Monthly Archives: January 2016

Misty Covers (Wondrous Covers Wednesday)

WCW_GraphicGood afternoon. 🙂 I’m doing Wondrous Covers Wednesday, which is my cover feature to share covers with similar attributes. You can view past posts here.

I decided I’d finally do my misty themed cover week.

 

Summer of Supernovas The Art of Not BreathingHow To hang A Witch by Adriana mather Everyone We've Been

Pictures take you to Goodreads links.

Are they not all just so whimsical? I want to live in them. It looks like a literal dream. The Art of Not Breathing is the old ARC cover, so it’s not the final cover, I had to use it though because it’s perfect for this post.

I love how they each have this mistiness about them in different ways. Summer of Supernovas is due to the sun, The Art of Breathing is underwater, How To Hang A Witch looks like it’s through a window and Everyone We’ve Been, well, I’m not quite sure about that one. I like the contrast between each “pairs” of covers, one’s all bright and the other is darker.

Let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you’re planning on reading these. And what you think of the covers. 🙂

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SST Review: The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry

SST Graphic

Hi! Tonight I’ll be sharing my review for The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry. This is a (super late-ish) Sunday Street Team post that I’m thrilled to be able to do! 

The Love That Split The WorldThe Love That Split The World

by Emily Henry

Published: January 26th, 2016 (Razorbill)

Goodreads Summary:

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.

~Review~

Plot

The novel begins with Natalie seeing Grandmother for the last time. I was interested in knowing who Grandmother was and had suspicions on who it might be. I liked her part in the story, even though there’s little of it. Since Natalie was young, Grandmother told her old Native American stories. And of course all these stories come back to Natalie because Grandmother says it’s important for her to know them for when the time comes. Being partly Native American but not knowing much about my own background, I found the Native American parts to be fascinating. I loved that there was a Native American character in this story because from what I generally see, I never see that before, so that was awesome. There was a unique physiological aspect to the story which I found interesting and unique. I like how there was research shown in the story for how this plot was possible.

Characters:

I thought both characters were well portrayed.  The main characters were Natalie and Beau. Other characters were Matt, Natalie’s ex boyfriend, Rachel, one of Natalie’s friend and Megan, Natalie’s best friend.  Then there’s of course the families of Natalie’s and Beau’s that do make a few regular appearances, mostly on Nat’s side.

Something I really enjoyed about Natalie is that she was adopted from a Caucasian family. Being native american, this always put her on the outside of things, in her family, with two siblings and her small Kentucky town. I loved learning more about this missing piece of Natalie. I would have liked just a bit more detail on that. There’s also trauma that Natalie is dealing with from when she was young that she’s tried to work through. Natalie was a really smart and determined character. She wanted to know who she was supposed to save and how and she wanted to find out the secrets of Grandmother as well as her birth mother.

Onto Beau, now, in the blurb, The Love That Split The World is compared to Friday Night Lights. Beau is definitely Tim Riggins esque with his family life, drinking and long hair. This made me automatically very interested in him.  It was interesting to see how Beau’s life compared with Natalie’s as they were basically complete opposites in the homing situations and school wise.

Overall:

It was really hard to get into The Love That Split The World because while I found it interesting, I thought it was a bit boring. This changed page 100 or so for me, so the book can be a little slow in the beginning, if you make it past that though, you’ll be reading a fantastic book. I loved the characters and the twist on the sci-fi plot that Emily Henry writes. The writing is really lyrical and poetic, which I loved. The ending of The Love That Split The World is one of my favorites, forevermore.


Joint Reviews: Violent Ends & This Is Where It Ends

Hi everyone. For today’s reviews, I thought I’d try something new and do a joint review. I read both of these books really close together for this exact purpose. Let’s just say it was a bit emotional and maybe not my best idea!

I’ll be doing reviews over Violent Ends and This Is Where It Ends, both which deal with school shootings in different ways.

Before now, I never read a book that was based around a school shooting, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially with Violent Ends given it was written by so many authors. Both of these books are incredibly timely given the rate that school shootings are happening. Knowing how often school shootings happen can really make reading these books terrifying. I find that I do radiate towards the darker topics such as shootings, drugs or human trafficking. When I knew these two books were coming out, I knew I was going to request them immediately.

I think school shootings are really interesting due to so many variables there are with the shooter. Was the shooter mentally ill? Was the shooter really angry? Are they completely inhumane? Were they just misunderstood? Could it have been prevented or was it unpreventable? Reading these two novels gave me a closer look at those questions as well as the humane and inhumane sides there are to shooters.


Violent EndsTitle: Violent Ends

Author: Shaun David Hutchinson (Editor), Kendare Blake, Steve Brezenoff, Delilah S. Dawson, Trish Doller, Margie Gelbwasser, E.M. Kokie, Cynthia Leitich Smith , Tom Leveen, Hannah Moskowitz , Elisa Nader, Beth Revis, Mindi Scott, Neal Shusterman, Brandon Shusterman, Courtney Summers, Blythe Woolston, Christine Johnson

Published: September 1, 2015 (Simon Pulse)

Pages: 384

Genres/Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Anthology

Format: eARC

Source: Simon Pulse VIA Edelweiss (This in no way affect my review)

Rating: Four Stars

Goodreads Summary:

It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto school grounds, enter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others.

But this isn’t a story about the shooting itself. This isn’t about recounting that one unforgettable day.

This is about Kirby and how one boy—who had friends, enjoyed reading, played saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before—became a monster capable of entering his school with a loaded gun and firing on his classmates.

Each chapter is told from a different victim’s viewpoint, giving insight into who Kirby was and who he’d become. Some are sweet, some are dark; some are seemingly unrelated, about fights or first kisses or late-night parties.

This is a book of perspectives—with one character and one event drawing them all together—from the minds of some of YA’s most recognizable names.

First Line: Susanna Byrd turned nine that Thursday morning at 7:17 a.m.

~Review~

Violent Ends is a cohesive collection of seventeen stories all revolving around the characters affected by a school shooting. Each of the stories was edited by Shaun David Hutchinson.

You know those books you start and almost immediately regret? Well this was Violent Ends for for. Before you cross it off though, you may want to wait. Violent Ends wasn’t badly written, on the contrary, with writers such as Neal Shusterman and Hannah Moskowitz, it was very well written. My favorite stories were Feet First, Hypothetical Time Travel and History Lessons.

~Specific Things I Enjoyed~
  • The idea to make this an anthology with so many different authors taking this character into their own hands was really original.
  • I liked how different each of the stories were from each other. Some were serious and some were lighter. They were pre-shooting, post-shooting and even during the shooting, these helped give a fuller picture.
  • I loved the different sides they showed of the shooter, Kirby. There were times when I’d think “He was good or okay” and then something would happen or I’d remember the shooting and change my thinking. He’s not portrayed as all good or all evil and I liked that. I felt empathy towards him and I’d feel anger towards him as well.
  • The focus of the stories were always somewhat based around Kirby and how he affected the characters. Some of the characters were a childhood friend, a relative, a teacher and the gun itself.
  • I found it to be very addicting, I kept wanting to read more and continue after every story.

 

-Some Things I Didn’t Enjoy-
  • In a couple of the stories, I found that they’d made Kirby to be a bit of a somewhat “hero” at times. I’m not saying he was fully bad, but he helped two characters in similar ways and I didn’t understand the case for one of them because it was so random.
  • At times it felt like Kirby was this manic pixie dream guy who a lot of people were fascinated with for whatever reason.
  • Not all of the stories “worked” for me, but that’s okay.

~Overall~

Violent Ends gave me an interesting perspective of school shootings after only seeing them portrayed in television shows. I liked being inside characters heads that were impacted by the shooting and seeing how that affected them. I loved how there was a constant picture of Kirby in every story and that I saw part of what led to the shooting. I would recommend this book.

 

~Quotes~
  • Something tragic happens to the world every minute of every day, and nowhere is really safe, but home is the only place we really have to go back to in the end.
  • Everyone keeps asking the same question. Everyone wants to know–needs to know–if there was some sign of something broken inside of Kirby. They want proof that he was a monster from the start. They want to take comfort in the idea that it takes a special kind of evil inside a person to kill like that.
  • I never told them what I knew to be the truth. That he meant to save me.

This Is Where It EndsTitle: This Is Where It Ends

Author: Marieke Nijkamp 

Published: January 5, 2016 (Sourcebooks Fire)

Pages: 292

Genres/Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, School shooting

Format: eARC

Source: Sourcebooks Fire VIA Netgalley (This is no way affects my review)

Rating: Four Stars

Goodreads Summary:

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

First Line: The starter gun shatters the silence, releasing the runners from their blocks.

~Review~

My heart is heavy as I try to write this review. Unlike Violent Ends, This Is Where It Ends takes place primarily during a school shooting. It’s told through four point of views, Sylvia, Autumn, Tomas and Claire. I liked the role each character played in the story. This Is Where It Ends has some of the prettiest language I’ve read.

 

-Specific Things I Enjoyed-
  • I enjoyed reading about the hobbies that students had, namely Claire with track and Autumn with dancing.
  • We live in such a technological age that almost everyone is on at least one type of social media. I loved seeing Twitter and blog posts scattered throughout This Is Where It Ends.
  • For being in Alabama, there was a great number of diversity in this book. There were queer characters, people of color, and disabled characters. I found the latter to be the most compelling given how difficult it would be in a situation as a shooting and being limited by the disability. While I liked the diversity–a ton–I felt it was a little out of place. This is Alabama we’re talking about and a small town at that.
  • I thought the different settings that took place really helped the story come alive. If the story had only taken place in the auditorium, that would have been interesting too though since it’d seem like a more tense situation.

-Some Things I Didn’t Enjoy-
  • Sibling Pairs- There are two pairs of siblings in this story and three out of four siblings have point of views in the novel. It was hard to remember who was who at times.
  • Shooter- I felt the shooter was a bit bland, they seemed to be portrayed as the bad guy with no real characteristics other than a somewhat sad homelife, I suppose.
  • Length-I wish there were more time in the auditorium and I wish the book was longer.

 

~Overall~

I liked This Is Where It Ends, but I didn’t love it. I was honestly a little let down about it because I’d heard so many praises.It was heartbreaking.  I do think it’s a good story and I loved the writing. However, it didn’t really ‘click’ with me. I wish I was able to learn more about the characters, but I liked how “in the moment” it was, given the obvious point that it takes place over 54 minutes. I will definitely look out for the author’s next book.

 

~Quotes~
  • It’s as if all of Opportunity falls away. We’re lost between making a home and escaping one. It won’t be long before our secrets choke us, before she finally realizes I don’t deserve her and she leaves me too.
  • Only dancing keeps me alive. It will free me. And I can’t let anything get in the way of that.
  • This is my team. This is where I belong. Here and now, we are everyone.
  • If I were in the auditorium, I’d want someone to come for me. I’d want there to be hope.
  • Despite being a thousand against one, we are powerless.
  • He’s comfortable with our fear.
  • Together we could be so strong, but the gun has made us individuals.
  • We’re more than our mistakes. We’re more than what people expect of us. I have to believe that.
  • If I don’t get out of here, what will be left of me? Who will remember me? It’s easier to know who I’m not, than to know who I am. When everyone expects me to fail, it’s easier to give up than to try.
  • We’ll watch the stars fade and the moon disappear.
  • Getting out alive is no longer the goal–not dying yet is.
  • There is nothing left but pain. Flashes of life and flashes of intense darkness. Noise. Everything hurts.
  • This is where we leave Opportunity around.

Laurie E. Flynn on Double Standards + Book Trailer and Giveaway

Hi everyone! I am the next stop for the Firsts blog tour, I hope you’ve liked the other tour stops. Firsts was a book that I really enjoyed, so you can read my book review about that here!

Today I have Laurie E. Flynn with a guest post that I’m really excited about. First though, I thought I’d give you some information on the book and share the book trailer. There will also be a giveaway at the end!

Title:Firsts

Author: Laurie E. Flynn

Published: January 5, 2015 from St. Martin’s Griffin Teen – Facebook / Website /  Twitter / Tumblr

Firsts

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the vein of Easy A, an honest and refreshing young adult novel about sex, love, and high school.

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time-the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy – so far. Her mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn – or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her own reputation -and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, Firsts is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository

I chose this topic for Laurie to write on:

Topic: The double standard there is for males versus females when it comes to sex, what you think about them, and myths there are when it comes to sex and females.

When I wrote Firsts, the double standard that exists for males versus females when it comes to sex was one of the themes on the forefront of my mind. When a guy sleeps with more than one girl, he might get a reputation as a player or a bad boy. More than likely, he’ll get commended by his friends. Yes, girls may be wary of getting into a relationship with him, but maybe a relationship isn’t what he wants anyway. And people are okay with that. He’s hooking up, learning what he likes, finding himself. Eventually, he’ll settle down and fall in love.

But a girl in the same situation? She doesn’t get called a player. She gets called a slut or a whore, one-syllable grenades. She gets called four-letter words that just might end up scrawled on her locker in permanent marker. She hears whispered insults and people talking behind her back. She gets disapproving looks from other girls and leers from boys. She gets lectures. She gets people asking questions about why she’s just hooking up instead of trying to find a boyfriend, how she can possibly be with a guy for one night or one week without getting attached. She’s the butt of rumors and jokes. Maybe a relationship isn’t what she wants anyway either, but people aren’t okay with that. Everything she’s doing will make it so that nobody will ever take her seriously. Nobody will want her.

This is the attitude I wanted to expose for all of its blazing hypocrisy when I wrote Firsts. From the first page, we find out that Mercedes is a sexually active teenage girl. She doesn’t have a boyfriend, nor does she want one. When the truth about what she has been doing with the virgins gets out, she becomes a victim of intense hatred and slut-shaming. But what about the guys who sought her out? They incur their girlfriends’ wrath, but nobody is writing on their lockers with permanent marker. Nobody is calling them four-letter words. Nobody is physically assaulting them in the hall at school. Nobody does to them anything close to what happens to Mercedes. It takes two to have sex, but the blame is heaped solely on Mercedes’ shoulders.

Yes, some of what Mercedes does is wrong. But the boys are to blame, too. With one exception, they’re the ones who sought her out. It was important to me that this book was written from the perspective of a teenage girl who is far from a virgin, a girl for whom sex is a physical act, more science than intimacy. Maybe there was a girl like Mercedes at your high school. Maybe you were or are a girl like Mercedes. Too often, this girl is called that girl, like some kind of warning. I wanted—needed—to give Mercedes her own story. Because she’s not that girl. She’s a person figuring stuff out, and the only four-letter word she should be called is a girl, plain and simple.


Laurie brought up some great points about the double standards, you can let me know what you think in the comments and if you read Firsts. 🙂

If you want to win a copy of Firsts, courtesy of St. Martin’s Griffin, you can enter my giveaway here!


Laurie_FlynnABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laurie Elizabeth Flynn went to school for journalism and later worked as a model, a job that took her overseas to Tokyo,

Athens, and Paris. She lives in London, Ontario, with her husband and her Chihuahua.

Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads


The Tsar’s Guard – Top Ten Reasons, Playlist, and Favorite Duels

Banner

Hi everyone! I’m so happy to be on the Tsar’s Guard parade. I hope you’ve enjoyed the other stops. Here is a link for those.

For my stop today, I have a mishmash of topics. First, I’ll be sharing a bit of an epic instrumental playlist I made, then I’ll tell you ten reasons why I am so excited for The Crown’s Game, and finally I’ll feature five of my favorite duels…from Yu-Gi-Oh. ;D I know, you were expecting Hamilton, but NOPE.

Duel

 I hope you enjoy!

Here’s a bit about the book first!

The_Crowns_GameTitle: THE CROWN’S GAME

Author: Evelyn Skye

Release Date: May 17th, 2016

Pages: 416

Publisher: Balzer+Bray

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Find it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Goodreads Summary:

 Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.


~Instrumental Score For The Crown’s Game~

I adore instrumental music and the feelings it can bring out. Given The Crown’s Game features a historical-esque setting, magic and dueling, I decided to put together a playlist of some epic and romantic scores. All the links will take you to Youtube. 🙂

  1. New Beginning: Audiomachine
  2. On A Quest: Claudie Mackula
  3. Honor of Life: The Instrumental Core
  4. Before I Leave This World : Ivan Torrent
  5. Embrace Our World by Aran Zayne
  6. Hidden Hope by Asith Perera
  7. Have My Heart: Scorched Score Music
  8. Braveheart Theme by James Horner
  9. Where We’ll Go by Underground Music
  10. Solace – C21FX

~Top Ten Reasons I’m Excited~

-One-

Setting: Russia

St Petersberg

Russia seems to be rarely seen in fiction especially historical-ish Russia.  I also have a bit of a romanticized idea of Russia due to…Anastasia of course.

Anastasia_Of Course

-Two-
Enchanters

Magical Hands 2 Magical Hands

How magical! This part sounds really interesting, I’m curious about the background of these enchanters as well as enchanters in general.

-Three-

Vika

Journey to the past

She can cause snow to fall and make ash turn into gold! That’s even better than when the miller in Rumpelstiltskin lied about his daughter turning thread into gold. It’s better because it’s real.

-Four-

Nikolai

Great_Okhta_Bridge_Russia

He can create BRIDGES out of thin air? What in the world? That is so awesome. I can’t think of why he’d ever need to create a bridge, but you know, I’ll go with it. 😉

-Five-

Duel

Rasputin

Now would be the time for me to make a Hamilton reference if I were to make one but I’m running out of time so I will not be making one, haha. Okay, but seriously, dueling. A duel to the DEATH. There will be death! Or there will be a Hunger Games ending, I’m not sure which I’d prefer. Ha. I want to know more about these ancient duels though.

-Six-

The Best Friend – Pasha

Is that a love triangle I sense? I’m here for it either way. 

-Seven-

Long-Buried Secrets

What’s that you say? There are secrets revolving around this kingdom with the king he feels like having people duel to the death? Well I’d never! I’m a sucker for secrets.

-Eight-

Relationships

Relationships

I’m really excited to see how the relationship between Vika and Nikolai happens because how do you have any type of relationship with someone you’re supposed to kill? Like, I wouldn’t even want to meet the person before hand. “Like hey, so I know we’re supposed to duel, but I’d thought I’d introduce myself and fall in love first, it’s okay, this worked out okay for Katniss and Peeta after all”. ;D

-Nine-

Description!

Description

You can’t have a historical fantasy take place in RUSSIA of all places and not give us all the details on the clothes and the setting and the kingdom and everything else, right?

-Ten-

The Ending

This is surely going to end with an epic bang of sorts, so I’m dying to read this. It’s been a while since I was ever like “WOW!” about an ending, especially fantasy, given I don’t generally read this.


~Five Favorite Yu-Gi-Oh Duels~

Now it’s been a while since I’ve watched this show all the way through, but I liked all five of these duels a lot because they were just really emotional and I’m all for emotion and sad endings (Oh, was that spoiler?). Ha.

 

Yugi vs Joey (Duel Kingdom Arc)

Duelist Kingdom

 

Marik vs Mai

Marik_Mai

 

Joey vs Odion 

Joey_vs_Odion

Yugi vs. Joey (Battle City Arc)

Joey_Vs_Yugi

Kaiba-Yugi vs Noah (Virtual World Arc)

Noah_Vs_Kaiba.png

Guys, guess who my favorite character is! Guess! (It’s Joey<3)


 

This concludes my stop, I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Be sure to enter the giveaway! 

 

1 winner will receive an ARC of THE CROWN’S GAME.  International, you can enter the giveaway here.


Evelyn_Skye_Head_Shot

About Evelyn:

Evelyn Skye was once offered a job by the C.I.A., she not-so-secretly wishes she was on

“So You Think You Can Dance,” and if you challenge her to a pizza-eating contest, she

guarantees she will win. When she isn’t writing, Evelyn can be found chasing her daughter on the playground or sitting on the couch, immersed in a good book and eating way too many cookies. THE CROWN’S GAME is her first novel. Evelyn can be found online at www.evelynskye.com and on Twitter @EvelynSkyeYA:

Website | Twitter |Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Instagram


Weekly Recap (41)+ Stacking The Shelves (31)

Good evening everyone! I can’t believe I haven’t posted in over a week. That rarely happens unless I’m on hiatus. 😦 I seriously haven’t posted much at all over this past month. That isn’t really considering we’re not over halfway done with January, which is amazing. This month is flying by.

Here are the two posts I did make since last recap:

Jan. 5: Looking Forward to: January ’16

Jan. 7: ARC Review: Firsts by Laurie E. Flynn (Five Stars)

I’ve been watching Pokemon quite a bit this week since all else on Netflix is just…eh, I’m not into it much. Pretty Little Liars started back up and I watched the first season of Degrassi Next Class! It was fantastic. I may rewatch it sometime soon since I didn’t binge watch it. 😉

Pretty Little Liars isn’t bad either, I’ll be looking forward to seeing where it goes. At least a little.

I’m so excited for The 100 to be coming back this week! This will be the first time I actually watch it live! Yay!

Next week on my blog, you can expect my Tsar Guard’s post tomorrow and then Laurie E. Flynn stops by on Tuesday with a guest post that I loved.


~Bout of Books~

Okay, so, I pretty much failed at Bout of Books. On the bright side, I finished two books, however…they weren’t two books I started during Bout of Books, so…yeah… I finished The Love That Split The World and Gena/Finn. Then I started The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly that following  Wednesday (the 6th), I think and I’m still only halfway through it. So…yeah, I didn’t do too well.


Stacking The Shelves

~Stacking The Shelves~

Stacking The Shelves is a weekly meme created and hosted at Tynga’s Reviews where they invite bloggers to share what books they got over the week.

This week I added only two books to my shelves:

The Night We Said Yes The Museum of Heartbreak

The Night We Said Yes is an ARC that was given to me by Jocelyn for my collection.

The Museum of Heartbreak was sent by Simon & Schuster.

So a big thanks to both of them. 


How has your week been? Has anything good happened? Are you watching anything good lately? ❤

ARC Review: Firsts by Laurie E. Flynn

FirstsTitle: Firsts

Author: Laurie E. Flynn

Published: January 5, 2016 (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Pages:320

Genres/Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sexuality, Romance, Friendship

Format: eARC

Source: St. Martin’s Griffin

Rating: Five Stars

Goodreads Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up

Purchase: Barnes and Noble / Amazon / Book Depository

Cover Thoughts: I really love the cover, it’s eye catching given the title and the insinuation (with the main character laying on a bed). I like how pink it is. Mostly, I think it’s really pretty.

First Line: Tonight, I’m doing Evan Brown’s girlfriend a favor.

~First Thoughts~

I immediately thought harshly of Mercedes. Who sleeps with another person’s significant other? Even for what they think is a good cause. I was still intrigued by this idea though, this system of hers, which she believed to help others. This led to my thought “I’ll take that movie now!” only a short 4% into the book.

~Review~

  • Friends With Benefits (Check)
  • Dysfunctional Home Life (Check)
  • Swoon-Worthy Possible Love Interest (Check)
  • School Scandal of Sorts (Check)

Wow.

Guys.

This book. I loved it. This is an excellent book. There were so many fantastic parts about it. I don’t know where to begin. I guess I’ll start at the basic storyline of it. . .

-The Sex-

Mercedes is a girl who sleeps with guys who are virgins. Her reasoning is that she wants the guys to be prepared for when they have sex with their girlfriends. Fair enough? She thinks of this as just a system, without feelings or attachment. This system only continues because the guys have to promise to not tell anyone about it.

Now, I know what you may be thinking, ‘Isn’t that a bit scandalous?’. Maybe you’re not thinking that, maybe you’re just a bit more open minded than I was about it. However, when I first started reading Firsts I definitely did some head shaking, some silent rebuking, a little bit of judging, let’s be honest. In my first thoughts though, I also made the comment.  “I’ll take that movie now!” because when it comes to fiction revolving around sex and high school, I am fascinated with it all. Throw in a somewhat dysfunctional home life and I am all over it.

Written in the vein of Easy A, Firsts most definitely is. This is like a book form of the movie, except with actual sex, of course. I found the entire novel really compelling. It was interesting to see the deeper reasons for why Mercedes would sleep with these guys. I found they made complete sense with her character and background. I would say Firsts is really a great book about self-discovery above all. Mercedes is a senior in high school, she has only one semester left, and she’s applied to MIT. She’s still trying to find herself though and put herself back together in methods some may consider unorthodox.

-Friends With Benefits-

Easy A Guy

Of course, in a situation like the one Mercedes is in, there’s bound to be one guy that’s into her or vice versa. This guy is named Zach. He maintains a strictly friends-with-benefits relationship with Mercedes. Minus the friends part, really. I loved Zach, he seemed like such a good guy, but possibly in a way that’s almost too good to be true? I’m not sure. Anyway, I liked his interactions with Mercedes a lot and how forgiving he was. He had great scenes with Faye and I liked their friendship. I would have liked to see a little more of it though.

Easy A

-Chemistry (The Subject)-

I thought it was great how Mercedes was good at chemistry. She tramples all over the stereotypes that girls who are interested in science are nerds and girls who are promiscuous can’t be super smart. Completely trampled over it and I loved that. I like how it was a constant aspect in her life, we saw her in Chemistry class a lot, tutoring kids in Chemistry and also referencing Chemistry in her day to day life, all so flawlessly.

-Character Development-

I adored Mercedes, from the very beginning actually. She may not have done the smartest things, but she really believed what she was doing was right.  She wasn’t perfect, but she wasn’t the worst person on the planet by far., Even with her various sex escapades. Mercedes was just a girl trying to help people and ended up doing things to help herself. I can’t say I blame her at all. Given her circumstances, in her shoes, at her age, I might have done similar things. She really does have a good heart so it was hard to see people slut shame her. It was really heartbreaking actually.

Easy A

Besides that, I found that I could relate to Mercedes a lot. There were times she didn’t feel she was loved or worthy, she pushed her friends away, she attempted ticking off her mom just because and she made mistakes.

Easy A

-Family-

Mercedes lives in a single parent home after her dad leaves. Her mom, who she calls by her first name, Kim was a very loose mother. She did yoga, did various diets, had plastic surgery and went out a lot at night.  I thought it was interesting to see how Kim affected Mercedes even when she wasn’t around, Mercedes wasn’t comfortable eating in front of people. This may sound like a small thing, but I can understand Mercedes in this aspect. As you can imagine, she wasn’t the best role model for Mercedes and in a way, Mercedes did her actions to spite her mother or get her attention. I really hurt for Mercedes having a mother who wasn’t there for her growing up.

-Friendship-

In the beginning we learn that Mercedes is best friends with Angela, a strong Christian who attends prayer meetings regularly. Given Mercedes background with guys and Angela’s beliefs, she’s left unaware of Mercedes activities. I like how they end up kind of distancing themselves from each other various times because I can see how that could easily happen, especially in high school.

There was an interesting exploration of feelings between Mercedes and a new friend named Faye. I wasn’t sure what to think of Faye really, like Mercedes, I had my “Eh?” thoughts about her character. I quickly grew to love Faye though. If I ever needed to have someone in my corner from a book, I would want it to be her.

~On The Downside~

Even the greatest books have problems now and then. I did have a  few qualms with Firsts.

-Cheating-

I am very against cheating of any kind, so seeing that Mercedes helped multiple guys cheat was extremely hard to swallow for me.

-Religion-

I felt the religious group, which of course were Christians, was a little overdone when it comes to fiction about more ‘open-minded’ and/or liberal characters. It was very Easy A-esque in that way and I didn’t care a whole lot for it. Christians always seem to be made out as people that would turn to stone if they ever even thought about sex. Here’s something to remember: Not all Christians are so shy to discuss sex.

Easy A

-Resolution-

While I liked that the main issue of the book was settled, I had a few problems with the lack of resolution, primarily around Mercedes family life. I’m usually okay with a little bit of open ending, but I really felt the family issues lacked any closure, really. Seeing as I adore family plots in stories, this was really disappointing for me.

~Final Thoughts~

I believe Firsts is a very important book for it’s honesty about sex and the true to life feelings of high schoolers. Life isn’t black and white, like Mercedes thought it should have been at times. It’s complicated and messy. I think Laurie showed that very well. Not only that, but Firsts delves into the topics of slut shaming, double standards, betrayal, dysfunctional families, controlling relationships, friendship and love. Firsts reminds me of why I love Young Adult books and Contemporary especially, Laurie did a great job at portraying high school issues in a real way. She showed the vicious side that there can be and the sweet side that goes along with it.

~Do I Recommend?~

Of course.

~Recommended For~

Fans of Easy A

Fans of The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Fans of lighthearted books with deeper meaning

~Will I Re-Read It?~

Yes.

-Will I Buy It?-

Without a doubt.


~Memorable Quotes~

(All quotes have been taken from an eARC and may be subject to change)

Melody sounds like every other girl, the kind who expects fireworks the first time. I know better. Fireworks don’t just happen. They need to be carefully arranged and then ignited slowly.

I wish there was a way I could take the Watcher off my list, but that’s the thing about sex. Once it happens, it can’t unhappen.

I really feel for guys. They have the hard part, physically and emotionally. Virginity is supposed to be something a girl gives up only when she is ready and feels comfortable, something a girl discusses at length with her friends and flip-flops over a million times in her mind before actually doing it. A guy is expected to be born ready.

The more friends you have, the higher your chance of taking a knife in your back.


~By The Way~

By the way, I’ll have Laurie with a guest post here on 19th. 🙂


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