Monday, March 6, 2017

Review of All the Rage by Courtney Summers

All the Rage The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?


(Summary from GoodReads) 



I remember All the Rage getting a lot of buzz in the book community right when it first came out.  When I finally managed to read it for myself, I was excited to see what everyone liked about it so much.  I read Summers’ novel in two days and only put it down when I had to. All the Rage is a fantastically written and necessary read about rape culture in the lives of teenage girls.

I felt so many things over the course of reading this book, and for me one of the strongest emotions throughout the story was anger.   I felt so, so angry about how people in this book treated Romy.  Never once does Summers shy away from the fact that Romy has done nothing to deserve how the world around her treats her.  Instead, people just choose not to believe her.

In addition to rage, Summers fills this story with a lot of other emotion.  The writing and this story, and Romy, are sharp but still stunning.  Romy consistently reapplies lipstick and red nail polish, but she also has a love interest.  Summers balances her need to protect herself with her vulnerability.

I hope that All the Rage is a book that eventually finds its way onto the shelves of every high school classroom.  I hope that everyone who reads this finds themselves thinking a little bit harder about rape culture, and I think this has to be an important book for teenage girls who’ve experienced sexual assault.   A personal favorite of mine, All the Rage should be added to your must-read list if you haven’t read it already.

Disclosure: I originally read a copy of this book that I had checked out from my library, and then I bought a copy.
 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Liz Beats the Backlist

If you guys have been following my blog for a while, you know that when it comes to challenges, I can be a bit fickle.  I say I'll do challenges and my follow through frankly sucks.  I do manage to stick to my GoodReads challenge. This year, my goal is to read 105 books.

So what is Beat the Backlist?  First of all, it's hosted by Austine and Tia over at Novel Knight.  You should definitely visit their blog if you haven't already.  This challenge focuses on books published before 2017.  However many books you want to read is up to you. That's it. 

What sealed my decision to participate in this challenge, though, is the Hogwarts mini challenge.  Basically, you sign up with your Hogwarts house (I am a Gryffindor) and each month the houses compete to win the cup.  You can earn additional points for doing things like writing reviews.  I'm not a competitive person, but I am all in favor of Gryffindor winning.

All of that said, my goal for this challenge is to read 25 books.  I'm hoping a lot of these will be books I own as well as things that I check out from the library. Of course, part of the beauty of this challenge is that YA, MG, and adult books all count.

Let the fun begin!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Review of When We Collided by Emery Lord

When We Collided
We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.


(Summary from GoodReads) 



When I first heard about When We Collided, I was surprised, but in a good way.  Lord’s previous novels had both had serious heavy moments, but it felt like When We Collided might put some of the serious subject matter more in the foreground.  I was eager to see how Lord would handle this, and I was particularly intrigued when I heard that the story would deal with mental health.  When We Collided is a stunningly written novel about teens going through some of the most difficult phases of their adolescences.

Vivi struggles with bipolar disorder, and after a particularly bad year, she and her mother have moved to Verona Cove, California.  Jonah and his family already live in Verona Cove, where they are struggling with the recent passing of Jonah’s father and the question of how the family business will stay afloat.  The two of them meet when Jonah’s little sister, Leah, invites Vivi to the house for dinner, and Jonah makes a frankly delicious sounding pizza.  It doesn’t take long before Vivi and Jonah find themselves falling for each other in a deeply passionate and vibrant way.

All of the characters in this story are extremely well developed.  As I read When We Collided, I felt like I was part of Jonah’s family, or that the tensions that Vivi and her mom had could have been between my own mother and me.  Verona Cove was so well drawn that I could easily visualize each setting the characters were in.

Lord draws some strong parallels between Vivi and Jonah’s family.  Jonah has a huge, happily family whereas Vivi doesn’t know who her father is.  Lord is also careful to address the different ways that mental illness manifests.  Bipolar feels like something Vivi has struggled with for a long time, and the mental illness struggles within Jonah’s family feel triggered by his father’s death.  I appreciate Lord addressing that mental illness doesn’t always take the same form or happen for the same reasons.

While this story is filled with the charm of Verona Cove, Vivi’s energy, and the warmth of Jonah’s family, there is an edge throughout the story.  Throughout the novel, it feels as to though things could go horribly wrong at any moment.  Lord never shies away from this feeling but instead addresses it straight on.  I know some readers didn’t care for the ending of this story, but I loved that it didn’t hold back.

When We Collided deals with mental illness, grief, and romance in ways that are honest.  This isn’t just a story about how being in a relationship can change your life, it’s a story about how taking care of one’s own mental health is necessary to help keep healthy relationships.  Never for one moment is this story didactic.  It is about people who fall, everything one can go through while falling, and the afterwards. 
 

Disclosure: I borrowed an ARC of this book from a friend, but I also purchased a hard copy once it came out.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Review of Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend--the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer's national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.


(Summary from GoodReads)


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I was extremely excited when I heard that Winter would be over 700 pages. I really wanted Winter’s story after reading Fairest, and there was a lot to tie up given everything that happened earlier in the series.  Winter was an epic and satisfying conclusion to this series and I adored it.

I loved reading this story of Winter and Jacin.  It felt as though Meyer really stepped up the quality of her prose for this installment of the series.  Winter’s story had some particularly magical elements to it and I adored the romance between her and Jacin.

Of course, we spent a lot of time with all of our other characters as well, particularly Cinder and Levana. I loved seeing how characters grew throughout the series, and I loved the little glimpses we got of them as the story wound down.  The ending of this series tied up the relevant storylines, but not too neatly.

I freaking adored Winter.  This is a series that I want to reread again and again.  The best part of it is that for those who haven’t read the series yet, it’s totally bingeable now that it’s all out.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Review of Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5) In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?


Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.


(Summary from GoodReads) 



How is anyone supposed to know what to expect going into a story about an evil queen?  Sure, it was obvious that Meyer was going to give us reasons to understand why Levana is the way she is, otherwise this book wouldn’t have lived up to its full potential.  While I knew that Fairest was going to satiate my desire to learn more about Queen Levana, I was impressed by how it was woven into the series as a whole.

I just want to say how fulfilling it was to treat this as book three and a half in this series and read Winter immediately afterwards because while one could read Winter without having ever read Fairest, one will appreciate it much more.  You could skip it, but you’d be missing out on a great deal.  For those wondering, this book covers bits of Levana’s adolescence and childhood, as well as some romantic relationships she once had.  Of course, we get glimpses of other major characters in the series.

This book did make me feel more sympathetic towards Levana, which is good.  However, what’s even more important is the other characters that I met as I read this one.  I don’t want to say who, for risk of spoiling the series, but let me just say that I had ALL of the feelings.  I also found the writing in this story and the descriptions of Luna to be absolutely gorgeous.

Fairest is an essential part of Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series and I absolutely adored it. I loved learning about all of the characters that we met in this book. I can’t wait to reread it by listening to the audiobook.

Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.
 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Cover Reveal: 27 Hours by Tristina Wright

As I'm sure a lot of you guys probably know, I'm a pretty big fan of science fiction, both in t.v. and books.  Today I get the honor of revealing the cover of a book that I'm very excited to read, specifically 27 Hours by Tristina Wright.  I've been following Tristina on Twitter for a while now, and I am so excited to read this book based on everything I've heard about it.  Without further ado, here's the cover and a description.


Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.

But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.

Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother's shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon's darkest secret.

They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.

During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.


If you want to preorder the book like I already have, here are some links where you can do so:

Author Bio:
Tristina Wright is a blue-haired bisexual with anxiety and opinions. She’s also possibly a mermaid, but no one can get confirmation. She fell in love with science fiction and fantasy at a young age and frequently got caught writing in class instead of paying attention. She enjoys worlds with monsters and kissing and monsters kissing. She married a nerd who can build computers and make the sun shine with his smile. Most days, she can be found drinking coffee from her favorite chipped mug and making up more stories for her wombfruit, who keep life exciting and unpredictable.
Still trying to figure out the mermaid thing.

Snapchat: @tristinawright

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