Review: Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson (Blog Tour)

piecing_me_togetherHi everyone! I’m very happy to be the third stop on the Piecing Me Together Blog Tour. I loved Piecing Me Together, so I’ll be sharing a review. I hope you check it out and enter the giveaway posted at the end.

25566675Title: Piecing Me Together

Author: Renee Watson

Published: February 14, 2017

Pages: 272

Genres: Contemporary

Themes: Family, Privilege, Race, Friendship, Coming of Age

Format: ARC 

Source: Bloomsbury

Rating: Four Stars

Goodreads Summary:

A timely and powerful story about a teen girl from a poor neighborhood striving for success, from acclaimed author Renée Watson.

Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.

But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.

Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.

Cover Thoughts: I love the actual collage on this cover. It’s totally gorgeous and I love the Black POC front and center on there.

~Review~

For a Contemporary book, this is really magical. Piecing Me Together felt like such a personal story that could fit many black girls lives today. When we meet Jade, she’s living in poverty and fighting her way out of it by doing well in school. Unfortunately, due to her being black and also on the lower economic spectrum, she gets encouraged to join Woman to Woman, a mentorship for black girls who are labeled “at-risk”. From the outside, it’s a little easy to see why Jade would be chosen for the mentorship, she lives in poverty, is at her private school on scholarship and is raised by a single mother.

On the other hand though, Jade is anything but at-risk. She’s passionate. I really liked hearing about the mentorship program because I think it was good in theory. Like Jade though, there were some reservations about it, like how there was a focus on boys and superficial things at time. I wish there had been a little bit of a deeper look at the mentorship because I really thought it was going well at the end. Jade’s mentor, Maxine annoyed me quite a bit throughout the story. Maxine was a little self involved and prideful when it came to Jade. While Maxine is black, she grew up in a different kind of way than Jade. Her family was very proper and reserved. This made Jade uncomfortable and nervous at times given her background. I loved seeing these two woman interact with each other even if Maxine did frustrate me at times. I like how Jade spoke up about Woman to Woman and encouraged the mentors to cover different topics, topics that these girls should know, like finances and budgeting. I don’t often see financial aspects come up too much in YA, so I loved seeing how Piecing Me Together talked about finances a bit. When Maxine  One thing I especially liked was how Maxine and Jade’s mom’s interactions were written. As Jade begins to spend more time with Maxine, her mother is on the hesitant side. She also grows jealous at times over the relationship.

Jade is one of my favorite characters in all of fiction. I loved how driven she was, how she wanted more not only for herself but for the mentorship. She was determined to carve herself a space out whether that was speaking up about the mentorship or making a collage. Jade had two big interests in Piecing Me Together, Spanish and art. I really enjoyed seeing these incorporated. At the beginning of each chapter was a word in spanish, and it’s definition. These words would generally focus on what the chapter would be about. I thought it was an interesting way to showcase Jade’s passion for Spanish. I really liked how often Jade made collages and discussed art. Collages are one of my favorite formats for art because of how you tear things apart to put them back together. Jade’s collages dealt with her feelings and events that happened. Jade is a girl who is on the bigger side and I loved seeing how that also affected her life. I felt her thoughts and experiences were very realistic and I know I could relate to them at times.

Piecing Me Together is such a timely book that deals with so many serious issues of today, police brutality, white privilege, racial differences, and socioeconomic scales. There’s really so many examinations at different issues that makes this such a gem to read. One of my favorite parts about Piecing Me Together was seeing how Jade’s friendships differed between her black friend, Lee Lee and her white friend, Sam. It reminded me a lot of an on-going storyline in the middle-grade series, Three Girls In The City.

Sam, while from a similar financial background as Jade, Sam and her grandparents worry when Sam goes to her house. Later in the book, Jade hears about a girl their age who was a victim of police brutality. Sam, being white, doesn’t understand why Jade is so upset about it. In other instances, Sam doesn’t notice the difference in privileges that they get. Woman to Woman is called a privilege for Jade whereas Sam’s privilege at school is something Jade really deserved and wanted. I like how Piecing Me Together showed the stressful and difficult look at racial differences between friends.

~Final Thoughts~

Piecing Me Together is a book to read for this year. The issues it covers are so important today and I loved seeing how naturally they fit. I think Jade will stay with most people. It was really easy to read. The chapters are short, but I loved the spotlight each one of them had on different experiences. I do wish some chapters were longer and that the book was longer. I think Piecing Me Together will give a very insightful look at how black teens go through life and how their worldview lens differs from the usual white Young Adult protagonist..


Giveaway Link for one (1) hardcover of Piecing Me Together


Dates:

2/14: Story Sanctuary

2/15: Reading is Better than Cupcakes

2/16: YA Indulgences

2/17: Awkwordly Emma

2/21: Dazzled by Books

2/22: Here’s to Happy Endings

2/23: A Little Book World

2/24: Random Musings of a Bibliophile


Top Ten Favorite Romance Movies

Hi everyone. This week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) is a Valentine’s Day freebie. I decided to feature my ten favorite romance movies.

Top Ten Tuesday

ttt_2_14_17

One Day

one-day

I remember renting this from Redbox over winter break during my freshman year of college. I was so fascinated by the idea of the movie going over the day two friends met over the period of 20 years.

Listen To Your Heart

listen_to_your_heart

This was a random indie movie I decided to watch on Netflix. It’s now one of my favorite romance dramas. The female main character is deaf and not portrayed by a deaf actress, which should be noted. I felt the movie did a good job. It is on the sadder side though, so beware.

Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind

eternal_sunshine_of_the_spotless_mind

This was a movie that I heard a lot about over the years. I eventually found it on sale, possibly and gave it a watch. Let me just say “Wow”. I love this movie. It’s really insightful and it’s a deconstruction of the manic pixie dream girl characterization.

Garden State

garden_state

This is similar to the above, I never really thought about it until I bought it. Then I fell in love with it. It also made me listen to The Shins due to a scene in the movie. The soundtrack is also very A +.

Definitely Maybe

definitely_maybe

I bought this without really knowing anything about it and fell in love with the way it was told. The father in the movie tells his daughter the story of how he and her mom met.

A Walk To Remember

a_walk_to_remember

This is my first and favorite Nicholas Sparks-turned-movie I saw. I love Mandy Moore in it.

Dirty Dancing

dirty_dancing

This is a classic which doesn’t need explaining. I like the look at different classes it had but it would’ve been more amazing had it some POC and expanded on the overall difference in economic classes.

Dear John

DJ_IT_1Sht_18

This is my second favorite Nicholas Sparks movie. I’m not a huge fan of Amanda Seyfried, but I liked her in this movie.

Things I Hate About You

10_things_i_hate_about_you

This is another classic which doesn’t need explaining.

Warm Bodies

warm_bodies

I remembered being really interested in this movie which actually came out on Valentine’s Day around seven years ago. I loved the music and the plot in it.


I have a list of romance movies I should watch, as I surprisingly haven’t seen too many. What are some of your favorite romance movies? Happy Valentine’s Day.


All Of The 2016 Books I Meant To Read

Hey guys. I know, I know, “Two Top Ten Tuesdays in a row!”. I’m working on a year long streak of them.  You can find out more about Top Ten Tuesday here.

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday is “Top Ten 2016 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To (But TOTALLY plan to)“. This is basically my kind of topic. Again.

I went through an absolutely ridiculous reading slump last year. I call it, the lost year. Let’s not talk about it anymore, it’s too painful.

How about I get to the books now? As usual, I have more than ten! I decided to pick sixteen in honor of 2016. And you’ve probably seen me mention all of these lovely, amazing, fantastic looking books before.

  1. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills
  2. Be Good Be Real Be Crazy by Chelsey Philpot
  3. Still Life With Tornado by A.S. King
  4. Wrecked by Maria Padian
  5. Beast by Brie Spangler
  6. Into White by Randi Pink
  7. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
  8. Whisper To Me by Nick Lake
  9. The Memory of Light by Francesco X. Stork
  10. Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu
  11. Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
  12. Jerkbait by Mia Siegert
  13. You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour
  14. Autofocus by Lauren Gibaldi
  15. Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel
  16. Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

I have almost every single one of these books, so there’s no reason for me to not have read them. Absolutely NO reason. Minus work, home, slumps and sleep. No reason at all, guys.

Would you like to know which books I own? I’ll just tell you the ones I don’t have in one format or another: Be Good Be Real Be Crazy, Rani Patel In Full Effect, and Into White.

I feel really connected to Still Life With Tornado, Girl In Pieces, Whisper To Me and The Memory of Light even though I haven’t read them. I feel like when I do read them, I’ll love them.


Have you read any of these books? How did you like them? What are some books you meant to read last year but didn’t?


Where Have I Been?

It’s no lie that I spent much of last year being, well, absent from my blog. A lot of things just kept coming up, I got a job and I just couldn’t balance both of them. I meant to post a lot of times, but by the time I got around to needing my post to be up (around midnight), I’d be too tired to finish it. I meant to do monthly recaps and a yearly review, but knowing how much time I spend on those, I just couldn’t. It was too daunting to even try. I’ve wanted to post reviews, but with my already being a procrastinator, nothing in my life made it easy to do that.

It’s made me so sad to see my blog almost slowly die and with it, my actual contribution to the blogging community. I’m hoping this year will be better, but I don’t know. I’m still shaken by events that have happened last year along with the results of the election.

I’m going to try to post regularly, one of my goals for the year is to post at least three times a week. So far, I’ve been handling that okay. I hope it continues too.

I guess this is just a post to kind of share why I wasn’t around last year. I want this whole…blogging slump to end. Maybe if I put it in writing, it will actually happen.


Top Eleven Debuts I Cannot Wait For

Top Ten Tuesday

It feels like it has been forever since I’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday. Top Ten Tuesday is done by the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish. They post a new list every week for people to participate in.  I couldn’t pass this one up because I love any chance to talk about the books I’m excited for.

~*~Top Ten 2017 Debuts I’m Excited For~*~

~One~

the_hate_u_give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

I’m going to be hopefully reading this book this week. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it and it is so, sadly,

timely.

~Two~

its_not_like_its_a_secret

It’s Not Like It’s A Secret by Misa Suglura 

I love all the diversity this book has in it, so I’m hoping when it’s published that it is pretty good.

~Three~

aftercare_instructions

Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin 

I love the format this is going to take with two types of narrative going on, including a play which fascinates me so much.

~Four~

(No cover)

Dear Martin by Nic Stone 

This is another timely book dealing with #BlackLivesMatter. I love that the main character, Justyce is going to be writing letters to Martin Luther King. I love when characters write letters so this should be interesting.

~Five~

when_dimple_met_rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon 

I am really interested in this dealing with arranged marriage and it’s going to be done with such care. It’s told in two point of views too, which I love in romance novels.

~Six~

(No cover)

You and Me and The End of The World by Amy McCellan 

I fell in love at…actually, I’ll just share the Goodreads summary.

Debut author Amy McClellan’s You and Me and the End of the World is a YA novel pitched as Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist meets Eleanor and Park . In the book, the fates and hearts of two teen outsiders collide when they meet cute in the dark at a party to end all parties.

So much to love. I loved Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and I love seeing love interests meet. I’m hoping this takes place over one night because, yes, that’s my weakness. I’m actually not sure if this book is happening or not, but one can hope.

~Seven~

the_education_of_margot_sanchez

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera 

I’m super excited to read about this Latinx book as I haven’t read very many books with Latinx. Not to mention it also deals with privilege and it sounds so lovely.

~Eight~

after_the_fall

After The Fall by Kate Hart 

After The Fall deals with sexual assault and reputation. I’ve been wanting to read this since I discovered it last year when it was due to come out.

~Nine~ 

the_gallery_of_unfinished_girls

The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz

I love that The Gallery of Unfinished Girls has a lot of creativity with painting.

~Ten

american_street

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

I love everything about the summary here with Fabiola having to experience the United States essentially on her own. I’m interested in seeing what she thinks and what she deals with.

~Bonus~

speak_of_me_as_i_am

Speak of Me As I Am by Sonia Belasco 

Speak of Me As I Am is about grief and two teenagers connecting and a play. I really like plays in books though I rarely read books with them in it. I like how the main characters are going to connect with their common grief.


So that is it for my eleven debuts. I could have thrown in a few more, but I wanted to narrow it down. What books are you looking forward to? Have you read any of these?


Bout of Books 18

bout_of_books_18

Hi everyone. I am making my link-up post for the Bout of Books 18 read-a-thon. If you’re not familiar with Bout of Books, this is the description:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I’ve done Bout of Books a couple times and I think my best reading track was done the first time around. I’m going to make my goal at only four books plus finishing the current book I’m reading.

I have two days off of work this week along with Sunday, so I’m hoping that will help quite a bit. 🙂 I read three books in the period of two days last month, granted, I was without the time-sucker known as the internet. Still, that’s good progress!

Now, as for the books I want to read? Well, let’s see.

I want to finish American Girls, I’m about 76/286 pages into it.

I’d also love to read these four:

the_hate_u_give allegedly history_is_all_you_left_me A_List_Of_Cages

Yep, I’m ready to get my heart repeatedly snatched out and broken with every book.

So, I received Allegedly from @KainesCat on Twitter.

The Hate U Give is an eARC I can’t wait to get into it.

History Is All You Left Me and a List of Cages are two ARCS from BEA.

It’s quite amazing I hadn’t read HIAYLM because that was one of my top-priority books, after Holding Up The Universe, which I still have yet to finish. Oops.

Anyway, wish me luck! Let me know if you’re signing up and what your goals are. I’d love to hear them.


Sixteen Stunning Covers of 2016

Hey everyone. I know, I’ve been gone literally forever. It has just been one bad year, really. I’m sure no one’s surprised anymore at this point.

Anyway, it’s been a long time since I’ve done Wondrous Covers Wednesdays and last year I decided to do a post on my favorite covers of 2015. This year, I’m going to do the same thing.

I’m picking sixteen of my favorite covers of the year.

Cover Lovin’ here we come:

~*~When The Moon Was Ours / The Love That Split The World~*~

When The Moon Was Ours The Love That Split The World

These are two stunning looking magical-realism books.

~*~Shiny Broken Pieces / Signs of You~*~

Shiny_Broken_Pieces Signs_of_You

I love the elegant yet sinister look of Shiny Broken Pieces. The fonts on both of them really stand out to me. I love the sunset.

~*~Ripple/Cuckoo/The Memory of Light~*~

Ripple The Memory of Light Cuckoo

I love how all three of the cover characters are portrayed. All of these books deal with serious issues so I just love how the characters look.

~*~The Serpent King~*~

The Serpent King

Silhouettes are my love here.

 

~*~The Sun Is Also A Star / This Adventure Ends~*~

Yoon_9780553496680_jkt_all_r1.indd This_Adventure_Ends

I love al. the shades of blue in This Adventure Ends. The textures for both books is very nice and I love how brought the colors are in TSIAAS.

~*~The Girl Who Drank The Moon / The Star-Touched Queen~*~the_girl_who_drank_the_moon The Star-Touched Queen

Both of these covers are so gorgeous and magical looking.

The Girl Who Drank The Moon is completely gorgeous. It kind of reminds me of Mulan really. The scene where she flies down the, er, lanterns? Yes.

~*~Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies/American Girls~*~

little_black_dresses_little_white_liesAmerican Girls

I really love the animation of both covers. Little Black Dresses, Little Black Lies gives me a light-hearted feel. It looks really glamorous and so New York City-ish. American Girls gives me a gritty sort of feel with the girls’ posture, the font and the t-shirt style. It takes place in LA so it does make sense. I love the chill vibe of this cover.

~*~You Were Here~*~

You Were Here Cori McCarthyI love the watercolor in the background of this.


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