Book Review: How Many Letters Are in Goodbye? by Yvonne Cassidy

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How Many Letters Are in Goodbye? | Yvonne Cassidy | Jan 1, 2014
Hachette/Flux Books | 432 Pages | eGalley provided by Publisher

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Rhea Farrell carries the scars of a childhood accident in which she lost her arm. But she also carries scars that aren’t so visible–the loss of a mother she hardly remembers, the impact of her father’s drinking, and her confusion and pain around accepting her sexuality.


When Rhea runs away, she turns to the person she always wished she could confide in–her mother. And just like she used to do as a little girl, Rhea starts to write her letters–to tell her things she can’t tell anyone else, to share her fears, to ask for help. Rhea’s journey on the streets of New York brings her deeper into her mother’s past where she uncovers buried family secrets. And as she finds out more about the woman her mother truly was, Rhea also discovers just what kind of woman she wants to be.

Review:

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be a homeless teen living on the streets of NYC in the years before the internet? What about a queer homeless teen? Or maybe a queer homeless teen with one arm? And she’s an orphan?

There’s a lot to think about in this book, as the main character Rhea has been through some major hardships. Her childhood was not exactly perfect, but when she has to give it up to live with her Aunt in Florida, she does not adapt well. She resents . . . well . . . almost everyone. When conflict erupts in her Aunt’s Florida home, Rhea sets out for NYC in search of answers and independence.  Continue reading Book Review: How Many Letters Are in Goodbye? by Yvonne Cassidy

Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

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Soundless | Richelle Mead | On Sale Since Nov 10, 2015
Razorbill | 272 Pages | ARC Provided by Publisher

Synopsis:

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.


 

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.


 

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.


 

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

Review:

Continue reading Book Review: Soundless by Richelle Mead

Reading Recap: What I’ve Been Reading, Part 1

So as I mentioned before, I got so behind on writing reviews on what I’ve been reading since last summer, I decided not to do them. Instead, here are some brief thoughts on what I’ve read since May.

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Bream Gives Me Hiccups by Jesse Eisenberg

When I got this book at BEA, I actually didn’t realize that it was fiction. So many memoirs have come out recently that I guess I just assumed… Anyway, it’s a collection of stories by famous actor Jesse Eisenberg. It’s his first book, and though I was a bit worried at first, Eisenberg really comes through on these stories. The first group, I have to admit, is my favorite – “Restaurant Reviews From a Privileged Nine-Year-Old”. The stories are every bit as tongue-in-cheek witty as you’d expect from Eisenberg, and I have to say, sometimes too intelligent for my lazy brain to figure out (it’s a good thing we studied Marx in literary theory). Definitely give this collection a look.

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Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

Maggie Thrash – what an awesome name – is a contributor at Rookie Magazine, and this is her first book. It’s a graphic novel memoir, and it was getting some buzz before BEA. Its tagline is “All-girl camp. First love. First heartbreak.” Not having read many YA memoirs, much less YA memoirs about LGBT teens, this book instantly piqued my interest. I really enjoyed reading it. I love Thrash’s sense of humor. The only thing is that I thought the ending, though realistic, kinda left me hanging.

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

This is one I really regret not writing a review for. The ARC I got opened with the most gorgeous letter from Patrick Ness, going into how he appreciates Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but never felt like Buffy. Moreover, he never felt like one of the Scoobies, either. He felt ordinary, like the majority of Sunnydale was (I guess, character-wise, that makes him Jonathan – but without the evil). So already, I’m thinking YES! This book is going to be THE BEST! Anything inspired by or related to Buffy has high chances of being the best, in my opinion. So every chapter opens with a sentence or two detailing what the “indie” kids were up to while the book’s plot is occurring – burning down the gymnasium, fighting evil, etc. Honesty, this was a great book to read following Night Vale, as I did. It’s weird, but in toned-down ways that Night Vale is not interested in. Deer with glowing eyes? Yeah, that happens – but then the characters go on with their lives. I would have liked this book a lot less, it’s possible, without that intro about Buffy. But there’s no doubt that Ness is a gifted writer, so go pick this up next chance you get, Buffy fans!

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Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

Anything with Westerfeld’s name on it gets my attention. So this book, as far as I can remember, is about a group of teens with special abilities. When one of the group’s members gets caught up in a bank robbery, they all have to band together, and in the process they find another teen with an ability. Let me tell you, keeping all of these characters and their abilities straight was not easy. I actually had to make a list to reference as the chapters and narrators changed. It’s a good book, but long, and I wasn’t blown away by it. I’ll be interested to see how the next book in the series turns out, as the characters grow and the authors learn the best ways to work together.

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The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

This book was a finalist for the National Book Awards. It’s about a traumatized girl named Suzy, whose childhood best friend died in an accident. Suzy goes searching for answers, and in the process discovers how awesome and deadly jellyfish can be. Told at the beginning of Suzy’s middle school education, this middle grade novel grapples with the all too common issue, what happens when close childhood friends grow apart? It’s a very good book, I highly recommend it. Suzy’s voice is unique and interesting; I hardly put it down from start to finish.

Note: all of the books on this post were ARCs provided to me for free.

Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer + GIVEAWAY

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Winter | Marissa Meyer | Feiwel and Friends
832 Pages | Paperback (via Book Depository) | Purchased

Synopsis:

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Review:

I’ve previously blogged about my experiences reading the previous books in the Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress. In short, I think they’re awesome, especially the Chronicles’ first book. Continue reading Book Review: Winter by Marissa Meyer + GIVEAWAY

Book Review | Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond

Book Review (6)

Lois Lane: Fallout coverTitle: Lois Lane: Fallout
Author: Gwenda Bond
Publisher: Switch Press
Pub Date: May 1, 2015
Pages: 304
Format: Hardback
Source: Purchased
Synopsis: Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. An Army brat, Lois has lived all over—and seen all kinds of things. (Some of them defy explanation, like the near-disaster she witnessed in Kansas in the middle of one night.) But now her family is putting down roots in the big city, and Lois is determined to fit in. Stay quiet. Fly straight. As soon as she steps into her new high school, though, she can see it won’t be that easy. A group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They’re messing with her mind, somehow, via the high-tech immersive videogame they all play. Not cool. Armed with her wit and her new snazzy job as a reporter, Lois has her sights set on solving this mystery. But sometimes it’s all a bit much. Thank goodness for her maybe-more-than-a friend, a guy she knows only by his screenname, SmallvilleGuy

Review:

First thing I need to say is that I was a huge fan of Smallville back when its reruns ran on abc family. The show featured the transformation of awkward (yet ridiculously handsome) farmboy Clark Kent into our All-American hero: Superman. Lois Lane eventually enters the storyline, but she does not immediately become a love interest for Clark. So when I heard about this revamp of the bustling Metropolis, home of The Daily Planet, it went right on my list. Continue reading Book Review | Lois Lane: Fallout by Gwenda Bond

ARC Book Review: Hugo & Rose by Bridget Foley

Book Review (4)

Hugo & Rose Cover ArtTitle: Hugo & Rose
Author: Bridget Foley
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pub Date: May 5, 2015
Pages: 352
Format: Hardback
Source: Goodreads First Reads
Synopsis:
Rose is by most qualifications an ordinary housewife, except for her dreams. Since childhood, she has always dreamt of the same island, with the same imaginary companion: a brave, heroic boy named Hugo. Rose’s own children now live for tales of Hugo and Rose’s adventures, battling giant spiders and bouncing on the pink sand of the Blanket Pavilion. And each night, after putting her sleepy children to bed, Rose escapes from the monotony of diapers and cracker crumbs to become a more perfect, fully-realized version of herself.

Until one day, Rose stumbles across Hugo in real life, and everything changes. Here is the man who truly knows her, who grew up with her, even if they aren’t what either one imagined. Their chance encounter begins a cascade of questions, lies, and a dangerous obsession that threatens to topple everything she knows. Is she willing to let go of everything she holds dear to understand their extraordinary connection? And will it lead her to discover who she truly wants to be?

Review:

I’ll start by saying that I finished this book in about three days, despite my life being in high finals mode right now. I was really fascinated by the premise of shared dreams. The beginning of the book struck me as very Rainbow Rowell but also very The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, an interesting pair. Continue reading ARC Book Review: Hugo & Rose by Bridget Foley

Book Review: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

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Title: Boy, Snow, Bird
Author:
Helen Oyeyemi
Publisher:
Picador/Riverhead
Pub Date:
February 27, 2014
Pages:
308
Format:
Paperback
Source:
Purchased
Synopsis:
BOY Novak turns twenty and decides to try for a brand-new life. Flax Hill, Massachusetts, isn’t exactly a welcoming town, but it does have the virtue of being the last stop on the bus route she took from New York. Flax Hill is also the hometown of Arturo Whitman – craftsman, widower, and father of Snow. SNOW is mild-mannered, radiant and deeply cherished – exactly the sort of little girl Boy never was, and Boy is utterly beguiled by her. If Snow displays a certain inscrutability at times, that’s simply a characteristic she shares with her father, harmless until Boy gives birth to Snow’s sister, Bird. When BIRD is born Boy is forced to re-evaluate the image Arturo’s family have presented to her, and Boy, Snow and Bird are broken apart.

“I’ve never tried to explain it to anyone before, but what I mean to say is that a whole lot of technically impossible things are always trying to happen to us, appear to us, talk to us, show us pictures, or just say hi, and you can’t pay attention to all of it, so I just pick the nearest technically impossible thing and I let it happen.” (page 237-8)

Review

I have mixed feelings about Boy, Snow, Bird. But I do have to say that my opinion sways heavily toward the positive! I’ve never read anything by Oyeyemi before, though Mr Fox has been on my book depository wishlist for a while now, and I found her writing style to mesh really well with my tastes. Continue reading Book Review: Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

Book Crush + Review | Buffy: the Making of a Slayer

Book Review

Title: Buffy: the Making of a Slayer
Author: Nancy Holder
Publisher: 47North
Pub Date: December 11, 2012
Source: Bought on Amazon
Synopsis:
Celebrating the 15th anniversary of Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series, this lavishly produced book is the first authorized, fully illustrated retrospective of the hit show. Offering in-depth commentary on the making of the series, the book explores the characters and mythology of the Buffy universe and follows the evolution of all seven seasons. Die-hard Whedon fans will also find insider information on his involvement in other projects, including Angel, Firefly, and more. Continue reading Book Crush + Review | Buffy: the Making of a Slayer

Book Review: Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

hausfrau official coverPUBLISH DATE: March 17, 2015 (pre-order here)
PUBLISHER: Random House
PAGES: 336
FORMAT: Paperback ARC
SOURCE: Goodreads Giveaway
SYNOPSIS:
Anna was a good wife, mostly. For readers of The Girl on the Train and The Woman Upstairs comes a striking debut novel of marriage, fidelity, sex, and morality, featuring a fascinating heroine who struggles to live a life with meaning—“a modern-day Anna Karenina tale.”

Continue reading Book Review: Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum