Monday, September 5, 2016

The Homecoming by Stacie Ramey

Standalone. Sourcebooks Fire (Nov. 1, 2016) NetGalley
Forced to return to his estranged family, John discovers how hard it is to truly go home.

It's been a year since John lost his girlfriend, Leah, to suicide. Living with his uncle keeps his mind from the tragedy and his screwed up family-until he gets into trouble and a judge sends him back home. With a neglectful mother and abusive brother, John's homecoming is far from happy.

As he tries to navigate and repair the relationships he abandoned years ago, Emily, the girl next door, is the only bright spot. She's sweet and smart and makes him think his heart may finally be healing. But tragedy isn't far away, and John must soon face an impossible decision: save his family or save himself.


John is angry. Angry at the accident that changed his brother. Angry at his mother who kicked him out. Angry at himself for not saving the one he loves. This anger inside of him has led him to make choices even he knows were a mistake. He had it good with his uncle. Now he gets to come home years later to a home and a place with only bad memories. At least he gets to play lacrosse, spend time with his little sister, Livy, who he loves so much, and the girl next door isn't too bad. The plan is to get in and get out. As soon as his parole is lifted he's out of there and on his way to California. Will he let people in or leave them behind?

The Homecoming is a companion book to The Sister Pact by the same author. John gives you glimpses of the past with him and Leah, his girlfriend who killed herself, so I didn't feel like I was missing anything by not reading the other story. 

Reasonably, John is very intense and furious at the world. Not only is he dealing with the pain of losing the person he loves, he has to go home to the madness he created. His mother and him have a rocky relationship so he has to contend with that as well as his brother Ryan. Ryan was in an accident and he has to be taken care of by his mother. He's very aggressive as well. It took me a while to read and see that it's not his fault. He has more of a handicap that I could have imagined. Reading the flashbacks of him and John is making me tear up already because you get to see who he was. Even though he was a bit mean to his younger brother, I still felt their connection. I wish he could have gotten better, but that was just not possible...

The girl next door, Emily, seems like the perfect person at first. I really like her good girl personality and her ability to be able to joke around John while simultaneously be there for him. She can be tough on him but he needs it. I didn't really get the full affect of her "trouble" in the past. I felt like there should have been more elaboration on that. 

All in all, I enjoyed John's personality; I felt for him. I enjoyed the cast of characters, the family dynamic being reshaped, and most of all what the story was all about - forgiving others and yourself after a tragedy.

Get tissues for this one, I got tired of crying my eyes out and needed to watch and read something happy because it could get intense!

Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for letting me read and review The Homecoming in exchange for an honest review!

Friday, September 2, 2016

The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges

Standalone. Kensington (August 30th, 2016) NetGalley
Natalie Roman isn’t much for the spotlight. But performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a stately old theatre in Savannah, Georgia, beats sitting alone replaying mistakes made in Athens. Fairy queens and magic on stage, maybe a few scary stories backstage. And no one in the cast knows her backstory.
 Except for Lucas—he was in the psych ward, too. He won’t even meet her eye. But Nat doesn’t need him. She’s making friends with girls, girls who like horror movies and Ouija boards, who can hide their liquor in Coke bottles and laugh at the theater’s ghosts. Natalie can keep up. She can adapt. And if she skips her meds once or twice so they don’t interfere with her partying, it won’t be a problem. She just needs to keep her wits about her.
 Honest, nuanced, and bittersweet, The Form of Things Unknown explores the shadows that haunt even the truest hearts . . . and the sparks that set them free.


Natalie just wants to be normal, but with her diagnosis of schizophrenia after the incident last year, that's unlikely to happen. Her brother, David, won't let her live her life as a hermit upstairs in the attic all summer long so he gets her to tag along and accidentally audition for A Midsummer's Night Dream. There she comes across Lucas, who she remembers from her stay at Winter Oaks. He doesn't seem very happy to see her but that's fine with her; she just will focus on her new friends, Starla and Raine. As she tries to be more sociable like her doctor and parent's tell her to, she starts getting reckless and starts skipping her meds. Because what's one day without her meds? She'll just take them tomorrow.

I expected more out of The Form of Things Unknown than I received. I recently reviewed another book with a boy who had schizophrenia and I felt the emotions more with that one. Here, I honestly don't know if she had a mental illness or if drugs and certain events make her think she does. I couldn't see where the doctors could have said she had schizophrenia especially after the reveal in the end which really took out a large part of why I wanted to read this story.


The story takes place in the town of her grandmother who has schizophrenia as well. The family moved into her house to take care of her after her husband died. It was a really tough time for all of them especially when she acted like they were the enemy. I thought it would have been great if the story elaborated more on what it meant to have that fear of passing on a mental illness like schizophrenia. It was only mentioned once as a side note.

Titania Sleeping Illustrated by Arthur Rackham
The main problems for me were probably the pacing and the writing. I think there wasn't much time for me to get to know Natalie before the incident. I also felt like the way the story was told was a bit off. I couldn't feel anything for these characters. It was just a story without the substance I needed. Lucas, is a great source of this. Lucas actually was very interesting. As soon as I found out why he was at Winter Oaks I wanted to know more. I wanted to know why he was always frowning at Natalie. On top of that, he was such a great brother to his little sister so I wanted to get to know his character more. (Do you sense a theme?) When I finally got to know him there was a point where Natalie started thinking of him as someone she could potentially be with, and the way she imagined herself with him was way too forward and soon. The both of them just didn't work right with me when they became closer. 

Another really big part of the story other than Natalie dealing with her mental illness, is her acting in A Midsummer's Night Dream. She was cast as Titania and becomes really close with Lucas, Raine, and Starla that way. Her brother, David, is also in the play. He's there for Colton who he has a major crush on. (A weird thing with David is that he hasn't come out. And the way the mother acts when she hears something about it was so awkward and weird.) Natalie starts partying with her new friends at night as they search for the ghost she starts to see signs of everywhere in the theater. I liked the plot of the story. I enjoyed reading about the characters learning their lines and practicing their parts. Those were the best moments.

Natalie makes bad decisions right away which makes sense based on her past. I would have thought she would have stopped all those bad habits but people make mistakes. I always felt bad for Natalie when she would put herself down. Most of it was because she wanted to be normal but the anxieties she had are what everyone has like people talking about her or feeling like she wasn't good enough. I liked Natalie and the various characters especially Lucas but to a point. The way the story was going along and written always threw me off to what have could have been a great read. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington for providing me with The Form of Things Unknown in exchange for an honest review!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

August 2016 Monthly Recap


I haven't been the most consistent blogger this year for some reason. Last semester was very difficult for me but I'm surprised that it took so long to really come back. I do stop from time to time. But I always come back because this is my favorite hobby other than reading. I have not stopped reading though. I have read about 130+ books including rereads. I'm pretty happy that I was still able to enjoy so many wonderful books. 

Books Read


Blog Plans

I plan to read the Complete Grimm's Fairy tales which I'll be reviewing in pieces this month. I also want to get lot of old and new books reviewed in full on the blog so there will be a lot of that. I plan on taking part in the discussions from my challenge I've neglected so much but there have been so many other who've done so well like Sue and Amanda from Orendi at Legendi! I also want to figure out what books I've completed for each challenge.

First Book of the Month


How was your Summer?
What are you planning to read this September?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The BFG by Roald Dahl

Standalone. Puffin Books (2001) Library
Captured by a giant! The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It's lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher, or any of the other giants-rather than the BFG-she would have soon become breakfast. 

When Sophie hears that they are flush-bunking off in England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!



Since the Disney trailer of The BFG has come out, I've been enticed to read the original by the infamous Roald Dahl. I've read a lot by Roald Dahl: James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, and the one and only Matilda! Now it was time to try my hand on a story about a big friendly giant and an orphan girl. I had such high hopes, but like all Roald Dahl books - I always enjoy the movie more. *Sigh*

This was actually the only Dahl book that I thought was just okay. I was so disappointed that I caught myself skimming while reading The BFG. Skimming! That can only be good if you are dying to know what happens next but I was trying to find a good part.

Everything starts off really well. I love how Sophie and the BFG are introduced to each other. It was the magic I was hoping for. But apparently I'm having a thing with accents lately but the way he talked bothered me. The thing with The BFG, is that he speaks very poorly and says words to things he would only know. I couldn't get over it. The story is also just pretty simple. There is a problem with the giants and they have to find a plan to solve it. If I was younger I could see this being a rather scary read with all these giants snatching people up and eating them, however I didn't fell the terror. Except I did feel the magic of the story in the beginning and when the dreams were being caught. The idea that the BFG catches dreams was the most interesting part of The BFG. I made sure to pay attention and read those pages carefully because I was so enraptured by the thought of a giant catching dreams and giving them away. I felt like a little kid again.

I think this was a case of me being too old for this book. I do think the movie will be quite enjoyable. At times, movies can be better than the book (I know it's blasphemy to say this but it's true). 
                     

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

After the Woods by Kim Savage

Standalone. Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Feb. 2016) NetGalley/Own

Would you risk your life to save your best friend? 

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.


"Here we are, you and me. Not what I expected. But something."


Julia was trapped in the woods, kidnapped by Donald Jessup, someone who wanted Liv but got Julia instead. When Julia saved her best friend Liv almost a year ago while Liv fled; she faced two days of fear and her survival instincts have not gone away. Julia analyzes everything like she is still back in those woods. She analyzes Jessup, her kidnapping, and now the new body that was found. But most of all she analyzes Liv - the friend she saved who's acting anything but normal.

Julia is one tough MC. The fact that she finds a way to save her friend who then runs away, leaving her with a probable killer, is beyond anything I could ever expect from a character or real life person to do. I liked that she was such a fact finder when it came to kidnappings and her own trauma. She was trying to reason her way through what happened to her which made her story very believable.

"Liv wants to leave the woods," I murmur, my head thrown back, tracing the jagged lines in the canopy.
"Most people wouldn't blame her," Kellan says.
From the jeep, Liv yells at us to hurry up.
I'm not like most people.
I stoop up to pick an oak leaf, twirling its stem between my thumb and forefinger. Veins radiate out, starting and ending at the midrib, the leaf's spine. I close my eyes and run my finger over the midrib, a distinct indent on the front, an unmistakable ridge on the back. Starting and ending at the same place. Imminently traceable.
"I'm not ready to leave yet," I say, heading to the truck.

Liv is one shady human being. From the get go, she left her friend and she acts like everything is fine when Julia's back home. She doesn't want to talk about the woods anymore because according to her it's over and it's not like she got raped or anything.... WHAT!? I instantly had my guard up when it came to her and couldn't understand her motives for the things she said or did.

Kellan is the son of the detective/police officer on the case. He comes to her rescue when it comes to reporters trying to get a piece of her story. He's very dark and mysterious and of course beautiful (I've never understood how every boy in YA are called beautiful but I digress). He's drawn to her and she's drawn to him once she sees he seems to care for her. I really liked the way they talked about each other and the kidnapping. I really loved the writing in this story in general. It's really spot on and I couldn't get enough. I do think though that maybe it was too early and too fast for them to get into a semi-relationship thing but I won't go so far as say it was instalove. He is an interesting character on his own. He helps play off Julia's need to find out the why of it all but he is respectful and protective of her most of all.


Literally, other than thinking Liv was shady and her mother is a horrible human being, (Liv's mother Deborah would degrade her any chance she got. I would have ripped out her hair by now if I was Liv.) I couldn't help wonder how this was all going to end. And it ended with an explosion in my mind. In the end I couldn't process what just happened and couldn't believe how it ended. Talk about a great conclusion while still feeling like I needed more (in the good way - not the disappointed way). The mystery was freaking awesome and I could have never predicted the craziness that came with it.

I'm really happy I decided to buy this book because 1) The mystery was awesome and twisted 2) Julia's analytical brain and 3) That cover is gorgeous. If the summary entices you or this review I don't think you can go wrong. It's a well written mystery that will keep you guessing Why? to the very end.

Thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for letting me read After the Woods in exchange for an honest review!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Bout of Books: Wrap Up



Monday, August 22nd, 2016
Started Reading: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Pages Read: 6

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
Continued Reading: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Pages Read: 144

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016
Finished Reading: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Pages Read: 676

Thursday, August 25th, 2016
Started and Finished Reading: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
Pages Read: 565

Friday, August 26th, 2016
Read nothing ):

Saturday, August 27th, 2016
Started and Finished Reading: The BFG by Roald Dahl
Pages Read: 221

Sunday, August 28th, 2016
Started and Finished: Genuine Sweet by Faith Harkey
Pages Read: 277

In Total
Total Books Read: 5
Total Pages Read: 1,889

*Didn't do too bad this Bout of Books. I have a lot of reviewing to do now!

How was your Bout of Books week? What books did you read this week?

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

Sarah's Scribbles Collection. Andrew McMeel Publishing (March 2016) NetGalley/Own
Are you a special snowflake? 

Do you enjoy networking to advance your career? 

Is adulthood an exciting new challenge for which you feel fully prepared? 

Ugh. Please go away.

This book is for the rest of us. These comic document the wasting of entire beautiful weekends on the internet, the unbearable agony of holding hands on the street with a gorgeous guy, dreaming all day of getting home and back into pajamas, and wondering when, exactly, this adulthood thing begins. In other words, the horrors and awkwardnesses of young modern life.

I've been following Sarah Andersen's tumblr for a while now. She writes short comics that are totally relatable (especially for girls) and laugh out loud funny. I was so excited when I saw she was putting her work into a collection and had to have it. 

First thing you need to know - the cover is FUZZY. I'm caressing it constantly in a non-creepy way I promise. Second, is that if you are considered an adult but don't feel like it Adulthood is a Myth will make you feel like you aren't alone. It's really strange and comforting how much I can identify with Sarah's life. Feeling awkward, reading all night, procrastinating, and so much more. 

I particularly like the comics where she's hanging out with a boy and either feeling 100% comfortable with being her weird self or internally dying inside wondering what to do or think. The struggle is real. The only one that creeped me out had to do with what happens when you aren't pregnant yet... And I wish this was a bit longer. Otherwise, I can't recommend this enough whether you love Sarah's Scribbles or just appreciate funny comics. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Andrew McMeel Publishing for letting me read Adulthood is a Myth in exchange for an honest review!

You can view Sarah's Scribbles work right here.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier

Standalone. Sourcebooks Fire (Sept. 2015) Own
I was the one he trusted. I was the one he loved, the only one who believed him, even when his own mother had locked him up and thrown away the key.

And now, I was going to pass down the white tiled hallway, knock on his doctor’s office door, slam his secret notebook on her desk and make her read it, make her understand what he was hiding, make her see what only I had seen.

April won’t let Jonah go without a fight.

He’s her boyfriend—her best friend. She’ll do anything to keep him safe. But as Jonah slips into a dark depression, trying to escape the traumatic past that haunts him, April is torn. To protect Jonah, she risks losing everything: family, friends, an opportunity to attend a prestigious music school. How much must she sacrifice? And will her voice be loud enough to drown out the dissenters—and the ones in his head?

April Wesley is not looking forward to a new year of high school. Her best friend Kris is going to a new private school while she's stuck at her same old public school. She would make new friends but whenever she tries to she says the wrong thing or just sputters along saying "Ummm." Then new students arrive to her class and amazingly the new cute guy, Jonah, wants to sit by her and talk to her. He even shuts down the popular girl of this high school in favor of April. He's amused by April's less than graceful responses to his questions and they bond over their mutual love for art/music and missing their best friends. They become close quickly, but then things start to change with Jonah. He acts erratic and unintentionally hurts April emotionally. There is something wrong and April only wants to protect him to her own detriment.

I feel like sometimes mental illness in movies can be portrayed in a way where you don't really get to know the illness or what the person is dealing with but how everyone else's reactions to that person. There is no real way that we can understand what is happening to that person, however Scheier is able to do that remarkably in Your Voice is All I Hear without even having the person who was mentally ill have a POV.


I just skimmed read portions of the book again to write an accurate review since I read it months ago. It wasn't until the end that I remembered my own connection to schizophrenia, something I haven't experienced personally with a family member but still it's strange to think someone in my family slowly deteriorated with this illness and no one could help her at the time. To have voices in your head screaming and taunting and terrifying you without escape... what a horrible thing to have to live with. 

April is extremely loyally and protective of Jonah. Before, Jonah could be intense but loving. He loved his little sister Katie and she adores him. He teased April and their conversations were always fun to read especially since it took awhile for April to get comfortable with him and stop saying the "wrong" thing. April starts losing who Jonah was and can't cope with what to do. I really got the sense of how April quickly lost herself while she was trying not to lose the Jonah she fell in love with. There is this weight on her and sense of responsibility not to turn her back on Jonah. I loved her loyalty because it's never okay to let someone go for something they can't control. There was points that I felt April should step back because he was consuming her and when you let something so dark consume you it doesn't help the person you are trying to save.

Your Voice is All I Hear, delves deep into what it means to love a person with schizophrenia, what it feels like to have a mental illness, and how people perceive being mentally ill is like. When you aren't facing this kind of illness or love someone with it you can never imagine what those people are going through. Scheier got me to sit down and care about these characters and realize struggles that millions of people have to face everyday. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bout of Books: Mix n' Match Challenge


Day two of Bout of Books is down and I've finally gotten into Throne of Glass. I'll end up finishing it today and starting the next book in the series. The challenge happening now is called Mix n' Match which was created by The Nickster and hosted at Bout of Books. The idea is to pick up around 10-15 books at a random page and write down the first word on the page (omitting articles like the, an, a, I, etc.). The goal is to create a new sentence adding in some articles if needed. 

The Books I Chose



The Random Words
  • laughed
  • barely
  • that
  • though
  • stores
  • nightmares
  • true
  • lost
  • perfect
  • people
  • end
  • earned


My Sentence

It was true that I barely laughed as I was lost in nightmares though the perfect people in stores made me feel I earned them in the end.


*My sentence felt like I cheated a little bit but in the end it still makes no sense so I'll say I didn't.


Bout of Books Progress

Currently Reading: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Pages Read: 144
Pages Read in Total: 150
Books Read: 0

*Better than yesterday. I'm really into Throne of Glass and I expect to finish it soon.

What sentence would you have made with my random words?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bout of Books: Book to Movie Challenge


Bout of Books day 1 and there is a challenge going on over at Writing My Own Fairy Tale. The challenge is to tell others what your favorite and least favorite book to movie adaptions are. This was tough because there are a good number of book to movie adaptions I've enjoyed and a few that I've regretted seeing.

Favorite Book to Movie Adaption


Pride and Prejudice is my favorite movie adaption because it's just so fantastically good. There are moments that are different from the book for sure which is in every adaption but the love I have for the movie made want to read the book. 


Least Favorite Book to Movie Adaption


I am pretty sad with how everything went down in these books. First of all they are so much older and missing so much of what made the story so fantastic. I know book to movie adaptions can't be perfect but this made me sad. I was going to choose Safe Haven which was such a fantastic book but I recently watched the movie again and I've been able to enjoy it as a standalone without putting the book into the mix.

Bout of Books Progress

Currently Reading Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas 
Pages Read: 6
Books Read: 0
* Such a bad reading day. I'll make sure to read more tomorrow.

What is your favorite/least favorite book to movie adaption?

Olympic Book Tag


I've been so absorbed in the Olympics this year. I guess it's because I'm older and appreciate fitness more. I saw this tag over at Writing My Own Fairy Tale which is credited to It Starts at Midnight and I had to before the Olympics is coming to a close. 




Saint Anything was a perfect book from beginning to end. I didn't expect the greatness that I would behold until I started reading. The Chatham family are the most loyal and loving family. The friendships in the story, slow romance, and the struggles the MC faced with her brother being in jail and her parents paying too much attention on her made this the perfect read. And perfect for this category.




I've only read two road trip books before to be honest. I picked You Are Here because it has this quality of me in it. It was odd just how connected I felt to the story but I did.



Hands down the only book with a good love triangle that I've ever found. I rooted for both guys at different points of the series. It was very bittersweet at the end and I still kind of expect another book to see how they are doing fifty years later.



I kind of don't remember what happened in this story. I do and I don't and that's not good. I only gave it two stars because the romance made no sense to me. Unfortunately I don't get the hype.




How did I get so lucky to read this book? Another perfect book over here especially for the summer. A book related slow romance and an MC who learns so much about herself. There is one moment I will never forget and I'm happy I was able to read it this summer.




Really what other book is so violent? The thing is that I don't really read violent books other than Tokyo Ghoul which is also really violent. I decided on The Hunger Games because it's the first book like it that I've ever read and although there are violent moments there are happy moments in there as well.



After the Woods didn't really have that many plot twists but it had one that I was half expecting but freaking out over the whole time. The moral of the story: Don't trust shady people.



This destroyed my soul!!! Ripped it in little tiny pieces. The ending is what got me but everything in between got to me too. The two main characters, Nastya and Josh, are so likable. Nastya's pain and feeling like a victim got to me. It's just the culmination of everything and the reveal at the end that killed me inside and I cried ugly tears. A seriously beautiful story. 



Gameboard of the Gods is a very slow paced read set in a new world which means new words and technical things that only revolved around this certain world. It was really good, thank goodness, but unfortunately underappreciated.



A Week in the Woods is one of the books that really made me want to be that hiker nature lover type which I'm not.... but in my dreams I will be. I see no flaws in this book which is great when I reread it for fun now that I'm older.



I read Winnie the Pooh a while back and I feel like I learned so much about the Hundred Acre Woods and its cast of characters. Owl is not a great speller, Tigger is a little kid, and there needs to be more appearances by the minor characters. I did in fact still find out that Eeyore is a pessimistic sourpuss and I love him for it. He's much more needy than I expected though.



This whole plot just had me cringing. While everything was happening with an older guy, I just wasn't having it. 



The most loyal friends ever are in this book. They would do anything for each other even if they have problems in their life and sometimes with each other.



I usually read football stories so above are only one soccer book and a basketball story that I enjoyed. Front and Center is in the Dairy Queen series which has a sibling relationship that I adore. They help each other so much and don't know how to say thank you. 

What was your favorite sport in the Olympics?