“I bought of all those nights, at the club and not at the club, and how I’d still somehow never seen a constellation. And I thought, constellations weren’t the point. Constellations were just a bunch of separate stars. They didn’t become constellations until you connected them, one to another. Like families, like sisters, like friendship, like prayers.
And anyway, it turned out Nattie was memorizing all eighty-eight constellations. I didn’t need David in order to fall in love with the night sky.”
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Win 1 of 2 copies of In The Neighbourhood of True. ( US Only)
Start Date: April 3rd 2019
End: April 16th 2019
About The Author:
Born in the mountains and raised in the desert, Kara McDowell spent her childhood swimming, boating, and making up stories in her head. As the middle of five children, Kara entertained her family on long road trips by reading short mystery stories out loud and forcing everyone to guess the conclusion. After graduating from Arizona State University with a BA in English Literature, Kara worked as a freelance writer. Now she writes young adult novels from her home in Arizona, where she lives with her husband and three young sons.
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Buy Just For Clicks:
My Rating:4/5 Stars
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an
The phenomenon of internet fame is one that I found fascinating and it’s a subject that I love seeing being discussed in books. It’s mind-boggling to me that there are people out there who are famous basically for just existing. Before Just For Clicks, I had a vague idea on how popular mommy bloggers were, but this book really shed light on a subject that I had never really thought about before. I absolutely loved seeing Claire’s struggle between wanting to make her mother and sister happy, and removing herself from the spotlight. The discussion about internet culture that occurred throughout the book was super fascinating and it made me think a lot about the role internet fame plays in our society. There’s always a danger for subject like these to sound preachy, but that wasn’t the case in this book which I really appreciated. I really liked how Kara McDowell showed both the ugly and glamorous parts of fame. One that thing I think could’ve been addressed a little more was the enormous amount of privilege that Claire had because of her fame. There were off-hand comments where she did acknowledge her privilege but it still rubbed me the wrong way.
No contemporary is truly complete without a swoon-worthy love interest, and Just For Clicks definitely delivered with Rafael. He was super sweet and caring and basically everything I could ask for in a love interest. It was so excruciating to have to read through so many near-kisses, wondering each time if this would be the time where one of them would finally reveal their GODAMN FEELINGS. Even if it was definitely frustrating, it made them getting together all the more satisfying. Claire and Rafael’s chemistry were to die for and I just wish there was less miscommunication drama and more swoon worthy moments.
I expected this book to be a pretty run of the mill contemporary, but McDowell hit me with some unexpected and heartbreaking plot moments. There was a point in the book that had me gasp aloud which like very rarely happens. At times I did find Claire’s reaction to this particular plot point to be a little stubborn but I did appreciated her development and her end reaction to it.
I really appreciate all the relationships in this book but I especially love the dynamic between Claire and Poppy. It felt very realistic to me and the author did a great job of depicting the love-hate relationship that so many siblings have. Things became especially complicated as the story progressed, and I love seeing how their relationship shifted throughout the novel. While I really did like their relationship, I would’ve appreciated a few more moments where we really get to see their sisterhood shine.
Ends February 22nd 2019.
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The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.
Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.
As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Disclaimer:I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
While many people are fond of us Canadians, I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve read that are set in Canada and written by a Canadian author. There’s no point in denying the fact that we live in an American centric society which explains why the majority of contemporary books we read are set in the United States. When I found out that Nice Try, Jane Sinner was not only written by a Canadian author but also set in Canada I was over the moon. Add to a mix a blurb written by the one and only Becky Albertalli and a really interesting premise I knew that I would be in a for a real treat.
While this book deals with some pretty serious topics like mental illness and religion it’s still a really funny and quirky read that I guarantee will have you laughing out loud. This book has such an interesting premise and it isnt quite like anything I’ve ever read.I don’t know how Lianne Oelke came up with this premise because a reality tv show similiar to Big Brother starring community college kids who are fighting to win an used car is such a unique plot and not something that I’d ever think of writing about. I loved seeing the reality show, House of Orange, play out and read about all the weird challenges they had to go through. I also really enjoyed the interractions between the contestants and found them to be really interesting. I’m still not sure how I feel about the sort of love interest Robby but I did like his character though some of his actions were definitely questionable.
I really liked the way the author discussed mental illness and portrayed Jane’s depression. This is not a book about depression but merely features a character who has it and the book does show how this has affected her. I really liked how we got a nice balance of topics, that while we did some insight into Jane’s mental illness, there were also other plot points. It was nice to have a book with a character that has a mental illness but doesn’t merely focus on that. While books with a plot that revolves around the character’s mental illness are great, I really appreciat the approach Nice Try,Jane Sinner took and I hope to find other books like this in the future.
One small critique that I have is that I found that the book could have focused a little more on characters such as Jane’s best friend ,Bonnie, and her sister, Carol. I really liked what we saw of Bonnie and thought it was interesting how Jane’s upbringing made her react negatively when Bonnie came out as bisexual but Jane eventually realized that that was wrong. I love character’s who are inherently flawed but gradually unlearn their prejudices. I would’ve liked to see more of Bonnie’s relationship with Jane. Carol was also an interesting character and just a little more page time with Jane would’ve been a nice addition.
Q: How has being Canadian affected your writing and the general publishing process?
A: Long before I knew I’d be published, I knew I wanted the story I was telling to be set in Calgary (where I grew up). I’m proud to be Canadian, and I think we have something unique to offer YA literature. Now, more than ever, teens from all over the world need stories about diversity, tolerance, freedom, and hope. I was asked on two separate occasions if I’d consider changing the setting to the States, but I held my ground. Growing up, most of the contemporary YA I read was set in America. While I was still able to relate to the characters, I strongly believe that Canadians deserve to see themselves and all their toques and loonies and cities shown on the page. I’m happy to be living where I am now (Vancouver, BC), although at times it can feel like I’m removed from publishing life. Today, in fact, is my first day in New York City, and later this week I’ll meet my agent for the first time! I’m happy to bring a little bit of Canada to the publishing world, and as I explore New York, I’ll be wearing my biggest, reddest, maple-leafiest toque.
Adam Hawthorne is fine.
Yeah, his mother left, his older sister went with her, and his dad would rather read Nicholas Sparks novels than talk to him. And yeah, he spends his nights watching self-curated porn video playlists.
But Adam is fine.
When a family friend discovers Adam’s porn addiction, he’s forced to join an addiction support group: the self-proclaimed Knights of Vice. He goes because he has to, but the honesty of the Knights starts to slip past his defenses. Combine that with his sister’s out-of-the-blue return and the attention of a girl he meets in an AA meeting, and all the work Adam has put into being fine begins to unravel.
Now Adam has to face the causes and effects of his addiction, before he loses his new friends, his prodigal sister, and his almost semi-sort-of girlfriend. (less)
My rating:4/5 Stars
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Thomas Allen & Son in exchange for an honest review.
I admit that I was apprehensive upon first reading the synopsis for this book. I thought that I might be uncomfortable reading an entire novel with a main character that has a porn addiction but I’m all about reading outside of my comfort zone so I decided to give it a gander. I was pleasantly surprised and ended up actually really enjoying it! I’m really glad that I didn’t listen to my original hesitations because first impressions are so often wrong.
Dave Connis did an excellent job of developing the character of Adam: he doesn’t focus on the porn itself but more the addiction and the reasons behind it which I really appreciated. His addiction was very complex and you really felt for Adams struggles even if you couldn’t relate to the nature of the addiction. I loved seeing the backstory that lead to his addiction and thought Connis showed the tulmutuous feeling that Adam really well. There were times where I felt Adam’s anguish as my own which is always a sign of a good book.
My favorite part of the book were the various relationships that Adam had. I really liked the various familial tensions that arose with his sister, mother and father. I thought that the sibling bond with his sister was portrayed in a really nic way and though there were problems they persevered. The relationship he has with his mother is the most complicated and for the majority of the book he refers to her as The Woman. There’s a lot of pent up anger involved when thinking of her which we see in the various dreams he has. I thought that the recurring dreams he has was a great way to express the complicated relationship he had with his mother. I liked seeing him workig through all these mixed emotions as the story progresses.
Another great relationship was that of the support group that Adam joins. All the boys are very interesting characters with their own unique problems who help Adam grow a lot. While I think we did quite a bit of backstory for each of them, I would’ve liked just a little more character development. I’m a huge fan of side characters so I always want the most that I can get out of them.
I’m still not sure how I feel about Dez. She’s the girl that Adam falls for and her character is incredibly fascinating. She’s kind of a manic pixie dream girl but one of the characters actually calls her out on that fact which is an interesting twist. She’s an extremely flawed character and as the story progressed she spiralled further and further which is very interesting to read. I just wasn’t that big of a fan of the romance between Dez and Adam: I don’t think it was necessary and I didn’t really see any chemistry between the two of them. I would’ve preferred it if they were merely a platonic relationship.
My favorite relationship was with Mr Cratcher. At first Adam is very angry and doesn’t like him and calls him Mr Crotcher- only in his head tho. As the story progresses, their relationship deepens and we learn more and more about Mr Cratchers interesting past. I could honestly read an entire book about Mr Cratcher because he’s so fascinating. I thought that his passion for music was a wonderful touch for the book and I loved how it was a central theme throughout the entire novel. It made the book even more unique.
Q&A With The Author:
So many authors use the trope of the manic pixie dream girl but that character is never referred directly as such in the actual book, one of the characters directly calls out the fact that Dez is a manic pixie dream girl. Why did you chose to do that?
When I was writing TOA I had this idea for a character who had this sort of allergy to the mundane because of their addiction. People chase the highs of addiction. Generally, very generally, that’s why addiction happens. People set out to find an experience they can’t get from a normal non-modded life. When I started to write Dez, she seemed to demand this sort of personality. I’ve known some MPDG type people and I’ve found that they typically adopt those sorts of idiosyncratic characteristics in their search for meaning and value. Dez is one of them in that just couldn’t take normality. Everything had to be modded in some form or fashion to feel like it mattered. It was part of her high. She didn’t know anything else. Normality was to be avoided at all cost because she’d decided that normality was a place of emptiness. Not only that, she has this whole family dynamic pushing her towards being as completely opposite from her family as possible, which also gave her a placebo comfort. Of course, this turned into her acting like a pixie manic dream girl. There wasn’t really any avoiding this from her. Her specific struggle and her family background just pushed her into MPDG space, and because of the issues with that trope, I didn’t just want it to sit, I wanted it to become part of the discussion of her character. Why was that headspace where she went to to feel like she had control? Why did she feel the need to make things bigger than they should be? What about those sorts of characteristics are just a part her never ending search for wholeness?
The winner will receive:
1. 1 finished copy of The Temptation of Adam by Dave Connis
2. 1 digital copy of Dave’s companion album, Looking for Eden, courtesy of Dave Connis
3. 2 mini journals courtesy of Sky Pony Press
Canada Only (full rules found in the T&C on Rafflecopter)
– Giveaway ends on November 9th at 12:00AM EST
Winner will be drawn randomly through Rafflecopter, contacted via email and will have 24
hours to claim their prize
About The Author:
Dave Connis has held all manner of job, from ballroom dance instructor to construction worker. He is now a community manager at Code Corps, a platform where people can donate time, talent, and money to projects for social change. He also works as an assistant youth director at his church, Rock Creek Fellowship. He has a bachelor’s in community development with a focus on international economics from Covenant College. He is a member of the SCBWI. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his wife and son.
A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn’t mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life. That includes taking her job… and her boyfriend. It’s a huge risk — but it’s just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world.
My Rating:4/5 stars
Thank you to Raincoast Books for providing me a copy of this book for the blog-tour in exchange for a honest review, and thank you to Chelsea Sedoti for answering my question!
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is about a girl named Hawthorn who after this girl from her town goes missing, becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her. If you really want to enjoy this book to its fullest potential, I think there are some things that you need to know. This book isn’t a mystery, and it’s not really centered all that much around Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance . While it is the catalyst for the novel, it is not the main focus. If you’re looking for a mystery novel, this book isn’t really for you but if you’re looking for a book about a girl who in the search for a missing girl, finds herself then I highly recommend it.Sedoti has a strong grip on the teenage voice, and her style makes her book all the more enjoyable.I am very excited to see Sedoti’s career unfold,as she has a promising voice. This is another one of those books where the main focus isn’t really the plot but the characters, which is something that I love in a book.
I feel like a lot of people will not like Hawthorn because she is immature, and kind of self-centered but I appreciated her character and find her type of personality to be refreshing. Throughout most of the character, Hawthorn believes that Lizzie Lovett is a werewolf and that is the reason as to why she disappeared. I know, I know it’s kind of weird but you know I think that her naivety is kind of endearing and a character trait that should be more prominent in storytelling. Hawthorn isn’t your typical character which is one of the reasons why I enjoyed the novel.
Throughout the story Hawthorn begins to be friends with Lizzie’s boyfriend:Enzo. While at first I quite liked him, he eventually begin to really piss me off, and I really didn’t like him. Besides Enzo, all the other characters were pretty enjoyable. Some notable ones were Hawthorn’s brother, and Hawthorn’s best friend. I really wish we could see more of them and their relationship with Hawthorn.Oh and also the hippie characters who lived in her backyard were pretty cool and offered some great advice
The last character I’d like to talk about is Lizzie. While she’s kind of the center of this novel, she’s really enigmatic. Hence the title. Though popular in high school, Lovett became something really unexpected and different from her personality in high school. I feel like this is one of the main messages of the book:that you never really know anyone.I really liked her ending, though it was kind of sad.
So that’s my review! I asked Chelsea Sedoti a question for the blog tour and here is her response
In the book Hawthorn believes that you shouldn’t wish badness on others but instead wish small mishaps. Is that something that you espouse to?
Brace yourself. I’m about to channel some of the hippie characters from The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett.
Getting angry is normal. There are a lot of things in the world, people in the world, to get angry at. How can you not have hateful thoughts sometimes? How could you not occasionally wish bad things on another person?
But, I’ve found that when I dwell on those thoughts for too long, it ends up hurting me more than the person my anger is directed at. It feels unhealthy to carry that sort of rage inside of myself. As if, by putting that much negativity out into the world, I’m actually inviting it into my own life.
And so often I don’t understand what’s really happening with another person. I can’t see into their life, know what’s making them act a particular way at a particular moment.
Here’s an example: A driver cuts me off in traffic. My first reaction is anger. But who knows what’s going on with that driver? Maybe they’re rushing their pregnant wife to the hospital. Maybe they’re hurrying to get to work on time because if they’re late they’ll lose their job and won’t be able to feed their kids. Maybe they have a genuine emergency.
Probably not. Probably they’re just a jerk. But you never really know.
Of course, in this example, it’s easy to get over my anger. That other driver was a fleeting moment in my life. I’ll never see them again. They didn’t personally attack me.
In other situations, say when a close friend or family member betrays you, it’s much harder to move past it and look at the sunny side. And that’s okay. It’s okay to be hurt and angry.
But it’s also possible to be angry without wishing something terrible on the other person. I don’t think it’s okay to be so angry that you wish for, say, someone to die.Hawthorn hoping a person experiences small mishaps and annoyances seems pretty healthy to me. It’s an outlet for her feelings—we all need an outlet—but it’s relatively harmless at the same time. It’s not the sort of thing that might come back to haunt her.