Book Review- Girl out of Water

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Girl out of Water by Laura Silverman
Expected publication by Sourcebooks Fire on May 2 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 320
Amazon
Goodreads

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves

 

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Me!

Girl out of Water took me a bit by surprise. I don’t normally enjoy contemporary (as much as other genres), but I found myself pleasantly surprised; especially considering the book focused around things I’ve never done (surfing and skateboarding… unless you count that week in second grade) and places I have never been (California and Nebraska).

 

Anise was the kind of character that I just love. Her world was shaken up, yet she stays strong in a not-to-heroine-but-completely-realistic way that felt very relatable. Her connections with her old friends back in California and her new friend(s) in Nebraska evolve the way they would in real life, which brought a whole new level of realism to the story. Anise’s feelings were genuine and both easy to understand and complex at the same time.

All of the characters, both major and minor, were very well developed. The emotions and plotlines for each of the characters were well thought out and well written. The romance in the book also seemed organic, and definitely swoon worthy!

The story was a little bit slow at times, but still interesting all the same. The ending was good, but I do wish it told a little bit more of what happens in the future… it is a bit open ended in that regard.

Over all I really enjoyed Girl out of Water, and would recommend it to anyone who loves contemporary, want to try contemporary, or someone looking for a feel-good weekend read. I am going to give Girl out of Water four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

January Wrap Up

I can’t believe how fast January flew by! I didn’t realize it was February until this morning, when I when I went to write the date and saw that it was no longer a 1 for the month, but a 2. This month I read seven books, which is pretty impressive (if I may say so myself)considering everything else I have going on.

 

I ran a giveaway this month with The MacBath, a wonderful literary soap store on Etsy (I totally think you should check them out if you haven’t already.. their products are amazing!!).

I do have a couple exciting giveaway’s coming up this month as well, so keep your eyes peeled for those!

What books did you read in January?

Book Review- Follow Me Back

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Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger
Expected Publication by Sourcebooks Fire on June 6, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 354
Amazon
Goodreads

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

I might have just found one of my new favorite books. Follow Me Back was AMAZING!!! I received an ARC in exchange for a review in the mail yesterday, and considering I’m in the middle of two other books, my plan was to read the first few sentences and put it on the shelf to read next. AND THEN I COULD NOT STOP READING. Literally I could not put the book down. I didn’t do anything until I finished it. I just sat there and read and read and OMG look who’s fangirling now.

The story is told in two narratives; a police interview, and back story. There was so much mystery and secrecy. I just had to know what was going to happen next the whole time. The whole book was fast paced and exciting.

The characters themselves were surprisingly relatable and likeable. It was easy to sympathize with Eric and to like Tessa. Their conversations were so cute, and despite everything else going on around them and in their lives, they had each other. What I liked most about that was how they got to that point. Their initial conversation was actually super believable, as was its progression. It just seemed organic and natural.

I just really loved everything about this book. I loved the characters and the plot. I loved the writing and the presentation. I loved the mystery and action and suspense and the danger. I would recommend this book to literally anyone who likes amazing books because that is what this is.

If I could give Follow Me Back more than five hearts, I would, but five seems to be the limit, so five hearts it is.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Seriously though. Go preorder this book!! You do not want to miss this!!

Book Review- Gideon the Cutpurse

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Gideon the Cutpurse (also published as The Time Travelers) by Linda Buckley-Archer
Published by Simon & Schuster on January 1 2006
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Time Travel, Historical Fiction
Pages: 404
Amazon
Goodreads

1763.

Gideon Seymour, cutpurse and gentleman, hides from the villainous Tar Man. Suddenly the sky peels away like fabric and from the gaping hole fall two curious-looking children. Peter Schock and Kate Dyer have fallen straight from the twenty-first century, thanks to an experiment with an antigravity machine. Before Gideon and the children have a chance to gather their wits, the Tar Man takes off with the machine — and Kate and Peter’s only chance of getting home. Soon Gideon, Kate, and Peter are swept into a journey through eighteenth-century London and form a bond that, they hope, will stand strong in the face of unfathomable treachery.

Gideon the Cutpurse was full of adventure. From the moment Peter and Kate were thrown back in time, there was not a second of rest. The narrative follows both the events of 1763, where Peter and Kate meet Gideon and set out to find a way to get home, and present day (or not so present because the book came out in 2006), where the police along with Kate’s father and NASA are trying to find the children.

Although the events had all the promise to be a five star read, the actual story fell a bit short. I felt bored at times, like there was a cycle between excitement and boredom throughout the book. Then there were parts that could have been so much better, but weren’t. I feel like there could have been so much more done with the characters that would have brought the story to life. The reactions I read didn’t feel realistic, it felt like a bedtime story.

I also found it a bit strange how there were pages at the end of some chapters from Gideon Seymour’s personal journal. They felt a bit out of place, and didn’t really add anything to the plot. I don’t know if they evolve into something more in the rest of the trilogy, but I can only hope that there is a greater reason for them being there.

There is so much I wish I could add to this book, but at the same time, I can’t say I didn’t like it at all. It was a fun read, even if I had to read it in little chunks at a time. I do however think that an elementary school kid would eat this book up, and I definitely recommend it for preteens and younger who love time travel and adventure. I just don’t think this book was quite for me.

I am going to give Gideon the Cutpurse three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Sad Perfect

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Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot
Expected publication by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on February 28, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Eating Disorder, Realistic Fiction
Pages: 320
Amazon
Goodreads

The story of a teen girl’s struggle with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and how love helps her on the road to recovery.

Sixteen-year-old Pea looks normal, but she has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). It is like having a monster inside of her, one that not only dictates what she can eat, but also causes anxiety, depression, and thoughts that she doesn’t want to have. When she falls crazy-mad in love with Ben, she hides her disorder from him, pretending that she’s fine. At first, everything really does feel like it’s getting better with him around, so she stops taking her anxiety and depression medication. And that’s when the monster really takes over her life. Just as everything seems lost and hopeless, Pea finds in her family, and in Ben, the support and strength she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her.

Sad Perfect was full of emotion and struggle. “Pea” (as her dad calls her… we don’t get any other name) has something called Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, a rare but real disorder that many people don’t know about. The book is written in second person, which makes everything happening to Pea extremely personal, and I got to see through her eyes and understand what it means to live with this monster inside of me.

Sad Perfect is full of ups and downs (and other downs) as Pea struggles to kill her monster and live a normal life. Her family isn’t perfect, which honestly brings another level of realism to the book (I mean, come on. Whose family is really perfect?). The story starts on a high, with Pea meeting her soon to be boyfriend Ben. I liked Ben, but of all the characters he seemed the most fictional… maybe just a little too perfect, but he is also a sweetie and some people are just like that.

I loved how honest Sad Perfect was. Stephanie Elliot didn’t shy away from anything that was tough to talk about. She put all her cards on the table in a way that made my eyes swim more than once. Even for someone (like me) who hasn’t had a serious experience with an eating disorder, I found the book so easy to understand and relate with. Elliot takes a disorder that most people don’t know exist (much less understand) and lays it out in a way that not only raises awareness, but makes you understand what an impact a seemingly nonexistent disorder can have on a person and a family.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes contemporary, or anyone looking for a quick meaningful read that will stay with them.

I am going to give Sad Perfect four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Passing

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Passing by Nella Larsen
Published 1929
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction, African American, Literature
Pages: 122
Amazon
Goodreads

Irene Redfield, the novel’s protagonist, is a woman with an enviable life. She and her husband, Brian, a prominent physician, share a comfortable Harlem town house with their sons. Her work arranging charity balls that gather Harlem’s elite creates a sense of purpose and respectability for Irene. But her hold on this world begins to slip the day she encounters Clare Kendry, a childhood friend with whom she had lost touch. Clare—light-skinned, beautiful, and charming—tells Irene how, after her father’s death, she left behind the black neighborhood of her adolescence and began passing for white, hiding her true identity from everyone, including her racist husband. As Clare begins inserting herself into Irene’s life, Irene is thrown into a panic, terrified of the consequences of Clare’s dangerous behavior. And when Clare witnesses the vibrancy and energy of the community she left behind, her burning desire to come back threatens to shatter her careful deception.

Passing was an interesting book. It followed Irene, an African American woman in the 1920’s, and how her life changes when an old friend named Clare comes back into her life.
As the title suggests, the book is about “passing” race. In this case, African Americans passing as whites. The characters were certainly intriguing. Clare was unpredictable and a little scary. She didn’t really care about anything except her own desires. Irene, on the other hand, believes that she cares about her family, and she does for the most part, although there are some things that she can only see her way.

The book takes place over several years and is written in three parts. The layout almost reminds me of a play, which is an interesting way to lay out a novel. The first part sets up the characters and the idea of “passing”. The second delves deeper into the issue and establishes who each of the characters are, two years after the first part. The third part is like a finale. Everything spins out of control until it comes crashing down in the end.
Passing deals with issues that we are still dealing with today, no matter how far we think we have come. It is interesting to see how the characters in this book regard racism, and what it actually means (for them at least) to pretend to be someone (something?) they are not.

I didn’t necessarily love this book, but it was a very thoughtful story, and I am glad to have read it. I would recommend this to lovers of literature, and anyone who wants a new perspective on racial issues both today and in the past.

I am going to give Passing three out of four hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

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Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates
Published October 1966
Genres: Literature, Contemporary, Horror
Pages: 20
Amazon
Goodreads

Her name was Connie. She was fifteen and she had a quick, nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right. Her mother, who noticed everything and knew everything…

It took a couple re-reads of the short story to understand what was going on. Connie is an interesting character, battling with her boundaries and where she stands in the world. When she is left home alone and a man named Arnold Friend dives up to her house, she begins to see a darker side of the world.

This story was intriguing, and definitely worth the read. It is short enough to read in one sitting, although it is packed full of events. I loved the complexity of the story, and how more and more about the characters was revealed through their actions rather than through being told.

The ending of the story was a bit vague, so it is hard to know exactly what happens. It is left more open ended, which just adds to the mystery and intrigue of the story.

I would recommend this story to lovers of horror, who are looking for something a little more classic than what they are used to. This is also a great story for people who love when books get them thinking. This one will definitely stay in the back of your mind for quite a while.

I am going to give Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥