For readers around the globe. :)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Love From Boy

Reading these letters was like looking into the mastermind behind one of the world's greatest children's authors. Roald Dahl is widely recognized as the author Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, and Matilda. But what many people don't know is the life he had before he put pen to paper. It all started in 1925, when he was nine years old. He began writing letters to his mother from boarding school. His over-imaginative mind was already churning when he told her stories about his playmates. Throughout the years, he matures greatly. Seeing that first letter and comparing it with on of his last letters in 1965 shows immense change. Reading his stories of being in the R.A.F. army gave insight to what turned him into the man he became. The letters he sent home to his mother were often full of adventures. He traveled from Norway to England to Africa and eventually to the states. He spent many dinners with President Roosevelt. Walt Disney approached him with movie ideas. He even passed time with his longtime hero Ernest Hemingway.
These letters weren't just letters, they were the beginning of his storytelling life. He wrote for the New York Times, Reader's Digest, and a slew of others. It wasn't until he was well into his 30's, married, and with children before he found the inspiration for his first children's book. 
I loved reading this and I highly suggest Love From Boy to anyone who is a fan of Roald Dahl or is an avid children's book reader!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I'll Meet You There

Several months ago I posted on Instagram (@a_readers_diary) that I was looking for a trashy teen read to get me out of my reading slump.
This is what was suggested to me.
Creek View is a small town but that doesn't stop Skylar from her big dreams. Her full ride scholarship will get her out of that small town and allow her love of art to grow. Josh Mitchell had big dreams too. Joined the Marine Corps straight out of high school, deployed to Afghanistan, and returned to Creek View missing a leg.... Skylar didn't want to treat him any differently. She didn't want to like the boy turned hero that she's worked with for so many years. She didn't want to feel pity for him. But for some reason, she kept looking out for him. She found herself wondering where he went when his mind took over. She wanted to understand why there were three version of Josh, the boy she's grown up with, worked with, crushed on, and hoped for. She needed the real Josh to show her what was going on when his mind took him back to the war. She wanted to help, but she didn't know how to start. 
Told from alternating view points, we see Sky struggling to understand Josh. We watch her struggle with all the emotions she feels towards Josh, to her best friend moving across the country, to why she feels tied to Creek View when she's tried so hard to leave it all behind. We get to see her heart mend and break. We get to see her grasping the reality of growing up and moving on. We get to see what it's like to become yourself.
But we also see Josh struggling with the war he can no longer fight physically, but can't stop fighting mentally. We see flashbacks of his battle buddies signing Single Ladies in the dust. We see the memories flooding back to him that he can't control. We see him start to fall for Skylar, knowing he isn't the person she thinks he is. Watching Josh was something I wasn't prepared for.
Heather Demetrios showed war in a way that needs to be understood. They can put up a fight, do what they gotta do. But in the end, they suffer. They signed up to fight. They signed up not knowing the emotional damage that war causes people. They never imagined to lose their best friends when everyone was supposed to have each others backs.. Loss is something you can't just ignore, it's something that has to be remembered. But how many memories can they handle?

Over 20 Veterans are taking their own lives every day.
Over 10% of our homeless population is Veterans.
We see these people every day and never stop to wonder what happened to them.
We never stop and ask to hear old stories, good or bad.
We sidestep asking them how they are doing because how good could they really be doing?
We can't keep ignoring this, they need our help whether they are asking for it or not.

Veteran Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
 Help For Homeless Veterans: 1-877-424-3838

Friday, June 16, 2017

Death Punch'd

I'm a fan of some of Five Finger Death Punch's music. However, I was not exactly a fan of Jeremy Spencer's Death Punch'd: Surviving Five Finger Death Punch's Metal Mayhem. 
Remember when I read Corey Taylor's You're Making Me Hate You
While his book was full of antics and douche-baggery, Jeremy Spencer kicked it up 300% and not in a good way. 
At the end of the book he points out that he wants to get his message of addiction out by sharing his experiences in hope that others will see how addict tears your entire life apart. 
I religiously read addiction stories and his remorse is SLIM. This book was more of his drunken antics and coke-fueled life. It was one big party to him for many, many years. Yes, towards the end you get the major picture. Drugs are bad. 5FDP suffered because of him. His family suffered because of him. He knows that he is the reason behind the suffering.
So, if you're looking for a book on 5FDP, I highly would not recommend this one.
If you're looking for a memoir written through drunk goggles and drug haze, then maybe you should give this one a go.
Personally, I wouldn't spend $16 on this book for anyone.
Pretty upset I spent that to read for myself.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Spotlight: Secrets of Southern Girls

Here's my surprise! 
An exclusive excerpt from Secrets of Southern Girls by debut author Haley Harrigan!

Ten years ago, Julie Portland accidentally killed her best friend, Reba. What's worse is she got away with it. Consumed by guilt, she left the small town of Lawrence Mill, Mississippi, and swore nothing would ever drag her back.
Now, raising her daughter and struggling to make ends meet in Manhattan, Julie still can't forget the ghost of a girl with golden hair and a dangerous secret.
When August, Reba's first love, begs Julie to come home to find the diary that Reba kept all those years ago, Julie's past comes creeping back to haunt her. That diary could expose the shameful memories Julie has been running from, but it could also unearth the hidden truths that Reba left buried... and reveal that Julie isn't the only one who feels responsible for Reba's death.
In fact, she may not be responsible at all.
Secrets of Southern Girls hit shelves on June 6th!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

One Was Lost

Forever ago, NetGalley provided me an advanced copy of One Was Lost by Natalie D. Richards.
When I got it, I was thinking "Great, another teen murder story." Oh boy, was I wrong.
It starts out a little slow, but by the time it's over you're like Wait.... Did I just finished this book in 6 hours? (I really did just finish this book in 6 hours.)

A senior hiking trip took an ugly turn when the weather got rough. It separated the group, 4 with Mr. Walker and 2 with Ms. Brighton. Sera, Lucas, Emily, and Jude were all terrorized in the night. They became Darling, Dangerous, Damaged, and Deceptive. Their backpacks and snacks were scattered all around the campsite and their teacher was out cold. Did someone really drug them? Was this just an elaborate senior prank? Who would go through the trouble of torturing them on their final trip?
 What is happening on the other side? Are Madison and Hayley okay with Ms. Brighton? Could they be dead? Could someone be picking them off one by one? They have to figure out how to survive on their own without their teachers. They have to figure out how to stay sane and not completely turn against one another. Could some of them charm their way out of the limelight? 
Who will survive a night in the woods?

This book was such a quick read. 
Definitely recommend for a beach read if you like your books a little darker.
Sourcebooks Fire also provided me an exclusive excerpt of One Was Lost, check it out here!!

Looking for other Natalie D. Richards books?
We All Fall Down 
What You Hide
Six Months Later

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Writing My Wrongs

Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison.
That subtitle rings true throughout the entire book.
James White, Pumpkin, Jay. Only 19 years old and his life is about to change....
He knew he was going to prison the night he shot to kill. He knew his life was virtually over when he had just made a new one. He knew Brenda was going to raise their baby alone while he sat in a prison cell. His lawyer promised 10 years, but he was sentenced to 40 years behind bars.
He had been dealing crack and running around the 'hood since he was 14. He was shot at 17. He killed at 19. He never wanted this life, but what else could he do with a mommy that didn't want him and a daddy that was never around? 
Prison took its toll on Jay. But he eventually found himself, more importantly he finally found the strength to forgive himself and apologize for what he had done. He needed closure, but that closure didn't find him until almost 10 years into his sentence. He was willing to change and for that, I applaud him. He didn't deserve this life, his family didn't deserve it, his victim didn't deserve it.
 This memoir is told through alternating past and present. We see James become Jay. We see who Jay is in prison. We see the two personalities slowing merging into one. We see why he felt a certain way and why he reacted the way he did. He was part of a Brotherhood he felt the need to uphold. He wanted to mend the broken and feed the poor. He wanted everyone to be accepted within the laws of the jungle. 
That is how he found himself.
Through his brothers.
Through his father.
Through Lil Jay.
Through Ebony.
For that, he will always be thankful.

Big shout out to Blogging for Books for sending me a copy of Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Becoming Bonnie

Wow. Yes. Okay.
This book was amazing.
Becoming Bonnie is Jenni L Walsh's debut novel.
Imagine a time where prohibition is in full swing.
Imagine working at a speakeasy to make a little cash.
Imagine being 16 years old and getting married.
Imagine dropping out of high school and letting go of your dreams.
Imagine the crash of the century.
This is what it was like when Bonnelyn Parker met Clyde Barrow.
Bonn had been through a lot. Her diner job barely paid and hardly had hours for her. Buster got let go when he broke his hand at the cement plant. Ma is sick but with what? Little Billie is to young to work. And Daddy, well Daddy died when Bonnelyn was young. Turning to her best friend Blanche, she agrees to take a bus boy position at Doc's. But before long she's singin' along, swingin' her hips, and mixin' drinks. Not long after, fiance Roy starts asking questions he didn't want the answers to. This could be the end of Bonn and Roy. Besides, she's liking the attention she gets at Doc's. Well, not all of it. But she can't seem to get Clyde out of her head. She saved him once, ONE TIME, and now his eyes are burned into her mind. Those dimples are something she craves. She wants herself a clean shaven bad boy. Which is exactly what she gets when Clyde decides to give up his ways for her.
Bonnie and Clyde, meant to be, alive and free.
Bonnelyn's world is about to get flipped upside down.
They are now Bonnie and Clyde.

I am so stoked that I got to read this masterpiece and cannot wait to pick up the next one!!!

Looking for the rest of the series?
Side by Side

Want to learn more about Jenni?
Meet Jenni L. Walsh!