Tag Archives: right in the feels

January Wrap-Up/February TBR

One month down, 11 more to go. 2018 reading journey is officially started.

January wrap-up:


People Like Us People Like Us – Dana Mele. 3/5 stars. I was really excited about the premise and it was a fun read but it was a little predictable.

Prince in Disguise Prince in Disguise – Stephanie Kate Strohm. 3/5 stars. A very cute read but the main character did annoy me at times.

Astonishing Color of After The Astonishing Color of After – Emily XR Pan. 4/5 stars. Loved the use of color to describe emotions. Very powerful.

Last to Let Go The Last To Let Go – Amber Smith. 4/5 stars. Review. I really loved the dynamics between the siblings as they tried to hold on and let go at the same time.

Midnights The Midnights – Sarah Nicole Smetana. 3.5/5 stars. Review. I liked the way music played such a huge role in the plot.

35231460 Dear Evan Hansen – Steven Levenson. 5/5 stars. Love the musical and this book just made me love it even more.

COB&B_JKT_100517.indd Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi. 4.5/5 stars. So good! The world-building in this book was phenomenal.

Saints and Misfits Saints and Misfits – SK Ali. 4/5 stars. Review. This book was very powerful and I wish it had made the short list for Canada Reads.

34964921 This Heart of Mine – CC Hunter. 3.5/5 stars. A definite emotional read.

We'll Fly Away We’ll Fly Away – Bryan Bliss. 4/5 stars. Review. I loved the friendship between the two main characters.

31706530 Grit – Gillian French. 3/5 stars. I was expecting more twists to this mystery.

Conspiracy of Stars A Conspiracy of Stars – Olivia A Cole. 3.5/5 stars. I liked the concept but it did feel a little “chosen one special”.

30238163 Ace of Shades – Amanda Foody. 4/5 stars. Review. The characters were great and the setting was fantastic.

forsaken The Forsaken – Lisa M Stasse. 3/5 stars. I liked the concept but it didn’t really grab me once I started it.

an abundance of katherines An Abundance of Katherines – John Green. 3.5/5 stars. Not my favourite John Green but it was a good, fun read.

Winterfolk Winterfolk – Janel Kolby. 3.5/5 stars. This was a little hard to get into but once I did, I liked it. Good recommend for strong, young readers.

Traitor Prince The Traitor Prince – CJ Redwine. 4/5 stars. I am loving the Ravenspire world that CJ Redwine has created and this was a great addition.

15784722 The Uprising – Lisa M Stasse. 3/5 stars. Same as the first. There’s enough to get me to finish the series but it’s not my favourite.

February TBR:

Where I LiveWicked Deep3656333035068453

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Book Review: We’ll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss

We'll Fly Away

We’ll Fly Away

Release date: May 8th 2018

4 stars

Uniquely told through letters from death row and third-person narrative, Bryan Bliss’s hard-hitting third novel expertly unravels the string of events that landed a teenager in jail. Luke feels like he’s been looking after Toby his entire life. He patches Toby up when Toby’s father, a drunk and a petty criminal, beats on him, he gives him a place to stay, and he diffuses the situation at school when wise-cracking Toby inevitably gets into fights. Someday, Luke and Toby will leave this small town, riding the tails of Luke’s wrestling scholarship, and never look back.
But during their senior year, they begin to drift apart. Luke is dealing with his unreliable mother and her new boyfriend. And Toby unwittingly begins to get drawn into his father’s world, and falls for an older woman. All their long-held dreams seem to be unraveling. Tense and emotional, this heartbreaking novel explores family, abuse, sex, love, friendship, and the lengths a person will go to protect the people they love.

I knew this would be a hard read going into it but that still didn’t prepare me for its full impact. The way the story unfolded reminded me a bit of the way This Is Us works, with the reader seeing the past and the events leading up to the present, but also getting to see the present through letters one boy was writing to the other. The bond between the boys was strong and it was hard to see them drifting away from each other and fighting, though no matter how angry they’d get they would always worry about the other.

The book was told through three main POVs. We had past Luke, past Toby, and present Luke writing letters to Toby. The boys were very different but it was easy to see why they were friends. It would take something extreme to break into that bond. It was a friendship where they each simply accepted who the other was and when they started drifting away, the more they began questioning each other’s choices. These were two boys who really just needed a break in life but it seemed like they would never get it. Luke’s letters in the present showed just how hard he was taking the event that landed him on death row, though they never revealed it.

It was a fast read, both because it was so good and I really wanted to finish it but also because it was fast-paced. It wasn’t an easy read but definitely worthwhile. One that will stick with me. There was laughter, there were tears, there was anger. So many emotions. When a book gets that much emotion out of me, it definitely deserves a place on my bookshelf. Once it comes out.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked
I need one really good snowstorm to ploy through my TBR pile.

Currently reading: 31706530

Finished reading: We'll Fly Away34964921Saints and MisfitsCOB&B_JKT_100517.indd

Reviewed: MidnightsLast to Let Go

What I’m hoping to get to next week: 3023816334848207 to read

We'll Fly AwaySaints and Misfits to review.

Books read it 2018: 9

Debut authors read for 2018: 10

Contemporary: 3

Fantasy: 1

Sci-Fi:

Misc: 1

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Book Review: Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Tuler Johnson

Tyler Johnson Was Here

Release date: March 20th 2018

4 stars

When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.
The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean.

This book was the latest one that I’ve read that dealt with the subject of police brutality, following in the steps of books like The Hate U Give and Dear Martin. No matter how many books comes out about this topic, it’s not something I will ever be desensitized to, nor should it be. This book really hit me in a different way as the other because it dealt with the main character losing a sibling, being terrified when his brother didn’t come home, having no idea how to start looking for him, being frustrated that the police weren’t listening. It was very personal and, as someone with siblings, I felt very connected to Marvin.

The whole book was told from Marvin’s POV as we saw him struggle with his brother pulling away from him, his fear when Tyler was missing, his anger when he found out what had happened. The plot was pushed by Marvin’s emotions. He wanted answers, he wanted the truth, he wanted justice. Marvin’s voice was everything it needed to be to make this book memorable.

I do find that this is one of those books that’s hard to review because it’s so personal and because it’s one that everyone should read for themselves. It wasn’t just Marvin who shone in this book, but his friends and his mother as well, as they all dealt with Tyler missing and then seeing what had happened to him. This is a book that I definitely consider a must read.

*I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis

Dangerous Art of Blending in

The Dangerous Art of Blending In

Release date: January 30 2018

4 stars

Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos doesn’t know where he fits in. His strict Greek mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. His quiet, workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend Henry has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer.
Tired, isolated, scared—Evan’s only escape is drawing in an abandoned church that feels as lonely as he is. And, yes, he kissed one guy over the summer. But it’s his best friend Henry who’s now proving to be irresistible. It’s Henry who suddenly seems interested in being more than friends. And it’s Henry who makes him believe that he’s more than his mother’s harsh words and terrifying abuse. But as things with Henry heat up, and his mother’s abuse escalates, Evan has to decide how to find his voice in a world where he has survived so long by avoiding attention at all costs.

This was a hard, emotional book to read but one that, when I was done, felt like I had just read something very important. It wasn’t just a coming out story about a boy finding his sexuality but also about telling the truth about an abusive parent. I believe this was the first book I’ve read with an abusive mother toward a son and it was chilling(as it would be no matter what) to read how much this mother hated her son.

Evan was the type of character who liked to keep everything in neat little boxes. He didn’t like his worlds to mingle. With it becoming harder to hide the abuse and his growing crush on his best friend, Henry, his worlds were starting to mix and it was obviously affecting him. He really just wanted to live his life but he couldn’t, not safely in his own home because of his mother. His father worked so much so he was rarely around and, when he was, he would try to step in but he only ever stopped her for the moment. It was not a healthy situation for Evan.

The book also had a lot of great, positive dynamics. The friendship to more of Evan and Henry was great, not sudden but a slow struggle. Henry’s family was great, funny, and I wish we’d gotten to see more of them. Every person in Evan’s life had some kind of impact of his, even if it was just by staying silent, and all of it was causing Evan’s perfectly separated lines to blend into each other.

What made the book so hard to read was that every time it seemed like something was going right for Evan, there would be something bad right around the corner. The kid couldn’t catch a break. I liked that he was able to have some escape with his art and how connected he was to it. This is a book where I highly recommend reading the author’s notes after because they add a lot to the book as well.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Long Way Down

Long Way Down

Release date: October 17 2017

4 stars

A cannon. A strap.
A piece. A biscuit.
A burner. A heater.
A chopper. A gat.
A hammer
A tool
for RULE

Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he? As the elevator stops on the sixth floor, on comes Buck. Buck, Will finds out, is who gave Shawn the gun before Will took the gun. Buck tells Will to check that the gun is even loaded. And that’s when Will sees that one bullet is missing. And the only one who could have fired Shawn’s gun was Shawn. Huh. Will didn’t know that Shawn had ever actually USED his gun. Bigger huh. BUCK IS DEAD. But Buck’s in the elevator? Just as Will’s trying to think this through, the door to the next floor opens. A teenage girl gets on, waves away the smoke from Dead Buck’s cigarette. Will doesn’t know her, but she knew him. Knew. When they were eight. And stray bullets had cut through the playground, and Will had tried to cover her, but she was hit anyway, and so what she wants to know, on that fifth floor elevator stop, is, what if Will, Will with the gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, MISSES. And so it goes, the whole long way down, as the elevator stops on each floor, and at each stop someone connected to his brother gets on to give Will a piece to a bigger story than the one he thinks he knows. A story that might never know an END…if WILL gets off that elevator.

This book was a fast read and I found it to be very unique. Told from the POV of Will in the verse style, the chapters were short but very engaging. It made it very easy to say one more chapter until the book was finished. Almost the whole book took place within the length of the elevator ride from the eighth floor to the lobby and it did so without feeling like the plot was being stretched out.

Will was someone I found to be a relatable character and he had a voice that really resonated, that stayed with me long after I closed the book. He was grieving for his brother and he wanted revenge, he knew he had to follow the rules his brother taught him and as long as he could focus on that, he had a purpose. He was hurting and angry and just wanted someone to pay.

I liked seeing who was going to come on to the elevator next and what they would add to the conversation. Each person had a connection to Will, even if he didn’t know it right away, and they all gave him and the reader something to think about. Jason Reynolds could have doubled the amount of floors and stops and I’m sure I still would have loved it because the conversations were so great and important.

The verse style worked well for the subject matter. It drew attention and highlighted the parts of the conversations that ended up sticking more in my mind and it made for a quick read. I wasn’t fully prepared for just how much this short book shook me but I know I won’t be forgetting it.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Weekly Reading Recap

14836299-stack-of-books-books-stacked

I feel like this week just flew by. I hope this is a good reading week because I feel the need to lose myself in fictional worlds.

Currently reading: The Nowhere Girls

Finished reading: BurnWhen It's RealThat Inevitable Victorian ThingLong Way Down

Reviewed: NyxiaFireblood

What I’m hoping to get to next week: Rules of RainLove, Life, and the List to read

Long Way DownWhen It's Real to review

Books read it 2017: 158

Debut authors read in 2017: 37

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Trailer Reveal: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances. 

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything. 

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened. 

For what she let happen. 

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when her and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2tiopFf

Audible: http://amzn.to/2wUGZIf
B&N: http://bit.ly/2rEvMc8
iBooks: http://apple.co/2qANVDI

My Review

 

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Book Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

They Both Die At the End

They Both Die at the End

Release date: September 5th 2017

4 stars

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

Adam Silvera is 3/3 at making me fall apart while reading his books. This one was very unique, each of his books are so different from each other, and I fell in love with this cast of characters. They pulled me right into their story, these two completely different boys and their friends, and I both didn’t want to stop reading and wanted to run away because of the title and anticipation of all the crying. It was an Adam Silvera book after all.

I enjoyed the multi-POV with the focus on Rufus and Mateo. It was mostly told through the eyes of the two main boys but we got little glimpses into a lot of characters who played a role in the day’s events. Sometimes they were character who’d also gotten to call, sometimes they were friends of either Rufus or Mateo, and sometimes they seemed like a random POV. Everything tied together very well, something I’ve come to expect from an Adam Silvera book.

I like the contrast between the two main boys. Mateo was quiet, much less adventurous, and was dealing with anxiety. Rufus was harsher, abrasive, but underneath very caring. Neither of them deserved to get a call from Deathcast saying they were going to die that day but they did and they both chose to make the most of it. I really liked the idea of an App where someone who’d gotten the call could find someone to spend their last day with and that were places they could go to have an amazing experience.

The whole idea of Deathcast had me wanting more, not in the ‘it wasn’t explained or built well in the book’ way but in the ‘this is so fascinating’ way. I could read about its creation, about the person who got the first call, about the people left behind. There could be so many stories written in this universe and I would read them all. And probably cry a lot because it’s Adam Silvera. Maybe one day I’ll make it through one of his books without crying but it wasn’t this one.

*I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Book Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout

If there's no tomorrow

If There’s No Tomorrow

Release date: September 5th 2017

4 stars

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend, Sebastian, know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be one of opportunities and chances. Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything. Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian could never forgive her for what happened. For what she let happen. With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?

Jennifer L Armentrout has been a favourite author since I fell in love with the Lux series and as long as books like this one keep coming out, that isn’t going to change. It didn’t take long to get sucked into the plot, feel a connection to Lena, and just generally fall in love with this book.

Lena was a character I liked immediately. She started off pretty early talking about books so that is always a way for a character to win my heart. It was her senior year and she was looking forward the parties, volleyball games, and just having an epic last year before her group of friends graduated. When the tragedy alluded to in the synopsis happened, we saw Lena struggle with guilt and grief. It was hard to read but also very realistic. It was Lena’s struggle to move on and her grieving that was her story arc.

I really enjoyed Lena’s relationship with Sebastian. It was the familiar plot of best friends where one was in love with the other but they were still great together, either as friends or maybe one day more. I loved how supportive he was of her.

This was a very, very emotional book. It didn’t take long for the waterworks to start and once they did, they were impossible to stop. There was also laughter, the book wasn’t all darkness and sadness. I love when Jennifer L Armentrout’s characters are bookworms because they often read books that actually exist and it’s always fun to see them reading books that I also love.

*I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music in exchange for an honest review.

 

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