Review: Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

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Published: 20 April 2017

Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre

Category: Women’s Fiction/Books About Books

You can trust a book to keep your secret . . .

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look closely, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are things she’ll never show you.

Fifteen years ago Loveday lost all she knew and loved in one unspeakable night. Now, she finds refuge in the unique little York bookshop where she works.

Everything is about to change for Loveday. Someone knows about her past. Someone is trying to send her a message. And she can’t hide any longer.

Lost for Words is a compelling, irresistible and heart-rending novel, with the emotional intensity of The Shock of the Fall and all the charm of The Little Paris Bookshop and 84 Charing Cross Road.

Rating: 5 Stars

This book is not a fast read, but then again neither is one of my favorite books of all time (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn). Not all books have to be, when the author can find the right pace and divulge the inner workings of their characters in the proper moment.

Loveday, the main character, has us in her head for the entirety of the book and we learn things as she reveals them in the present day to us, and in flashbacks: the times that lead up to the destruction of her family and the times that saw her facing someone whose continued presence in her present day is reminiscent of the relationship between her parents. Everything has a reason, which I found interesting. The author didn’t waste anything, or anyone.

Besides Loveday, there was a whole cast of characters that gave something to the story, whether it was Archie, the proprietor of the bookshop, or Nathan, Loveday’s love interest, or even the workers/patrons of Lost for Words.

My favorite thing about Lost for Words was how powerful some scenes were, even if there wasn’t a lot of typical “action” going on at the moment. For instance, Loveday’s reaction to the Penguin Classics she unpacks in one scene, in thinking that they’re her mother’s books from long ago, reminded me of a nostalgic/deja vu feeling I get when I’m in a second hand bookshop. Seeing books on the shelves that I know I own at home, seeing them in another environment, is both heartwarming and strange, especially if they happen to be in the series arrangement as my own collection. Loveday’s remembering her mother buying a Penguin Classic every two weeks for a year made her and her family even more familiar to me, even if her mum didn’t read them (in my case it’s a runaway tbr, in Loveday’s mum’s case…who knows?).

However, this scene takes on a potentially darker tone when more books from Loveday’s past keep showing up at the shop, books she hasn’t seen in fifteen years and that have no right to be surfacing now, in the shop she works at of all places. The eeriness of such an occurrence was so subtle I almost didn’t realize what was happening at first, but the more time that I spent in Loveday’s present tense chapters, the more I realized that something strange was going on and the more I wanted to find out what it all meant.

There are more of these eerie moments as the book goes on, as we get more glimpses into Loveday’s past and discover what really happened to make her into the person she is now. Ultimately the truth is revealed to the reader and then there is the journey toward her making peace with that, with herself, and with those around her that love her, just as she is.

You’re never quite sure, reading this book, whether there will be a happy ending or not, whether one is even possible, but it’s the finding out that’s interesting, not the actual getting.

 

 

 

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

 All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Blog Tour: The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy – Interview With the Author & Giveaway

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2017 has quite the plethora of eerie books coming out and today I get the chance to share with you an interview with the author of one of them. The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy is about a small town that has an inexplicable occurrence every seven years: things disappear. Things you would never have imagined to be things that would disappear, but now they do. Why? Where do they go? How do they relate to the main character? The book is out now, luckily, so you’ll be able to find those answers for yourself. For now, let’s see what Emily has to say about a few things:

 

If you were to pick an animal to represent The Disappearances, or perhaps even the town of Sterling itself, what one do you think it would be?

A chameleon! Not only because they can make themselves “disappear”—but also because the people in Sterling are sort of like chameleons in a way. They constantly have to adapt themselves to fit in and pretend as though the disappearances aren’t happening to them, so I think it’s actually the perfect animal to describe their situation.


If you had the chance, would you want The Disappearances to become adapted into another format, such as a film, miniseries, or television show? Which do you think would be the most beneficial to the story of The Disappearances?

The Disappearances is a standalone with a completed arc so I would love to see it in movie form or as a miniseries. It’s such a visual book and I think it would translate so well onto the screen, so that would be absolutely amazing if it ever happened.


Do you create aesthetics as you work or something like a Pinterest board to keep visual straight?

I do! I have a Pinterest board that especially helped me visualize the different aspects of forties life, from the way that a main street of the town might look, and the cars they were driving at the time, and the advertisements that were hanging on the walls; what clothes and shoes they were wearing; how they styled their hair, etc. It was so helpful to build a visual scrapbook to reference. (Thank you, Pinterest!)


What’s been the single scariest/most nerve-wracking thing about becoming a published author?

Starting to get people’s feedback in early reviews is so terrifying. You love your story, but everyone isn’t going to—so it’s very nerve-wracking to see if your thoughts and feelings and ideas are going to resonate with people or completely miss.


On the flip-side, what has been the biggest surprise about becoming an author that’s made you happy?

I’ve recently met some young aspiring authors who were so excited, and they reminded me so much of myself. It just made me feel very honored and gratified that I could make someone feel happy as they look forward to their own dreams. Also, the author community is incredible and I’ve met some people who have become some of my very best friends.


If you could describe your novel in five words, what would they be?

Magical historical mystery with Shakespeare.

Thank you for hosting me on your blog today!!

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Published: 4 July 2017

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Category: Young Adult/Fantasy/Mystery

What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home–and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together–scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream–vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible–and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind.

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone’s secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

About the Author

14865445Emily Bain Murphy grew up in Indiana, Hong Kong, and Tokyo, and has also called Massachusetts and Connecticut home.

She loves books, Japanese karaoke, exploring new cities, and anything with Nutella. Her debut YA fantasy, THE DISAPPEARANCES, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017.

Murphy currently lives in San Francisco with her family and is at work on her second novel.

Twitter  –  Instagram  –  Website 

 

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3 Copies of The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

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7/9 Tour Stops

Mystery Board – Pondering The Prose

Review – The Inkdin Book Blog

7/16 Tour Stops

Interview – The Hermit Librarian

Review – Bayy in Wonderland

Review – Lost in Ever After

Unique Post – Dani Reviews Things

Review – Mikayla’s Bookshelf

Review – Little Book Wyrm

7/23 Tour Stops

Interview – Blame It On The Books

Review – Reading in the Rain

Unique Post – YA and Wine

Review – Tine’s Reviews

 

 

 

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Review: The Fifth Doll by Charlie N. Holmberg

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Published: 25 July 2017

Publisher: 47North

Category: Fantasy/Horror/Mystery

After discovering a room full of matryoshka dolls wearing the faces of her village, a woman learns she may be trapped inside one–but unraveling the sorcery carved into each doll unleashes dark consequences that rip her from the only home she remembers.

Rating: 5 Stars

Charlie N. Holmberg has a way of crafting magical worlds that I’ve never thought of before. While there may be some familiar elements, she bends them to her will and creates people and places and systems that weave together into a story that has me reading until the last page.

The Fifth Doll is the story of a woman, Matrona, who is living a relatively content life. She is not as respected as she’d like, being an unmarried woman at 26, but that will change with her marriage to the butcher. After a fateful decision, however, she finds herself stumbling upon a secret that encompasses her entire village and spans the past twenty years. Now, she has to work alongside Slava, the mastermind behind this magical secret, and in doing so decide whether she will comply with his wish, to become his protege, or to work out the magic and free her people.

While reading Matrona’s journey from an unsuspecting villager to the person that pulls back the curtain, I never thought for sure that I knew where things were going. There were hints as to what Slava had done, like when the villagers didn’t know what a lock was or what the word snow meant. There were things that were unexplained before the big revelation that I never expected to be answered, only to get to the end and realize that it was interwoven in Slava’s machinations from the beginning, though not by his intentional design. Simply put, there was just so much going on in The Fifth Doll that you’re swept away, just like Matrona, and while you might pick up on some of the minute details that hint at the future she’s hurtling toward, you might also be like her and miss them while trying to work out the bigger picture.

There is an interesting concept that Matrona and Slava debate toward the end of the novel that I found interesting.

 

SPOILER

 

Slava turned the villagers into the enchanted matryoskas in order to save them from Tsar Nikolai II. He made a decision to save them from something that he saw as a threat, all without consulting a single one of them. Matrona thought that this was wrong and even asked him why he would hide their memories of Russia if this life within the dolls was so good. She condemned him for this decision and sets about trying to set the village free from Slava’s enchantment.

From that point on, she makes the decision to break them all out, no matter the cost. At the cost of the peaceful life they had, one with no war, no hunger, perpetual summer, she was determined to get them all out. With only scant memories of her time in Russia from when she was six and returned to her when one of her dolls was opened, she makes the choice for all of them. It never occurs to her that this action is somewhat hypocritical, that she is doing exactly what she condemned Slava for. Matrona’s betrothed, Feodor, even makes the very same observation to her when they’re back in the real world. Some of the villagers may not want this. The world they’ve come back to is cold and the peasants they’ve stumbled upon are dressed poorly, housed in buildings a lot smaller than the villagers had had within the Doll World. While, yes, Matrona’s actions do mean they’re free from Slava, what harm has she actually brought to them?

We never learn how many of them are pleased with this turn of events or how many would have preferred to remain within their comfortable world. It reminded me of the ending of the Matrix series, where the humans and the Machines come to the decision that humans can disconnect if they feel they’re ready, if the truth would not be too harmful. Matrona disregarded what her fellow citizens might have thought and made a decision, one that she thought was best for all, just like Slava. In the end, she was more like him than she cared to admit.

 

END SPOILER

 

The revelations and the consequences of not just Matrona’s actions but those of Slava and other characters in this story made for a gripping story that I had to read nearly straight through. Holmberg’s writing made a for a pleasant reading experience and her research into Russian culture included clothing and building details that I did not recognize from books I’ve read in the past. Her creation of this atmosphere got me right into the story and did not let me go until the end, where I am left both satisfied and questioning the characters. No one is perfect in this book, whatever they think about themselves, and maybe that was the point. Making the best decisions you can while not giving into self-doubt and criticism and outside forces.

I’m looking forward to her next book, because there is always the possibility that the story started here as not ended.

 

 

 

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

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Stacy King, and Po Tse

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Published: 19 August 2014

Publisher: Udon Entertainment

Category: Sequential Art/Manga/Classics

Beloved by millions the world over, Pride & Prejudice is delightfully transformed in this bold new manga adaptation. All of the joy, heartache, and romance of Jane Austen’s original, perfectly illuminated by the sumptuous art of manga-ka Po Tse, and faithfully adapted by Stacy E. King.

Rating: 4 Stars

Pride & Prejudice is probably Jane Austen’s most well-known book and as I like both that story and the art form of manga, I thought the opportunity to read a manga adaptation of such a classic story would be a good time.

Stacy King did a very good job in adapting the novel into a manga. Since there is limited space in which to describe things, her working with the artist Po Tse needed to be flawless so that action, dialogue, and environment could come together in picture form rather than words. For the most part I think that they succeeded. There were moments when I think that characters were plumped up a bit in the adaptation, though that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Lydia, for example, the errant younger sister of Elizabeth Bennett, has many annoying and selfish qualities which were intensified in certain scenes, particularly after the militia men removed themselves from Meryton.

Art

Po Tse, the manga-ka that tackled the project of bringing Jane Austen’s classic to life, did a fabulous job in many ways. The details, such as hairstyles and clothing, were very well done and intricate. Buildings were streamlined in the correct places and in others had the angles that gave them the grandeur that one envisions when picturing Netherfield or Pemberley. Breaking this up were some panels where characters like Mrs. Bennett became chibis (smaller caricatures of themselves) that added some levity that was funny.

What I did not like after a bit, because it became a tiresome wear on the eyes, was the overuse of a glamour style on the primary female characters Elizabeth and Jane. I know we’re meant to understand that they’re beautiful enough to outshine the others in their towns and attract the attention of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, but the style of their eyes in particular felt overly heavy handed after a few pages.

Summary

This adaptation had all of the classic scenes that one might expect to see: the proposals, the scene between Darcy and Elizabeth in the rain, the balls, and more. It was easy to see that the people working on this book, from script adapter King to artist Po Tse, were dedicated to making sure that Austen’s work made the transition to this art form successfully.

 

 

 

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

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Waiting on Wednesday: A Semi-Definitive List of Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we highlight a title we’re looking forward to reading. You can find their website here.

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From the author of Our Chemical Hearts comes the hilarious, reality-bending tale of two outsiders facing their greatest fears about life and love one debilitating phobia at a time.

Ever since Esther Solar’s grandfather was cursed by Death, everyone in her family has been doomed to suffer one great fear in their lifetime. Esther’s father is agoraphobic and hasn’t left the basement in six years, her twin brother can t be in the dark without a light on, and her mother is terrified of bad luck.

The Solars are consumed by their fears and, according to the legend of the curse, destined to die from them.

Esther doesn’t know what her great fear is yet (nor does she want to), a feat achieved by avoiding pretty much everything. Elevators, small spaces, and crowds are all off-limits. So are haircuts, spiders, dolls, mirrors and three dozen other phobias she keeps a record of in her semi-definitive list of worst nightmares.

Then Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, an old elementary school classmate. Along with her phone, money and a fruit roll-up she d been saving, Jonah also steals her list of fears. Despite the theft, Esther and Jonah become friends, and he sets a challenge for them: in an effort to break the curse that has crippled her family, they will meet every Sunday of senior year to work their way through the list, facing one terrifying fear at a time, including one that Esther hadn’t counted on: love.

Reasons I want to read this:
1. There’s a black cat on the cover. I love these little buggers and never bought into the whole bad luck thing, but I assume since they’re traditional viewed as bad omens there will be an appearance. Maybe Esther will luck out and it will be kittens? Maybe she’ll adopt one from a shelter? Who knows…
2. Cursed by Death? That’s interesting enough, but then each member of the family feels the effect of the curse in their own terrifying way. That’s interesting. What would mind be? Does Esther have one? Will she break the curse? Is it breakable?
3. This could easily be some kind of horror movie or mystery thriller and I’m curious to see how it’s going to work as a contemporary young adult book. Esther and Jonah, experimenting to conquer the list of nightmares…will they be successful? What kind of crazy adventures will this entail? Will there be roller coasters for a fear of heights? Boating for a fear of water? There are so many interpretations to the possible fears on this list of Esther’s that I have no idea where it’s going to go!
I’m really curious how in-depth this is going to go, how the fears will be treated, and how the curse itself will be “defeated”, if it in fact can be. The idea feels like it’ll go one way, but the genre feels like it would go another. This book comes out in September and I sure as heck already have it preordered so I’ll find out ASAP upon release!
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Review: Gone by Min Kym

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Published: 25 April 2017

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Category: Autobiography/Non-fiction/Music

The spellbinding memoir of a violin virtuoso who loses the instrument that had defined her both on stage and off — and who discovers, beyond the violin, the music of her own voice

Her first violin was tiny, harsh, factory-made; her first piece was “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star.” But from the very beginning, Min Kym knew that music was the element in which she could swim and dive and soar. At seven years old, she was a prodigy, the youngest ever student at the famed Purcell School. At eleven, she won her first international prize; at eighteen, violinist great Ruggiero Ricci called her “the most talented violinist I’ve ever taught.” And at twenty-one, she found “the one,” the violin she would play as a soloist: a rare 1696 Stradivarius. Her career took off. She recorded the Brahms concerto and a world tour was planned. Then, in a London cafe, her violin was stolen. She felt as though she had lost her soulmate, and with it her sense of who she was. Overnight she became unable to play or function, stunned into silence.

In this lucid and transfixing memoir, Kym reckons with the space left by her violin’s absence. She sees with new eyes her past as a child prodigy, with its isolation and crushing expectations; her combustible relationships with teachers and with a domineering boyfriend; and her navigation of two very different worlds, her traditional Korean family and her music. And in the stark yet clarifying light of her loss, she rediscovers her voice and herself.

Rating: 5 Stars

If ever there is a book that so concisely tells the story of someone’s passion and does so while embracing that passion, entrusting and passing it on to the reader, then it is Gone by Min Kym. A woman who was a child prodigy of violin music, we hear the story of her learning what it was to pick up the instrument and see her future in wood and string, to journey from being a little girl to a young woman whose music was so profound.

The emotion carried on in this book is only part of the work. The writing, authentic and never pretentious, that enabled me to feel it was a blessing, as I wasn’t sure whether the depth of Kym’s feeling for the violin, both before and after the tragic loss of her prized Stradivarius, would translate well to the page. I needn’t have worried, though, because we not only got a glimpse into that emotional range, but also into what it looked like in her life beyond the musical world. It is difficult at any age to be amazing at something, but to learn about her talent and skill so early added a stress to Kym’s life that I don’t think everyone would be able to bear.

Another thing that I enjoyed about the book was there were links to some of Min Kym’s works that are mentioned within the story. The accompanying album, Gone, is available on Spotify here. Classical music is one of my favorites because, in my opinion, it has the fluidity to speak to a person more so than a song with words. The feeling is there and that feeling can change with the person, with the listening. If you’re reading the novel Gone, I cannot stress how much listening to Min Kym’s album will add to the experience.

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Audiobook Review: The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit, Narrated by Karen Krause

Author: E. Nesbit

Narrator: Karen Krause

Length: 4h 53m

Publisher: Listen2aBook.com

Series: The Book of Dragons, Books 1-8

Genre: Classic Fantasy

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Edith (E.) Nesbit was a master at weaving imagination and real life into timeless fairy tales, with fantastic mythical creatures, princes and princesses, magic, and just the right touch of silliness. This is a collection of nine of her fairy tales with a common theme – Dragons! For children from five to 95, these stories are not to be taken seriously. Let your imagination run wild!

Rating: 2.5 Stars

I like dragons a lot. I cannot remember my very first book about them, but I have a feeling it was Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede in which a princess becomes a dragon’s servant willingly. Quite the scandal!

When I saw this collection offered as a tour for Audiobookwork Promotions I thought that it sounded like it would be a good way to get back to dragon literature because, sadly, my books recently have been lacking in dragon characters. Unfortunately it did not turn out as well as I had hoped and I’ll be taking my review right from my Audible account, broken down into guided categories so I can explain just why this book didn’t work out for me.

As an aside, Karen Krause was a pretty good narrator. While the book started wearing on me and her by default, I think I’d be up for listening to another of her performances because maybe that story would turn out better and thus her work wouldn’t be diminished.

What did you like best about The Book of Dragons? What did you like least?

The narrator was a good match for fairy tales. She had the perfect read aloud, librarian-esque type voice that made the stories at least some what enjoyable.

The least enjoyable thing was the fact that most of the dragons were monsters that had to be destroyed and their motivations were next to nil.

What could E. Nesbit have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I think a variation in her dragons would’ve made the collection more interesting. They came across very one note to me. Different settings didn’t mean different dragons beneath the surface.

What does Karen Krause bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I probably would’ve put the book down a lot sooner if I had been reading this as a physical copy. Karen Krause’s performance reminded me of being read to as a child and the experience was a pleasant, nostalgic one.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

As much as I love dragons, I don’t think so. Even if the dragons were better villains, I don’t think the collection as a whole was cohesive enough to make a film.

 

Are there any dragon books that you’re especially fond of? Do you prefer good, evil, or neutral dragons? Have you read The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit? Let me know in the comment section below.

 

 

 

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

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Review: If Not For You by Debbie Macomber

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Published: 21 March 2017

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Category: Romance/Fiction/Women’s Fiction

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not and her parents worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn t exactly Sam s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either.

But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both.

Before long, Beth’s strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she s come to love.

Rating: 2 Stars

I’m a fan of most of Debbie Macomber’s books, especially her Blossom Street series because of the central knitting theme it has. However, while I was reading this book, it really hit me how incredibly formulaic some of her character’s love stories were. It wasn’t just a genre or trope, either, but specifically for her novels: the two polar opposites who are extremely judgmental of each other for many very many, if any, concrete reasons, one of which is from a well off background, the other from a rougher or working class background, but who will obviously end up together in the end.

The main characters in this book, Sam and Beth, were harder to connect to than previous Macomber couples. Their attraction, after being set up on a blind date that neither wanted and being thrown together, quite literally, by an accident on the way home, seemed to happen really quickly with next to no foundation. I’ve seen instalove in young adult novels, but this really took it to another level.

Beth annoyed me at some points because on the one hand she kept “telling” the reader that she knew what her mother was like, the typical overbearing mother who thinks she knows what is good for her daughter no matter what the daughter says, but on the other hand she ignored classic warning signs like when Ellie, her mother, said “she was afraid this would happen” and upon being pressed for meaning says “never mind.” That should have been a huge red flag because, not long after, a mother provided road block pops up. This was one of those moments like when you’re watching a horror movie and shouting at the stupid person checking out the noise in the dark backyard, knowing only doom awaits.

Beth’s aunt, Sunshine, was a cool character at first. She lived in Portland, the new town that Beth had moved to and was giving her as much support as she could while allowing her to be her own person. However, when Beth started meddling in her past and that became Sunshine’s main story, I started to dislike where it was going. The painful memory of her past, an intense love with a man named Peter, was something that I wouldn’t have minded being reconciled, but not to the extent that it went. Peter begs Sunshine to give up a once in a lifetime art trip to Italy because he doesn’t have the funds to go, she goes anyway, and while she’s gone he cheats on her with her sister.

When Sunshine comes back, Peter and Sunshine’s sister say they’re in love. That was bad enough, but to have the author write a story where Sunshine forgave him because she loved him so much and accepted him back as her love interest felt wrong for two reasons: 1) No. He cheated once and you can’t trust him, especially since it was with someone so near to you. 2) The reconciliation/new relationship with the cheater is quite contradictory to almost all of Macomber’s other books where the women leave cheating husbands/boyfriends who “swear they’ll never do it again”. This twist felt like a betrayal.

When the story began to end, Beth also came back with something that annoyed me and that was taking Sam to a piano recital. At the recital they saw Lucinda play, Lucinda being the daughter that Sam has never met and has no parental rights to due some thorny issues thirteen years ago. Beth should have known how painful this would be, but it never once occurred to her and that made her seem incredibly selfish to me, which is how Sam starts out when he gets mad at her for bringing him there. Of course by the end of the book he forgives her, so she never really suffers for her actions and I doubt she’ll really learn, so what was the point? The whole Lucinda story felt cruel because there was no resolution,  one way or the other, by the end and Beth dredging it up when she knew Sam wouldn’t want that felt horrid.

Overall the book lacked a lot of content. Most of it went by with nothing really happening and that, while at times relaxing and interesting if the story is character driven, was not the case here. If Not For You is one of the most disappointing Macomber books I’ve read yet.

 

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

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

Make Me Read It Readathon 2017

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I used to be big into readathons, but to be honest I don’t think I’ve ever finished one. Usually because I choose really big TBRs and that can be a setback in this kind of situation. That, and I also get caught up in just what to read. I have literally thousands of choices in my home library alone, how can I be expected to choose from among all of that?

That’s why, when I saw Val @ The Innocent Smiley  announce on Twitter that she and Ely @ Tea & Titles were hosting the Make Me Read It Readathon again this year, I thought that it would be the perfect opportunity for some pressure to be alleviated in the choosing of a TBR and some accountability. If you say I have to read it, well, I’m going to try a bit harder than if it was just me then, won’t I?

The readathon is going to run from August 6th to August 13th. If you’d like to see Val’s post explaining all details, you can check it out here. The long and short of it is, I will be posting a few titles that have been on my TBR for awhile now and I want you to choose which ones I will read for the readathon. As it is only a week long event, I think I’ll aim to read whatever three books get the most votes, with an option for a fourth if time permits.

Now, on to the fun part! What books to choose from! Remember, to cast your vote, leave a comment down below letting me know your pick. Whichever book gets the most votes will be read first; second place will be read second, etc. Your voting choices are:

So, what do you think? Which book do I have to read first? 😉

 

 

 

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Review: The Stereotypical Freaks (Forever Friends, #1) by Howard Shapiro

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Amazon  –  Barnes & Noble  –  Goodreads

Published: 4 November 2012

Publisher: Animal Media Group

Category: Young Adult/Graphic Novel/Music

Four disparate high school seniors come together to compete in their school’s battle of the bands. Sharing a love for playing rock and roll, the members name the band “The Stereotypical Freaks” because they feel stereotyped by their classmates – smart kid, geek, star athlete and quiet weirdo… when in fact they know they are much more than those labels that have been placed on them.

When one member reveals life altering news, winning the competition takes on more of a meaning to each member. Scared and angry, upset and yet still with a lot of resolve they set out to win one for the good guys… will they?

Rating: 2 Stars

I remember, when I requested The Stereotypical Freaks, thinking that it sounded really cool. Music has been essential to some tough time in my life, in a lot of people’s lives I’m sure, and it brings the characters in this story together.

There was just a lot lacking in the book that the music theme couldn’t bring back up from down low, little things that added up to one big thing: I didn’t care for the book as much as I thought I would.

The Bad

  • The scene breaks that happened between chapters were jarring and didn’t make sense, like two mini-chapters got jammed together accidentally.
  • The characters didn’t flesh out more than their, well, stereotypes. Granted we were given insight into what their characters ought to have been, like the “quiet weirdo” who just wants to experience as much life as possible before the end, but that’s all these moments were: glimpses, brief interludes into what might have been.
  • The band’s music was difficult to suss out. There were recommendations at the beginning of each chapter, but it wasn’t clear in the text that these were songs that the kids were either playing or inspired by.

The Good

  • At the beginning of each chapter there were musical recommendations that were fun to search out on Spotify. It gave a little life to the book.
  • The art was a clean style that I liked, not too much fussiness.
  • It was a fast, easy read.

Summary

There was a lot of potential for this to be fun, but I didn’t get that sense from reading it. There are two more books in the series, but I don’t think I’ll be continuing on. As dull as I found it, I both don’t really want to continue and I also felt like this story was done, so I’m fine with where I left things.

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.