Category Archives: Contemporary

*Review* Kiss of Broken Glass – Madeleine Kuderick

Kiss of Broken Glass Cover Kiss of Broken Glass

Madeleine Kuderick

224 pages

Read 10-16-14

Source: Library

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 Madeleine Kuderick’s gripping debut is a darkly beautiful and lyrical novel in verse, perfect for fans of Sonya Sones and Laurie Halse Anderson. Kiss of Broken Glass pulses with emotion and lingers long after the last page.

In the next seventy-two hours, Kenna may lose everything—her friends, her freedom, and maybe even herself. One kiss of the blade was all it took to get her sent to the psych ward for seventy-two hours. There she will face her addiction to cutting, though the outcome is far from certain.

When fifteen-year-old Kenna is found cutting herself in the school bathroom, she is sent to a facility for mandatory psychiatric watch. There, Kenna meets other kids like her—her roommate, Donya, who’s there for her fifth time; the birdlike Skylar; and Jag, a boy cute enough to make her forget her problems . . . for a moment.

I have read only two other books written in verse, but I have found I do enjoy the ones  have read and look forward to reading more.

Kiss of Broken Glass deals with a hard topic – cutting – and what could drive a person to do it.  I found Kenna to be very realistic and tortured, even if she didn’t want to admit it to herself.  Through Kenna we learn about the drive and ache of her addiction to self harm and the author does a great job of making us feel that need right along with Kenna.  The book spans only 72 hours, but in that short period, things become very eye opening.  The book was an incredibly fast read, but it was also powerful.

The few characters we meet during the commitment weren’t around very long, but they each had their own special impact on Kenna.  I especially liked Skylar and her honesty.  She was very open about everything and I think that helped Kenna be more honest with herself.  Donia was ok, but she was also someone who wanted to help Kenna keep cutting and didn’t seem like someone much into quitting self harm.  I didn’t get to know Jag too well, but the little bit I did see of him I did like him.

I definitely enjoyed this book and look forward to more work from this author!

Well written, powerful, fast read, really puts you in the main character’s shoes.

4.5 bookmark

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Contemporary, Fiction, Review, Tough Stuff, Verse, Young Adult

My Last Kiss Review and Giveaway Blog Tour

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My Last Kiss CoverMy Last Kiss

Bethany Neal

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Release Date: June 10th 2014

Read 5-29-14

Format: E-book

Source: Blog Tour with The Fantastic Flying Book Club

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What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy? 
Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss–the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died–is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend. 
If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made–good and bad–that led to her last kiss.
I like mystery stories and this book sounded like it could be really good.  Cassidy we only see alive for the very first chapter and for the rest of the book she is following others around trying to solve the questions behind her own death and falling into memories as she recovers them.  One part I did enjoy was seeing how people reacted to her death, like her family and closest friends.   Aimee and Ethan were the characters I liked the most.  They were very devoted to Cassidy and great people to her.  Madison I never really liked from the beginning because she was so back and forth.
There were a bunch of time jumps since there are so many flashbacks as Cassidy gains memories and we fall into them with her.  At several points it confused me when we went into the past because there wasn’t a clear transition all the time, but it becomes easier the more you read.  For me, there weren’t any characters that were super amazing, but most of them were likeable.  Others could be hard to keep up with because we didn’t really see them enough to care to really remember their names.
Several points of the book were predictable, aside from one that I can think of.  And though there was a lot of predictability, I still enjoyed following Cassidy’s story as she unraveled what happened to her and what happens between her and Ethan.  Though this book isn’t amazing, it is still an enjoyable read and I recommend it to those who enjoy mysteries and ghost type stories.
3.5 bookmark
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Bethany Neal writes young-adult novels with a little dark side and a lot of kissing! She is obsessed with (but not limited to): nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, pickles, and dessert.
You can find her locked in her Writertorium for insane amounts of time. But, hey, insanity is fun! My Last Kiss is her first novel.

Giveaway is open to US & Canada | Must be 13 or older to enter 
Win (1) signed hardback of My Last Kiss + a Swag Pack ( MLK Button, MLK Notebook, & Cassidy’s watermelon lip gloss)

 

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Tour co-hosted by Bethany Neal and The Fantastic Flying Book Club

 

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Filed under 3.5 Stars, Contemporary, Fiction, Giveaway, Mystery, Paranormal, Review, Young Adult

*Review* We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

We Were Liars Cover We Were Liars

E. Lockhart

Read 1-24-14

Source: Netgalley

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 A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
 
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

I went into this book half blind and decided to request it from Netgalley since I had seen a few high star reviews, so I decided to give it a shot and I am certainly glad I did.  There was a lot I really enjoyed about this story and it has stayed with me since I finished it and I think it will stay with me for a while after.

The main character, Cadence, is part of a group of friends that call themselves the Liars.  I am not sure if I just didn’t pick up on something, but I’m still not sure why they call themselves the Liars, especially since the adults lied more than the group did.  But, anyway, Cadence we get to see before and after her accident and how it affects her.  Her friends are each very different from one another and have different personalities, so they stand out well from each other.

“Gat seemed spring-loaded.  Like he was searching for something.  He was contemplation and enthusiasm   Ambition and strong coffee.  I could have looked at him forever.”

Though there wasn’t a lot of action going on, I enjoyed the writing style, which felt lyrical and poetic.  It isn’t fast-paced, but it still keeps a hold on you and makes you want to read more.  For me, it is beautiful and honest writing.  One of my favorite things about this story was the ending.  Generally, it takes a lot to surprise me, and this story did it and it will tug at your heart strings in the process.  Also, there are some time jumps back and forth a few times, so if you are someone who gets confused by time jumps, just be warned because sometimes flashbacks just jump right in.

Definitely a book I recommend, especially if you are a contemporary fan or enjoy surprise endings.  Beautiful and tragic, one you won’t quickly forget.

Beautiful writing, surprise ending, enthralling, powerful.

4.5 bookmark

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Contemporary, Fiction, Mystery, Review, Young Adult

*Review* Before I Fall – Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall Cover Before I Fall

Lauren Oliver

470 pages

ISBN: 9780061726811

Read 10-16-13

Source: Library

Format: Audiobook

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 What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Well, I had heard so much about this book and seen some of the great quotes on Goodreads and people’s blog, so I was excited to read this one.   Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations.  I think I am one of the rare few that didn’t really care for this book.  The writing was really good, but I wasn’t crazy about the characters or the things that happened.  I think the story had a lot of potential to be really great, but it just fell kind of flat for me.

Sam and her group of friends were really quite shallow and mean.  I don’t like those kind of people and I don’t like those kind of characters.  I didn’t realize they were going to be like that.  Several times I wanted to stop, but as stated before, I am not a DNF kind of person, so I trudged through.  Though Sam did change a lot through the book, I was still very annoyed with everybody else.  I also wasn’t big on the way the narrator of the audiobook did the voices, everybody sounded high or slow or tired.  Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it in regular book format instead of audio.

The plot was an interesting idea, but it just could have been better, in my opinion.  I wanted to hit Sam so many times because of how shallow and self centered she was being.  The story made good points in some places, but I just think it could have been so much more.  Sam was definitely a slow learner and it took her quite some time before she was really starting to GET it.  I am not trying to dissuade anybody from reading it, but this just wasn’t for me.

Great writing, unlikeable characters, had potential, not for me.

2.5 bookmark

 

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Filed under 3 Stars, Audiobook, Contemporary, Fiction, Review, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult

*Review* Just One Day – Gayle Forman

Just One Day Cover Just One Day

Gayle Forman

368 pages

ISBN: 9780525425915

Read 10-11-13

Source: Library

Format: Hardover

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A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay

When sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Oh, how wonderful this book was!  I did enjoy If I Stay, but I gotta say I enjoyed this one even more!  There is so much I loved about this book and almost nothing that I didn’t.  I’ll start with the scenery.  There are a few places we visit in this story, like England, Holland, and mainly Paris!  Everything is so beautiful and real and alive in my head.  The descriptions are just lovely.

I mostly liked Allyson.  I liked that she got to be someone different, Lulu, for that single day, and it seemed to be truer to herself than she thought, but I didn’t like how she was at first while she was dealing with her tough times.  I kind of wanted to yell at her to get over it a couple of times, but at the same time I can understand why she would be that way.  Oh, Willem, I would love to meet you in real life.  He has now been added to my book boyfriend list for sure.  And Dee, he is so cool, too, quite a character, and in a very, very good way.  I love Allyson and Dee’s friendship and the way he is there for her.   Even the characters you meet in passing are great.

This story was very touching and beautiful and really gets in you heart.  I am glad I don’t have to wait an entire year before reading the second part to this story!  I think I would die because of the way it ended, but luckily, I already have the next one in hand, yay!  I am itching to continue it!  Aside from a great story, it also has great life lessons and I love to see how Allyson starts to see them, too and changing.  If you like contemporaries, or if you have been looking for one to try, this is definitely a wonderful one to pick up!

Great characters, beautiful descriptions, realistic, sometimes Allyson was…annoying.

4.5 bookmark

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*Review* Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl Cover Fangirl

Rainbow Rowell

433 pages

ISBN: 9781250030955

Read 9-13-13

Format: Paperback ARC

Source: Lit Lushes ARC Tours

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A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. Cath is a Simon Snow fan.Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Wow, this book was so much wonderful!  Though I very recently bought Eleanor & Park, I haven’t read it yet, I got it just before Fangirl and since Fangirl was for an ARC tour, I read it first, and based on it, I can’t wait to start Eleanor & Park!  This book is just so magical and real and relatable.  Thanks to the girls at Lit Lushes for letting me part of the tour for this amazing book!

Cath is definitely many people are going to be able to see themselves in, I know I did.  I was also the quiet girl who was often the “teacher’s pet” and got the high GPA and didn’t go to parties; the nerd who would rather stay home in her own little world rather than go out and get drunk like the other college students.  I also wrote fanfiction (though I haven’t in a little while now) and I have always been a high anxiety kind of person, though maybe not quite as high as Cath’s.  The only real complaint I have for this book is sometimes Cath gets a bit too whiny with a couple of things, but other than that this book is magnificent.  Levi was awesome for the most part, definitely crush worthy and I loved how loyal of a friend he was.  My heart was breaking for Cath with her sister, her twin sister, who didn’t seem to want to be part of a twin pair anymore going into college.

This book deals with some pretty deep issues that I wasn’t expecting and they were handled really well and very realistically.  This whole book was so realistic and touching and heartbreaking and hopeful.  It was also very creative with how be got to see tidbits of the Simon Snow books and Cath’s fanfiction mingled in.  The writing style is fabulous and I was certainly won over and am now a loyal fan for Rainbow Rowell.  I had to force myself to stop reading several times when I had to do “more important” things.  Loved the whole thing!  A truly fantastic book!

Wonderful characters, great writing, super relatable, Cath a bit too whiny in a couple places.

4.5 bookmark

 

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Contemporary, Fiction, New Adult, Review, Romance, Young Adult

*Review* Two Boys Kissing – David Levithan

Two Boys Kissing Cover Two Boys Kissing

David Levithan

208 pages

ISBN: 9780307931900

Read 9-6-13

Format: Hardcover

Source: Library

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New York Times  bestselling author David Levithan tells the based-on-true-events story of Harry and Craig, two 17-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record—all of which is narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS. 

While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teen boys dealing with languishing long-term relationships, coming out, navigating gender identity, and falling deeper into the digital rabbit hole of gay hookup sites—all while the kissing former couple tries to figure out their own feelings for each other.

This was my first Levithan book and certainly won’t be the last! You guys, this book!  It was so good in so many ways, and not really what I expected, but so much better. The Greek chorus was different but a great new reading experience and it worked so well with this story.

This book tugged at my emotions in good ways and bad ways and I found myself tearing up more than once. We go back and forth between multiple main stories and see so much and experience so much that gay couples and singles so through, which is basically the same as straight people, but with the stigma and hate of people who don’t agree with the love they have. We see both the good and the bad for them. Love is love, unfortunately not everybody gets that.

I love the message in the book, that people should be able to love who they want to without being  criticized for it because they are the same gender and that even if they are flawed, they are still beautiful. I am all for equality and people being true to themselves because it makes them wonderful and this book shines with this message.

The characters are so wonderful and real and I really liked seeing their stories and their troubles and flaws and I wanted to hug them all. My heart broke for them and I was happy for them and I cheered them on, and the Greek chorus make it even more powerful and it was so hopeful.  I just loved the whole thing. A definite recommendation for those who want a touching read that will take hold of your heart.

Powerful, beautiful message, great writing, a new favorite!

5 bookmark

 

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Filed under 5 Stars, Contemporary, Fiction, LGBT, Review, Romance, Young Adult

*Review* Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac – Gabrielle Zevin

Memoirs Teenage Amnesiac Cover Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac

 Gabrielle Zevin

288 pages

ISBN: 9780374349462

Read March 2013

Format: Audiobook

Source: Library

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If Naomi had picked tails, she would have won the coin toss. She wouldn’t have had to go back for the yearbook camera, and she wouldn’t have hit her head on the steps. She wouldn’t have woken up in an ambulance with amnesia. She certainly would have remembered her boyfriend, Ace. She might even have remembered why she fell in love with him in the first place. She would understand why her best friend, Will, keeps calling her “Chief.” She’d know about her mom’s new family. She’d know about her dad’s fiancée. She never would have met James, the boy with the questionable past and the even fuzzier future, who tells her he once wanted to kiss her. She wouldn’t have wanted to kiss him back.
 
But Naomi picked heads.

Well, here I am still catching up on some of my older reviews.  I was on 3rd shift for the entire month of April, which really threw off my days!  I couldn’t keep up with what day it was since I was at work on 2 different days.  Tomorrow was today and today was yesterday, I’d think it was Tuesday, but really it was Friday; it was a jumbled mess when it came to when it actually was.  I decided I like my M-F schedule much better than the alternating 12 hr workdays for 3rd.  Anyway, here is my next catch up review!

This book was really well written and one of the most realistic reads when it comes to amnesia.  Naomi was an interesting character, when we meet her, it’s right before the accident has happened and her personality is different than before the accident, so we don’t get to know how she was before hand really unless somebody was talking about how she was before.  I really liked Will.  He was fun and funny, plus he knew Naomi the best of anybody and was really there for her, though there were points where Naomi wasn’t fair to him and some other people, but I can imagine 4 years of lost memory can really be quite stressful.

There is a lot of stuff that happens to her while she has amnesia and a lot of questions she must ask herself and decide on what she wants since she doesn’t know what she wanted before since she can’t remember it.  She makes several mistakes and almost loses people she is close to.  Her life becomes a crazy ride for a girl who is missing a big chunk of memory.  The story was a bit on the slower side, but I liked the way everything ended. It wasn’t an incredibly amazing story, but it was still enjoyable.

Well-written, on the slow side, realistic, good characters.

4 bookmark

 

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*Review* On The Jellicoe Road – Melina Marchetta

On The Jellicoe Road Cover On The Jellicoe Road

Melina Marchetta

300 pages

ISBN: 9780670070299

Read 4-17-13

Format: Audiobook

Source: Library

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Abandoned by her mother on Jellicoe Road when she was eleven, Taylor Markham 17, finally confronts her past. Hannah, the closest adult she has to family, disappears. Jonah Griggs, moody stares and all, is back in town. If Taylor can put together the pieces of her past, she might just be able to change her future.

THIS BOOK!  Oh, this book.  It is so hard to tell the wonderfulness that is this story.  When I read the synopsis I wasn’t really sure if I was going to like it since it really isn’t my normal kind of read, but I had heard a lot of great things about this book and decided that I wanted to see what all the hype was about, and I am SO GLAD I did.  This story was absolutely brilliant!  Very emotional and heart wrenching and amazing and I just want to hug everybody and it just draws you in and doesn’t let you go.

I feel like I know everybody involved in this book and the character development was incredible.  Taylor lets people think she really doesn’t care abotu anything and she comes off very abrasive with people at first, but she really changes through out the course of the story with everything she goes through and finds out.  Jonah also is not quite what he seems on the outside.  Raffy is a great friend and I really like her by the end of the book.

The story is a bit confusing at first (which is why I had to deduct half a star) and I had to figure out the lingo and what was going on before I really got into the book.  It will definitely be one I will want to reread and there will be no confusion the second time around.  There are actually two story lines going, the present and one with a group of 5 friends from almost 20 years ago, which crash together.  Everything is so well-written and intricate and the stories are woven so well together.

It really is hard to express how incredible this book is.  Really, really wow.  One of my new favorites!  Next time I think I will read the book (since I will definitely be buying a copy) instead of audio.  The reader was australian and she did really well, hoever I did not like the music that played before and after each chapter introduction and ending.  It was kind of annoying and I just wanted to hurry up and get back to the reading.  This one is a must have for book shelves!

Excellent characters, emotional, poignant, slow beginning.

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*Review* The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

The Fault in our Stars The Fault in Our Stars

John Green

313 pages

ISBN: 9780525478812

Read 1-15-13

Format: Audiobook

Source: Library

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Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 13, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

This was my first time reading John Green and it definitely will not be the last.  This story was so beautiful, poignant and touching.  Very powerful.  It was also my first cancer book.  The author did so well portraying what it is like to be a cancer patient, especially from the female point of view.

Hazel was very strong, even though she was also very sick and Augustus could make anybody’s day bright with his playful quips and positive attitude.  As heartbreaking as this book was at points,  I also found myself laughing pretty hard in places, mainly because of Augustus.  I loved how witty he was.

The writing style was excellent and fluid.  It gave te story a poetic flow and nice sound as the performer read it.  This is one of my favorite audiobooks and you could really feel the emotion in all the right spots.  Even the accents were wonderfully done.   The whole book was simply beautiful and dealth with a tough subject in an incredible way.  I greatly look forward to all works by John Green and highly recommend this book to readers who want to have their heart touch by such a wonderful story.

Powerful, beautiful, amazing, have tissues.

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Filed under 5 Stars, Audiobook, Contemporary, Fiction, Review, Romance, Tough Stuff, Young Adult