Sunday, January 31, 2016

February 2016 blog schedule

February 2016 Blog Schedule

Ebook Review: Opening Belle

Top Ten Tuesday: Historical settings I love

Book review: Wine Cocktails

Thursday thoughts: Bookish pet peeves

Journal Review: It's all about you

Textbook review: Perspectives of power

Book review: Fold me up

Ebook review: Eve

Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten OTPs

Book review: Dumplin

thursday thoughts: Finding your book genre

Valentine's weekend: Best books for all the single ladies

Valentine's weekend: Best books to give your lover

Valentine's special: best books to read when you're married

Ebook review: Rebel bully geek pariah

Top ten tuesday: top ten theme songs for books

Coloring book review: the time chamber

Thursday thoughts: series better than 50 shades of gray

Book review: To Nowhere

book review: The sin eater's daughter

ebook review: just a few inches

ebook review: Cinder

top ten tuesdays: books outside my bubble

ebook review: Where she went

Thursday thoughts: how to recover from a book hangover

ebook review: how many letters in goodbye

book review: tuna on toast

book review: raising grateful children in an entitled world

March 2016 schedule

Saturday, January 30, 2016

book review: Plant Seeds. Grow Roots. Know Happiness: Words of Wisdom from Meditations with God

Do you ever wonder what God really thinks? Do you find it difficult to feel His presence in your life? Do you long for a connection that doesn’t seem to exist?
If so, take comfort in knowing you are not alone. Recounting struggles with religion, spirituality and shame, Plant Seeds. Grow Roots. Know Happiness. is a deeply personal and moving account of the author’s journey to find and cultivate a relationship with God.
Using meditation as a gateway to finding His voice, this book reaffirms that having an intimate connection with a higher power can be surprisingly simple, and that everything we need exists right within ourselves.
Plant Seeds. Grow Roots. Know Happiness. is filled with proclamations of hope and encouragement for anyone looking for reassurance that God does indeed exist, and that we all really, truly are enough – exactly as we are.

Goodreads  | Amazon

My Review:

I really enjoyed this book. It didn't change my life, but it reminded me of the early days after my husband had converted me and I was learning to pray. I heard God's voice offering gentle nudges in the right directions. At first I didn't honestly believe it was God, but after talking with my husband and explaining "I pretty much told him what I wanted and had a clear statement as a thought about what I should do about it." He confirmed that's how prayer works sometimes. After a while, like the author, the voice came less and less often and I got worried that I wasn't praying right or often enough, but my husband assured me that's how prayer works sometimes, too. 

This is a sweet book to have in a church gift shop or to give as a gift to your favorite religious relative. As for myself, I'd probably buy the kindle version rather than taking up space in my bag. 
4.5 stars

I received this book from a goodreads giveaway. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

book review: Liar

When Rob Roberge learns that he's likely to have developed a progressive memory-eroding disease from years of hard living and frequent concussions, he is terrified by the prospect of becoming a walking shadow. In a desperate attempt to preserve his identity, he sets out to (somewhat faithfully) record the most formative moments of his life—ranging from the brutal murder of his childhood girlfriend, to a diagnosis of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder, to opening for famed indie band Yo La Tengo at The Fillmore in San Francisco. But the process of trying to remember his past only exposes just how fragile the stories that lay at the heart of our self-conception really are. 
As Liar twists and turns through Roberge’s life, it turns the familiar story of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll on its head. Blackly comic and brutally frank, it offers a remarkable portrait of a down and out existence cobbled together across the country, from musicians’ crashpads around Boston, to seedy bars popular with sideshow freaks in Florida, to a painful moment of reckoning in the scorched Wonder Valley desert of California. As Roberge struggles to keep addiction and mental illness from destroying the good life he has built in his better moments, he is forced to acknowledge the increasingly blurred line between the lies we tell others and the lies we tell ourselves.

My Review:
This book speaks volumes about the struggles and consequences of addiction without ever sounding self deprecating or remorseful.
At the same time, it doesn't once glorify alcohol or drugs or mental illness. It never presents itself as "look at me, I've been through more than you!" What I love about this book is that it wasn't written for an audience. It was written for the author, who despite sufferings and embarrassments, doesn't want to forget.
Lately I've been smoking more and drinking wine at night. This book made me look at myself. Even though I may not be nearly as far gone as the author was, there isn't anything saying it couldn't happen to me. The author's dry wit is tactful, making the book entertaining to read without sugar coating the hard stuff. The one area I really struggled with while considering my review was whether I would get this book as a gift for someone. I'd definitely recommend it to people, but wouldn't quite buy one for them.
My recommendation: splurge on the hard copy, and spread the word.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday thoughts: An open letter to Office supplies

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts, a thing I'm going to aim to do weekly. Currently looking for a cohost who can handle the linky side of things and make this an official meme!

This week: An open letter to Office supplies

Dear Office Supplies,

I see you in that aisle, looking so shiny and organized and promising happiness. Your colored poster board, 20 kinds of pens for my collection, and various miscellaneous items that will probably be helpful at some point but will more likely find themselves collecting dust in various corners of my home WILL NOT TEMPT ME. But, on the other hand, I could always use another notebook. And the pens I like are on sale. I don't know where the coloring book and colored pencils I bought last time are, but you know I really should pick up coloring. 

And also, are those stickers? I do have a one year old. She doesn't know the glory of stickers yet. It's a new year--maybe I should pick up an agenda. I will TOTALLY use it all year, not just for the first three months. Maybe. And hi-lighters are always really good to have. And sharpies. Oh, I hear my husband calling--I'll just pick up this three-pack of notebooks and stuff it between the vegetables in the cart. And this pack of pens. And hell, some hi-lighters too. And a sharpie. You never know when you'll need a sharpie.

Until next time,

Next week: Bookish pet peeves

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Life is___ 40 day devotional

What is life? What are we here for? What will bring us true satisfaction and lasting happiness? In this companion to his highly-anticipated new book, Life Is ___New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Judah Smith takes readers on a forty-day devotional journey through Scripture to find the answers to these and others of our deepest questions. In forty daily readings, Judah helps readers understand that the meaning of life is found in loving and being loved, in enjoying God to the fullest, in trusting Him in every moment, and remaining at peace with God, others, and ourselves. This thought-provoking and inspiring collection of meditations is sure to reveal new and illuminating truths about what God intends for every person's life.

My Review:
This book presented itself as a valuable asset from the very first chapter. It spoke some truths that, as a Christian, I knew to be true. But as a human, I had been denying them. Further than that, using the bounty of God's love as an example, this book hit home by telling me why I had been denying such things. I can read books written by respected theologians all day and agree that yes, God loves his creations. But it took me reading this devotional to admit that hey, even if I'm a sinner, even if I converted to Christianity late in the game, even if I am pulled by temptations and forget to pray sometimes and am selfish--despite all of that and more, God loves me too.
This is all from the first chapter. This book promises to be transformative and honest, and a valuable tool to bring you closer to God, if only you are 100% honest with yourself and keep an open mind.
This book makes a fantastic gift for new and old Christians alike, and I look forward to reading the author's other book, "Jesus is...".
My recommendation: buy the hard copy for yourself, and an extra copy for the beloved Christian in your life.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend Blog Tour

 Hey Everyone! A while back I reviewed The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and the publisher reached out to me to join the blog tour! For this stop, we have a guest post from the author herself, Katarina Bivald.

The importance of books in your life. 

A memory: I’m nine years old and my parents are looking for me. We’re at a dinner party at some family friends and it’s time to go home. Eventually they find me in a big armchair in a hidden away corner, curled up with Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I agree to leave only when told I can take the book with me.
Another memory: Christmas Day. I emerge from my room with puffy, red eyes for the first time that holiday, exclaiming: “How can he not love Scarlett!”. After that, my parents checked the ending of every book they bought for me.
Thirty-two years old: telling a friend that the fact that I agreed to meet him for dinner when I had forty pages left of The Hunger Games spoke volumes about how much I loved him.
One month ago: telling a man I’ve been dating that there have been moments when I preferred him over reading. “Katarina”, he said, much moved, “I had no idea you were such a romantic!”
Books will always be better than real life.
In books, if our heroine meets an interesting man on a train, you can be sure they will meet again in a few chapters. In real life, they will never meet again. In books, the handsome bastard will turn out to be a good guy underneath that annoying surface. In real life, he’ll just turn out to be a bastard. In books, if a person dreams about doing something, you can be pretty sure she’ll have done it by the end of the book. In life, if a person dreams about doing something, she’ll probably spend most of her days doing everything but that. God has a lousy sense of plot development.

You can see other blogs participating here

Monday, January 25, 2016

ebook review: Europa journal

Bermuda Triangle. Jupiter Ice Moon.
Missing World War II Pilot.

The history of humanity is about to change forever… 

On 5 December 1945, five TBM Avenger bombers embarked on a training mission off the coast of Florida and mysteriously vanish without a trace in the Bermuda Triangle. 

A PBY search and rescue plane with thirteen crewmen aboard sets out to find the Avengers . . . and never returns. 

In 2168, a mysterious five-sided pyramid is discovered on the ocean floor of Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa. 

My Review: 

I didn't finish this book. From the first page I got the impression of a middle aged star trek fan sitting down and telling me what he thinks is a cool story, but not really showing me what was going on with his words.
"Oh well," I thought, "it's only the first page. Maybe it gets better." It didn't. The pacing was slow, there were extraneous character descriptions that I could have learned through dialogue or actions that bored me. And I really just couldn't get into the actual story enough to want to keep pushing through with it.
Maybe middle aged star trek fans will like this book. But I'd pass on it and pick up something better.
I got this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

ebook review: Fuck Feelings

The only self-help book you’ll ever need, from a psychiatrist and his comedy writer daughter, who will help you put aside your unrealistic wishes, stop trying to change things you can’t change, and do the best with what you can control—the first steps to managing all of life’s impossible problems.
Here is the cut-to-the-chase therapy session you’ve been looking for!
Need to stop screwing up? Want to become a more positive person?
Do you work with an ass? Think you can rescue an addicted person?
Looking for closure after abuse? Have you realized that your parent is an asshole?
Feel compelled to clear your name? Hope to salvage a lost love?
Want to get a lover to commit? Plagued by a bully?
Afraid of ruining your kid? Ready to vent your anger?



My Review:

I got this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
There's a saying that goes around when you work in collections: Don't let your emotions get in the way of your money. I fully expected this book and I to get along right away and for me to sing it's praises at work.
This book and I got off to a rough start. I found it obnoxious, cynical and unfunny to boot. This idea that self improvement efforts are a fools game and it's better to admit your inadequacy didn't exactly rub well with me. Thankfully, it started getting better when he authors clarified that aiming for perfection is what the problem is, not just improvement. Once we got the fact that you have to know your limits out of the way, we got along swell.
Well, reasonably swell. I still didn't see the humor in the writing. It's like an obnoxious person tried to show off how smart they were, failed, and made a half hearted attempt at humor via the destruction of ego and dreams everywhere.
Or maybe when an academic and his self-labeled sketch comic daughter combine it's not as magnificent as nepotism promises to be.
But give the second chapter a try (like I said, me and chapter one aren't at all amiable) and see for yourself. Maybe I just don't have a sense of humor. Maybe I have too much faith in myself and my abilities. Whatever.
Rating: 2/5

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Book Review: Q&A Creative journal

Q&A a Day for Creatives is your go-to source for inspiration, whimsy, and idea generation. Each page of this four-year journal features a compelling question designed to get you thinking drawing, and dreaming. Open the journal to today's date and fill in the appropriate space as you see fit. (Pencil doodles? Watercolor? Musical scales?) As the journal fills year after year, you'll own a showcase of your ever-growing creative output.



My Review:

I got this book through Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
I really love the cover of this book. While not quite small enough to fit in a purse, the cover of this pretty book is a flexible softcover--durable but not bulky. There's not a whole lot of space in each day, and most of the questions are better described as prompts.

That's not to say this book is in any way misleading or bad. In fact, it's the perfect gift for any artist looking to practice every day at their craft. My only complaint, really, is that it is far more designed for sketchers and painters than writers. For myself I'd probably get a more traditionally formatted journal by the same author.

Friday, January 22, 2016

audiobook review: Siddhartha

Siddhartha is an allegorical novel by Hermann Hesse which deals with the spiritual journey of a boy known as Siddhartha from the Indian Subcontinent during the time of the Buddha.

The story takes place in ancient Nepal around the time of Gautama Buddha (likely between the fifth and seventh centuries BCE). It starts as Siddhartha, the son of a Brahmin, leaves his home to join the ascetics with his companion Govinda. The two set out in the search of enlightenment. Siddhartha goes through a series of changes and realizations as he attempts to achieve this goal.

Buy on Amazon

My Review:
I would say this is my first audiobook, but I checked out a cassette tape of Harry Potter when I was ten. Outside of that, this is my first audiobook! I got my copy of Siddhartha from Librivox via We opened the book on the river, and I think somehow the fact I was listening to this book made the description and scenery mean more. 

I was so moved by Siddhartha's passion for finding bliss and the meaning of life. His standoff against his father, his deep conversations with his friend Govinda. He journeys with his friend to live with Samanas, alleged masters off reaching nirvana. Siddhartha comes to a troubling conclusion that for all they learned and did there, none of the masters have nor will actually reach nirvana. He doesn't find what he's looking for, so he keeps looking.

This spiritual allegory has many parallels to religion as a whole. Thinking of my own religion, I found the allegory of Siddhartha had its parallels to Christians desperately searching for God, leaving the whole religion out of frustration, only to grow into wanting what was again. Those reborn (or reborn for the third time) are sometimes much closer to God and Heaven than those who were literally born into the religion and went to church every week but never learned anything (like the Samanas in this book).

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Thursday Thoughts: 10 things about me

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts, a thing I'm going to aim to do weekly. Currently looking for a cohost who can handle the linky side of things and make this an official meme!

This week: Ten things about me

1. I am a mom.
I have a 1.5 year old daughter who looks just like her father. She's a Gemini, and acts like it.

2. I look nothing like the rest of my family
I look mostly like my dad, who has Bengali origins. But my dad married an Irish woman and then I married an Irish man, and those Irish genes are wicked strong. Out of three kids, I'm the only one who came out with a tan.

3. I'm recovered from an eating disorder [mostly]
I say mostly because if I step on a scale, I know it can still affect my day. And because I'm a sucker for eating disorder books, even now. Also my perfectionist standards still leak through at work sometimes.

4. I feel about 5 years older than I am
I guess that's what happens when you marry at 19 and become a mom at 21. I wouldn't trade it for the world, but saying I'm 22 makes me feel like I'm lying to myself. I should be at least 25 by now.

5. I consider myself retired from writing
I used to be really sad and scared. I wrote to get those feelings out of me. I wrote two and a half books, and my husband helped me learn how to be happy and love myself and these days I'll journal, but I don't need to write in order to breathe anymore.

6. I have the best husband in the world
I'm not even kidding, He may not have money, but he has looks, personality, is an amazing father, good in bed, and supports whatever I do. When I'm being irrational or emotional he doesn't whine. He goes out and gets me whatever I'm craving and buckles down for 'chocolate week'.

7. I really enjoy my job.
I've gone through quite a few jobs. I wouldn't say this is my dream job, but I'm happy at work and I'm good at what I do. Can't ask for too much more than that.

8. Books have saved my life
Being bipolar, I have an issue with impulsiveness. Besides giving me relateable characters, sage advice, and calm evenings, books have given me structure in my life through this blog. More structure=less likely to impulsively start hitchhiking after exactly 0 minutes of thinking about the potential consequences. 

9. I may not hate Romance novels as much as I think I do
I generally don't like romance novels. But I read Elisa Marie Hopkin's Diamond in the Rough series (which really is too interesting to be categorized as a romance) and then I read Masters of the Shadowlands. I's pure fluff and erotica. But I kind of enjoyed it. Maybe because it wasn't really even pretending to have a plot.

10. I don't do scary.
You can count me out of scary movies, horror books, or thriller tv shows. I do watch a little Scream Queens, but my husband tried to get me to watch the walking dead with him and I had nightmares. If you want me to come to movie night, Disney better be involved.

Next week: An open letter to Office supplies

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

ebook review: Hidden Gates

P.J. Stone was taught to put duty before her heart. But everything changes with a kiss…

As a Seer, P.J. is expected to choose a suitable mate to continue the bloodline. Wanting someone considered off-limits jeopardizes her future, forcing her to question everything she believes in. 

As if navigating her love life isn’t complicated enough, P.J. receives a vision of a threat to her world that only she can perceive. But no one wants to believe a fledgling Seer’s warning. With nowhere else to turn, can P.J. trust a stranger with her life, her world, and maybe even her heart?

Buy on Amazon

Add to Goodreads

My Review:

At first I balked at the relationship between the seer and her guardian. It seemed waaay to insta-lovish. To be fair, there was obviously a relationship that extends way past the beginning of the story, but the emphasis of the sex drive between the two compared to the story I actually wanted to read was maddening.
Now, by the time I actually got to the story I wanted to read--who are the mysterious invaders? Will anyone believe her visions? Etc, I was interested. The only downside is that you have to suffer through 50% of the book to get there. The entire first half feels like nothing but "oh it's such a burden to be the chosen one", "oh my which boy will I ever choose?", "everyone is concerned about what I'm doing more than any other stranger they've ever met."
Once you get past that first half, the story gets better, but personally I was already too annoyed with the book to properly enjoy it.
I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Top ten tuesday: new to the queue edition

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week: Top ten books I've recently added to my TBR.

This week, I'm featuring new adds from NetGalley.

ebook review: Chloe in India

*from Publisher's Weekly*

...a coming-of-age story about 11-year-old Chloe Jones, whose family moves from Boston to Delhi, where Chloe must navigate the waters of her new prep school while India is undergoes its own dramatic social changes.

Buy on Amazon

My review:

 I almost immediately fell in love with a little girl named Chloe who sat in front of a mirror trying to imagine herself with black hair. It was not her fault her parents brought her to India, and everyone has black hair except for her and the weird German girl.
Lakshmi was amazing the entire time. She was straight up my favorite character in the entire book. Dhruv wasn't exactly my favorite, but was probably the most realistic character in the entire book. He had some habits that were annoying and unlikeable but by the end of the book he adds some serious depth into the story. Anna took a while to become more than just a side character. And even then, she became little more than a plot device. Anvi was your typical mean girl, nothing changing from being in a different country. I was a little disappointed.

Overall, it was a fantastic story about friendship and breaking social barriers and bravery and I LOVED it.
points off for Anna and Anvi though. 4/5.
I got this book from NetGalley for an honest review.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

ebook review: Manga Classics; Emma

Just in time for the 200th Anniversary, Manga Classics: Emma brings Jane Austen's classic tale of youthful folly and romantic exuberance to a modern audience with this beautiful, new manga adaptation. The impulsive match-making of Emma Woodhouse delivers both humor and heartache through the gorgeous artwork of manga-ka Po Tse (Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice). - Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions. Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing.

Buy on Amazon

Add to Goodreads

My Review:

I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review. I really liked the story of Emma as a Manga. Like Pride and Prejudice, I probably would have found the novel extremely dull and poorly written, but the story itself, when presented without all the extra and needless prose, was entertaining and engaging.

Team Twain, just saying. I've never been a fan of Austen and I consider myself lucky for never having to read it for school. But even those who find fault with Austen's writing will likely find this manga classic adorable and Emma herself a fun and lively character.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

ebook review: Like Candy

Revenge is sweet, just like candy.

Candy Seaborne knows she’s badass. She takes after her father, an assassin and possibly a spy, although he won’t admit to either. She idolizes him. Her dream is to follow in his footsteps. But first, she has to finish high school.

Biding her time, waiting for real life to begin, Candy craves drama and isn’t above manufacturing some. If you’re a classmate who wronged her or a boyfriend who cheated, watch your back. She’s no pushover, and revenge may be her favorite pastime. 

Jonah Bryson is the senior class heartthrob who breaks all the stereotypes. He’s a jock, but he isn’t the typical player. He’s moody and antisocial. No girl has gotten anywhere with him since his last girlfriend broke his heart.

Candy sees Jonah as a challenge and the perfect distraction. But she may be in over her head because unlike everyone else, Jonah isn’t buying her tough act. He sees the lost, lonely girl inside. He sees too much. When he looks at her that way, she wants to let her guard down and be vulnerable. But that’s the last thing she should do because her father’s world is spilling over into hers, and life is about to get real much sooner than Candy expected.

My review:
10%: There was no big dramatic beginning to keep me interested, but the subtle entry into Candy's world and mind impressed me. With so many books going for the action-only, fast . paced narrative, you get tired of it before even realizing it. And the moment you do realize it is the moment you read the first few chapters of Like Candy. I wasn't so much engaged in the storyline--I was, but the reason I kept reading was because I was enthralled by the writing style. Candy is a person I definitely want to meet, or at least see on TV played by Nina Dobrev or Francia Raisa.
25%: Things got even more interesting as we delved into Candy's relationships with Theo and her father. And then--AND THEN--Jonah. A not so bad boy who reminded me of more than a few crushes I had in high school.
When I finished: wrong. So wrong. Or was I? I kind of had an idea about Jonah's secret but omg. Omg. I can't even properly gush because it would be giving things away but O. M. G.

Read this book. Pleeeeease read this book. You won't regret it.
I got this book from NetGalley or an honest review.

Friday, January 15, 2016

ebook review: Alice takes back Wonderland

After ten years of being told she can't tell the difference between real life and a fairy tale, Alice finally stops believing in Wonderland. So when the White Rabbit shows up at her house, Alice thinks she's going crazy.
Only when the White Rabbit kicks her down the rabbit hole does Alice realize that the magical land she visited as a child is real.
But all is not well in Wonderland.
The Ace of Spades has taken over Wonderland and is systematically dismantling all that makes it wonderful. Plain is replacing wondrous, logical is replacing magical, and reason is destroying madness. Alice decides she must help the Mad Hatter and all those fighting to keep Wonderland wonderful. 

But how can she face such danger when she is just a girl?

Buy on Amazon

My Review:

I got this book through NetGalley for an honest review.
First off, WHAT A BEGINNING. I was floored. I loved the Chesire Cat right away, and usually I find him a disagreeable character. This book sucked me in and held me and I loved it. As I went on, the mashup of different characters was fun but unfocused. I felt like there was a lot to be said trying to fit into one little book. The story itself might have benefited from being split up a little, letting readers have a sequel to look forward to.

I do wish I had seen more of Alice's sister before she was led back to Wonderland. And I wasn't really at all convinced that she had truly left Wonderland behind. But the Ace of Spades as a villain? The best--or worst--kind of tyranny. 

If you like fairy tales and awesome beginnings, pick up this book. The rest of the book is good too, just not earth-shatteringly great like the beginning was. The first five pages are important, yes, but they also set expectations for the rest of the novel.

Overall, one of the better retellings. Fans of Wonderland and fairy tales will adore it.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thursday Thoughts: My Favorite Bloggers

Welcome to Thursday Thoughts, a thing I'm going to aim to do weekly. Currently looking for a cohost who can handle the linky side of things and make this an official meme!

This Week: My favorite Bloggers

Elisa Marie Hopkins
It's no secret that I love this author's books. I also love that in between waiting for the next book, I can hop over to her blog to read her writing.

Tina the bookworm
I like Tina's taste in books. I like that we have almost the same name, and I like her features such as Bookworm thoughts, Bookworm lounge, etc.

Mikayla's Bookshelf
Every time I go to Mikayla's blog I inevitably add another book or two to my TBR pile. Even if you don't have the same taste in books, you've got to love her photography and bookish features.

Who are your favorite bloggers?

Next week: Ten things about me

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book Review: Elsewhere

Welcome to Elsewhere. It is warm, with a breeze, and the beaches are marvelous. It's quiet and peaceful. You can't get sick or any older. Curious to see new paintings by Picasso? Swing by one of Elsewhere's museums. Need to talk to someone about your problems? Stop by Marilyn Monroe's psychiatric practice.
Elsewhere is where fifteen-year-old Liz Hall ends up, after she has died. It is a place so like Earth, yet completely different. Here Liz will age backward from the day of her death until she becomes a baby again and returns to Earth. But Liz wants to turn sixteen, not fourteen again. She wants to get her driver's license. She wants to graduate from high school and go to college. And now that she's dead, Liz is being forced to live a life she doesn't want with a grandmother she has only just met. And it is not going well. How can Liz let go of the only life she has ever known and embrace a new one? Is it possible that a life lived in reverse is no different from a life lived forward?
Buy on Amazon

My Review:

I got this book from a ThriftBooks Haul.
Zevin has a unique view on death in this book, and I enjoyed reading it. Liz was such an awesome character, and even though Thandi didn't get a whole lot of attention she was my favorite character. Curtis felt kind of extra though. He didn't seem to have a whole lot of depth and only popped up to move the plot forward. 

The writing style itself was easy to follow and entertaining, and the plot is fresh and engaging. I've already bought this book for myself, and there isn't any kind of buyer's remorse. But would I buy it for a friend? It wouldn't be my first choice of a gift but I would if they asked.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Top ten tuesday: No regrets edition

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.  This week: 2015 releases I meant to get to that I didn't actually get to.

Ebook review: Up to this Pointe

She had a plan. It went south.

Harper is a dancer. She and her best friend, Kate, have one goal: becoming professional ballerinas. And Harper won’t let anything—or anyone—get in the way of The Plan, not even the boy she and Kate are both drawn to.

Harper is a Scott. She’s related to Robert Falcon Scott, the explorer who died racing to the South Pole. So when Harper’s life takes an unexpected turn, she finagles (read: lies) her way to the icy dark of McMurdo Station . . . in Antarctica. Extreme, but somehow fitting—apparently she has always been in the dark, dancing on ice this whole time. And no one warned her. Not her family, not her best friend, not even the boy who has somehow found a way into her heart.

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My Review:

I really like novels about ballet. Well--novels, documentaries, movies...I did attempt the dance once but I'm not nearly dedicated enough. I choose instead to live vicariously through fictional characters. (don't we all?) Now those of you who follow my reviews know I also am a sucker for eating disorder stories because I have experiences that make me relate so well to them. While Harper's eating (or lack of) is not the sole focus point of the book, I admire the way Longo wrote it in so you could see that this is just Ballerina-Normal. This is Harper-Normal. This is what a Scott does. I loved it.

Antarctica. I don't know anyone in Antarctica, but I do know someone who recently moved from Texas to Alaska, which must feel like the same thing at first. I really loved this unique setting and the fact that yes, Harper ran here probably so she could sort out her problems without anyone following her, but also because she's stuck there until spring. If things get too real she can't just run back. She has to work through things and it'll make her grow up a little more but that's okay. 

Relationships: Harper and Luke make adorable siblings. Harper and Simone are really great characters together without making the teacher-student relationship too unbelievable. I don't ship Harper and Owen at all. I also don't ship Harper and Aiden. But they were all very well written.

As far as buyability: Yes. This book was very well written. Might be right on the cusp of YA/NA, so get it as a gift for an older teen. And definitely splurge on the print version. I got this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.