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

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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.

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills Book Review

Goodreads Summary:
A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.
The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn’t supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn’t know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they’re both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia’s ever seen. As Claudia’s world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for. 

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

My rating:5/5 stars

My thoughts:

Contemporaries are always a hit or miss: I either love them with all my being or I couldn’t care less about it. I’m always scared when I read a new contemporary author because how is it going to live up to the amazingness that is say Anna and The French Kiss or Simon Vs The Homo Sapien Agenda. Foolish Hearts is everything I want in a contemporary and so much more.

I was hesitant with the first fifty pages or so because I though there would be a lot of petty drama and girl hatred but there wasn’t and honestly god bless? Of course like any contemporary there was drama but it was reasonable and not super cringey. I hate when drama is caused unnecessarily just for the sake of plot.

Like the majority of contemporary it does have a romantic aspect to it ( which is adorable) but I loved how their was also a huge focus on friendship and family. I loved Claudias relationship with her best friend, Zoe and I really loved how well they worked for their problems. I honestly loved how the ending really highlighted how important Zoe’s and Claudia’s friendship was and how that never changed despite things that happened throughout the novel.The second friendship that was honestly so great was between Iris and Claudia. Though Iris can be seen as a sort of an antagonist at first and is the reason why they have to work on A Midsummers Night Dream she really grows as a person. Iris is an immensely flawed character but her friendship with Claudia really helps her grow as a person. I loved how she got Claudia into her favorite band and how they bonded over it, it was really sweet. The last friendship that I thought was great was between Gideon ( the love interest) and his best friend Noah.  I loved how much they cared for each other and how close they were:YA needs more positive male friendships honestly! 

Family was another great aspect of it: I loved seeing the dynamic between Claudia and Alex(her older brother by one year) compared with the dynamic between Claudia and Julia( her older sister by 11 years). I really loved seeing them bonding over their shared interest in Battle Quest While I think family is a pretty important theme, I would’ve liked to see a little more of it especially with Claudias parents.

Gideon was honestly the best love interest ever and I loved him so much. He was such a pure character which such a loving and caring heart and I just need a million books with characters like Gideon. I loved how eccentric he was and just everything about him was wonderful!!The development of the friendship between him and Claudia was executed amazingly and everything about it was perfect. Gideon is a precious cinnamon role and I wish he was real.

The other thing I liked was the romance between Iris and Paige and them work through their problems. Throughout the book I was either I want a relationship like Iris has with Paige or like Claudia has with Gideon: they were both such relationship goals even though they had their troubles!

One tiny problem I had with the book was that I found that Claudia’s character needed something a little extra to really complete her character but I feel like we didn’t get to know her as much as we could have.

As a final note: this book was freaking hilarious!! In the first few pages alone, it had me laughing out loud on multiple occasions.

 

Brooding Ya Hero by Carrie DiRisio Book Review


Goodreads Summary:Have you ever wished you could receive a little guidance from your favorite book boyfriend? Ever dreamed of being the Chosen One in a YA novel? Want to know all the secrets of surviving the dreaded plot twist?
Or maybe you’re just really confused about what “opal-tinted, luminous cerulean orbs” actually are?
Well, popular Twitter personality @broodingYAhero is here to help as he tackles the final frontier in his media dominance: writing a book. Join Broody McHottiepants as he attempts to pen Brooding YA Hero: Becoming a Main Character (Almost) as Awesome as Me, a “self-help” guide (with activities–you always need activities) that lovingly pokes fun at the YA tropes that we roll our eyes at, but secretly love. 
As his nefarious ex, Blondie DeMeani, attempts to thwart him at every turn, Broody overcomes to detail, among other topics, how to choose your genre, how to keep your love interest engaged (while maintaining lead character status), his secret formula for guaranteed love triangle success, and how to make sure you secure that sequel, all while keeping his hair perfectly coiffed and never breaking a sweat. 

My rating:4.5/5 stars

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

My thoughts:

If you’re on twitter and you’re not following @yabroodinghero, you need to go and remedy that because it’s honestly so golden. It’s probably one of my favorite twitteraccounts so when I found out a book was coming out I was over the moon. I was really unsure whether it’d translate well into a book format but it was honestly so great.

This is one of those books where you really have to have read the cliche YA novels to fully appreciate the humour of it because  god the shade was incredible. From talking about “letting go of the breath they didn’t know they were holding” or the classic “character wakes up and describes themselves while looking in the mirror”, the author mocks countless tropes and it had me laughing out loud quite a number of times. While being funny, it also focused on some serious problems with YA literature like the token characters and killing off PoC to further the main characters. I think the discussions about diversity were on point and were delivered in such a wonderful way.

I thought the characters of Broody McHottiepants and Blondie DeMeanie were hilarious and I loved the discussion we got about feminism from Blondie: everything I read from both characters was so on point and accurate. It was just so fun reading it and being like “that’s exactly how it is!”

Honestly if you’re in the mood for a good laugh and some great commentary on diversity and feminism: I highly recommend it. I think of the most important parts of this books is that it doesn’t look down at YA novels: it’s a totally friendly mockery. YA novels are amazing but you can laugh at even the greatest of things, right?

What are your Favorite/least favorite  tropes in YA literature?

Truthers by Geoffrey Girard Book Review


Katie Wallace has never given much thought to 9/11. She was only a year old when terrorists struck American soil. But now her dad has landed in a mental institution after claiming to know what really happened. He insists the attacks were part of a government conspiracy. And he claims that Katie is living proof: the lone survivor of a massive cover-up.
Hoping to free her dad, Katie sets out to investigate his bizarre claims. Soon she’s drawn into the strange and secretive world of 9/11 conspiracy theorists known as the “Truthers”.
Wading through a dangerous web of fact and fiction, questions and distortion, Katie no longer knows what to believe. But she does know that she’s being followed — and that someone is determined to stop her search for the truth.
A novel for teens, exploring 9/11 & our conspiracy culture…

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

My rating:4/5

My thoughts 

16 years ago,the entire world was changed forever when two planets crashed into the World Trade Center. Since then people have either accepted the original story as truth or have sought truth in the form of conspiracy. I for one am kind in the middle of these two extremes: not really sure what to believe. I definitely think that there are things that the Bush administration left out, but I’m not sure how far these deceptions go. I don’t put too much thought into it, and to me I think the most important thing to focus on is the people that died: no matter what happened people died and that’s never going to change. Anyway I was really excited to read these and see what type of things would discuss.

This book is so intriguing and would honestly be an amazing movie: movies like these are my favorite type and I think it’d be so cool if it went to the big screen. Every page is thrilling as we follow Katie as she tries to find out what happened on that faithful day in order get her father out of the psychiatric ward.Truthers is one of those addicting books that are impossible to put down. I did guess the “plot twist” as it was pretty predictable but nonetheless it was an overall really exhilarating read.

In the authors note, he says that he doesn’t mean to be insensitive and by no means is trying to dishonour those who died and I think he did a very good job.Yes we learn a lot about the different theories but there’s this scene where they go to a memorial and Katie realizes: people died and nothing will change that. I think a lot of conspiracists forget that and that’s when it becomes a problem but I think Truthers remained very sensitive.We may never know the truth, so to remain sensitive and aware of the large tragedy it was is very important.

This book definitely didn’t turn out the way I expected but I really appreciated the path it took and I really liked the way they handled the PTSD. I definitely think it could’ve been explored a little more but it is a difficult topic to get right and I think the author did a very good job.

One small thing that I really liked was the friendship aspect: I find that in books like these, oftentimes friends are pushed to the side and left in the dark but Katie had a really great friend and who helped her to the best of her ability. Friendship is so important and needs to stop being just a sidenote.

Ten Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac Book Review

Goodreads Summary:

Think positive. Don’t worry; be happy. Keep calm and carry on.
Maeve has heard it all before. She’s been struggling with severe anxiety for a long time, and as much as she wishes it was something she could just talk herself out of, it’s not. She constantly imagines the worst, composes obituaries in her head, and is always ready for things to fall apart. To add to her troubles, her mom—the only one who really gets what Maeve goes through—is leaving for six months, so Maeve will be sent to live with her dad in Vancouver.
Vancouver brings a slew of new worries, but Maeve finds brief moments of calm (as well as even more worries) with Salix, a local girl who doesn’t seem to worry about anything. Between her dad’s wavering sobriety, her very pregnant stepmom insisting on a home birth, and her bumbling courtship with Salix, this summer brings more catastrophes than even Maeve could have foreseen. Will she be able to navigate through all the chaos to be there for the people she loves? 

My rating:4.5/5 stars

My thoughts:

I read Ten Things I Can See a From Her  soon after Make a Wish by Ashely Blake, and I couldn’t help but draw parallels.Both have f/f storylines,both have these very complex plot lines about dysfunctional families and both are able to balance the seriousness and the fluff very well. As a bonus, I loved both of them! So if you’ve read one but not the another, or haven’t read either of them,you should definitely read them!!!

I think the best part of this book was the depiction of Maeve’s anxiety. It was so accurate and well described and honestly I felt anxious while reading it, which I mean doesn’t feel that great and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book if that’s something that may overwhelm you.Mac did an excellent job in portraying this mental illness that isn’t always really easy to depict. One thing that I think could’ve been interesting to see was the topic of medications: she talks about wanting to take some to help her with her anxiety but her parents won’t let her.Taking medications is a really taboo subject and I think it could’ve been an interesting thing to explore.

Another thing that was phenomenally done was the family dynamics. Maeve’s father is an alcoholic and drug addict who is trying to stay clean but is struggling immensely and I thought the way the addiction was handled was really great. It was heartbreaking to see Maeve watch her dad spiral out of control,and the fact that he was expecting a baby made it all the more interesting.Addiction is such a complicated subject but I think the author handled the topic skillfully. On a more positive note, I absolutely loved the relationship between Maeve and her stepmom and halfbrothers. It was a really sweet and I would’ve liked to see a little bit more.

While the romanc was very great and I thought Salex and Maeve were really great together, I feel as though Salex character wasn’t developed nearly as much as it could have been. I liked learning about her violin playing but I felt like we knew very little about her.I would’ve liked jut a little more insight into her personality.

One major problem that I had was the ending. I feel like it could’ve been longer and delved deeper into certain issues. Especially about her mom, because we really don’t get much about it and it seems like a pretty important part of the story to me. 50 more pages or so would have been really great to strengthen the ending.

How To Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake Book Review

Goodreads Summary:

All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on. 

My rating:5/5 stars

My thoughts:

You know those books that are sad and beautiful at the same time and every page is just one overload of feels? How To Make A Wish was one of those books. One minute I was crying the next I was squealing and I finished the book a mess. Though it’s always overwhelming reading a book like this, it’s my favorite type of book to read. I can’t ride roller coasters so books like these are the closest I get.

F/f are my favorite types of stories and How to Make a Wish was no expection. Grace and Eva were adorable together and though there was many obstacles, their love prevailed which is always great with stories like these. Their relationship was very authentic and raw while still being able to uphold the fluffy aspect. I also really liked how unapologetically bi Gracie was, and how it never  really posed a problem for anyone that she told.She was very comfortable in her sexuality which YA needs more of.

While the relationship aspect part of this novel was definitely my favorite part, I also thought that Grace’s relationship with her mother was extremely well done. It was complicated and real, and I think it accurately depicted the difficulties that one faced in times like this. I also thought the relationship between Grace’s mom and Eva to be really interesting,poignant and really heartbreaking. Grief was a central theme in this novel, and I thought it was handled expertedly.

While I really loved the friendship between Gracie and her best friend: Lucas, I felt as though it could have been slightly expanded on. I loved what we got, loved how supportive Lucas was and how much his entire family cared about her, I think there could’ve been just a little more. I would’ve loved to see  more of his personality, maybe learned about his creations and know a little about his girlfriend. Another thing I would’ve liked to see is a little more description of Graces town, because it sounded really adorable but we really only saw the lighthouse and the diner. I think that could’ve have been a nice bonding moment between Eva and Gracie.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Goodreads Summary:At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed.
But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.
Their friendship turns deeper, but Norah knows Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can walk beneath the open sky. One who is unafraid of kissing. One who isn’t so screwed up. Can she let him go for his own good—or can Norah learn to see herself through Luke’s eyes? 

My rating:4/5 stars

My thoughts:
One of my biggest pet peeves is romance novels that feature a mentally ill Mc who gets better after she falls in love. No matter how strong love is, it can never cure mental illnesses and for authors to constantly utilize this trope is frustrating and so problematic. When I heard that Under Rose Tainted Skies was a book that didn’t follow this annoying trope, I knew that I had to read it. I definitely wasn’t disappointed and I’m truly amazed at the way the mental illness was handled.

From what I understand, the author herself has some sort of mental illness- I’m not exactly sure what- so I’m pretty sure that this is partially #ownvoices which is always great. I thought the author’s depiction of Norah’s agarophobia was really great- I recently read Follow Me Back and the Mc has agarophobia but comparing the two, it seems that Under Rose a Tainted Skies. I thought it was particularly interesting how there wasn’t any specific tragic incident that triggered it, and it just manifested itself. Mental illness can’t always be so easily pinpointed to one specific incident, but that doesn’t it make any less valid or real. A lot of the stories I’ve read that feature characters with anxiety disorders often rely on the tragic incident as a major plot which I’m really not a fan of so I’m glad that this book didn’t do that.

As I said, I loved how Norah’s mental illness didn’t magically disappear after meeting Luke,love doesn’t magically change anything.She does make a lot of progress throughout the book but by the end, there’s still a lot of work to be done and that’s okay.It’s extremely hard and any step-no matter how small- is amazing. 

While love doesn’t cure all, and is definitely more of a side-plot with Norah’s illness being the central focus,it’s still very well developed and adorable. Luke is so supportive and understanding and doesn’t overstep his boundaries and is everything you can dream of in a love interest. He doesn’t force Norah to do anything that she doesn’t want to do.Norah’s her own hero but Luke helps her in the best way he can.

One thing that I think would have been interesting to see would be a resolving of the friends she lost touch in. I think it would’ve been interesting if one of her friends came to see her and apologized because Norah was really lacking any supportive girls of her own age which would have been nice to see.

The only problem I had with the novel was the development of the climax. I found it a little rushed and a little bit unrealistic? It just seemed so unlikely to occur and this event wasn’t given nearly the length of time it deserved. I think it could have been touched upon just a little more.

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

My Rating:4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

We follow three best friends: Jamie,Taylor,and Charlie as they go to States  for a weekend to attend SupaCon(which is basically like Comic-Con). This is dual perspective novel in the eyes of Charlie and Taylor. I thought that this was a really cute story about fandoms and first loves while also discussing some really important topics like anxiety,bisexuality,autism and a lot of other really great things. This was such a diverse book and it was absolutely wonderful to read  about these characters and see them navigate their way through this very chaotic weekend. This SupaCon sounded so cool and I absolutely loved how geeky all three of the characters were and all the references they made were awesome.

I think my favorite part of the book was so adorable one was m/f and the other was f/f and both of them were soo great and like even though one of them was completely developed over the weekend, it didn’t seem like insta-love at all.The chemistry was great and I just wish the book could’ve been a little longer so that we could have seen a little more of the couples.

As I said, the diversity was amazing and I’m pretty sure it’s an #ownvoices so that’s even better.I thought the social anxiety and autism rep was especially poignant  and I really related to a lot of things that Taylor was saying  about her social anxiety and I thought it was really interesting to see how she coped with it during this very intense weekend. It was also so important to have a female character that has autism because it’s something that one rarely sees. I think of the most  touching scenes was when Taylor found a graphic novel that featured an austistic female protagonist and it was just so amazing to see how happy she was when she bought it and how much it meant to her. Representation is so important and I’m sure there are a lot of readers who feel the same way about Queens of Geeks.

I have two minor problems with this book, they definitely didn’t damper my enjoyment of the novel but they did make me take off half a star. The first problem was that of race, I’m white so my opinion doesn’t really matter and it could be completely unfounded and I apologize if that is the case but I just wanted to remark upon it because it did rub me the wrong way.We have three PoC in this novel: Charlie is Chinese American,Charlie’s love interest:Alison is black and Jamie is Latino. While Charlie’s identity is pretty important and she talks about it throughout the novel, it really wasn’t clear that Jamie was latino like at all and they only mentioned  it at the very end.I admit that I am the worst when it comes to registering character’s descriptions so it’s very possible that I missed it and if it did I apologize but to me it just seemed like the author was trying to fit a quota and Jamie’s and to a certain extent Alison’s identity didn’t seem as developed as it could have been.

The other problem that I had was the development of Charlie’s fame. She is a famous vlogger and starred in a popular movie but they barely even mentioned her being a vlogger and didn’t really elaborate on what she did to become so popular. Also the movie that became popular seems so generic and not very remarkable at all, and I think it would’ve been more interesting if these aspects had been a little more finetuned because it’s a very interesting part of the novel that wasn’t developed as well as the other parts.