Love, Simon Movie Review *Spoiler-Free*

Last Thursday, I was invited by HCCFRENZY to see an early screening in Montreal. If you haven’t read the book or watched the movie don’t worry, this review will be very broad and will not spoil you in any way.

The minute I watched the first trailer, I instantly knew that this movie was going to be amazing. I had even guessed that it would become my new favorite, beating The Perks of Being a Wallflower which has been my favorite for five years. While Perks will always be a close second, I can safely say that Love, Simon is my new favorite movie. I laughed, I cried, I laughed while crying . This movie was a roller coaster of emotions and I can’t wait to see it theatres again in March and then I can’t wait for it to come out on DVD so I can watch it again and again.

I’ve seen people complain that it looks like a overdone typical romcom and sure maybe it’s filled with cliches but you know what? This isn’t your typical romcom. Never before has a huge production company released a teen romcom about a gay protagonist. This movie is monumental and it’s going to change the game. I truly believe that this movie will be the first in a long line of amazing LGBTQ+ movies of all genres that don’t use the bury your gays trope, but that give them the happy ending that straight people have gotten time and time again. Queer people deserve their happily ever after as well. Towards the end of the movie when things start to get really romantic, it kind of just hit me : I’ve never seen a movie like this before, I’ve never seen a movie where queer people get their happy endings and I just started to cry. This movie means so much to me which is why I love it so much. Yes the characters are amazing, the acting is phenomenal and it’s also a brilliant movie cinematographically but this movie is so fucking important and I can’t wait to see it take the world by force.

I know a lot of people who love the book are worried about how faithful the movie is but I don’t think you need to worry. Yes there are some changes and yes there are some things that were left out but movies and book are two different mediums that need to be treated differently. A lot of people don’t understand that and it leads to them being unnecessarily bitter about things that the movie didn’t have but the book didn’t. There are so many scenes that “they should have included” but if you just keep piling it up, the movie would be so long and while I’m sure tons of book nerds would love that it’s just not realistic. Yes it is different from the book but it stays true to the heart of the book and I think that in the end it’s all that matters. You still have the same dorky Simon with friends and parents who love him more than anything and while there was been some minor changes these changes make the movie work better. I wouldn’t change anything.

Now that I have finished my little rant and rave, I’m just going to do a little list of all the things I love

  • The soundtrack: I can’t wait for the whole soundtrack to be released because damn was it good. Music is so important to movies and Love, Simon really utilized it well
  • MY CHILD SIMON SPIER: I love Simon Spier so much. He’s such a precious cinnamon roll and he’s so wonderful. Also Nick Robinson did a fantastic job of portraying him.
  • The humour: The Movie was so funny!! There were so many moments that had me laughing hysterically and the humour was just so on point
  • Simon’s room: Damn whoever designed Simon’s room is amazing because it was so wonderful. It really reflects Simons wonderful nerdy personality. I can’t wait for the DVD to come out so there can be some frame by frame analysis because I’m there’s a bunch of cool things that I haven’t noticed.
  • ITS SO SAD: okay so I cry at like everything so take what I say with a grain of salt BUT I CRIED SO MUCH. It was so tragic and I just wanted to give Simon a huge hug because he didn’t deserve any of the bad things that happened to him.

BLUE: it was really interesting watching the movie knowing who Blue was but id be curious to know people will react to the Blue reveal if they haven’t read the book. Blue and Simon are the ultimate OTP and they’re so godamn cute together and JUST AGHHH. I was squealing so much. Also I love how they kept the fact that Blue is Jewish. We need more movie characters that are Jewish.

So there’s my “review” ( more like rave) of Love, Simon. Read the book if you haven’t, it’s just as beautiful as the movie. Support this movie. Give it the love it deserves.

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Like Water by Rebecca Podos Book Review

Goodreads Summary:A gorgeously written and deeply felt literary young adult novel of identity, millennial anxiety, and first love, from the widely acclaimed author of The Mystery of Hollow Places

In Savannah Espinoza’s small New Mexico hometown, kids either flee after graduation or they’re trapped there forever. Vanni never planned to get stuck—but that was before her father was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, leaving her and her mother to care for him. Now, she doesn’t have much of a plan at all: living at home, working as a performing mermaid at a second-rate water park, distracting herself with one boy after another.

That changes the day she meets Leigh. Disillusioned with small-town life and looking for something greater, Leigh is not a “nice girl.” She is unlike anyone Vanni has met, and a friend when Vanni desperately needs one. Soon enough, Leigh is much more than a friend. But caring about another person stirs up the moat Vanni has carefully constructed around herself, and threatens to bring to the surface the questions she’s held under for so long.

With her signature stunning writing, Rebecca Podos, author of The Mystery of Hollow Places, has crafted a story of first love and of the complex ways in which the deepest parts of us are hidden, even from ourselves.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Like Water is a tragically beautiful story about family, love and identity that is guaranteed to make you feel a multitude of emotions.

There are many things I love about this book but one of them is the fact that it’s not a story like we typically get in Young Adult literature. Savannah Espinoza isn’t like most Young Adult characters who are graduating from high school In so many books college after high school is just a given but Savannah doesn’t have that privilege and must stay behind in her home town in order to help take care of her father who has been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease. While she is frustrated that she must stay in a town she had always hoped to escape, and this frustration is a key plot point, i think that’s it’s important to have characters like Savannah. Characters whose future doesn’t always go according to plan, character who must choose between themselves and others. The future isn’t always simple and I loved how Like Water showed us that.

Identity plays such an important part in this book. Savanna is Mexican and throughout the book, she speaks Spanish with both her parents and one thing that I found interesting was that they didn’t provide a translation. While this may be frustrating for some readers, none of these conversations were key plot points and I think that this would mean a lot for teens who do speak Spanish and rarely see their identity represented. We also have Savanna trying to figure out her sexuality as the novel progresses and it was nice to see a character who isn’t 100% sure about their sexuality and an another important plot point for many teens.

Savanna’s relationship with Leigh is very complicated and yet another part of the story that is very realistic. At first I wasn’t a huge fan of Leigh and found her to be kind of spoiled and bratty but she really grew as a character. While I didn’t necessarily agree with a lot of her decisions, I understand why she made them. The thing that I loved the most about Like Water was that it was true to life, life and people messy and complicated but that doesn’t make them any less beautiful. We need books that don’t romanticize everything and yet still manage to show the beauty that surrounds us. We need more books like Like Water.

Mania by Fall Out Boy Album Review

So I have like ten book reviews but Fall Out Boy’s new album came out yesterday and it’s wonderful so I’d thought I’d do a little mini review of each song along with my favourite lyric and a ranking from my least favourite to my favourite. Some of these songs I’ve only heard like twice while others I’ve heard many many more times so even though some of these songs may be low on my ranking doesn’t mean I won’t eventually grow to love them.

10.Champion: I really liked this song when I first listened to it but now I’m just kind of bored to it. Its an okay song but I think it’s definitely my least favorite of all of them. I do love the chorus though and find it to be really inspiring but the rest just left me unimpressed

Favourite Lyric: “if I can live through this, I could do anything.”

9. Heaven’s Gate: This one is really slow and not it a good way. It kind of just bores me to be honest and I do like some of the lyrics but it just doesn’t captivate me as much as the other songs.

Favourite Lyric: “you’re the one habit I just can’t kick”

8.Church: I really like this song, I just found it’s a little repetitive and none of the lyrics really speak to me. I do like the rhythm but the rest is a little lacklustre. I couldn’t even pick a lyric that I liked, and the only reason I picked the one below because I like the way it was sung.

Favourite Lyric: “My sanctuary,you’re holy to me.”

7. Stay Frosty Royal Milk Tea: This one of the more upbeat songs and it’s great. It’s one of those songs that makes you want to go start a revolution or at least do something wild. As an added bonus the title is so original and I’d love to know the meaning behind it.

Favourite Lyric: “the only thing that’s stopping me is me” and ” some princes don’t become kings.”

6. Bishop’s knife trick: I’m still not sure how I feel about this song, I do like it a lot though and I think that it’ll definitely grow on me the more I listen to it. I love the calmer aspects of the the song and I think that a lot of the lyrics are really beautiful. The stronger aspects of the song is definitely the chorus and the rest is just kind of meh.

Favourite Lyric: “the flows of the city below lead us back to the places we never should have left.”

5. Sunshine Riptide: I haven’t listened to this song many times but I do like it a lot. It’s a little weird but it also has a really nice beat. I also love the title and I think that there’s some really nice imagery associated with the title. I think that there’s other people singing in the song too which I didn’t really like that much.

Favourite Lyric: “cause I’m stuck in the sunshine riptide. Dancing all alone in the morning light.”

4. Wilson Expensive Mistakes: I listened to this song for the first time with the music video along with it and it kind of distracted me and was just really weird so I really didn’t like the song at first. But once I just listened to it by itself, I found that I actually really liked it. I love the rhythm and it’s super catchy. I love the chorus so much.

Favourite Lyric: “I’ll stop wearing black when they make a darker colour.”

3.Young and Menace: If I’m not mistaken I’m pretty sure this was the first single that was released off of this album and the minute I listened to it, I knew that this album was going to be great. I love the mood of this song and the buildup to when they start screaming “young and a menace.” is phenomenal. The music video is weird af but I wouldn’t expect anything less from fall out boy

Favourite lyric:“woke up on the wrong side of reality and there’s a that’s just madness coursing right through me”

2.Hold me Tight or Don’t: I’m not really sure why but this song always gets me really emotional and it’s just super relatable for some reason. ” this isn’t how our story ends” is such a wonderful Lyric and I love the way he sings it and I think it really encompasses the song really well. While it makes me kind of emotional it also makes me want to dance and it’s just such a bop. I didn’t like it that much first but I’ve grown to love it.

Favourite Lyric: ” this isn’t how our story ends.”

1. Last of the Real Ones: This my favourite one hands down no doubt about it and probably my top five favourite fall out boy songs. There’s just something so wonderful about the wrong that makes me so happy and pumped. The melody is brilliant as well as the lyrics and it’s one of the few songs that I never skip when it comes on shuffle. Also the piano at the beginning is on point.

Favourite Lyric:” cause you’re the last of a dying breed, Write your name in the wet concrete, I wonder if your therapist knows everything about me.”

What did you think of the album? What were your favourite and least favourite song?

You’ll Miss When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon Book Review

Goodreads Summary

Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.

But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.

When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive.

These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review

My Rating: 4/5 stars.

My Thoughts:

I always try to start my reviews with one specific thing about the book that particularly struck me but with You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone there’s so many things that struck me I can’t even begin to pick just ONE. THERES JEWISH CHARACTERS AND ITS ABOUT HUNTINGTON DISEASE AND THERE’S COMPLICATED FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS AND UNLIKEABLE CHARACTERS THAT YOU STILL LOVE. If you can’t tell, I thought this book was amazing. I love books that allow me to learn about new things. Prior to reading this book, I didn’t know anything about Huntington’s disease so this book helped shed some light on the subject. Since You’ve Been Gone is a heart wrenching novel about sisters, family and religion that is sure to make you feel a multitude of emotions. One of the type of books I’ve been looking for lately is novels containing Jewish protagonists and while I’m not a practising Jew, it was still nonetheless nice to see characters that are Jewish like I am.

The most interesting part of this story was definitely the relationship between Adina and Tovah who are twin sisters. Their relationship was very complex and while reading it I felt so conflicted because at times both Asian and Tovah did some horrible things to each other and even though they were so mean to each other I couldn’t help but root for them. I could definitely relate to how irrational they were being at times because my sister and I have our fair share of irrational fights. I think the best type of books are the one where you recognize that the characters are being super unreasonable while also completely getting where they’re coming from.

While I love both of the sisters, I think Adina was my favorite though I definitely related to a Tovah more. Adina was such a complex character and I like really hated her for a lot of the book but I also loved her?? Some of her anger and meanness was really misplaced but other parts made her really feel for her. Many of her feelings and thoughts had me close to tears and all in all the way her character development happened throughout the novel was so well done. I just really want to applaud the author for not only Alina’s character but all of her characters. They were all really well done, and i just loved the family dynamics not only between Adina and Tovah but also with their parents. One thing that I would have appreciated is a little bit more insight into some minor outside charters but other than the characters were definitely the highlight of the novel.

Nice Try,Jane Sinner Blog Tour (Review+ Q&A)

Goodreads Summary:

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.

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 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 negatively 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.

The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz Book Review

Goodreads Review:

When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

My rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Disclaimer:I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Thoughts:

I’m still unsure on how I feel about this book. On one hand the concept was really interesting and there were parts of the story that really captivated but on the other hand there was something missing- I’m just not exactly sure what.

One thing that I really liked about this book was the gothic mood it had as well as this Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling vibe which is a story that I love( though I’ll admit my only knowledge comes from the Barbie movie- don’t judge.) The vibe was definitely my part of the book, one thing that I also found interesting was how ambiguous the setting/ time period was. It was really unclear as to when and where the book took place and while I would have liked just a little more world building, I also found that it added to the atmosphere of the story.

I think one of the reasons why my feelings are so mixed is because I didn’t find that we got enough insight in the main character’s, Peggy, personality. All of these horrible things were happening to her and the people around her but I could barely bring myself to care. Characters are the most important of a story, at least in my opinion. They are what make or break a story and they’re the reason that you like a book. Obviously an intriguing plot is important to the experience of reading but if we know nothing about the character’s what’s the point? Admittedly it is kind of hard for her to have a personality when she’s being basically controlled but i would’ve liked some inkling of a passion or something like that. I wanted to desperately care about what was going on but I couldn’t because I didn’t feel much more Penny.

I also found that the story ended a little too neatly, the ending felt almost anti-climatic and it was disappointing. I think this book could’ve profited from a least a hundred more pages to really flesh out the characters and emotions and also make the ending not so abrupt. It had the potential to be a great book but there was just too many things that fell flat for me to readily enjoy it.

Protected by Claire Zorn Book Review

I have three months left to call Katie my older sister. Then the gap will close and I will pass her. I will get older. But Katie will always be fifteen, eleven months and twenty-one days old.

Hannah’s world is in pieces and she doesn’t need the school counsellor to tell her she has deep-seated psychological issues. With a seriously depressed mum, an injured dad and a dead sister, who wouldn’t have problems?

Hannah should feel terrible but for the first time in ages, she feels a glimmer of hope and isn’t afraid anymore. Is it because the elusive Josh is taking an interest in her? Or does it run deeper than that?

In a family torn apart by grief and guilt, one girl’s struggle to come to terms with years of torment shows just how long old wounds can take to heal.

My rating: 4/5 Stars

Disclaimer:I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Whenever I read books about bullying I am always skeptical. “People can’t possibly be this mean,” I tell myself but then I have to remind myself that I went to a high school with 100 people where everybody knew everyone so my perspective of the world is pretty sheltered. I feel like everyone is tired of hearing about bullying but it’s an important issue that I believe to be still pertinent. It’s especially relevant now because bullies grow up and they suddenly have this enormous amount of power which is just terrifying.

Books like Protected aren’t easy to read and there were more than one moment throughout the novel where I needed to put it down in order to take a little book because damn this book is intense. It’s a very emotional read so definitely be prepared for that. There’s so many interesting layers to the story and everything is addressed wonderfully. You have Hannah’s unbearable grief after her sister dies and her having to deal with the fact that Katie’s her sister- has actually made her life better as the bullying has stopped. There’s also some great family dynamics, not just with her sister but with her mother and father and how Katie’s death has affected them all differently.

I thought it was really interesting to see Hannah’s grief played out. In all the flashbacks,I really hated Katie and honestly there were no redeemable qualities about her but nonetheless her death was really sad and heartbreaking. I think it was a really unique take on grief and I really enjoyed watching Hannah’s conflicting feelings play out.

One thing that I really liked about the book was the character of Josh. From reading the synopsis, it sounded like he would play the role of “love interest who cures her and makes all her problems go away.” but it wasn’t like that at all. He definitely was an important part of the story but he didn’t overtake the story nor did he overtake Hannah. Their friendship and the possibility of something more was adorable but the author left the ending really opening so there was no implication of them falling in love and living happily ever after for the rest of their lives which was so nice. I also found that he was a really different type of love interest- I don’t really know how to explain it but he wasn’t quite like anything I’ve ever seen and it was very refreshing.

The Librarian of Aushwitz by Antonio Iturbe Book Review

Goodreads Summary:Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

My rating:4/5 stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My thoughts:

I’ve read my fair share of holocaust fiction- I was pretty much raised on it and though admittedly grade three is a little young to be reading such dark material it is a part of my people’s history and it’s a a topic that will always be close to my heart. While I definitely wish that there was less holocaust fiction and more fiction concerning Jews outside of this horrific event, I always like to come back to one of the genres that really shaped me as a reader. There’s so much that I still don’t know and with every book I read, I feel like I learn more and more. Sometimes I’m scared that I’ll get too desensitized but it’s actually the opposite- the more I read the more my heart hurts.

I had never heard of the woman that this story was based around,Dita Kraus,prior to this book and I’m really glad that I’ve learnt something new. I think it’s extraordinary that this is based off of real events, extraordinary to think of all the brave people.There’s so much that we don’t know about the Holocaust, so much that we may never know but with stories like these we get to know one more piece in the large puzzle. I think that books like these need to continue to be written but it has to be done right because so many books focus on the “good” nazis way more than we need to and as a Jew I don’t want hear about the good nazis. I understand that not every Nazi was some horrible soulless monster but it’s a narrative that I’m interested in, Fortunately while there was a side plot featuring a nice Nazi but it was very short and not a huge focus so while it slightly irked me it wasn’t that bad.

One thing that made the book slightly less enjoyable was the fact that it was translated. I always find translated novels to be a lot more difficult to read and I’m always questioning whether the writing style is bad because it’s translated or because that’s how it was in its native languages. While I think translated books are a great opportunity to expand the type of books I read, it still made it a little difficult to read and took me longer to read. While I did find it a little long, I also found that the ending was a little rushed. It kind of sounded more like an afterword as opposed to a work of fiction- obviously since it’s based off of real events and people, the details are going to be accurate but since it’s still a fictionalized recount I think that the style switch was odd. It finished so abruptly and could’ve been done much more seamlessly

The Temptation of Adam By Dave Connis Blog Tour- Review+ Q&A+ Giveaway


Goodreads Summary:

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.

My 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?

Tourwide Giveaway:

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

Details:

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
 

Giveaway

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.

Find Dave Online: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Buy A Copy: IndigoAmazon.ca |Amazon.com

The Bakersville Dozen by Kristina Mcbride Book Review

Goodreads Summary:
You have four days to locate five treasured trophies. Break the rules and you all die. Happy hunting!

Back in September, the town of Bakersville, Ohio made national news when a video went viral featuring thirteen of the high school’s elite in compromising positions. Now it’s May, and every month since the “Bakersville Dozen” made their infamous appearance on the national stage, one girl has gone missing. Officials are no closer to identifying the criminal.

Bailey “Like a Virgin” Holzman is getting really fed up with the scrutiny. She just wants to enjoy the rest of her senior year and have an epic summer before heading off to college. So when she discovers a note in her locker on the last day of school inviting her on a scavenger hunt, she thinks it’s just a sweet surprise from her boyfriend trying to cheer her up.

But following the clue leads her, instead, to the first official casualty. And another sinister envelope. The killer is close, and it could be anyone. Even the people Bailey’s always trusted most—her best friend, her perfect boyfriend, or the boy-next-door she’s always pined for.

With the clock ticking, she faces a terrifying choice: play the game by the killer’s rules—follow the clues, tell no one, and no cops—for a chance to save the rest of the missing girls, or risk becoming the next grisly victim. 

My rating:4/5 Stars

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My thoughts:

I feel that books like these are always quite a toss up an whether or not I like it depends on the big reveal or plot twist. I definitely didn’t predict the ending and while I did have some issues with the way the book was told, I really thought it was a good book. It definitely was entertaining and I finished it very quickly which is always fun.

The premise was really interesting and I thought that the concept of the video was an interesting setup for a thriller. There’s something really entertaining about an event in a story being national news. I think it adds an interesting dynamic.

One thing that I liked about the girls involved in the video was that despite the fact that despite the fact that all the girls were being targeted for something sexually related and the main character Bailey was “like a virgin.”  in the video there never was any slut shaming from anyone really.  They were only ever seen as the victims which was really nice. I also loved seeing how Bailey and the other girls supported each other and how much they cared about each other.

I was excited to find out who was behind the video and the other stuff and I wasn’t disappointed. I had my suspicions and I was partially right but I was pretty surprised. I do wish that there had been a bit more exploration to the motive behind these heinous acts. We did get some explanation but I would’ve liked just a little bit more.

I really liked seeing the friendship between Bailey and her best friend Hannah. I feel as though positive friendships are so rare in YA, so it’s always nice to see best friends who support each other. I also liked the relationship between Bailey and her brother which is also really positive. I’m still unsure how I feel about the romantic aspect of the novel: I have mixed feelings about it and I feel like it could’ve been developed just a little bit more. One thing that I found really odd was how absent the parents are. We get nothing about them and when we did they almost felt as though they weren’t real people. I think they could have played a much bigger role.

I also felt as though Bailey wasn’t developed enough. Obviously her life was currently centred almost entirely on all the crazy things that were happening, but we really didn’t know much about her or any of her passions. She was a little one-dimensional which didn’t affect the story that much but it would’ve been nice to just get a little more background.