Review- Unspoekn by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Details

Publisher:  Random House Books for Young Readers
Published:  September 11, 2012
Genres:  YA, fantasy, paranormal
My Rating: 3.75 Stars

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GoodReads Blurb

Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met… a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

My Review

So, fun story about me. I have a terrible habit of calling famous people I follow on Twitter and Facebook “my friend.” In no person am I guiltier of doing this than Jared Padalecki from Supernatural. In the last few years I have said “My Friend Jared” and then talked about the Always Keep Fighting Campain as if a person I actually know was involved in it. I’ve been called out many a time. One memorable one being my mother saying to me “You don’t know anyone named Jared.” Although one time he did like a comment I made on a Facebook Live he did and therefore we are friends and I will fight you.

So I feel a weird connection to Kami. I  have never talked to other people in my head or heard other people’s thoughts, but still. I felt an understanding with Kami.

There were parts of this book that I felt didn’t exactly make sense. I felt that Holly and Angela accepted Kami’s explanation that flesh and blood Jared standing in front of them is the same Jared that Kami’s been talking to in her head too easily. I also felt the romances were a little forced. But overall I enjoyed this novel.

There’s a lot going on in this book, murder, magic, mystery, people that can read one other person’s mind, animal sacrifice, breaking and entering. And for the most part, it’s laid out pretty straightforwardly. I feel like some of the dialogue is wonky, but I think it may be a “language barrier” between American English and British English. There are parts of Harry Potter dialogue that still make no sense to me.

This is a good modern Gothic novel, which after reading some Victorian Gothic novels, I enjoyed seeing how those themes aged through time. I liked those elements that I’ve seen in Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights in a brand new story. Even my least favorite element, Cousin Marriage, survived. Stop marrying your first cousins. I have seen so much cousin marriage in media the last few months it’s getting a little weird. Everywhere I look COUSIN MARRIAGE.

I like the mystery, the who and why. I think it’ll be an interesting series as I continue reading it. I think there is a lot to explore. The history of the town and Lynburns is going to be interesting as it continues to unfold. I recommend this novel to people looking for something a little creepy and odd. It was a fun quick read.

Have you read any of The Lynburn Legacy? What did you think?

Until next time Internet

 

Deanna

Short Story Saturday- WIP

Welcome to another installment of what is becoming a biweekly event here at my blog Short Story Saturday. I found one of the very first draft of a piece I’ve been writing for a couple years. So I thought I would share it.


“I think I’m in love,” Beth sighed as she fell over the back of the couch after she got home from school on a Wednesday afternoon.

Her older brother sat at what used to be the computer desk when they had a desktop computer, but now it had become a bit of a catchall for her and her sibling’s junk. TONY liked to use to because he faced a wall instead of a window or a television and he could actually focus on what he was doing.

“You’re twelve,” her brother Tony sighed as he spun around in the wheelie chair “You’re not in love.”

“Firstly,” Beth spat, pushing herself up onto her elbows. “I am seventeen, and yes I am.” She flipped her long dirty blonde ponytail over her shoulder with a smile. “You’re just jealous because you don’t know what it’s like.”

“Have you talked to him?” Tony smirked.

“Not relevant,” Beth laughed.

“Extremely relevant,” Tony nodded. “When you guys have a conversation, then you can talk to me about being in love. Until then, whoever this idiot is is just like when you were in love with what’s-his-name from that show you like. You’re in gross pop song like with him, and as your brother, I really don’t care about fantasies.”

“It’s super different,” Beth replied cocking her head to the side. “Dana told me that he likes me. She says it’s super obvious. She said that he’s been flirting with me for weeks, but I didn’t notice because he’s super freaking weird and doing weird stuff all the time. I thought he did the weird stuff with everyone, but Dana said that he’s showing off for me.”

“Uh huh,” Tony chuckled.

“Don’t you do stupid stuff when you like a girl?” Beth said. “I’ve seen you do some stupid stuff to impress girls. The kind of guys that I like don’t do stupid stuff, they do weird stuff because they know that’s how to get my attention. And Dana said that she thinks he’s really shy around girls even though he acts like he’s all cool and stuff.”

“Who is this idiot?” Tony sighed.

“You don’t know him,” Beth answered. She lay back down on the sofa, resting her head on the arm, fingers linked together behind her head.

“We live in a town with a total populous of 2500,” Tony replied. “600 kids go to our school.”

“You don’t know everyone, Tony,” Beth sighed. “I’m allowed to have friends you don’t know.”

“I’ll be knowing anyone who thinks they’re going to be dating you,” Tony shrugged.

“This isn’t 1926,” Beth laughed. “I don’t need your approval.”

“Whatever,” Tony replied turning around in his rolling chair and going back to his homework. “Then don’t sit there and gush about some guy you made up.”

“I didn’t make him up,” Beth said. “He’s in, like, four of my classes and he has the same lunch as me, and he’s really cute, and he liked me before I liked him. He was just the cute boy in US History before he was a cute boy in US History that likes me. His like of me makes me like him. He added me on facebook the other day, and then he started quoting my favorite movies to me. Dana said that’s flirting.”

“That’s stalking,” Tony corrected. “But whatever.”

“Jealous,” Beth singsonged.

“I am so happy I’m not a girl,” Tony mumbled. “Either tell me who it is or stop talking. I gotta get my homework done before Dad gets home so I can work on the car.”

“Nerd,” Beth sighed.

“And you’ve had a crush on Jake for years,” Tony said as he picked up his pen and went back to work. “So you can stop pretending that it’s a huge secret, but he does have a little bit of a thing for you. I can tell.”

“You think he does?” Beth gasped. “For real?”

“Yes,” Tony answered. “Now stop talking about it, because I honestly don’t care. I don’t talk to you about girls I like, and I don’t like thinking you’re old enough to like boys.”

“I’m fifteen months younger than you,” Beth said rolling her eyes.

“You’re the baby,” Tony replied. “You will always be the baby. Let me get this done. Dad said I could go to work with him this weekend if I get all my work done. This could be the perfect set up for a summer job to actually have money for school next year.”

Beth let a few long slow minutes pass as she thought about Jake. He wasn’t exactly hot, but he was cute, had nice teeth, which was extremely important to her, and a set of amazingly blue eyes. She couldn’t really imagine him liking her, but if Tony and Dana could see it, maybe she would start to let herself believe it too. It didn’t hurt to just believe.

“You really think he likes me?”  Beth said sitting back up. “You’re not just messing with me because I’m your sister and you have to?”

“Beth,” Tony replied, trying to hold in his frustration with being interrupted again by such nonsense. “He likes you. He’s been asking me questions about you in study hall for weeks. Now leave me alone, please. I’m serious.”

“Okay,” Beth smiled. “Thank you, Tony.”

TONY nodded and went back to work. Beth pushed herself up off the couch and headed up the stairs, quiet as she could, to her bedroom to let Tony do his work by himself.

 

Over the next couple of weeks, Beth noticed she has started paying much more attention to her appearance. She’d finally broken into the eyeshadow her mother had brought her two Christmas’s ago and found herself in the makeup aisle of WalMart with Dana talking about the differences in liquid versus powder foundation and which style of eyeliner was best.

Beth had never been one to really think about her appearance, she had two older brothers, the baby that was coddled by Tony and their older brother Billy. She’d always been rough, tomboyish, never afraid to get down and dirty if she had to. She was the type of girl that was happy to show off a shiner or come home with grass stained knees. That part of her was never going to change, but now that Jake was going to be looking at her, she was starting to think that maybe she should start putting a little bit of effort into her outward appearance.

“Maybe we should color your hair,” Dana suggested.

“My mom would freak,” Beth said shaking her head. “She tells me that it’s a gift to have this color blonde. I think it’s kinda gross, but I don’t know. It’s literally the exactly same color as hers which I think is her point.”

“We don’t have to go aqua or anything,” Dana shrugged. Her own hair had slowly changed from a very dark brown to blonde to various shades of fire engine red and fuchsia over the last year. “Just a slightly different blonde. Your mom probably won’t even notice.”

“She will,” Beth nodded. “And then she’ll ask questions, and when I don’t answer them, she’ll ask Tony and Tony is a blabber and he’ll tell her about Jake, and then Mom will try to have the sex talk with me again, and I’ll have to die.”

“Well, that may be a little overdramatic,” Dana shrugged. “But fine. I’ll work with what you got. Can we cut it? I mean, you gotta give me something Mare.”

Beth played with her hair. She’s always had it the same way, pulled up a thick ponytail on the back of her head. She’d rarely even worn it down. At Dana’s urging, she pulled the ponytail holder out and let it fall around her shoulders. Dana ran her fingers through it and scoped out the different colors along the hair dye wall in front of them.

“Let me highlight it,” Dana begged. “It’ll be fun practice for cosmetic school. It’ll look great, and you won’t be changing to too much. And you can’t tell me that you’re mom doesn’t color her hair. She’s pushing fifty, she’s gotta have some gray in there. It won’t hurt anything, I promise.”

“Fine,” Beth gave in. “But if I get in trouble, I’m throwing you right under the bus.”

“Understood,” Dana nodded.

 

Beth’s mom barely noticed her new hair, if she was honest with herself, not much had really changed, but Dana was with getting to practice foiling, and Beth was happy that Dana was excited that she’s finally done something girly. She’d let Dana curl her hair in the school bathroom before first period and let her best friend show her how to put eyeliner on so she didn’t look like a raccoon. Beth looked at the girl staring back at her in the horrible lighting of a public high school bathroom and decided she like this girl looking back, this girl wasn’t someone new it was still Beth, but a new 2.0 version. The kind of girl that got to have a boyfriend like Jake. The kind of girl that could believe a guy like Jake was actually flirting with her.

In History class second period, Jake took his usual seat next to Beth. Beth did her best to try not to look like she was following him around with her eyes.

“You did something different with your hair,” Jake whispered leaning closer to her.

“Yeah,” Beth smiled. “Dana.”

“Looks nice,” Jake replied. “Not that it didn’t before, but it looks really nice now.”

“Thanks,” Beth giggled. “I’ll let Dana know.”

The sat there next to each other, a comfortable silence fell over them. Beth loved how easy things felt around Jake. She liked to imagine all the things they would do together: the dirt biking, the fishing, and the stuff she did with her brothers or by herself, only now with Jake involved. It was a fun feeling, she wasn’t imagining their wedding or anything, but she liked to think about them being the “cutest couple” in the yearbook superlatives.

At lunch, Jake took his usual seat next to Beth and across from Dana. He handed Beth his extra chocolate milk.

“What is this?” Beth asked.

“You brought lunch today,” Jake replied. “But you forgot a drink.”

“I was going to grab water,” Beth answered.

“But I know how much you like chocolate milk,” Jake shrugged. “I thought you would want it.”

“Well,” Beth laughed shaking her milk. “Thanks, that was nice.”

“I’m a nice person,” Jake smiled. “But I need some nachos, so I’ll be right back.”

The second Jake walked away Dana banged her hands down on the table. “Told you.”

“I believe you,” Beth giggled.

“He’s been doing shit like that for months,” Dana whispered. “Seriously, just ask him to go to the game this weekend or something, to the mall with me and TONY something innocent. Get the stupid ball rolling.”

“I don’t know,” Beth sighed.

“Do it,” Dana said wide eyed.

“Will you do it for me?” Beth said, letting an extremely awkward smile across her face.

“Fine,” Dana sighed. “But you owe me.”

“You’re not dying my hair blue,” Beth replied.

“I’ll think of something.”

 

It took another week of Beth and Jake dancing around each other before Dana held up her end of the bargain. She pulled Beth into the bathroom after sixth period and gushed everything that had transpired.

“So I said to him,” Dana started. “You and Beth should totally go to the game this weekend. And he was ‘yeah hanging with you and Mare would be super fun.’ And I was all ‘Course it would be, you two are so adorable.’ And he goes ‘Yeah, I really like being around her, she’s gets this really goofy look on her face every time I talk to her and it’s kinda awesome, ’ and I said ‘yeah that’s cuz she likes you, you idiot.’”

Beth pushed herself up onto the sink and let her legs kick under her.

“Then what?” She asked eyes wide. “What did he say? Does he like me?”

“He laughed like you did when I said something to you,” Dana said. “And I was all ‘Not joking kid, she’s totally into you. You have to see it.’ And he goes ‘Well, yeah, I guess.’”

“So he’s going to the game?” Beth asked.

“Absolutely,” Dana nodded, “No question.”

 

At the baseball game Friday afternoon, Beth sat next to Tony waiting for Jake and Dana show. Beth waved over the heads of her classmates as a familiar, now mint green, head of hair started to walk toward her. Beth immediately noted the look of horror on Dana’s face.

“I’m sorry,” Dana said. “Beth I had no idea, and if I did I wouldn’t have pushed it and I… I don’t even know.”

“What are you talking about?” Beth laughed.

“Oh fuck,” Tony said under his breath. “I’ll kill that fucker.”

“What?” Beth asked. “What did I miss?”

“I swear I didn’t know until I pulled into the parking lot,” Dana said quickly. “I have no idea until I saw them getting out of his car. I’m sorry.”

Beth pushed Dana out of her way and observed the crowd below her. And there, standing at the bottom of the bleachers hand in hand with a girl who had graduated the year before, Angie, was her Jake. There was no doubt that the boy standing there in his stupid, backward baseball hat was the boy who had complemented her every day for months. The boy that bought her chocolate milk one day when she forgot to pack a drink. The guy that made her feel like she was the only person in a universe.

“This doesn’t make any sense,” Beth said softly.

“I know,” Dana replied quickly. “I’m going to get to the bottom of it.”

“This doesn’t make any sense,” Beth repeated a little bit louder. “They broke up over a year ago. They aren’t together.”

Dana said nothing, just sat down next to Beth and pulled her into her chest.

“Don’t give him the satisfaction of tears,” Dana whispered.

But Beth couldn’t help it, she just sat there, completely crushed.

 

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text- a Podcast

I, like I’m sure many readers of this blog, LOVE Harry Potter. I have read these books at least six times, and every time I read them I find little things that I didn’t see before.

I feel it’s important to tell a little bit of my Harry Potter origin story before I start raving about this amazing podcast. In 6th grade, we had a book day. Everyone brought in their favorite book to talk about it for five minutes during class. I talked about the Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House stories, and a friend of mine discussed a silly book about a boy wizard.

Over that summer I bugged my mom to buy it for me because I was 11 and could not buy things. Then I spent the summer reading it. I finished reading The Sorcerer’s Stone on the Fourth of July during a cookout alone in my parent’s friends house, laying across her living room floor while everyone else was outside. I remember my best friend making fun of me for it, as he would many times over the years, for being wrapped up in Harry Potter. I remember my grandmother visiting from out of state buying me the fourth book and joking that it would take me a year to read it and finishing the book before her trip ended. I sat on the floor of the supermarket I worked at behind the fast line register to read parts Half Blood Prince, so I didn’t lose any time walking to the break room on my break. I remember the deep numb feeling about reading about Fred Weasley and having the feeling replicated only one other time in my life since. And in that time, to try to feel better, I reread Harry Potter.

I found the podcast Harry Potter and the Sacred Text during NerdCon: Nerdfighteria. The wonderfully adorable hosts Vaness and Casper, held a panel where they did a discussion about the first line of the first book “Mr. and Mrs. Veron Dursley of number four Privet Drive were happy to say they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” As a group, we discussed what the line means spiritually, literally, and emotionally. We discussed what we learn from this line and how it sets up future events.

At first, I thought “This is a little silly” However, I still subscribed to the Podcast and started to listen. I still thought it was a little silly as I listened to the first couple chapters of Book One, but as I listened to it more and realized that these two people were 100% serious about what they were doing and discussing these books in different themes and really shedding light on different parts of the books and really digging in.

At the time I am writing this, I am listening to Book 2 Chapter 15 Aragog. And the Podcast itself is in the middle of Prison of Azkaban.  I’m not too far behind being able to catch up with it so that I have to listen to it once a week instead of once a day.

So far this Podcast is just, brilliant. Vanessa and Casper do a deep dive into each chapter with a theme. With Aragog they are reading with the theme of sanctuary. They find parts of the text that show examples of these themes and how we can take what Harry Potter gives us and use it in the “real world.” It’s such a deep, thoughtful, relook at these books that I’ve read multiple times. There is always new ways to see parts of this text.

One of my favorite part of the podcast is toward the end of each episode, they do a religious practice about the text. They are using different practices from different religions. I honestly don’t know all that much about religion, but I do really enjoy learning about it, and I find this practice fascinating.

If you love Harry Potter and are interested in seeing the text in a different light, I highly suggest checking this out. I linked to the website above, and it can be found on all the podcast directories.

Have you listened to this podcast? Are you in love with it? Do you have any podcast suggestions? Let me know!

Until next time Internet,

 

Deanna

 

Princess Book Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Zuky over at BookBum for the new and improved Princess book tag.

Here are the rules:

We politely ask that you:

  • Mention where you saw the tag/thank whoever tagged you
  • Tag Zuky and Mandy with our posts so they can check out the wonderful Princess fun throughout the blog world (Mandy’s link & Zuky’s link)
  • Play a game of tag at the end!

And away we go!

snow white

SNOW WHITE

THIS BOOK (LIKE THE MOVIE) STARTED IT ALL
FAVOURITE DEBUT BOOK FROM AN AUTHOR 

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The Keys to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson.

I believe I have mentioned somewhere between 1 and 642 times that I love Maureen Johnson. In this novel, her first, Johson tells the story of three sisters as they grief the death of their father. This book had me fall in love with her writing and style. Maureen Johnson is underappreciated and needs to be discovered by a greater audience.

 

 

 

 

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CINDERELLA

A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
JUST LIKE CINDERELLA, YOU EITHER DIDN’T EXPECT MUCH OUT OF THIS CHARACTER IN THE BEGINNING BUT THEY TURNED OUT TO BE A TOTAL GEM 

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I first read this book in high school, and to be honest, this is probably the only book I was assigned that I actually finished in high school.

This book is over 600 pages long, and I was not looking forward to reading it, but it ended up being the greatest book I  have ever read. I should really write one of my Thursday posts about this book because I can’t contain how much it changed my life in a couple paragraphs.

What Owen and his story means to me is so deep. John Irving is a difficult author to read. His books are very dense and have a lot of circular storytelling, but this book. If you have time to read a 600 page Irving novel, do it. This one is special.

 

 

 

aurora (1).jpgAURORA

SLEEPING BEAUTY
A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU SLEEPY OR JUST COULD NOT HOLD YOUR ATTENTION

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I did love the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings, but it took me FOREVER to read them because of the long paragraphs and that much of it is written in Elvish. The pages and pages of longwinded dialogue was borderline obnoxious.

The book is great, but it was hard for me to pay attention to it to read large chunks at a time like I usually do.

 

 

 

 

ariel2

ARIEL

UNDER THE SEA
A BOOK WITH A WATER/OCEAN SETTING

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So this by the stretching the Ocean/ Water setting, but a decent amount of this book takes place at the beach, so I’m counting it.

This book is much more complicated than it sounds. It’s a book about dealing with death and convincing yourself that your grief is as important someone who was closer to the person who died. It’s a lovely book. Check it out.

 

 

 

belle

BELLE

BEAUTY AND THE BOOKS
NAME A BOOK WITH THE BEST BOOKWORM/BOOK LOVER

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By Your Side by Kasie West was a fun read. The first third takes place in a library, which is how I am justifying this choice. It’s a cute love story. I did write a review about this a couple weeks back about how much I loved it.

This is a cute love story, and there are books and getting locked in a library. I loved it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

jasmine

JASMINE

THE THIEF AND THE PRINCESS
NAME BOOK WITH AN UNLIKELY LOVE STORY (EITHER IN TERMS OF ROMANCE OR A BOOK YOU DIDN’T EXPECT TO LOVE SO MUCH)

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Salt to the Sea fits in both of these categories. A book with an unlikely love and book I didn’t expect to love so much. This story is so sad, but there are so many loves each of the four stories show love in their own way, romantically or otherwise. This book is just amazing. Ruta Sepetys is amazing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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POCAHONTAS

THE REAL LIFE PRINCESS
NAME A BOOK THAT IS BASED ON A REAL LIFE PERSON YOU WANT TO READ/HAVE READ

 

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Listen, this book was great. I wrote a post about this book when I first started blogging a few months ago. This is a wonderful book about the complicated and conflicted life of a man that had so much promise but died because he refused to apologize to a man that could have been his best friend if Alexander wasn’t so prideful. The whole book is well written. I listened to the audiobook, which was helpful to get through the long parts about Consitution. It’s just a good biography. Maybe someone will write a musical about it.

 

 

 

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MULAN

THE PRINCESS THAT SAVED HER COUNTRY
NAME THE FIERCEST HEROINE YOU KNOW

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The Levianthan series is a little “older” the first one came out in 2009, and I wasn’t too into the book internet when I read it, but I haven’t seen much about them. I think that these books are fantastic. They are a retelling of World War 1 with a steampunk spin. If I did it right, clicking on the book should take you to the Goodreads page, check them out if you haven’t.

The female narrator is a young woman named Deryn, who saves her father from fighting by pretending to be a boy to get aboard a ship to fight in the war. They are really good books. Check them out.

 

tiana

TIANA

THE PRINCESS WITH THE COOLEST AND MOST DIVERSE CREW
NAME A DIVERSE BOOK WHETHER IT IS A DIVERSE SET OF CHARACTERS (LIKE TIANA’S GROUP OF NAVEEN, LOUIS, RAY, AND MORE) OR JUST DIVERSE IN GENERAL

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So I am guilty of not reading as diversely as I should. So I sadly don’t have a lot of books to choice from. The Sun is Also A Star is a great book, plus it features two people of color as the narrators and their stories involve their families and immigrant status.

 

 

 

 

 

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RAPUNZEL

LET YOUR LONGGGGGG HAIR DOWN
NAME THE LONGEST BOOK YOU’VE EVER READ

 

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I have probably read a longer book, but at 766 pages, Order of the Phoenix is one of the longest and the first one that pops into my head.

I’m sure you have read it. So I will not torture you with details about 5th Harry Potter novel.

 

 

 

 

 

merida

MERIDA

I DETERMINE MY OWN FATE
A BOOK WHERE THERE IS NO LOVE STORY/INTEREST OR ISN’T NEEDED

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I think that the love story that was emphasized in the movies greatly took away for the story the Hunger Games. Katniss don’t need no man. She can save the world herself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

annaelsa

 

 

 

 

 

ANNA/ELSA

FROZEN HEARTS
A BOOK IN A WINTER/COLD SETTING

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Let it Snow is a compilation of three connected love stories written by three amazing YA writers, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle, and John Green.

These are stories about love during Christmas break, it’s super cute and sweet. I think it’s a great quick winter read. There is a movie coming up based on this and I’m interested to see how they do it.

 

 

 

 

 

moana

MOANA

HOW FAR I’LL GO
A CHARACTER THAT GOES ON A JOURNEY

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Yeva goes on several different journies in Hunted. She goes on an actual journey to find her father, and an emotional and mental journey to discover who is really is and what she wants. Hunted is a great book. Read it. Really, read it if you haven’t.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags! Excuse me if you have been previously tagged.

Darque Dreamer / LairOfBooks / Matxireadsbooks / BooksVertigoandTea / Sue’s reading corner / Chanda Reads

Also anyone else who sees this and thinks it’s cool.

Have your read any of these books? What have you thought about them?

Until next time Internet,

 

Deanna

 

 

Review: Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler

The Details

Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Published:  January 3, 2012
Genres:  YA, romance, contemporary
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

12478533 GoodReads Blurb

Once upon a time, Hudson knew exactly what her future looked like. Then a betrayal changed her life, and knocked her dreams to the ground. Now she’s a girl who doesn’t believe in second chances… a girl who stays under the radar by baking cupcakes at her mom’s diner and obsessing over what might have been.

So when things start looking up and she has another shot at her dreams, Hudson is equal parts hopeful and terrified. Of course, this is also the moment a cute, sweet guy walks into her life… and starts serving up some seriously mixed signals. She’s got a lot on her plate, and for a girl who’s been burned before, risking it all is easier said than done.

It’s time for Hudson to ask herself what she really wants, and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Because in a place where opportunities are fleeting, she knows this chance may very well be her last.

 

Review:

I loved this story. There is something about it that struck me personally that I connected so much with Hudson and her life. I’m not a figure skater or have my life figured out, but I do love baking cupcakes and miss reading signals from boys is a specialty of mine. While reading this book, I texted my friends and kept saying “How does Sarah Ockler know my life!?!” It’s a really cute, thoughtful book I think many people can relate to.

The book is mainly about a girl trying to figure out what she wants from life. She used to be a figure skater, a very good figure skater, but after her parents had divorced, she hung up her skates to help her mom out with her brother and the diner than her mom runs. Hudson hates waitressing but feels like she has to do it. Hudson takes on a lot of side responsibilities. She cooks desserts for the diner, mainly cupcakes. There are a bunch of super cute cupcake recipes spread out within the books. I still want to try some of them out. Hudson also decides to take out helping out the school hockey team, teaching them the basics of skating, much like how football players take ballet for better footwork. She teaches the boys the finer points of skating to help them during their games. On top of all that, Hudson is secretly working on a new routine to win a scholarship for college.

Hudson does so much that some of her other responsibilities get left behind. She’s not doing as much as she should at the diner or at home. Her friendships suffer. Although her best friend is kind of a douche and doesn’t see that Hudson is struggling and just is a jerk about Hudson not spending time with her.

There is brilliance in the way that Ockler is able to write Hudson’s juggling and losing her battle to keep everything going. Sometimes a person takes on too much, and Hudson realizing that is such a huge, pivotal part of the book. It’s an awakening in a way, that was probably the biggest thing I took away from it.

This book was a very quick read, enjoyable in the way that I find many a YA romance. There is something about finding that first love that gets me every time.

I have read one other Sarah Ockler book, Twenty Boy Summer, and I’ve discovered via GoodReads that she has a couple more books. I’m going to have to scoop them up. When a writer can write first love and understands the immense stress that teenagers go through trying to juggle everything, their books are definitely worth looking into.

I highly recommend this book to lovers of love who are looking for a book that is about more than just love the story. It’s a really great book.

Have you read Bittersweet? Or any other Sarah Ockler? Let me know what you thought!

 

Until next time Internet,

Deanna

 

Review: The Infinite Moment of Us

The Details

Publisher:  Amulet Books
Published:  August 27, 2013
Genres:  YA, romance, contemporary
My Rating: 3 Stars

17290266Goodreads Blurb

For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now… not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?

Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.

And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them…

Sexy, romantic, and oh-so-true to life, this is an unforgettable look at first love from one of young adult fiction’s greatest writers

MY REVIEW

I enjoyed this book. However, there were some unfinished storylines and some problematic issues that I had that keeps this book from being four stars from me. It had so much potential, but I feel like it fell flat in many spots where it could have really shined.

It reminds me of Judy Blume’s Forever, only not quite as good. I mean, Forever is probably the best sex and relationship YA book ever to exist. The Infinite Moment of Us tries, and to be honest, it does hit notes of a teenage relationship in mid-2010’s, but not enough of them.

There is a fair amount of slut shaming. There’s a character named Starla, she’s promiscuous and has a rough past. I felt reading the book that both narrators, Charlie and Wren, looked upon Starla as something to be pitied. Wren and her best friend both discussed how Wren was much better than Starla because Starla was known to get around whereas Wren was clean and pure and wholesome and from a good family. I know this is a thing that happens in high school. It’s how girls talk to and about each other, but because of other elements of this book the Starla is dirty and Wren is bright and clean aspect of it is very unhealthy and gives the wrong impression to a reader about what is and isn’t acceptable.

There are some anti-feminist things, which doesn’t bother me, except compounded with the virgin/whore dynamic between Wren and Starla. Wren’s best friend, Tessa, talks to Charlie about how “girls like to have sex.” I saw it as more how Wren would want a sexual relationship, but it can be read both ways. Some of the reviews if this book that I read on GoodReads talked about how weird this was, for the boyfriend to go to the best friend. However, in my experience, girls talk to each other about this kind of stuff in a way that they don’t with significant others. Charlie is just trying to learn about Wren, so he goes the source, the best friend. Is it super weird, yes, but still teenage girls talk to their girlfriends about a lot of things. I would imagine if someone wanted to know more about me, they would go to Jen or my other close friends. I would assume it would be to find out what kind of food I like and what items of Harry Potter and Supernatural merchandise I already own so they can buy me a present and not about positions, but who knows?

Tessa talks about a male dominated, male aggressive kind of relationship where the girl is submissive and does what the guy wants. Your sex life if up to you, but to think that there is only one way to have this kind of relationship isn’t okay. In Starla’s relationship with Charlie, Starla is in charge. It was very clear that Starla set the rules for the relationship. This to me plays a little into the “good and bad” relationship that is woven throughout the book. Tessa’s description of the kind of relationship that Wren would want makes Charlie believe that everything he and Starla were was wrong and even dirtier. Girls shouldn’t be like Starla, they should be like Wren. Girls can be both.

There are some, it’s not graphic, but its detailed, depictions of sex acts, and the only part of that that really bothers me is that Wren wants to have unprotected sex. It’s made to seem like a good and understandable decision. These characters are 18 years old and graduate high school at the beginning of the book. Unprotected sex probably isn’t a good choice. This is a Young Adult book, and is obviously targeted to older teens, but just say yes to condoms.

There are some storylines that don’t have a resolution, Starla’s in particular. There was so much more that could have been done with Starla. I left the book wanting to know more about what happens to her, how she comes out of these events. I feel so bad for her. I wanted to protect her, which I really don’t feel was the point of her character, but nonetheless is how I felt walking away from the story. I feel like there is a potential for a second book which would wrap this up, but as of right now there isn’t. There are so many loose ends that it would make sense to have a follow-up.

I feel like there is a potential for a second book which would wrap this up, but as of right now there isn’t. There are so many loose ends that it would make sense to have a follow-up. There was a complete story but it read like (this is going be the weirdest analogy ever) during the writers strike when most TV shows had shortened seasons. Storylines were introduced in the first half of the season, then the strike happened, so those storylines weren’t picked up again and forgotten. There are just a lot of loose ends.

All in all, I did enjoy this book. I like the way Lauren Myracle writes, but there were pieces of this books that just don’t sit right with me after thinking about it for a few days. I mean if I didn’t hyper-analyze it to write a blog post about it I may have enjoyed it more, but thinking about book critically was something I was doing before I wrote about them online. It felt like there was a much bigger book planned and pieces got cut out but that whole storyline wasn’t removed, does that make sense?

I felt slightly let down by this book, I didn’t have the highest of hopes because of the mixed reviews on GoodReads, but I still think there was a greater potential than what ended up happening.

Until next time Internet,

Deanna