WWW Wednesday – March 23, 2016

Welcome to WWW Wednesday which is currently being hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. It’s really just a place to do little update on what all you’ve been reading lately. Anyone is welcome to join, just leave a link to your post in the comments!

The Three Ws are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

 

What Are You Currently Reading?

Physical Book…

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Gracie’s Song by Michelle Schlicher

This is my first author-requested book review and I’m so thankful for Michelle choosing me to read her new book. I’m about 100 pages into so far and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a story about Gracie, a small town girl, who up and leaves the night after graduation without any explanation and then has to return 10 years later and confront everyone that she left behind. Since I grew up in a really small town, I am totally connecting with Gracie. I can’t wait to see how this one ends!

NetGalley ARC…

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The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge

Okay, I’ve been making pretty slow progress with this book but it’s mostly because I hate reading books on my phone. I need to switch my NetGalley over to my iPad, like pronto. However, I’m amping it up a bit and read quite a bit last night. This book is very unique and I’m dying to know what’s going to happen next!


What did you recently finish reading?

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Dove by M.H. Salter

This book was a pretty interesting ride from start to finish. I really enjoyed getting a glimpse into life during the Vietnam War, which isn’t something that normally gets written about. I really liked this book and I think it’s actually going to be the first in a series, which I’m insanely glad about because that ending left me a bit upset. I need answers!!!! You can find my full review HERE.

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Me Before You by JoJo Moyes

I finished this book the night before last. I think I ended up ugly crying for about 30 minutes after I finished it. I knew it was coming and it still got to me, dammit. I’ll have a full review up for this one at some point today. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it so it’ll be an interesting post to write.


What do you think you’ll read next?

ADSOM and AGOS will certainly be my next two physical book reads, while The Girls will be my next ARC. I have to read totally different genres when I’m reading multiple books at once or I have a hard time focusing on each book separately.


So, what are your WWW Wednesdays looking like? See a book from mine that you’ve read, want to read, or just sounds supremely lame? Lemme know!

Book Review: Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell

I received an ARC of this novel courtesy of NetGalley and Second Story Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Expected Publication Date: April 5th, 2016

Over the last few months, I have started reading and buying more books that I wouldn’t normally give a second thought to. I actually have a pretty wide range of genres that I read, from YA (obviously) to and non-fiction. You can find a little bit of everything on my bookshelves and I’m pretty proud that I don’t have a limited selection. But recently, I have started purchasing and requesting books that I don’t really know anything about. You could say I’m just jumping in and hoping for the best. Well, thanks to books like Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell by Liane Shaw, it has been a slam dunk so far.

Sixteen-year-old Frederick has a lot of rules for himself. Like if someone calls him Freddy he doesn’t have to respond; he only wears shirts with buttons and he hates getting dirty. His odd behavior makes him an easy target for the “Despisers” at school, but he’s gotten used to eating lunch alone in the Reject Room.

Angel, in tenth grade but already at her sixth school, has always had a hard time making friends because her family moves around so much. Frederick is different from the other kids she’s met – he’s annoyingly smart, but refreshingly honest – and since he’s never had a real friend before, she decides to teach him all her rules of friendship.

But after Angel makes a rash decision and disappears, Frederick is called in for questioning by the police and is torn between telling the truth and keeping his friend’s secret. Her warning to him – don’t tell, don’t tell, don’t tell – might have done more harm than good.

The first half of the story is told from Frederick’s viewpoint and I found myself enthralled with the way he thinks. Frederick has Asperger’s and so being able to view everything through his eyes is such an interesting experience. Shaw is able to accurately capture how life is viewed by someone on the spectrum. Frederick is the most logical person I have ever gotten to read about. He takes one idea and completely take you on these long streams of thought where you find yourself wondering where his mind is taking you, and then all of a sudden he brings your full circle! I would catch myself getting confused for a bit with what he was talking about but after processing it, I was surprised to see just how much sense it actually made. It was incredible! Where some may not understand, I found myself thinking that Frederick is really just so much more intelligent than normal people. I loved his little thought tangents. Watching him grow from the loner and antisocial to embracing his friendship with Angel was really fun to watch. However, some people may get annoyed with his chapters as they tend to be a bit dense due to the way he processes thoughts and social situations.

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The second half of the book is told from Angel’s viewpoint. We finally get find out what has caused her to run away and also see how she views Frederick and his eccentricities. I enjoyed Angel. She’s very direct and instead of allowing Frederick’s disability to hinder any friendship that might arise, she just plows forward and never gives it any thought. She just accepts and appreciates him for who he is. I really respected that about her character. We always think that we will do the right thing but sometimes we don’t rise to that occasion and instead let society dictate our behavior for us, but Angel doesn’t. She attempts to break down Frederick’s wall and get to know all of him. I also valued that her story brings up several issues and doesn’t shy around them, such as peer pressure and body shaming. I appreciate that Shaw spotlights some of these real life problems, rather than your typical YA fluff.

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Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell, Don’t Tell is a pretty typical YA novel, in that it focuses on characterization rather than action and plot. Yes, there is the mystery surrounding Angel’s disappearance, but that’s not what makes this a compelling story. The real brilliance is in the voices of our two MCs. I found them to be so realistic and fleshed out, that they were truly brought to life. Frederick especially was someone that I really found myself connecting with. I was more interested in seeing how this situation changed him than in actually wondering what caused Angel to run away in the first place. The book did seem to drag a bit around the middle but never reached a place where I found myself not caring what was going to happen next.

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I didn’t have a whole lot of issues with this story. I did feel that the voices of Frederick and Angel were a little young rather than the 16 years old that they are supposed to be. It wasn’t much of a deal with Frederick because it made sense for him to be that way, however, I was expecting a bit more from Angel. This isn’t really a criticism but this story almost felt as if it was written specifically to be required reading in school. I mean, I can literally picture it being on the 8th grade Pre-AP required summer reading list, right there alongside To Kill A Mockingbird and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. It just has that feel to it. Though, I definitely enjoyed reading more about Frederick and Angel than I did the Logans (because that book was just awfully boring).

Go out and read this beautiful book!

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars

Book Review: I’ll Give You The Sun

I feel like an evil person when I say this, but I promised y’all that I will always be honest (even when it hurts) so here it is… I hated I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson for the first 200 pages of this book. Yeah, I said it! Now you know the awful truth. However, before you grab your pitchforks and head towards East Texas to burn me at the stake, please continue reading. It does get better!

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

First off, Jandy Nelson is an amazing writer. This was my first book by her but damn, that woman has a way with words. Like Noah from the story, she paints a vivid picture making you feel and experience the scene as if you were actually there. I expected the story to be what pulled me in, but it wasn’t, it was the writing. (I was actually bored for the longest time). Her imagery and the way she wrote Noah’s POV was beautiful and so creative. An artist painting an artist with words. Amazing. I know some people were turned off by all of the metaphors and found it to be a bit much, but I disagreed. She was writing it as an artist would see it and I really enjoyed that.

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for

This was written using alternating POV’s for each chapter. We view the younger years through Noah’s eyes and follow him as he tries navigating through some very confusing and important times of his life. He is falling in love for the first time with the boy next door, while dealing with the isolation and aftermath of what this means. I really enjoyed reading about Noah, seeing him struggle with the truth about his sexuality was incredibly moving and emotional. I can’t imagine what it’s like to experience that as a teenager but Nelson did a beautiful job of helping us step into Noah’s shoes. I loved seeing his relationship with Brian progress. His transformation from the beginning of the story to the end was amazing.

Then later years are Jude’s story. It took me a while to get into the her chapters. I think it was maybe her mentality on being the whole “misunderstood and sullen teen” was a bit of a turn off. I didn’t understand why she was so superstitious and I found it annoying when she would go off about Grandmother Sweetwine’s bible. However, once Jude meets Oscar and Guillermo, I finally found myself invested more in her story that Noah’s. Crazy how that happened. Though, if truth be told, I think I was just obsessed with Guillermo. He sounds like a total badass and I want him to teach me how to sculpt. But I digress! I really enjoyed her interactions with them, as her character really started to transform then and she finally broke out of her shell.

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That is my favorite line of the entire book.

However, as beautiful as Noah’s journey and as interesting as Jude’s was, these twins have some major issues…SO SELFISH. SO JEALOUS. I swear I wanted to knock their heads against the wall every few pages. All of these problem that they were having could have been solved if they had sat down and just had a come-to-Jesus-meeting. That’s what normal people would do! But no, let’s spend the whole book sabotaging each other’s lives because we are too scared to talk about our feelings. You’re twins, you should be able to tell each other everything! Am I right or am I being a little harsh? I do have a really easy time just saying what I’m thinking, so maybe I am being a tad harsh here. But I think the way they handled the entire situation was completely childish and petty.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for.

The pacing of this story was a bit slow for me. As I mentioned, it took me close to 200 pages before I finally got in a rhythm with this book. There was a lot happening from the start of the book and yet it wasn’t answering any of my questions. I wasn’t really sure where this book was going and whether or not I wanted to stick around to find out. I kept having to make myself pick up the book and read which is never a good sign. Luckily, it finally hit that sweet spot where I couldn’t put it down and had to see how it would end.

Once it ended, I finally understood why so many people enjoy this book. It all came together beautifully and ended on a high rather than the low I was expecting. I really encourage everyone to read this book and witness the beauty of it.

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars

Teaser Tuesday – March 8th, 2016

Teaser Tuesday is currently being hosted by MizB @ Book and a Beat. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun!

Rules:

-Grab your current read

-Open to a random page

-Share two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page

-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! You don’t want to give too much away so as to not ruin the book for others!

-Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.


 

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I just started this book yesterday and so far it’s interesting but I’m not really sure where it’s headed. I’ve heard so many great things about it so I hope that it lives up to the hype. As y’all have realized, contemporary isn’t my favorite genre but I’m trying to get into it more. Here’s hoping that I enjoy this one!

“Because how could he have done this?

How could he have chosen to leave me here all alone?”

-page 228


Please leave a link to your Teaser Tuesday so we can see what all of you beautiful people are reading right now! We enjoy a good tease here! 😉

Review: The Love That Split The World

Well, the hype was real. Way to go bookstagram community, you nailed it with this book! I wasn’t sure if I was really going to enjoy The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry. The concept seemed a bit strange, as it was a contemporary read with time travel mixed in. However, I am so glad that Owlcrate included this book in their February box so I now have two copies, and will be giving one away so more people can experience this amazing story.

Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves.

Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.

That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Emily Henry’s stunning debut novel is Friday Night Lights meets The Time Traveler’s Wife, and perfectly captures those bittersweet months after high school, when we dream not only of the future, but of all the roads and paths we’ve left untaken.

This wasn’t so much a plot driven story, as it was a coming-of-age and character driven narrative. Yes, the time traveling aspect and romance was a major part of this book but it was watching Natalie grow throughout the book that I enjoyed the most. She started out as this outsider with some serious emotional and psychological issues, but by the end, she faces her problems head on instead of trying to keep running away from them. However, I didn’t agree with some of the choices she made, especially in the beginning of the novel. She was so self-absorbed and worried about not fitting in, that it was actually keeping her from connecting with her friends and family. I find it annoying when characters in books do things that are so obviously ridiculous and wrong that you catch yourself shaking your head at them and snorting in derision. It’s like, no one would actually do that. But maybe I’m being too critical of our protagonist, or maybe she’s just not very smart.

Okay, normally I’m not a fan of insta-love. It’s just so overdone and completely unrealistic. Let’s be honest, real life is really not like that so please don’t make me roll my eyes at you. But surprisingly, the romance in this novel works. At the end of the story it all comes together to explain everything and by doing so, you’re actually left with a reason for this instant attraction and it makes perfect sense. I literally had an “AH-HA!” moment when that happened. I really enjoyed that, especially compared to the typical insta-love that has no reason for it other than the two main characters are just soooo attractive. I hate when that happens.

Emily Henry

Which brings us to Beau. He was an interesting character and so mysterious throughout the book. I was continuously wondering what his deal was and why is he the way that he is, sharing this bond with Natalie. His personal history and family life is a bit of a cliché in YA books but it wasn’t too bad. I still found invested in him and I really appreciated his loyalty to Matt. I love a good bromance. It always makes me smile.

I loved the Native American stories that Grandmother shares throughout the story. I thought they were beautiful and so interesting. Native American culture is actually really interesting but it’s not something that you get to read about a lot in novels, so having that be such a central focus in this story was wonderful. People have been recently discussing about the lack of diversity in literature, especially in YA, and I applaud Emily Henry for giving us a story that helps address that issue. She did a fantastic job with her research and it really showed in the mythological stories.

I think maybe the weakest point in this book was the actual time travel part. This could just be a me thing and no one else have this problem, but I spent most of this book completely confused as to how this time traveling was occurring. Henry attempted to explain it by using Natalie’s sessions with Alice but the science of it kind of went over my head. Maybe that’s actually a good thing though because it kept me turning page after page to see what it all meant and what was going to happen next. Luckily, I did finally understand it at the end of the book though so don’t worry about finishing the novel without ever understanding what is going on. I was worried about that for a while but it turned out to be a non-issue.

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I truly loved this book. I thought it was beautifully written, so much so, that it’s hard to imagine this being a debut novel. It deals with so many issues that real people, especially teenagers, are dealing with every single day. It’s a very emotional read and is so thought provoking. I was constantly stopping and contemplating about what I had just read and applying it to life. I totally recommend this novel to everyone. Whether you prefer contemporary to fantasy or vice versa, there’s a little something in The Love That Split The World for all. It will break your heart, it will make you laugh, and it will leave you breathless. This book is easily in top 3 favorites of the year. Truth.

Final Verdict: 5/5 Stars

Have you read TLTSTW yet? What are your thoughts about it?

Review: Not If I See You First

Some of you might have realized by now that I’m not the biggest fan of contemporary novels. They’re alright occasionally, but they just don’t catch my attention and I get bored with them. I like my books to capture my imagination and give me a place to escape to. However, I actually really enjoyed Not If I See You First by Eric Windstorm. Big thanks to Uppercase for picking this book to go in their December box because I never would have read it, otherwise. And I am so glad I did.

Don’t deceive me. Ever. Especially using my blindness. Especially in public.

Don’t help me unless I ask. Otherwise you’re just getting in my way or bothering me.

Don’t be weird. Seriously, other than having my eyes closed all the time, I’m just like you only smarter.

Parker Grant doesn’t need 20/20 vision to see right through you. That’s why she created the Rules: Don’t treat her any differently just because she’s blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. Just ask Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart.

When Scott suddenly reappears in her life after being gone for years, Parker knows there’s only one way to react—shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough on her mind already, like trying out for the track team (that’s right, her eyes don’t work but her legs still do), doling out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn’t cried since her dad’s death three months ago. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened—both with Scott, and her dad—the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem. Maybe, just maybe, some Rules are meant to be broken.

Combining a fiercely engaging voice with true heart, debut author Erid Lindstrom’s Not If I See You First illuminates those blind spots that we all have in life, whether visually impaired or not.

Most fantasy or dystopian novels have a lot of action to keep you interested. There’s always something happening on each page that forces you to stay up past a normal hour. But with this story, it’s a slow and steady affair. It’s not the action that grabs your attention, but the character development and relationships between the protagonist and her friends/family. The different relationships are so complicated but the love they all share is absolutely wonderful. The friendship between Parker and Sarah is amazing. This book would actually be a great choice for best friends to read together!

“He still looks at you like he used to, even before you got together, like

Parker Grant is a glorious character. Instead of letting her blindness ruin her life and be ashamed of the way she is, she carries it like a shield. It hardens her and turns her into someone who can’t worry about what others think. Parker’s blindness has created a wall around that she uses to keep from being hurt. She doesn’t worry about letting others get the best of her, she gets there first by being overly blunt with people using her very sharp tongue. Her blindness keeps her from seeing how it actually affects them so she doesn’t have to feel about how it’s received. Parker and I actually have that in common but I do try to be better about it because I CAN see the reaction. I try to apologize ahead of time, I promise! However, some people may not really care for her as a character and find her unlikeable. Which is the exact reason that I do like her!

As for the supporting characters in this story, while the boys (Jason and Scott) do play a part, it’s the girls that completely take over. Sarah and Molly were great counterparts to each other. Sarah has been Parker’s best friend forever and it was nice how Windstorm portrayed their friendship so realistically. As they’ve grown up, they’ve both changed a bit and have kind of let their friendship run on autopilot. I found this to be so true, especially with friends that you have had since you were little, as you tend to let things go as you grow up and never confront them head on. Molly is completely brand new to Parker and it was nice to see how her perspective on things was able to influence Parker. She needed this change in her life and I liked how that worked out. Molly didn’t know the history of certain situations and relationships so she gave a fresh outlook on them.

The underlying theme in this book is Parker’s relationship with her dad. His death wasn’t expected and is something that Parker has sorta walled herself off from. Watching her emotional growth throughout the book and how it affects her relationship and opinions of him was really well written in my opinion. There was one moment (I won’t spoil it for you!) that really affected me in regards to this, and I felt it was the turning point for the entire book. It was a truly wonderful chapter! I was really astounded to see just how much her feelings towards her dad had changed towards the end of the book. It was very real and moving, just a really beautifully sad yet hopeful thing to read.

“He still looks at you like he used to, even before you got together, like -2

This book covers a little bit of something for everyone from suicide and death to abandonment and trust issues, as well as being blind and relationships. If you go into this story thinking that it’s a typical YA contemporary focusing around romance, you are going to be very disappointed. The romance is probably only about 5% of this book. It serves its purpose as it helps Parker to grow as a person, but it isn’t the focal point. This story is about life, how we grow up and learn to deal with it when it isn’t perfect. And let’s be honest, it’s never perfect, is it?

Final Verdict: 4/5 Stars


Have you read Not If I See You First? What are your thoughts on it?