so well. And Aiden in general is just amazing. Like he’s total boyfriend goals. 

I also enjoyed the writing style. It was easy and effortless and the POV changes were done very well. Because of this, reading this book was a breeze. I flew through it. 

I loved that this book dealt with a teenager with vision loss. That’s something that I haven’t come across in a YA book before so it was nice to see that representation. 

The only critique I have is that I wanted a little bit more closure in the epilogue. It was short and only from Aiden’s perspective. There was something in Olivia’s life that I had wanted to see how it played out. 

Overall, if you’re looking for a cute YA romance to read for the summer, definitely pick up this book! 

Review: Fat Angie Rebel Girl Revolution (Fat Angie #2)

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Rating: ★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Candlewick Press) in exchange for an honest review.

First off, I just want to put out a trigger warning since this book deals with a lot of serious topics such as fat shaming, bullying, grief, homophobia, and self-harm. 

This book is the sequel to Fat Angie, and going into this book I did not know that. I had thought it was a standalone book. Even though I did not read the first book, I was still able to understand what was happening in this book. There were a few things that I was confused about in the beginning, but I managed to figure it out. 

I liked the plot of the book, particularly the road trip aspect. The reason why I wanted to read this book was because it was about an RV road trip. I’m an RVer so that appealed to me. The best parts of the book involved the road trip. The beginning of the book is really heavy subject-wise, so the road trip came at the perfect time. 

However, the execution of the book wasn’t great. The writing style wasn’t my favorite. It was a bit awkward and clunky at times. I wished it flowed more smoothly. 

Overall, I enjoyed the story despite some flaws in the execution. 

Review: The Lost Coast

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Rating: ★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Candlewick Press) in exchange for an honest review. 

I had such high hopes for this book, but it ultimately did not live up to my expectations. 

Let’s start with what I did like. 

I liked the diversity. There was a lot of sexual (lesbian, ace, etc.) and racial diversity. One of the girls was Filipino which I was super happy about since I’m Filipino. I love seeing Filipino representation.  

I also liked the aesthetic of the book. The descriptions perfectly captured that foggy, mystical, Northern California vibe. 

Now on to what I didn’t love. 

There were a lot of point of view changes throughout the book which really made it difficult to understand especially in the beginning. Each POV would last for only a few pages so it ended up being a bit jarring and all over the place. 

As for the storyline, it wasn’t exciting. It felt kind of blah to me until the end which is when things finally got interesting. 

I also wished the book focused more on June and Hawthorn. They were my two favorite characters and I wanted to explore more of their backstory. 

Overall, this book had some good moments (Queer POC witches for the win!), but didn’t reach its full potential. 

I’m a BookSparks #YAWRC2019 ambassador!

Yesterday I received an email from BookSparks saying I was chosen to be an ambassador for their YA winter reading challenge and I’m so excited! I was an ambassador for them for their YA summer reading challenge and I can’t wait to do it again.

If you check out their site, you can see the three books that will be featured this challenge. They all sound so interesting and I’m especially excited for The Tesla Legacy by K. K. Perez because her debut book, Sweet Black Waves, was in the summer reading challenge and I just loved it. I’m looking forward to reading more from her.

Are you planning on joining the reading challenge? Let me know in the comments!

xoxo,

Review: Hearts Unbroken

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Rating: ★★★½

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Candlewick Press) as well as from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers. Yes, I ended up with two ARCs because I had sent a review request to the publisher (which they granted) and had entered to win the book on LibraryThing (and ended up winning a copy).

I was so excited to read this book because I have read very few books about the Native American experience and wanted to learn more.

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I loved the premise of the book and the message behind it. Native Americans and their experiences are always swept under the rug when it comes to racial inequality, so it is important to have books like this out there. I learned a lot from this. For example, L. Frank Baum’s racist attitudes towards Native Americans. I never knew that because it never gets mentioned.

I also liked how the author incorporated some Mvskoke words into the story. It was a nice touch.

However, the book’s execution was a bit lackluster. To me it just seemed like there was a lot going on. Not only was there a lot about racism but there were also a little bit of slut shaming and bullying thrown in the mix too. This was all on top of a romance story too. I wished the book would just focus on one main issue, instead of trying to throw it all in. It would have had more focus and been more impactful that way.

Overall, the book had a powerful message despite a few flaws in the execution.

Review: Till It Stops Beating (The Maddie Chronicles #4)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour for the book. 

This is my second time reading Hannah R. Goodman. I had previously read the YA anthology book she edited and contributed to, Sucker Literary Magazine Vol. 1. I remember really enjoying it so I was excited to read this book. 

Going into this book I did not know that it was part of a series so in the beginning I was a tad bit confused because there were a lot of reference to things that happened in the past. However, I was still able to piece together what happened in the previous books, so you can read this book as a standalone. 

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This was a very touching and realistic story full of emotion and heart. It tackled a lot of heavy topics like cancer and anxiety in a respectful and caring way. There was a good balance between the happy moments and the more somber ones. 

As to what I didn’t like, the ending felt a but rushed to me. It ended pretty quickly. I would have liked for it to have been fleshed out a little more. 

There was also one line in the book that didn’t sit well with me. In describing the main character’s trip to NYC the book states, “We are right in front of one of those grocery stores that reek of Asian food and rotten produce” (83). I don’t quite know what this line was trying to get at, but to me it seemed like a slight jab at Asian grocery stores since they can sometimes be smelly. 

Overall, this was a wonderful and moving book. It had a few flaws, but was still an enjoyable read. 


 

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Maddie Hickman’s senior year begins with the good (the reemergence of The One That Got Away), the bad (a cancer diagnosis, not hers, but it might as well be) and the WTF (an anxiety attack that renders her writhing on the floor like an upside down crab). 

Adding to her spiraling anxiety is Senior Project, in the form of I’ve Decided To Write A Book about The Other One That Got Away (And Crushed My Heart). Compounding it all is applying to college and keeping up with her friends. The ever mounting stress eventually rips her tight grip on all that she holds dear. 

Her break down leads to an unexpected road trip where she is forced to listen to her wildly beating heart. It is only in the back of a convertible with pop music blasting, that she discovers she must risk everything in order to really live.

Purchase Link:

Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/dp/1684330807/‬‬  

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1684330807/‬‬


 

Author Bio 

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Often referred to as “the teenage whisperer”, Hannah R. Goodman’s twenty-year career working with teenagers includes the titles teacher, tutor, coach, and, more recently, mental health counselor. Hannah has written essays about mental health for various online publications. Her work has appeared on MindBodyGreenOC87 Recovery Diaries,  Zencare.co, and The Mighty. Though she has previously earned the title author with her first three books, the last was released in 2009 and all were self-published. This time around, indie publisher Black Rose Writing released her novel Till It Stops Beating this summer.

Hannah’s  first YA novel, My Sister’s Wedding, won the first place award for The Writer’s Digest International Self-Publishing Contest, 2004, children’s book division. She published the follow-up, My Summer Vacation, in May 2006, which went on to win a bronze IPPY in 2007. The third Maddie book, Fear of Falling, was released in the fall of 2009 and was praised by teachers and readers for tackling subjects like homophobia and coming out. She’s published young adult short stories on Amazon’s Shorts, in an anthology entitled Bound Is The Bewitching Lilith, and in the journal Balancing The Tides. She also has written columns for The Jewish Voice & Herald. Recent, previous projects include Sucker Literary, which features emerging YA authors and All The Way YA, a group blog of writers telling the real deal about writing and publishing YA fiction.

Hannah is a member of  ARIA  (Association of Rhode Island Authors) as well as a graduate of Pine Manor College’s Solstice Program in Creative Writing where she earned an MFA in Writing For Young People. She resides in Bristol, RI with her husband, two daughters, and black and white cat named Zoe

Social Media Links 

You can find Hannah:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/969127.Hannah_R_Goodman

Twitter: @hannahrgoodman

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tillitstopsbeatingnovel/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tillitstopsbeating/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hannah-goodman-76b9596/

Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-R.-Goodman/e/B002BLU56K

Website: https://www.hannahrgoodman.com


 

Till It Stops Beating

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Review: Above the Star (The 8th Island Trilogy #1)

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Rating: ★★★½

I received this book for free from the publisher (SparkPress) as part of a promotional blogger unboxing campaign. 

This is probably the most unique book I have read so far this year. 

Up until I got about halfway through the book I thought it was weird. It was odd and bizarre, kind of in a Roald Dahl way, but stranger. It took me a while to get used to it and the world. I’ve never encountered a world quite like this one before, so there was definitely a learning curve. 

One thing that really threw me for a loop early on was the amount of death in this book. I wasn’t expecting there to be so much of it and for it to be somewhat gruesome. 

But once I got used to the peculiarities of the book, I started to really enjoy it. This book follows the typical quest storyline, but it was still a lot of fun. 

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As for the characters, it was interesting to see a grandfather as a main character in YA book. You don’t see that too often. I think my favorite character was Lady Sophia. She was a supporting character but she was so funny! 

I also really liked the illustrations in the book. There is a hand drawn map of the world and various sketches that the character, Ella, draws dispersed throughout the novel. 

The glossary at the end was a nice touch. It was super helpful in figuring out how the world worked. 

Even though it took me a while to get into it, I’m really excited for the rest of the books in this trilogy! 

Exclusive Excerpt: Above the Star

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Hello everyone! I am currently reading Above the Star by Alexis Marie Chute and I wanted to share with you all an exclusive excerpt from the book. But first here is the Goodreads synopsis:

When Archie goes in search of his missing son, Arden, in the Spanish Canary Islands, he stumbles upon a higher mission: to save his ailing fourteen-year-old granddaughter, Ella. Using a portal-jumping device called the Tillastrion, Archie and a strange creature, a Bangol named Zeno, are transported—along with a cruise ship full of people, including Ella and her mother, Tessa—to a magnificent yet terrifying island in another realm, a place called Jarr-Wya, where Archie hopes to locate Ella’s cure.

On Jarr-Wya, the Bangols battle the Olearons—creatures made of fire—and the evil Millia sands for control of Jarr-Wya. When Ella is captured by the Bangols, her wit and resourcefulness emerge as she fights against all odds, and against all manner of creatures, to survive. Meanwhile, Tessa, must confront her long-buried secrets, broken marriage, and a confusing new love triangle, all while navigating the mysterious island in search of her daughter. And unbeknownst to everyone, there is an even greater foe to contend with: a wicked star anchored in the sea beneath them that is poisoning the island.

An epic adventure of three unlikely heroes, Above the Star reminds us that no matter how young, or how old, our bravery transforms not only our lives but the world around us.

Sounds really good right?

To read the excerpt just click here or the above banner to read it! Above The Star is available now!

 

 

Review: Who Are You, Trudy Herman?

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Rating: ★★

I received this book for free as part of BookSparks’ YA Summer Reading Challenge.

I wanted to like this book, but I had a lot of issues with it. 

First off, it took me a while to get into the book. It didn’t really engage me until Trudy and her family got sent to the internment camp. That’s when things finally started to get interesting.

I did appreciate that the book focused on German American internment because I didn’t know anything about that prior to reading this book. It was nice to learn more about that.

As for the actual story itself, it was really lackluster. Quite a few things happened, but nothing was ever really developed to its full potential. Everything felt really glossed over; there was no depth to the events. I felt like the book was trying to make some sort of point about injustices, but never really got there.

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At one point in the book, Trudy’s class learns about Japanese internment which I felt was a little inaccurate. I’m skeptical that internment would have been a part of the curriculum. That part of the story took place in 1948 in Mississippi. I really don’t think they would have been talking about internment at that time, especially in place that was shown to be segregated and very hostile to blacks. 

The ending of the book was so rushed. Something major happened and then it was resolved in like 10 pages and then just ended. There was no closure for a lot of the other little storylines in the book. 

Lastly, I can’t stand the cover. It’s a very poorly chosen stock photo. The fence part is fine, because that is a part of the story. But I have major issues with the girl. This book takes place in the 1940’s and the girl looks like she’s from modern times. I could probably buy the shirt she’s wearing from a mall store. 

Overall, this book had so much potential, but ultimately failed in its execution. 

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