Thursday, November 18, 2021

ARC Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

 


Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.


One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

Published:
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


Review:
I want to thank NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review.
This is my first Holly Black book. She is an author that has been suggested to me a number of times and I finally dove into this one to see what she is all about. I was not disappointed in the least. 
Not only is this book unique, but the writing is fantastic. It flows right off the page. I didn't want to put it down. I'm not usually a huge fan of third person, but it worked so well for this story. It worked to show you several points of view from all different characters, adding to the world building and background you need to understand the entire story. The writing reminded me of Cassandra Clare, whom I love. Lots of detail, lots of painting the scene so you see it entirely in your mind without having to create anything for yourself. I love that. 
The twists and turns this book took were great. I will say I figured out the final twist earlier on than the book let you in on it, but it did not stop me from continuing to read so I could see the final outcome of the story.
I do like paranormal and this puts a nice twist on that. Modern day paranormal is always more interesting as there are so many more intricate plot holes the author needs to be aware of and Black covered them without a hitch.
The characters were nice, not my favorite. I love Gavriel. I love his craziness. Tana was more calm than I would have liked her to be in some situations, but she does explain later how she had gone from a scared, shy girl to one who was "different" at 13. She doesn't explain the difference but it's inferred in her mannerisms and how she reacts to situations that would otherwise cause people to die from fear. 
There is much gore in the book (a la Ann Rice if you will). I'm ok with that. It is a vampire book, after all, and if one does not expect gore from such a book, then they are not reading the right vampire novels.
I love how the author truly meshes a dystopian world with the paranormal. Think World War Z. 
Overall, I'm really glad I picked this up. It was a quicker read than I expected. I would absolutely read more from this author and intend to.



Holly Black is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over thirty fantasy novels for kids and teens. She has been a finalist for an Eisner Award and the Lodestar Award, and the recipient of the Mythopoeic Award, a Nebula, and a Newbery Honor. Her books have been translated into 32 languages worldwide and adapted for film. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret library.

Monday, November 8, 2021

ARC Review: The Rumor Game by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra



All it takes is one spark to start a blaze.

At Foxham Prep, a posh private school for the children of DC’s elite, a single rumor has the power to ruin a life.

Nobody knows that better than Bryn. She used to have it all—the perfect boyfriend, a bright future in politics, and even popularity, thanks to her best friend, cheer captain Cora. Then one mistake sparked a scandal that burned it all to the ground.

Now it’s the start of a new school year and the spotlight has shifted: It’s geeky Georgie, newly hot after a summer makeover, whose name is on everyone’s lips. When a rumor ignites, Georgie rockets up the school’s social hierarchy, pitting her and Cora against each other. It grants her Foxham stardom . . . but it also makes her a target.

As the rumors grow and morph, blazing like wildfire through the school’s social media, all three girls’ lives begin to unravel. But one person close to the drama has the power to stop the gossip in its tracks. The question is—do they even want to?

From Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra, authors of the Tiny Pretty Things duology (now a Netflix series), comes the edge-of-your-seat social thriller everyone will be talking about.

Publisher:
Expected Publication Date:
Author: Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra

Review:
Thank you to NetGalley and  Disney for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.
I love a good YA contemporary. And the premise of this book was interesting to me given the fact that I have a kid currently in high school. I also remember personally the rumors that would start at my school and how they often spun out of control. This book addresses those types of rumors. 
The authors really delve into the rumors, how they come to be, how they are perpetuated, how they can get squashed, and the huge roll social media currently takes in all of the above. I often worry about what my kids will see on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, Snap Chat. It's scary how things can get skewed. This book definitely shows how easy it is for that to happen. 
I loved the different points of view. How we got to see the characters experiencing the rumors and the consequences of those rumors first hand. How they make or break who you are or might be in circles in high school.
I'm happy with the areas this book covered: cheating from significant others (both adult and teen), sexual assault, child pornography. It's important for our kids to understand such consequences. Unfortunately, social media often perpetuates so much.
Overall this was an enjoyable read. I know it was an early proof. It's unfortunate that this early copy had some formatting errors which made it hard to read certain points.
I would definitely recommend it to teens so they can understand the consequences of their actions.



Dhonielle Clayton:

Born and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Dhonielle spent much of her childhood hiding beneath her grandmother's dining table with a stack of books. As an English teacher at a ballet academy, Clayton rediscovered her passion for children's and young adult literature. To ground herself in the canon, she pursued her Masters in Children's Literature from Hollins University before receiving her MFA in Writing for Children at the New School. She is a former middle school librarian, where she pestered children to read and curated a diverse collection. An avid traveler, Dhonielle's lived in several foreign countries, but she's now settled in Harlem, where you'll find her writing late into the night, lurking in libraries, and hunting for the best slice of New York pizza. She is the COO of We Need Diverse Books and the co-founder of Cake Literary. The co-author of the dance dramas Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces, as well as the upcoming Rumor Game, Dhonielle is the author of the New York Times bestselling YA fantasy series The Belles. Find her on the web at DhonielleClayton.com or on Twitter @brownbookworm.D


Sona Charaipotra:

The author of the YA doc dramedy Symptoms of a Heartbreak, SONA CHARAIPOTRA is not a doctor — much to her pediatrician parents’ chagrin. They were really hoping she’d grow up to take over their practice one day.
Instead, she became a writer, working first as a celebrity reporter at People and (the dearly departed) TeenPeople magazines, and more recently contributing to publications from the New York Times to TeenVogue. She was also the editor of the Barnes & Noble Teen blog. These days, she uses her Masters in screenwriting from NYU and her MFA in creative writing from the New School to poke plot holes in her favorite teen TV shows — for work of course. She’s the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent, and the co-author of the YA dance dramas Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces (now a Netflix original series!), as well as the upcoming psychological thriller Rumor Game. Her follow-up to Symptoms will be the YA contemporary romp How Maya Got Fierce, which draws on her magazine world experience and is pitched as the Bold Type meets Younger. She’s a former We Need Diverse Books board member. Find her sharing pictures of her kids and her chai on Instagram @sonesone2, talking writing and books on Twitter @sona_c, or pinning gorgeous lenghas and her favorite Indian food on Pinterest.
 

Monday, October 25, 2021

ARC Review: Roseblood by A.G. Howard

 Rune Germaine moves to a boarding school outside of Paris, only to discover that at this opera-house-turned-music-conservatory, phantoms really do exist. RoseBlood is a Phantom of the Opera–inspired retelling in which Rune’s biggest talent—her voice—is also her biggest curse.

 
Rune, whose voice has been compared to that of an angel, has a mysterious affliction linked to her talent that leaves her sick and drained at the end of every performance. Convinced creative direction will cure her, her mother ships her off to a French boarding school for the arts, rumored to have a haunted past.
 
Shortly after arriving at RoseBlood conservatory, Rune starts to believe something otherworldly is indeed afoot. The mystery boy she’s seen frequenting the graveyard beside the opera house doesn’t have any classes at the school, and vanishes almost as quickly as he appears. When Rune begins to develop a secret friendship with the elusive Thorn, who dresses in clothing straight out of the 19th century, she realizes that in his presence she feels cured. Thorn may be falling for Rune, but the phantom haunting RoseBlood wants her for a very specific and dangerous purpose. As their love continues to grow, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or save her and face the wrath of the phantom, the only father he’s ever known.

Published: January 17, 2017
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams


Review:
I want to thank NetGalley and Abrams for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.
I'm a huge fan of Howard's Splintered series. She has a fantastic way of retelling stories. I was super excited when I heard she was doing one surrounding Phantom as that is one of my all time favorite musicals (the music in particular is just amazing). Of course I wanted to read this one and see how her spin was added.
I was not disappointed. And what a perfect time to read it, as Halloween approaches. I expected suspense, I expected creepy, and, of course, I expected romance, And I got all three! I wasn't expecting the supernatural aspect of this story, but it added another layer the Phantom. It made the story all the more haunting (as if Phantom wasn't haunted enough). 
It's not so much a retelling as a story that is built upon another story. Set in the modern world, where the past and present collide. I won't get into how Phantom is able to be part of the modern world (as that will ruin the twist of the supernatural aspect), But I will say his character is just as obsessed as he is in the true story. Rune makes for a great heroine with her amazing musical talent. Her friends offer a nice backing for her, though I would have liked to see a bit more depth to them. And the idea of a school housed in an opera house, in France nonetheless, is very different in it's concept.
I will admit to having some confusion in parts of the book. The writing was good, the plot moved, but I feel there were areas where I truly wasn't sure what was going on as the author tried to describe the scene.
Overall it was enjoyable and a fast read considering it's length.
I'm hoping to see more from this author in the future.





#1 New York Times and International bestselling Author of gothic / fantasy & paranormal tales, mystical & romantic with a side of horror. A.G.'s dark Alice in Wonderland inspired Splintered series has been published in over a dozen languages.

Young adult, Adult, and literary romance. Repped by Jenny Bent.

How A.G. Howard rates books on GoodReads:

"I only rate or review books I enjoyed reading, and won't give any rating below 4 stars. Please don't consider every high rating a personal endorsement / recommendation from me. My ratings here are subjective to me as an individual.

I don't rate books solely on style. Every writer's voice is individual and unique; I've come to respect this truth during my own personal journey. As long as a story takes me to another place and is well edited, I'm going to give it a good rating. And if, for some reason, a book doesn't entertain me or I don't finish it, I won't leave a rating or review at all.

If you're considering a book I've reviewed/rated, be sure to read other reviews/ratings alongside mine to help you decide if it's a read you might enjoy personally.

Happy book hunting!"

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

ARC Review: Into the Dim by Janet B Taylor

 When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.

Published: 3/1/16

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review:

Such a great concept but it fell short.

I love the idea of time travel. I always love time travel. It's so intricate, so many parts, so easily done wrong. The author seemed to get a good bit of this right, though I could not picture exactly how it was done. But the execution of character building, their lack of connections, the pace, the cheesey romance,  all were lacking in connection for me. I needed more action, more suspense, more something. I felt like the characters got themselves into bad situations and then they easily solved how to get out of them. There was no intricate thought process, no way to really see the characters struggling to figure out how to solve the problems.

Unfortunately, I won't be moving on to future books in this series





Janet Taylor lives in such a small town in Arkansas that if you happen to sneeze when you pass by, you'll totally miss it. (Cause, you know, you can't sneeze with your eyes open. For real--try it--it's impossible)

Her first novel, INTO THE DIM, (which debuted 3/1/2016 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) is about a 16 year old girl who travels through time. Totally on purpose and stuff.

Her second book, SPARKS OF LIGHT (HMH, 8/1/2017) is the sequel, and continues three months after INTO THE DIM leaves off.

She's a reader/fan first and a writer second. She lives with her fantastic husband, two hilarious sons, and Dorda the diabetic dog who won't win any beauty contests, but has a "nice personality".

She would think you're the coolest thing since AC on a hot day if you'd like her on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter or visit her web site. And if you felt like adding INTO THE DIM to your Want to Read well golly! She'd probably come over to your house and do cart-wheels on your front lawn. (probably)

(PS-check out the bracelet on Janet's pic. That's a teeny-tiny Tardis. Uh, Whovian much?)

Thursday, August 5, 2021

ARC Review: All the feels by Danika Stone

 


College freshman Liv is more than just a fangirl: The Starveil movies are her life… So, when her favorite character, Captain Matt Spartan, is killed off at the end of the last movie, Liv Just. Can’t. Deal.


Tired of sitting in her room sobbing, Liv decides to launch an online campaign to bring her beloved hero back to life. With the help of her best friend, Xander, actor and steampunk cosplayer extraordinaire, she creates #SpartanSurvived, a campaign to ignite the fandom. But as her online life succeeds beyond her wildest dreams, Liv is forced to balance that with the pressures of school, her mother’s disapproval, and her (mostly nonexistent and entirely traumatic) romantic life. A trip to DragonCon with Xander might be exactly what she needs to figure out what she really wants.
 

Published: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Author: Danika Stone

My review:
Thank you to NetGalley and Swoon Reads for providing me with a copy of this book to read and provide an honest review.
I've been on a contemporary kick as of late. So this book fit right in my genre feels. 
Liv is a college freshman who is obsessed with fandom, particularly that of Starveil. Given the opportunity to talk about it, live it, love it, see it, you name it, she's there. Now, I will admit, this was a bit hard for me to get into. You'd think being the book nerd I am, I'd get it. But it's just not me. So I did start this book off not truly understanding how one can be so obsessed in the way she is. Thankfully, she grows in the book and realizes there are other things more important than Starveil.
I totally got the con thing, though. I've been to a few cons and, while I wasn't a dress it up and get all into it type person, I know just what it's like to be pulled into all that goes on at one. And the way the author presents it and shows it through words is perfect. 
Liv's friend Xander is interesting. He's a bit quirky, with this penchant for being totally different: velvet jackets, linen shirts, shows with buckles. Not my type at all. But he pulls it off and I love that he's different and doesn't care what anyone things about him.
Of course a contemporary like this would not be complete with a love story. I'm not sure I truly understand the relationship between Liv and Xander at first, they are friends, but they act like more. By the end it makes sense.
I did like how the author allowed Liv to grow during the book. She makes mistakes but seems to eventually learn from them. 
Overall this was a fun read, despite the fact that it took me a bit to get into it (maybe about 50%) through. Anyone who loves fandom and cons will enjoy this read.

Danika Stone is an author, artist, and educator who discovered a passion for writing fiction while in the throes of her Masters thesis. A self-declared bibliophile, Danika now writes novels for both teens (Switchback, All the Feels and Internet Famous) and adults (Edge of Wild, The Dark Divide and Fall of Night). When not writing, Danika can be found hiking in the Rockies, planning grand adventures, and spending far too much time online. She lives with her husband, three sons, and a houseful of imaginary characters in a windy corner of Alberta, Canada.

Ms. Stone is represented by Moe Ferrara of BookEnds Literary Agency.


Friday, July 30, 2021

ARC Review: The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts

 

True love can't be strategized.

After book blogger Vivian Galdi’s longtime crush pretends their secret summer kissing sessions never happened, Vivian creates a list of safe crushes, determined to protect her heart.

But nerd-hot Dallas, the sweet new guy in town, sends the mission and Vivian’s zing meter into chaos. While designing software for the bookstore where Vivian works, Dallas wages a counter-mission.

Operation Replacement Crush is in full effect. And Dallas is determined to take her heart off the shelf.

Published: 9/6/2016
Publisher: Entangled Teen


My Review:

Thank you to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.

I love a cute contemporary YA love story and this one is just that. 

Vivian's heart is broken. How do you heal this? Well you make a list of boys to date that don't have the "zing" factor" who can help you get over your woes. Of course, as with any great plan, things often do not work out as you think they might. Enter Dallas "McNerd." Smart, funny, and nerdy cute, Vivian doesn't want him on her radar. But her heart and head have other ideas!

I enjoyed how the friendship unfolded between the two main characters in this book. It grew and blossomed into cute banter, funny antics, and overall caring. A slow burn, which is just how I truly like it. It shows the characters aren't going to just jump into something because they are overwhelmed by their emotions (or hormones). 

I will admit there were some slow parts of the book. And I think for a YA romance, it's a bit long. But I also think they added to the climax of the story.

The writing was fun and easy. 

I would definitely pick up another book by this author if given the chance. If you're looking for a love story that unfolds slowly where the characters are well fleshed out and the relationships are important, this is the one for you!

Lisa Brown Roberts’ award-winning YA romantic comedies have earned praise from Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Lisa's teenaged self tweezed off all her eyebrows, crashed a car into a tree while trying to impress a guy, and accidentally went to prom with someone else's boyfriend. When she couldn't fix any of this in real life, she made up imaginary happy endings in her diary.

Not much has changed.

Lisa lives in Colorado with her family and many, many books.

Chat with Lisa:
Twitter: @LBrownRoberts
Instagram: LisaBrownRoberts
FB: www.facebook.com/authorLisaBrownRoberts
Website: www.lisabrownroberts.com


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

ARC Review: Defy the Stars (Constellation #1) by Claudia Gray

She's a soldier - Noemi Vidal is willing to risk anything to protect her planet, Genesis, including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she's a rebel.

He's a machine - Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel's advanced programming has begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he's an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they're not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they're forced to question everything they'd been taught was true.

Fast-paced, romantic, and captivating, Defy The Stars is a story about what it means to be human, about deciding what you truly believe in, and about finding your place in a dangerous world.

My review:

Thank you to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for supplying me with a copy of this book on my Kindle to read and review.
I love sci fi. I always find it fun and entertaining. Plus, the idea of being able to be in the future, in space, is just fascinating to me. So this book really was right up my street with that.
The two points of view used by the author really offer unique insight into the universe she creates. Namoni is the human POV. She's emotional, super smart, and ready to die for her world. And most of all she's super brave. Willing to take whatever chances are needed to ensure she can keep her people safe. Abel, a mech, is just a machine. Though a sophisticated one, he's not suppose to be able to feel and have his own point of view. And yet, he does.  But you can still tell Abel is more machine than human in the way he analyzes things and how technical he is. The contrast between their two characters is fun. 
I did find the story line a bit slow. It was nice to see them travel through space, meet different people, find friends, make enemies, and work their way back to where they started. But I felt like some parts were a bit more drawn out than they needed to be.
The ending is well rounded but leaves room for future books (of which there are two). I'm not sure I feel the need to move on to the next story, But one never knows how I'll feel about reading just a bit more sci fi!


Claudia Gray is not my real name. I didn't choose a pseudonym because my real name is unpleasant (it isn't), because I'd always dreamed of calling myself this (I haven't) or even because I'm hiding from the remnants of that international diamond-smuggling cartel I smashed in 2003 (Interpol has taken care of them). In short, I took a pseudonym for no real reason whatsoever. Sometimes this is actually the best reason to do things.

I live in New Orleans. So far, in life, I've been a disc jockey, a lawyer, a journalist and an extremely bad waitress, just to name a few. I especially like to spend time traveling, hiking, reading and listening to music. More than anything else, I enjoy writing.



 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

ARC Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

 




Blurb:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.


Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

Published: 6/6/15
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

My Review:
I want to thank NetGalley and Little Brown Books for Young Readers for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review.
I'm always thrilled when a book about mental health is put out on the market. There are so many stigmas that go along with mental health issues, especially in the teen population, and I like to see authors delving into those subjects to shed light on the fact they exist.
Samantha has OCD. She has thoughts that invade her mind and a hard time controlling them and not acting on impulse. She has learned to deal with the thoughts through behavioral therapy but sometimes that does not seem to be enough.
Sam's group of friends do not know about her condition. And she wants to keep it that way as she feels they would not understand and may cast her out for it. Sam spends much of this book under the stress of trying to appear "perfect" because she feels without The Eights would be more harmful to her. So she keeps her secrets.
Until one day she finds an outlet: poetry.
This book had a Colleen Hoover Slammed vibe to me. The poetry group Sam finds helps her to find words to deal with her condition. This, along with her therapy she has been having for years, and her swimming, awaken in her a feeling of power and control.
Of course a YA book would not be a true contemporary without a hint of romance. Sam meets AJ through poets corner. But they have a past she can't seem to remember. When it is revealed, she is set on apologizing and winning back his trust. Of course she does more than that. I will be honest, I didn't truly need the romance in this book. I think it would have worked as a great friendship and have had the same effect. I liked AJ, but I do think he was quick to forgive and then fall for the girl that hurt him.
Overall, this was a quick read with a lot of growth and development that happened with Sam. She learns how to become her true self and also how to have more of a balance in her life not always needing to show only her perfect side to the friends she's had for years.
I will say the pace was a bit slow. I feel like Sam spent a lot of time brooding which did not lend well to show us how her condition was truly affecting her life. 
My favorite relationship was with her and her therapist. I did love how the author made that a forefront in the book and how the connection she had with is represented in a healthy light (rather than the stigma so many seem to think it is).
Coming from a healthcare background, I'm happy to see this author delve into such an issue and show the true nature of what it is like to live with a mental health disorder and how hard it is to deal with, especially as a teenager.


TAMARA IRELAND STONE spent nearly two decades in the technology industry before she began writing middle grade and young adult fiction. She feels lucky to say she's had two careers she's loved.

Her New York Times bestseller, EVERY LAST WORD, won the Cybils Young Adult Fiction Award, the Georgia Peach Book Award, and was a YALSA Teens' Top Ten pick; LITTLE DO WE KNOW won the NCIBA Golden Poppy Award for Young Adult Fiction; and her debut novel, TIME BETWEEN US, has been published in over twenty languages. The first book in her middle-grade series, CLICK'D, was a Sunshine State Young Readers Award pick, a Kids' Indie Next pick, a Cybils Award Nominee, and an NCIBA Golden Poppy nominee.

Tamara is a proud nerd, vinyl collector, and movie lover. She burns everything she cooks.

She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

ARC Review: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon



Blurb: 
My disease is as rare as it is famous. It’s a form of Severe Combined Immunodeficiency, but basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in fifteen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives. New next door neighbors. I look out the window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black t-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. I want to learn everything about him, and I do. I learn that he is funny and fierce. I learn that his eyes are Atlantic Ocean-blue and that his vice is stealing silverware. I learn that when I talk to him, my whole world opens up, and I feel myself starting to change—starting to want things. To want out of my bubble. To want everything, everything the world has to offer.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Published: 9/1/15
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers


My Review:

I would like to thank NetGalley and Delacorte Books for Young Readers for the opportunity to read and review this book.
I'm not even sure how to write this review because I don't think it will truly show how much I really enjoyed this book. I had heard such good things about this book and the fact that it took me so long to read it makes me sad because I wish I would have experienced it sooner. I will admit, I read The Sun Is Also A Star before I read this one. Then I realized I had to jump into this because I loved the author's writing so very much!
It's kind of impossible not to love the main character, Madeline. At first, you're sad for her because she has been locked away her whole life without every experiencing anything. Her disease makes it impossible for her to leave the house because she's allergic to the air, yep, bubble baby syndrome! I had only ever heard about this through the movie from long ago: Boy in the Plastic Bubble. So I was excited to see how anything would possibly happen for her.
When we are introduced to her new neighbor, Olly, you know right away something big is going to happen.This brooding boy who always dresses in black is definitely going to help turn Madeline's world on end. And so it did. Some may say it was way too quick, but given Madeline's life, it's not at all surprising she would attach herself to someone other than her mother and the nurse that takes care of her.  I do not want to ruin anything with the plot, but let's just say Madeline gets to experience things with Olly you would never have though possible.
The author has a great writing style. I was never bored. As a matter of fact, I could not put the book down and read it in less than 24 hours. This didn't surprise me as I had read her other book in a similar time frame (just the day before!).
I loved the relationships Madeline has with her nurse. As a nurse, it made me remember all those connections I've made with patients in the past and how, many times, I have gone above and beyond to ensure they are happy. This is what Carla does for Madeline. But Carla shakes the world up a bit too much and Madeline's mother cannot have that as it threatens to harm her daughter (or so we are lead to believe). Madeline's mother was a little suffocating from the very onset of the book and this bothered me. I just felt she was always off, and my intuition was not wrong.
Overall, this is a quick read with a good plot and a fun story. I'm pretty sure I'll read anything this author publishes because it just gives me all the feels!


Nicola Yoon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Everything, Everything and The Sun Is Also a Star. She is a National Book Award finalist, a Michael L. Printz Honor Book recipient and a Coretta Scott King New Talent Award winner. Both her novels have been made into major motion pictures. Nicola grew up in Jamaica and Brooklyn, and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, novelist David Yoon, and their family.



 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

ARC Review: Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales




Blurb:
Recklessly loyal.


That’s how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Caring for her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But lately she’s grown resentful of everyone—including her needy best friend and her absent mom—taking her loyalty for granted.

Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, who gives voice to feelings that Arden has never known how to express. He seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn’t even met her.

Until Arden sets out on a road trip to find him.

During one crazy night out in New York City filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

Published: Farrar, Straus, Giroux
Publisher: 9/15/2015


My Review:

I want to thank NetGalley and Farra, Straus, and Giroux for the chance to read and review this book.

I have to say, from the blurb, I had high hopes for this book. I really wanted to like it. The blurb convinced me I would enjoy the main character. Sadly, this was not the case.

The book was very slow for me. I'm not sure if it was because it was written in third person, or because the writing just seem to trudge along, but I could not connect with the main character, Arden, at all. For me, she was whiny and self-absorbed. And I was bored with her life. Nothing exciting happened, nothing showed me she was on a journey to change and grow and become better than she was. The very beginning of the book got me off on the wrong foot with her as she takes the fall for her best friend. It's like she was letting Lindsay step all over her and use her. Yet, it was 100% her fault. This I could see as the book went on and more and more it showed Arden to be someone who thought her only happiness was doing for others. I suppose this was the lesson to be learned throughout the book.

The plot was very slow. And it wasn't a slow build, it was just slow. Not much happened and when it did, there was no "wow" moment from the characters.

The saving grace for me was the blog Arden was reading: Tonight the Street Are Ours. I was interested to see what Peter, the blogger, would write and how his story would progress.

The twist at the end with Peter, his girlfriends Bianca, and Leo was not expected and I believe that's why I was able to trudge through to the end of the book.

Overall, I was bored during this book. It did pick up for me for about the last 10%. I'm surprised I stuck with it as long as I did. I guess I was hoping it would get better for me, which did not turn out to be the case.

Sorry to say this just was not for me. If other Sales books are written in similar fashion, I'm not sure I'd want to read more of her stories.

Leila Sales was born in 1984 and grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in psychology in 2006. Now she lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works in the mostly glamorous world of children's book publishing. Leila spends most of her time thinking about sleeping, kittens, dance parties, and stories that she wants to write.


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