For readers around the globe. :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

First Look at The Forbidden Wish

NetGalley approved me for a sneak peek of The Forbidden Wish! In this retelling of a classic tale, Jessica Khoury changes the dynamics of Aladdin. He is a boy, a thief. But the jinni, Zahra, is a girl with a dark past, expected to spend eternity trapped in her lamp. But when Aladdin is hired to steal a ring, it begins leading him to the ruins of the Zahra's city. He meets the one and only being who brought down an entire civilization leaving no survivors. At least that's what was thought until Aladdin is kidnapped by the one lone survivor, the daughter of the Queen. 
This sneak peek was less than 90 pages, but it definitely leaves the reader wanting more! At first I was skeptical, Aladdin being one of my favorites, but Jessica Khoury may be able to get away with something like this! 

Mark your calendars, The Forbidden Wish hits shelves February 23!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Auggie & Me

Auggie & Me, the companion novel to Wonder is told in 3 separate points of view. Julian, the bully; Chris, the childhood best friend; and Charlotte, the goody two shoes. 
The Julian Chapter: We get Julian's story, his background, his insight as to why he's so mean to Auggie. Julian has nightmares, horrible, horrible nightmares about Auggie and that's something he can't control. But what he can control is how he treats the people he's afraid of. His mother babies him excessively. She photoshops Auggie out of the class picture to calm Julian, but he never thought she'd pass them out to his classmates. At the end, Julian does make a turning point and email Mr. Browne with his precept: Sometimes, it's good to start over.
Pluto:Chris has known Auggie's family since FOREVER. He's totally changed into full middle-schooler mode. He forgets his homework, his instruments, his old friends. But when his mom is in a car accident, his views start changing back. Should he call his old friend? Should they video chat? Auggie and his family has always been there for Chris, why shouldn't he be there for Auggie when Daisy dies?
 Shingaling: Charlotte was asked to be Auggie's welcome buddy to Beecher Prep. She was too good to say no. She organized the coat drive and was more than likely to be given a medal for it at the end of the year. But Ms. Antanabi brings 3 unlikely girls together to do the Shingaling at the end of the year. Ximena, Summer, and Charlotte become fast friends and teach each other many lessons. Ximena is beyond popular. She's never been mean to Auggie, but she's never been nice either. Summer is the definition of kindness. She became Auggie's friend just because she wanted to, not because she had to. Charlotte, was Auggie's welcome buddy, but never really took that too seriously. She changed the way she acted around teachers and students. 
 Auggie & Me was not nearly as good as Wonder. Nothing will compare to the story that started kindness. While I enjoyed seeing these kids' background and learning of their stories, this companion novel was completely unnecessary. If you enjoyed Wonder as much as I did, you may want to avoid this one.  

Looking for the hit, Wonder
Looking for the storybook, We're All Wonders?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Orange is the New Black

Let me start by saying this: If you like the show, do not under any circumstances read this book. It is completely different. However, if you have not watched the show but would love hearing of Piper Kerman's year spent in a women's prison, this is the book for you! Piper was brought in on an 11 year old drug trafficking charge for carrying a suitcase full of drug money for her girlfriend. She was fresh out of college and looking for an adventure. Nora gave her that adventure and it ended in prison. Piper was an upper-middle class white girl with nothing to lose. Until she got the call saying someone had turned her in. How do you tell your family that when you were in your 20's that you helped carry drug money for your girlfriend? How do you tell that to your coworkers? How do you tell that to your fiance? This novel takes us through the ups and downs of prison and how Piper coped with losing all of her freedom. But the most important part of the book is how the other women in Danbury Federal Prison joined together and actually helped one and other. There was really no talk of fighting, violence, feuds, nothing like that. It was compassion, talk of kids and boyfriends, their release dates, and how they were holding up after being incarcerated.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

"They lied and stole and smoked cigars (even the girls) and talked dirty and hit little kids and cussed their teachers and took the name of the Lord in vain and set fire to Fred Shoemaker's old broken-down toolhouse." The Herdman's are the worst kids in town. They don't have respect for anyone. They couldn't care less about the consequences of their actions. Yet, they always passed on to the next grade in school. No teacher would want more than one of the six Herdman's in class at the same time! When the Herdman's hear about auditions for a Christmas play, they assume there will be snacks. They show up as auditions are starting when Imogene decides she want's to be Mary. None of the other kids want to go up against Imogene.... And that is how the Herdman's became the star cast of the play. They create one of the most hilarious and wondrous tellings of what Christmas is all about. They learn the story of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus. They leave behind their rotten antics and put on a memorable show for the awestruck members of the church. 

This is by far my favorite Christmas story to read. If you're looking for a quick story for your kids, this is it!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

This is Where it Ends

Oh. My. God. I just finished this novel in two sittings and I'm completely heartbroken. Nothing happens at Opportunity High School, until Tyler re-enrolls. Sylv knew he was coming back, just because he is Autumn's brother doesn't mean she's happy to see him.. Autumn barely sees him anymore, not since their mom died. Tomas can't figure out why his sister, Sylv is so afraid of him. And Claire, she can't imagine having to sit through the new semester assembly, but suddenly wishes she was there.. Tyler makes quite the arrival, he wants Opportunity to remember him. So, Ty locks the students and teachers in the auditorium and his fun begins. He has his very own shooting range. He can take out all of his anger.. Demolish his enemies... Kill everyone and anyone that gets in his way.... This is Where it Ends is told over the course of the most haunting 54 minutes. The terrors of those students and teachers are displayed so vividly that I could almost see the bodies laying in the auditorium. I could feel the fear in every single student. Tyler didn't care who he hurt, but he could not hurt his sister. But he could take away her opportunity to leave Opportunity. He could ruin the lives of everyone around him. He could tear siblings apart. And he could leave the world in the most selfish way possible. 
Thank you NetGalley for opening my eyes to this very, very real issue.
Everyone needs to buy a copy.
Not for the faint-hearted.
This is Where it Ends hits shelves January 5th!

Marieke Nijkamp has a new book coming January 2018!
Check out my review of Before I Let Go!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Things They Carried

They carried the necessities: canteens, rations, lighters, candy, cigarettes, rifles, love letters, and dog tags. They carried these things with them all through the war. They carried them close, sometimes weighing heavy on their hearts. They saw their friends die right in front of them. They had close experiences with death. The dead never truly stop looking dead. They reenact the good times they had before, during, and even after the war. They played not-so-practical jokes on each other. They spent time in other cultures. They can't explain it to their children, they'll never grasp the horrors of the war. They can't explain it to their wives, or mothers, or fathers, no one will every understand except the ones who lived to tell the experience themselves. Recollections only go so far, but Tim O'Brien wrote an amazing work of fiction with many factual references. By far one of the best collections of short stories I have ever gotten my hands on. 
Tim O'Brien, you truly captured the Vietnam War in a way that many people will never be able to grasp.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Tricks & Traffick

When I first read Tricks, it ruined my life. But 6 years later, Traffick finally brought me closure to the 5 teens introduced in Tricks. Ginger, Eden, Whitney, Cody, and Seth all followed different paths to destruction. Sex, drugs, gambling. Turning tricks in Vegas seemed like a necessity for survival. But so much more comes from turning tricks. So much comes from exploiting their bodies in ways teens should never have to do. Addictions, gambling, physical and mental abuse. Those men don't love you. Those pimps don't love you either. Each teen has a story that needs to be told.
Traffick brought these 5 teens back into my life. This is their stories of their roads to recovery. Ginger gets picked up for soliciting an undercover officer and finds herself in House of Hope, a recovery program for victims of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking. But can she find love after Alex? Can she forgive her mother for causing all of her pain? Eden finds herself in a similar situation at the Walk Straight program, where she hopes to God that her little sister hasn't found home in Tears of Zion. Whitney, oh Whitney. Can she ever defeat the Lady? New paraplegic, Cody has to relearn how to walk, while wondering how Ronnie could still love him. Seth finally found his community at the YouCenter for LGBTQ youth, when he gets the call that his dad is dying. His dad who disowned him for being gay. Can any of these teens find forgiveness and happiness in their heart?

Looking for more books by Ellen Hopkins?

Teen:
Crank Trilogy
 Flirtin' with the Monster
Rumble
Burned
Smoke
The You I've Never Known
People Kill People

Adult Fiction:
Love Lies Beneath
A Sin Such as This
Collateral
Triangles

 Anthologies:
One Death, Nine Stories
Behind the Song

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Spotlight: The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever

Cover Reveal and Excerpt courtesy of Sourcefire Books!
The vampire, whose fangs were too big for his mouth, turned to the camera and hissed.
"Don't look at the camera," said Justin Hollow, the director.
"I keep poking my lip on these things," said Harold, spitting the plastic fangs out onto the ground. He hadn't been a very frightening example of the undead before, and he was even less scary with no fangs and a thick line of drool running down his chin.
"Cut!" shouted Justin, loud enough to be sure that the command was heard by his production crew of two. "C'mon, Harold. Stay in character. We're three hours behind schedule."
"I don't care. I hate this. You promised that I'd get all the girls I wanted. So where are all of the girls I want?"
Justin let out his thirty-ninth exasperated sigh of the night. "The movie has to come out first."
"It's not even a real movie."
Justin bristled. It was a full body bristle, head to toe, which he hadn't even realized was physically possible. Bobby, who handled sound recording, and Gabe, who handled everything else, both stepped back a couple of feet. Neither of them truly believed that they were about to witness a murder, but they wanted to get out of the splash zone, just in case.
Had this been one of Justin's movies, he would have very slowly lowered his camera, stared directly into Harold's eyes with a steel gaze, and then after an extremely dramatic pause asked "What...did...you...just...say?"
His actual response, delivered in a squeakier voice than he would have allowed from his actors, was: "Huh?"
"I said it's not a real movie." Harold started to wipe the fake blood off his mouth. It didn't come off, and probably wouldn't for several days. Justin had planned to feel guilty about this later, but now he wouldn't bother. "Nobody's ever going to see it. You probably won't even finish it."
"I finished my last three movies!" Justin insisted. "I got hundreds of hits on YouTube!"
That statement was technically accurate, though it was the lowest possible number of hits you could get and still use "hundred" in its plural form. The only comment anybody posted about his latest film had been "This twelve year-old filmmaker sort of shows promise," which really frustrated Justin since he was fifteen.
Harold shrugged. "This is a waste of time. I've got better things to do on a Friday night."
"Nobody ever said this was going to be easy," said Justin, who had indeed said that it was going to be easy when luring Harold into the role. "You can quit now, but what are you going to think about your decision ten years from now?"
"I'm going to think, wow, it sure is nice to be such a well-paid dentist."
Harold walked off the set. It wasn't an actual set, but rather a small park near Justin's home, where they were filming without a permit. Justin knew he should shout something after his ex-actor. Something vicious. Something devastating. He thought about shouting "You'll never work in this town again!" but, no, it had to be something that Harold would consider a bad thing.
"Fine!" Justin shouted. "But when we record the audio commentary track for the Blu-Ray, I'm going to talk about how you abandoned us, and how much happier everybody was with the new actor who took your role, and how we all agreed that he should have been cast in the first place, and how he had so many girlfriends that he couldn't even keep track of them, and how they all found out about each other and had a great big awesome catfight in his front yard! And I'll pronounce your name wrong!"
Harold continued walking, apparently not heartbroken.

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever officially hits shelves March 1st!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Room

Room is by far one of the best fiction novels I have read all year. 
Our narrator, Jack, is turning 5. All he knows is his Ma and Room. Ma and Jack do all sorts of things together, like run track, watch the TV planets, make art masterpieces, play a yelling game, take baths, make an egg snake, and hope for Sundaytreat. They do all of these things from the confines of Room. Old Nick comes in sometimes, but only at night when Jack is counting his teeth in the Wardrobe. When he's not counting his teeth, he's counting the number of squeaks Old Nick does on the bed. Jack doesn't know about Outside. All he's ever known is Room. But Ma knows different, she was 19 when she met Room. She was 21 when Jack came along. One day she decides they need to get out of Room and the only way to do that is for Jack to be "scave" a word sandwich for scared and brave. He has to play dead. Old Nick has to take him away. Dead, Truck, Wriggle Out, Jump, Run, Somebody, Note, Police, Blowtorch. Can they really escape from Room? Can Jack make it in Outside?

Hands down, great book. If you haven't read this you should! Jack is an amazing storyteller. He'll have you, laughing, crying, and utterly confused all at the same time. Emma Donoghue, you are an amazing author!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Try Not to Breathe

Thanks to NetGalley, I was graciously approved for Try Not to Breathe, Holly Seddon's first novel.
Alex Dale is not your everyday journalist. Jacob Arlington is not the best husband. Amy Stevenson is not the best witness. At 15, Jacob's girlfriend Amy was abducted, raped, and left for dead. 15 years later, Amy is barely showing signs of improvement. However, her brain is still active, Amy is still alive. Jacob visits her many, many times but continues to hide her from his pregnant wife. When Alex begins writing an article for The Times, she tracks down a few of Amy's old friends, Jacob in particular. The two of them begin their own investigation to find who did this to Amy and why. They feel obligated to get the answers for Amy, when she can't get them herself. Following any lead they can get leads to her stepfather, her real father, even the old man down the street. Who could be Amy's secret man? 
This novel definitely has the potential to become something more. Some of the viewpoint seemed a tad misplaced to me but overall it was a great read!

Mark your calendars, Try Not to Breathe comes out February 23rd! 

Looking for other books by Holly Seddon?

Want to hear my exclusive interview with Holly?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Pretties

Pretties, the second book in the Uglies Saga starts with pretty-minded Tally Youngblood becoming a Crim with Shay. To become a Crim, you have to pull some pretty Ugly tricks. You want to be the talk of the town. For Tally, that's easy. But for some reason, she can't shake her old, ugly life. The New Smoke is looking for her, David is looking for her. They need her to take the cure, while keeping her bubbly act. She and Zane, her newfound love, take the cure together; one pill each. Before too long they feel cured. The talk the Crim's into all sorts of tricks, including running away to join the New Smoke. A few hot air balloons, some hover boards, and a long leap until everyone but Tally makes it to the New Smoke. Instead, Tally becomes a God. She makes friends with the village people. She ventures to the end of the world and finds a Special Circumstances Headquarters. She needs her friends. The New Smoke needs her. David needs her. But Zane really needs her. Tally has to face the facts. Could she really be something more? Could Tally-wa be Special? 

Looking for the rest of the saga?

Looking for other books by Scott Westerfeld?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Nirvana

DigiWriting provided me a finalized copy of Nirvana and NetGalley provided me with an advanced reader's copy of Nirvana, a dystopian society where the Hexagon rules all.The planet has slowly died, the Extinction has taken over. Where can you go when the world is dead? Andrew has dedicated his life to his research. When he goes missing Kenders is determined to find him. "Grieving" Kenders can't accept the fact that he's dead. In Nirvana, she sees Andrew. It's not a programmed loop, he just wants to "tell her over coffee." Kenders goes on a spree trying to find everything virtual Andrew is looking for. She needs Serge's help. But can she trust him? Serge pushes through and does everything he can for Kenders. Even risking his own life as a diversion to get her back to Andrew. 

If this sounds like something you'd like, Nirvana hits shelves November 10th! 

The finalized copy I received was improved so much! The snapshots of a movie that I mentioned earlier have changed drastically, and it was definitely for the better. I can honestly say with the right producer, this would make an amazing movie. 
I'm so excited that I had the opportunity to be a part of this novel! I will absolutely be reading the next two books in the Nirvana Trilogy!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

George

Meet George, a 10 year old boy who thinks he's a girl. Every year at school, the fifth graders get to put on a school play. This year it is Charlotte's Web and George wants to be Charlotte sooooo badly. During auditions, George reads for Charlotte's spot and the teacher explains that he cannot play a girl in the play. But George doesn't understand because he KNOWS he's a girl. He questions his sexuality. He tries to tell his mother. But for some reason only Kelly can hear him. Kelly lets him dress up like a girl and talk about girly things. Towards the end, Kelly decides he should play Charlotte and they won't tell anyone of the actor switch. It comes as a shock to everyone. A BOY playing CHARLOTTE? That's crazy! But George knows he's a girl, even when the boys at school pick on him and start fights. George knows.

Now, I'd like to put my opinion here. Alex Gino worked on this book for 12 years but only came up with a basic working mind of a 10 year old. At 10 years old, children shouldn't be questioning their sexuality, they shouldn't even know what that is. Growing up with only a sister, one of us always had to play the father when we played house. Girls can play as boys and boys can play as girls, that does not make you a transgender at age 10. Defining our children at such a young age doesn't help or hurt them. As we grow older, we change. Our tastes change. As children we do not know who we are or what we want. 

This is the only input I have to give. I understand many, many people will disagree with me. As I will disagree with many people as well. Do I think this should be a kids fiction book? Absolutely not. Do I think some kids may need a book like this? Absolutely. To each his own. 

UPDATE:
I just want to come back out and edit this.
Since reading George, I've taken several psychology classes and child development classes.
I think that when I first read this I was making conclusions based on my own experiences. But with the knowledge that I have now, I can honestly say I was wrong. We don't give kids enough credit for understanding their own feelings. We can't make them feel a certain way, we can't possible understand things from their mind. They are individuals who know their own thoughts.
That being said, I still don't like the way this book was written. I don't think Alex Gino got the idea out that he was trying to portray. It was an attempt to bring this new culture into the lives of children, which is great but it wasn't executed in a way that makes sense to all readers.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

She's Not There

Thanks to NetGalley, I received an Advanced Reader's Copy of She's Not There by P.J. Parrish.
While this was nowhere near my favorite book, it had a very unique concept. Amelia, Mel, Melia, Mellie, was in an accident. When she awakes in the hospital, she has no memory of how she got there, what happened, or who she even is. Is she married? Does she have kids? What about a dog? How did she get hurt? Then she hears him, she hears a familiar mans voice and realizes she has to get away. She sets out to find herself and start again. She buys a tablet, makes a friend, and starts discovering her life. She winds up in Georgia from Florida. When Mel's husband's boss hires a hit man, she has to leave Georgia. From there she goes to Iowa, where she realizes all of her family lived, but only the Bird remains. The Bird's memories are just as spotty as Mellie's. From there she sets off to find the mysterious "J" in California. Maybe here she can start again. Maybe she can escape the flood of memories coming back to her. Maybe Mel can leave her husband, Alex, behind. Maybe Amelia can forget her near death experience with hit man, Buchanan.  Maybe she can finally become Melia the dancer again.

Although I read this a tad late, She's Not There was set to come out September 8th!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Wonder

August Pullman is a little different. He's not disabled, he's not special needs, he's just different. Fifth grade starts his first ever public school experience. A few weeks before classes start Auggie's mom wants him to go down to the school to get a feel for the layout and meet a few kids. But how do you meet new kids if you don't know what they'll think of you... Three kids were Auggie's tour guides, Julian, Charlotte, and Jack Will. Julian was shockingly rude the entire tour. Charlotte is friendly. And Jack will soon become Auggie's best friend. However, someone starts a game at school called The Plague, which is where if anyone touches August they'll catch his "disease". That's when Summer befriends August at lunch. The school is soon divided because of Julian and August. Who will choose the kind route? What I love about this novel is the different points of view telling the story. There's August, Via (his sister), Summer, Jack, Justin (Via's boyfriend), and Miranda (Via's friend) virtually telling August's story. To me, the ending was hilariously perfect! Especially when August discovers he's getting an award just for being himself! All in all, the main message in this book is so incredible. So tell me: Will you choose kind? 
Wonder is hands down one of the best books I've ever read. I was shocked that this is a children's novel, and even more shocked to learn it's required reading in many schools. If you haven't had a chance to pick up a copy yet, I highly recommend getting one soon!

Looking for the companion novel, Auggie & Me?
Looking for the storybook, We're All Wonders?
Check them out!!!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

First Look at Library of Souls

Penguin Random House provided Books-A-Million with Advanced Reader Copies (ARC) of the first 2 chapters of Library of Souls, the newest book in the series Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children. I was skeptical when I received my copy. In my review of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, I recommended that no one should waste their time reading it. I have yet to read Hollow City, the 3rd book in the series. But after reading the excerpt of Library of Souls, I think I'd continue the series. Library of Souls picks up with Jacob, Emma, and Addison trying to avoid being killed by the hollow when Jacob realizes he can control it by speaking in a language quite foreign to him. They must get away and find the other Peculiars. They travel by train car to a comic convention, where they fit in quite nicely I must say. Eventually the board a boat to The Devil's Acre with old man Sharon as their guide. Will Jacob and Emma find their friends? Will Addison find his ymbryne? What will become of the Peculiars? Find out on September 22nd!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Elsewhere

Today I found a copy of a book that I read many, many years ago. Elsewhere definitely keeps a place warm in my heart. Now it's been quite a few years since I've read this, so bear with me. This novel is what sparked my interest in reincarnation and made my mother incredibly upset. 
Elsewhere starts with Liz. Liz is the victim of a hit and run and takes some time to process that she is actually dead. She arrives in the afterlife greeted by a grandmother that died before she was born but looks so, so young. The rundown in the afterlife, or Elsewhere if you will, is that after death you begin aging backwards. If you die at 27, you spend 27 years Elsewhere before being shipped down S.S. Nile to be born again and start your new life. Honestly, I don't remember the specifics of this novel, but I know 12 year old me loved it. Hopefully I'll have a chance to re-read this to share with all of you. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Triangles

3 friends, 3 different stories, 3 different lives intersect. Andrea and Marissa are sisters, each with their own marriage struggles. Andrea is divorced with a teenage daughter; whereas Marissa has a husband that is never around, a gay son, an a very special daughter with SMA with not much longer to live. Next is Holly, who I think is absolutely addicted to sex. She's gotten tired with her life at home, loving husband and 3 children (one of whom is pregnant) when Holly tries her hand at writing... Not just writing, but writing erotica when she falls "in love" with Bryan from her writing group and she begins "swinging" with him and including him as characters in her novels. When Holly's husband, Jace, finds out he goes to his good friend Andrea, who also happens to be Holly's best friend. But guess what? In all of Jace's despair, he sleeps with Andrea! On the flip side in Marissa's hospital smelling house, Shelby is slowly dying and Christian is finally coming to his senses. Does he like his son's sexuality? Absolutely not. Does he want to be there to make his daughter's last few hours enjoyable? Absolutely. But the tell-all question, does Shelby's death bring Marissa and Christian back together? That's up for the reader to decide!

What I love about this novel is that Ellen Hopkins has written Triangles through the eyes of mothers. Not just any mothers, the mothers of the children in her young adult novel, Tilt. The way she ties all of her novels together never ceases to amaze me. I applaud you! 

Looking for more books by Ellen Hopkins?

Teen:

Adult Fiction:

 Anthologies:

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Dreamseller

Brandon Novak, dreamseller, heroin addict. 
This addiction memoir is on of the best memoirs I've read. Instead of telling us about how he wants to get clean but can't, he tells us about how terrible it was when he needed a fix. Within the first 20 pages, he's selling his body to an old, married man just so he can get a little bit of heroin. The reoccurring theme in the book is that he threw away his life. He was a professional skateboarder on the Powell Peralta team! He was given that opportunity by his idol, Bucky Lasek. His childhood friend Bam Margera gave him countless opportunities to clean up and get back to skating but he threw it all away for a quick fix. What I loved about this memoir was the way we learned about Brandon. We hear all of these stories when he begins meeting with his rehabilitation counselor. We know his fears, we know his ambitions, we want him to recover. 
Brandon Novak, at 29 years old was finally clean. 
But July 31, 2015, Novak had a message for recovering addicts:

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Calling Maggie May

Calling Maggie May is the newest addition to the Anonymous Collection. While the others were things that most people have seen or heard about, like drugs, eating disorders, and homosexual kids, Calling Maggie May was about the life of a call girl. That's right, a bunch of young girls and boys work as prostitutes for Miss Irma. It all started with a crush a Tyler to stalking Ada to finally breaking away from her parents overpowering rules. She loses her virginity on her first "date" but decides if Ada does all this and gets paid pretty nicely, she can do it too. Her parents will never know, that is until her grades start slipping... In the end, she pays her and Ada's debt to Miss Irma, but still walks the street with her new "boyfriend" Shawn. Too bad Shawn is really a pimp and Maggie is too naive to see it. Usually the journal ends with police reports saying they've found a runaway or found the body, but this one only had an editor's note and it felt incredibly out of place.

I guess this was not my favorite journal, but I'm always happy to read and see life through someone elses eyes.

Looking for the rest of this series?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Another Day

Once upon a time, I read Every Day by David Levithan. Just now, I finished Another Day, also by David Levithan. Everything about this book made me happy. Another Day is Every Day as told by Rhiannon. In Every Day we got to read through A's eyes. We got to watch him change bodies every single day. We watched him fall in love with Rhiannon. We watched the hope he had for introducing her to Alexander. But in Another Day, we watch Rhiannon fight her feelings. We watch her trying to accept A for whoever he may be. We watch her also fall in love with him. Rhiannon wants them to work, but she can only picture her ideal version of A. She can't accept him as someone else every day. That's A's life, but not hers. When A introduces her to Alexander, she doesn't understand what is going on. She can't wrap her head around A actually leaving her... 

I read Every Day in October 2013... Reading Another Day in July 2015 is an eye opener. There is so much to learn from this book. A doesn't have a gender, and very few people can grasp that concept. This book is heavily loaded with societies acceptance of things other than what they know. It's all about being true to yourself and loving yourself and accepting your differences without question. 16 year old me didn't understand, but now I do. 

Thank you NetGalley and David Levithan for allowing me to read and learn from this!

Mark your calendars, Another Day comes out August 25th! 

Looking for the rest of the series?
Every Day (book one)
Someday (book three)

Looking for other books by David Levithan? 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Awake

I think I'd like to thank NetGalley for allowing me to remember why I stopped reading teen fiction. Awake was one of the strangest books I've ever read. Scarlett is 15 when she falls madly in love with Noah, whom she's known for maybe 25 seconds. In their second class together, she blurts out that she can't remember anything before her 4th birthday. Her memories are completely wiped. But Noah knows why, because he was sent to her high school to make her fall in love with him so he can kidnap her and take her back to her biological parents who run a cult known as Eternal Light. Scarlett is believed to be The Light, so a human sacrifice is going to give the cult members eternal life with all of their loved ones. When she starts getting her memories back, she's rushed to Ireland for the rituals and preparing herself to die. I wish this book wasn't so predictable. The concept was interesting to say the least, but definitely not something I would ever recommend to others. 

If this interests you more than it did me, Awake comes out August 4th! 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Trust No One

Trust No One is the greatest book I've read all year, possibly the greatest book I've ever read. 

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with my newest addiction.

Jerry Grey, crime writer, Alzheimer patient, killer?
Jerry Grey's alter ego Henry Cutter is a dedicated and well known crime writer. He's published 12 books and working on 13 when Dr. Goodstory diagnoses him with Alzheimer's disease at age 49. It's moving quickly and he just can't keep writing.... So he starts what is meant to be his final project, his Madness Journal, which he's also using as a way to stay sane. He remember's the first time he forgot his wife's name, but he doesn't remember killing her at all.... We learn about Jerry and his Journal while following his life in and out of the nursing home. He escapes from time to time and women end up dead. He has an envelope of jewelry in his room with no recollection of where it came from. He confesses to crimes he may or may not have committed, starting with Suzan with a z, from his first novel. He needs to find his Journal, because he knows he's written one, maybe two, maybe even three? But just where did he hide it....
Paul Cleave keeps you reading for hours on end. This psychological thriller will keep you guessing and wondering and questioning everyone in the book. But in the end, you'll never believe what happens. I cannot wait for this to be available to all of you! I highly suggest it!!

Mark your calenders, Trust No One comes out August 4th!

Check out Paul Cleave's newest book: A Killer Harvest!!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Collateral

Collateral leads us on a journey of loving someone in the military. Ashley loves Coles, a hard-working marine, whom she has never known as a civilian. It all happened by chance, Ashley and Darian were in a bar when they met two marines, Spencer and Cole. Spence and Dar hit it off pretty quickly but Ashley and Cole were slowly falling for each other. But how hard is it to love someone that is hardly ever there? How do they cope? Well Darian found herself a new "friend," Kenny. That is, until something horrific happens to Spencer.... Ashley, however, loves Cole with everything she has, she goes to college, she waits for him, she plans their wedding, but what about her witty professor, Jonah? The theme throughout this book is war changes you. It changes the soldier, it changes the significant other, it changes everything you've ever known and nothing can be stopped. I really wish it would have ended differently, but not every story has a happy ending. 
Collateral really hit home for me. Being a military girlfriend myself, I found myself crying on almost every page. War really does change everyone involved, especially the soldiers and their support teams. Ellen Hopkins has absolutely portrayed love and war in the best possible way. Thank you so much for this.

"Think long and hard before offering your heart to someone who can only accept it part-time."

Looking for more books by Ellen Hopkins?

Teen:

Adult Fiction:

 Anthologies:

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Believarexic

 
Jennifer Johnson, age 15. Bulimarexic. Possible alcoholic. 
How do you go through your life without any happy, helium balloons like everyone else has? Jennifer takes us on her journey in the Eating Disorder Unit (EDU) of a hospital. Told through a journal type setting, Jennifer shows us all of the ups and downs of a mental hospital. She can't pee without someone standing in the doorway, her shared bedroom door doesn't close all the way, she must eat everything on her breakfast and lunch tray whether she likes it or not. The privacy in a facility like this is slim to none. The nurses don't trust you, the doctor's don't listen, and all of the Overeater Anonymous (OA) programs are led by patients themselves! Family therapy meetings are always disastrous and finding friends is even harder when there is no one to trust. Struggling with a disease or disorder like this is tough no matter who you are. At 15, Jennifer actually knew she had a problem and wanted to get help right away. I was blown away by this "autobiographical memoir" as author J.J. Johnson puts it. I love, love, loved reading this! 

To learn more about Jennifer Johnson, check out her website: http://www.believarexic.com/

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with another wonderful read!!

Mark your calendars, Believarexic comes out October 1st!

The Heroin Diaries

I don't know why I haven't posted this on my blog yet, but I absolutely needed to. The Heroin Diaries is written by Motley Crue bassist, Nikki Sixx. Nowadays, Nikki Sixx is a radio show host, and one of my absolute favorite people. But during his rocker days, he was addicted to heroin, drinking, and every other drug he could get his hands on. Written as a journal, kept up with as he was doing drugs, The Heroin Diaries is an eye-opener into the world of living the crazy rockstar life. Girls threw themselves at him, fancy hotels were the norm, and parties were always outrageous. Drugs were not hard for the Crue to find, especially with the large quantities they were buying. The way Nikki Sixx tells his story is amazing. From the random rants that seemingly mean nothing, to lyrics of some of Motley Crue's most famous songs, to late night hookups, to shooting heroin into places that should just be kept private. All of his journal entries mean something. It all teaches reader's a lesson; while the rockstar life may seem glamorous, it's not all fun and games. Real life catches up to you sometime.

Looking for other books on Nikki Sixx?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Uglies

Tally Youngblood is on a mission to become pretty. She wants to live in New Pretty Town, wants to see Peris again, and most of all she doesn't want to be ugly for the next 3 months. Friendless Tally played an ugly trick and snuck into New Pretty Town to see Peris. Seconds away from getting caught, Tally journeys back to Uglyville and meets her new best friend Shay. Everything about Shay is wonderful. She hoverboards and plays uglies tricks, AND has the same birthday as Tally. Days before their birthday and their pretty operation, Shay talks about running away to The Smoke to be with David. The entire conversation hits Tally as wrong, who wouldn't want to be pretty? Shay runs away and Tally continues her ugly (almost pretty) life only to be stopped by the Special Circumstances to be recruited as a spy in The Smoke. How could she ruin things for her new friends? Especially everything she learns about the operation..... Tally needs help, she needs David, she needs Shay, and she needs to be pretty.

Looking for the rest of the saga?
Pretties (book two)

Looking for other books by Scott Westerfeld?
Afterworlds

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Kill the Silence

Monika Kørra: Norwegian cross-country and track star, previously studied at Southern Methodist University, currently rape survivor. In Kill the Silence, Monika tells the story of a night out gone wrong. She was kidnapped at gunpoint and raped by three men in a black SUV. How exactly does someone get kidnaped when everyone is watching? Monika tells us the horrors she spent with The Worst One, The Weak One, and The Boss driving around Dallas as she's being raped, held at gunpoint, and wondering what's going to happen to her. This story is her way of bringing rape culture to the eyes of society. She does not want to be known as a victim, but as a survivor. We spend almost three years in Monika's daily life; her struggles with school, her friendships, her relationships, and her time as Jessica December Watkins. She takes us behind the scenes of the court room walls, her therapy sessions, and even how she gets her life back on track. This tell all memoir took courage to bring rape out into the open. Monika Kørra is now an advocate for rape victims through Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center's volunteer program and has also started the Monika Korra Foundation

A special thank you to NetGalley for providing me with yet another brilliant read!

Mark your calendars, Kill the Silence comes out August 25th!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines

Nic Sheff has struggled with addiction since he was a teenager. He's experimented with everything from marijuana, ecstasy, crack, cocaine, heroin, and crystal meth. In Tweak, Nic tells his story of battling addiction and the endless cycle of drug usage. Told in a diary like form, we learn first hand the effects his insane drug usage has on himself and his family. Drugs give him a high that he "needs" to deal with his every day life. He's fresh out of rehab in the beginning of the book until he meets back up with Lauren and starts the cycle all over again. The entire novel Nic ruining his life, cleaning up, ruining his life, and getting help again and again and again. I was so excited to read Tweak, but it took me much too long to even place myself in Nic's shoes. The drugs made him sound so pitiful and empty. But the time he spends in rehab doesn't sound much better. I will say Nic's story definitely depicts what it is like to have an addiction, but the underlying issues of his life make it harder to understand exactly why he wrote Tweak for us.
 
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, get help.
To keep up with Nic Sheff, follow his blog The Fix.   

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A Different Kind of Same

Once again, Netgalley was gracious enough to allow me an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of Kelley Clink's memoir, A Different Kind of Same, in exchange for an honest review.
Memoirs are always hard for me to review because it's someone's life story. But I can say that I'm not 100% sure why this memoir was written... Kelley's  brother Matt committed suicide two weeks before his college graduation and threw Kelley's life into chaos. For years, the two of them had been inseparable through the move from Michigan to Alabama, through Kelley being diagnosed with depression and suicide attempt, through Matt being diagnosed as bipolar, to the end when Matt actually took his own life. When Kelley tells the story of what happened throughout their lives, you can only feel for them. She gave a very impressive insight of what suicide is like and what it feels like to attempt it. Overall I felt like this book will be an eye-open for many people, those who know these struggles and those who don't.
 
Mark your calendars, A Different Kind of Same comes out June 9th!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

You're Making Me Hate You

I was lucky enough to receive another Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review! You're Making Me Hate You is the latest and greatest book by Slipknot's front man Corey Taylor. Not being a major fan of Slipknot, I didn't know what to expect going into this book, but Corey Taylor definitely blew me away. This man took the time to write an ENTIRE book on the ignorant things people in today's society do. He goes in detail to the little things that really make him tick. We find the sarcastic remarks towards twerking, technology, and even spoiled little children. What makes this book so enjoyable is that everyone can relate to what is being said. I couldn't help but wonder "Am I contributing to this terrible behavior?!" Obviously we all are and Corey Taylor hates every one of us.
 
Get ready for the hatred to unfold, You're Making Me Hate You comes out July 7th!

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Truth and Other Lies

I was lucky enough to receive an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of The Truth and Other Lies to read before it is released and voice my honest opinion of the novel! I must say, Sascha Arango's first novel was definitely a hit with me. Henry Hayden is an author, well at least his name is on the books his wife writes for him. Martha Hayden is everything Henry could ever ask for, she minds her own business, makes them money, and loves Henry for who he is without really knowing him. Yet Henry still wants something else, someone else. He finds this person in his publisher, Betty, whom he eventually impregnates. So what is Henry to do? Break things off with Martha or do away with Betty? Well the answer is simple, go to the meeting place with Betty and an "accident" is sure to happen. From here, the novel unfolds Henry's dark past, complete with enemies from his childhood orphanage to his life at home. This is a novel that is bound to keep you on your toes and wonder how everything will play out.
 
Mark your calendars, The Truth and Other Lies comes out June 23rd!   

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Normal

Normal is anything but this book. In Graeme Cameron's first novel Normal, he walks us through the life of an average everyday guy; the guy you walk past on the street or bump into in the supermarket and never even realize he might have girls locked in his basement. We never learn the name of our main point of view, but we learn all about him; we learn what makes him tick. When we witness Sarah, his first killing, we also witness the kidnapping of her best friend Erica. He and Erica obviously don't have the best relationship, considering he just kidnapped her and all... But eventually, they begin to grow together until Rachel enters the picture. He is absolutely head over heels for Rachel and loves everything about her. Yet he continuously forgets about Erica starving in his basement. He has to decide what he truly wants to do. Continue battling with Erica or start living for Rachel?

Honestly, this book was not everything I hoped it would be. But I really enjoyed reading from a serial killer/kidnapper perspective. I know everyone who reads this says the same thing, "You honestly find yourself rooting for the killer without even realizing it." It's true though! He has a dark side that could leave you feeling chilled at some points. Yet, everything about him is absolutely average, plain, pleasant even.  He's just Normal. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

JonBenét: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation

I'm sure you all remember the murder that shocked America in 1996. The killing of 6 year old pageant queen, JonBenét Ramsey in her own house on Christmas Day. 18 years later and the killer still has not be found... Many details about this case have left me wondering for years, why would someone leave a ransom note if the child was already killed? Why were there so many specifics in the note if it wasn't the family or someone close to them writing it? Why did the father make a beeline for the basement when asked to search the house? Why, why why.... One of the only people who truly know this case is Steve Thomas, the leading detective on the case, as well as the author of this tell-all novel. This novel contains all of the problems of the case. It shows the corrupt justice system in Boulder, Colorado. It shows a couple of parents who did NOTHING to help find the killer of their child. But the only question I want answered is, why weren't the parents questioned? The parents weren't even allowed to be called suspects until the very end... This case will leave you so heartbroken for this little girl and so angry at the justice system. This tell-all includes everything that happened between Boulder Police, Boulder DA's office, and the infamous Ramsey Family. If you followed this case at all, grab a copy of JonBenét and learn what really happened that sad, sad Christmas Day.

Rest in Peace
JonBenét Ramsey
December 1996

Friday, April 24, 2015

Love Lies Beneath

I am pleased to announce to have finished reading my first novel provided to me by Net Galley online in exchange for an honest review! I was lucky enough to receive one of my favorite authors, Ellen Hopkins. I enjoy everything she writes, but this one was not targeted at teens, it was targeted towards 40 year old women. (Keep that in mind when reading it.) Honestly, I loved it regardless. Love Lies Beneath gives us the opportunity to follow Tara's love life through all of the twist and turns, even through the sexy strangers she meets. While skiing with her sister, she takes a nasty fall and winds up in the hospital. But Tara can't let the doctor get away and actually asks for his number, little did she know he'd teach her the meaning of love. When Tara moves in, she not only gains a fiancée, but also a 17 year old son with an attitude and a lying problem. I wish I understood where Ellen Hopkins was going with the end of the story, but I'm thinking there may be a sequel?!

Mark your calendars! Love Lies Beneath comes out July 21! 

Looking for more books by Ellen Hopkins?

 Anthologies:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Lorax

So today I decided to tackle two topics at once. April is National Poetry Month, but April 22nd is also Earth Day! So by celebrating both events, I present to my readers Dr. Seuss's The Lorax. I'm sure many of you have seen the animated movie (and if you haven't, you should), but nothing beats the truthfulness of the book. The underlying message here is that we are slowing killing our planet because of economic "needs." The Once-ler tells the story of a beautiful town that was absolutely corrupted by society. He begins a business making Thneeds for the town people to wear. Thneeds are in high demand, but use the Truffula trees to make fabric. One by one we see the trees cut down and the poor animals habitats being destroyed. We see the pollution take over because of pure economic greed...

What I love about this book is that it was published in 1971.
Dr. Seuss saw the issue and took the initiative to voice his opinion.
It's 2015, we still haven't grasped the concept of protecting our home.
So, I beg you to educate yourselves on the dangers of polluting our beautiful home. Hurry before it's too late. 

Looking for other books by Dr. Seuss?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Oh, the Places You'll Go has always been a kids book in my mind. But lets face it, Dr. Seuss didn't intend to write children's books. Earlier today I re-read this book and it really hit home for me. Oh, the Places You'll Go is a book that literally describes everything you go through in life, especially when we're still growing up. It tells a story about finding yourself, playing the waiting game, and living your life the way you want to! Never did I expect something so meaningful to come out of a book I read in Kindergarten.
So I share this in honor of National Poetry Month and for the upcoming high school and college graduates. If any of you ever begin to doubt yourself, look to the wise words of Dr. Seuss and that's all the therapy you'll need. 

Looking for other Dr. Seuss books?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cinderella

Everyone knows the classic Cinderella tale. But Charles Perrault and Camille Rose Garcia give us a little bit of a twist to the story we know and love. In this short illustrated classic, we still see Cinderella and her evil stepsisters. We see her hard work and her dedication to helping her family, including her terrible stepsisters. We see the fairy godmother and the magical pumpkin carriage. She loses the slipper and she wins the Prince. But what could possibly be different? The illustrations! From what you see on the cover, this classic has a darker feel than other versions of this tale. Every illustration of Cinderella has spider webs and the stepsisters have very exaggerated, unflattering features. Although it is a new approach to this very lovely classic, I think it still did the story justice!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Psycho

What can I say? Psycho is a classic! Written in 1959, this novel reads so quickly that you hardly realize that it's over. Going into this book, I didn't realize there was a movie or the spinoff show, Bates Motel. I can honestly say the book is ALWAYS better. We get into the mind of all of the characters in Psycho: Mary, Lila, Sam, Norman, and even Norman's mother. The plot unfolds when Mary steals 40 grand and takes off to see her fiancé Sam. But she only makes it to the hotel, and is never heard from again..... So why haven't they gone to the police? Why haven't they questioned Norman? We know what Mother does, we know what Norman is doing, and we know the snooping of Lila and Sam. Everything falls together so perfectly that I have to applaud Robert Bloch for the amazing novel he has created in such a different time compared to today.
Psycho will not disappoint!

Meet the man who inspired it all: Ed Gein

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The First Phone Call From Heaven

Mitch Albom truly created another masterpiece.
In the small town of Coldwater, Michigan, several people are beginning to receive phone calls claiming to be from their deceased relatives and loved ones in Heaven. Everything is brought to attention when Katherine Yellin speaks out in church saying her sister has called her and wants everyone to know what Heaven is like. What Katherine does not know is she was not the only one to get a phone call. Small time news anchor Amy comes to Coldwater to cover the story only to become lifelong friends with Katherine. Sully Harding has just been released from prison when these calls start coming in and he begins investigating. No one can ACTUALLY call from Heaven. Police Chief, Jack Sellers starts getting calls from his son who was killed in Afghanistan. But the question is, should he tell his ex-wife? Tess Raferty got a call from her mother saying that there is no worries in Heaven, just peace. She should tell everyone that. Coldwater blows up over the phone calls from Heaven. Visitors from all over have come to witness the phenomenon, but what is really happening? Is it real?
Mitch Albom created such an amazing novel that you will have to find out that answer yourself. The way all of the characters find solace in one another is exactly what the novel needed. 

Looking for other books by Mitch Albom?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Born Evil

Hadden Clark was born evil. But don't let the title description fool you, this is not a story of "A real-life Hannibal Lecter." This is a story about Hadden Clark and his misfortunate childhood that led him to split personalities who kill for the fun of it. Supposedly, Hadden has killed around 15 young girls between the ages of 6 and 30. In Born Evil, we watch Hadden's life laid out before us. The abuse from his mother, his wrecked home life, and his time spent in the military. To Hadden, all things fall apart. That one tragic afternoon when Michelle Dorr wandered into Hadden's brother's yard changed everything. Charging Hadden with Michelle's death took much longer than charging him with Laura's death did. Laura and her family employed Hadden and he still ruined their lives.
Honestly, this novel takes place more in the court room and behind closed doors than it does telling the actual details of the crime. Born Evil may not be the fastest paced read, but it is still quite intense.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson is a straight guy, with a gay best friend. But Will Grayson is also a gay guy looking for a boyfriend. John Green and David Levithan did an amazing job creating these two characters and taking us on their journeys. The Will Grayson (Grayson) we meet first has a don't care attitude and a very fabulous, large, best friend named Tiny. We follow Grayson through his story of finding love with Jane and helping Tiny try to fall in love again. The other Will Grayson is carrying on an internet relationship with a boy named Isaac. When they finally decide to meet, Will gets more or less "catfished." But that doesn't stop him from possibly meeting the best thing to ever happen to him. Both Will Grayson and Will Grayson cross paths at an adult video store in Chicago because of some very interesting coincidences. The story continues to Tiny's very fabulous musical and to the end of the novel. There's so much I left out, but I don't want to be the person to ruin it for my fellow bookworms! 

Other titles by John Green:

Looking for other books by David Levithan?