Tell Me Tuesday

Tell Me Tuesday is a weekly feature put on by La La in the Library where we discuss our latest reads.  So tell us! Please!

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Currently Reading

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What I read this week.

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Kate works in the District Attorney’s office. The town is shocked by the death of a local teen, Grant.  He and his best friends were hunting when something goes terribly wrong.  Grant is shot and killed. Kate had been texting with him the last few weeks and had developed a crush. The district attorney Kate works for gets the case and what seemed like an accident starts to look like murder.  Kate decides to do her own investigation too.  There were so many things I liked about this book.  With mysteries, the story can have too many coincidences that push the story forward or help solve the mystery.  This is Our Story didn’t do that.  The author made good use of red herrings. Also,  the characters were strong and not cliche.  There were a couple great twists in the plot and I was genuinely surprised at the ending.

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I was a huge fan of Ms. Yoon’s first book Everything, Everything so I had high expectations for this book.  Boy, did she deliver! This book was beautiful from the first page to the last page.  It is the story of Daniel, a Korean American (born in America) and Natasha, a Jamaican immigrant here illegally.  The book takes place all in one day with some other minor characters involved that have a huge impact on the characters and vice versa.  Daniel is on his way to an interview for Yale and Natasha is on her way to meet with an immigration lawyer to try and stay in the country.  The two teens meet and help each other throughout the day. This story of love, fate, and taking chances was a great reminder of how the smallest acts of kindness can change a persons life and yours as well.

 

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The Sun is Also a Star

 

ourstory

Kate works in the District Attorney’s office. The town is shocked by the death of a local teen, Grant.  He and his best friends were hunting when something goes terribly wrong.  Grant is shot and killed. Kate had been texting with him the last few weeks and had developed a crush. The district attorney Kate works for gets the case and what seemed like an accident starts to look like murder.  Kate decides to do her own investigation too.  There were so many things I liked about this book.  With mysteries, the story can have too many coincidences that push the story forward or help solve the mystery.  This is Our Story didn’t do that.  The author made good use of red herrings. Also,  the characters were strong and not cliche.  There were a couple great twists in the plot and I was genuinely surprised at the ending.

 

sunisastar

I was a huge fan of Ms. Yoon’s first book Everything, Everything so I had high expectations for this book.  Boy, did she deliver! This book was beautiful from the first page to the last page.  It is the story of Daniel, a Korean American (born in America) and Natasha, a Jamaican immigrant here illegally.  The book takes place all in one day with some other minor characters involved that have a huge impact on the characters and vice versa.  Daniel is on his way to an interview for Yale and Natasha is on her way to meet with an immigration lawyer to try and stay in the country.  The two teens meet and help each other throughout the day. This story of love, fate, and taking chances was a great reminder of how the smallest acts of kindness can change a persons life and yours as well.

freak

 

I read this book with a sixth grade student I work with in the afternoons.  We both loved it! It is a great story of how two boys that are the complete opposite can be best friends.  Max is huge and struggles in school.  Kevin, aka Freak, is small but brilliant.  They form a friendship that they refer to as Freak the Mighty.  Both boys are ridiculed at school and realize that they are stronger together and learn to overcome their differences to be best friends.  A great book for middle schoolers on friendship and overcoming your fears.

 

Halloween Recommendations

TELL ME TUESDAY is put on by La La in the Library. It is a weekly feature where we talk about what we are reading and why. So tell us!

Scary Book Recommendations

img_8444I love Halloween! I go to haunted houses, dress up and hand out candy, and decorate my house with pumpkins, skulls, and cobwebs.  I also love to read scary and creepy books.  These are the ones I have most recently read that gave me goosebumps and prickles on the back of my neck.

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“Stories are wild creatures, the monster said.  When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?” I saw the preview for this movie and of course had to read the book first.  There may be some spoilery type comments here so I caution you if you continue reading.  “You know that your truth, the one that you hide…is the thing you are most of afraid of.”  This is what the old yew tree outside Conor O’Malley’s window tells him in his sleep.  Conor has been having a rough time lately; his mom is sick so his grandma comes to visit, his friend Lily told the whole school his mom has cancer, and he is being bullied at school by Harry and his lackeys.  Worst of all, he has the same nightmare every night.  This book is so beautifully written(and illustrated) and explores how we deal with grief, denial, and our fear of being invisible to the world.  The author captures how  accurately we sometimes deny our fear of the truths we don’t want to face.  This story convicted me  about how I tend to talk to people that are dealing with loved ones who are dying.  Sometimes, it is uncomfortable to talk about it so I error on not talking about it which I believe is worse for the person dealing with it.  I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to see the movie in a few months.

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I don’t read scary books or mysteries very often so this was out of the norm for me and I really enjoyed it.   I am not going to go into too much of a review because I don’t want to give away what happens.   This book kept me guessing until the very end.  I had no idea what was going on (in a good way)! Also, there were parts so creepy that I got goosebumps so that is an extra bonus. The author’s writing style was very unique. For example, there were different points of view, journal entries, and poems throughout the book to keep me engaged and trying to look for clues.

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It has been a long time since I have read a Vampire book so I was excited to read this one.  First off, I really liked how this story was told.  There is the present day story and then the journal entries from 100 years ago to present day.  The main character, Karen, is physically abused by her husband and with the help of her friend ,Melissa, leaves her husband secretly and move across the country.  Melissa’s family has a house in Oregon that has been in the family for years.  This is where the two friends first discover a journal that was left by one of Melissa’s ancestors.  The writer of the journal, Allison, says she is a vampire and goes on to tell the story of how she became so.  Her story is similar to Karen’s.  Allison’s sister was abused and murdered by her husband.  I loved how the two stories mirrored each other. Oh and by the way, Allison’s last entry was to Karen and Melissa the night they moved in!  The story has more characters and plot twists but I don’t want to ruin it for you.  I think one of my favorite lines from the book is in the dedication.  Ms. Coulter writes, “I dedicate this book to all the women who have ever known abuse in their lives.  No one should ever have to suffer in an abusive relationship.  You are beautiful, your are strong, and you are so much more than they deserve.”

 

What are your Halloween recommendations?

The Amateurs and Tim Burton

This post is linked with Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. It is a weekly feature discussing what books we are stacking our shelves with.

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I received this book from NetGalley.  I love a good mystery book and was excited to get my hands on this one.  Helena disappeared from her backyard and weeks later her body was found three counties away.  That was five years ago but her sister, Aerin, still wants to find Helena’s killer. The case is unsolved.  Aerin seeks help on a website called Case Not Closed.  Several teens agree to help her.  They meet up and start looking for clues.  There were lots of twists and surprises but also too many coincidences.  Parts of the book seemed to drag and there were some cliche moments.  Can we not have a love triangle please?  I admit I didn’t guess the ending.  It left the story open for more books.

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This was the perfect read right before Halloween.  It makes me want to watch the movie which I haven’t watched in years.  This wasn’t the entire story, just the beginning.  I assume there will be more books to finish the story.  Manga books are usually a series.  The drawings are amazing.  I wish they were in color though.  If you are a fan of the movie, I highly recommend the book.

 

Tell Me Tuesday & Twin Cities Book Festival

Tell Me Tuesday is a weekly feature put on by La La in the Library. It is where we discuss what we are reading and why. Check out her blog and tell her; she really wants to know!

Currently Reading

I am reading Freak the Mighty with a 6th grader at the school I work at.  The Amateurs is an advanced ebook thanks to NetGalley.

What I just finished Reading

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Goodreads Review

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Road Trip!

On Saturday, I drove a little over three hours to go to Minnesota’s Twin Cities Book Festival.  This was my first year at the festival and I loved the coziness and smallness of it.  Sometimes, book festivals can be a bit overwhelming.  I knew I had to go when I saw that Kathleen Glasgow, Lara Avery, A.S. King, and Katharine McGee where going to be there.

Ms. Glasgow is the author of my favorite book I have read this year, Girl in Pieces.  Lara Avery is the author of the heartbreaking, The Memory Book and A.S. King is the author of many books but her latest is Still Life with Tornado.  I have read and reviewed these books previously on my blog.  Ms. McGee is the author of The Thousandth Floor. I purchased her book this weekend and can’t wait to start it.  I have heard amazing things.

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I had such an amazing time! I got there a little early which paid off because I started up a conversation with Kathleen Glasgow and Lara Avery.  They were both so lovely! I had been tweeting with Kathleen and Katharine about my three hour road trip and they were so amazed at how far I had come to see them, that Katharine offered me a t-shirt and Kathleen gave me the last Girl in Pieces bracelet she had off of her wrist!

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Here is the author panel.  Kathleen Glasgow talked about how the age of girls self-harming themselves is shockingly getting younger and younger.  She had talked to a school nurse at an elementary school and there were third grade girls that showed evidence of harming themselves.  I asked her why she thought this was happening and she said cell phones and social media.  Girls are looking at pictures that make them feel not good enough, not pretty enough, not skinny enough.  There were also some great discussions about diversity in book characters and authors.

The authors wrote lovely things in my books too!

I will definitely be going back next year.  I also met a new blogger friend. To visit her blog, click here.

Here are my reviews of Girl in Pieces & The Memory Book

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I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! This book was hauntingly beautiful from page 1 to page 400. In fact, this book was so good that I am afraid this review will not do it justice.

Charlotte who goes by Charlie is a seventeen year old girl who has had a rough start. She has seen and experienced a lot of bad stuff in her short life and the only way she feels she can escape from that pain is to create a different sort of pain through cutting herself. Charlie ends up in a group psychiatric hospital ward where she finally feels safe from the people she was hiding from. There are some interesting nurses, doctors and patients she interacts with that help her realize that she is worth saving. When she is discharged, Charlie moves from Minnesota to Arizona to start a new life but when she gets there it is not as easy as she thought to stay away from old habits. Charlie meets Riley West, a musician , fighting his own demons. They hit it off right away because of their shared painful pasts. However, Charlie realizes that maybe becoming Riley’s friend isn’t the best thing for her recovery.

The author weaves Charlie’s story together beautifully through out the book. We get bits and pieces of her past to help us understand her hurt and anxiety. The descriptions of Charlie’s struggles are sometimes so heartbreaking it is hard to read. For example, “When the door closes, I turn off all the lights and curl up in the bathtub in a very tight ball. I imagine myself inside an egg, a metal egg, impenetrable, locked on the outside, ANYTHING to keep myself from crawling to my kit…” (Charlie’s kit contains glass to cut herself with). Though it may seem Charlie is weak, she is actually a very strong character. She is only 17 throughout most of the book and has to survive on her own in a strange city. Charlie works hard to transform herself and to put the pieces of her life back together.

Working with teens everyday, I know cutting is a problem. It is called NSSI (Non-Suicidal Self-Injury). It can be triggered by a variety of reasons, stress, anxiety, bullying, abuse, feelings of worthlessness. Girl in Pieces does an amazing job showing us how sad and lonely self-harming can be. The author writes from her own experience which she talks about at the end of the book. Ms. Glasgow says, “Self-harm is not a grab for attention. It doesn’t mean you are suicidal. It means you are struggling to get out of a very dangerous mess in your mind and heart and this is your coping mechanism. It means that you occupy a small space in the very real and very large canyon of people who suffer from depression and mental illness.”

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THE CONCEPT OF THIS BOOK REALLY INTRIGUED ME. THE MAIN CHARACTER, SAMMIE, HAS A DISEASE, NEIMANN PICK TYPE C, THAT AFFECTS HER MIND AND BODY. SHE IS SLOWLY STARTING TO FORGET THINGS AND IS DESPERATELY TRYING TO FIGHT IT BECAUSE SHE PLANS TO GO TO COLLEGE AND LAW SCHOOL IN NEW YORK. TO HELP HERSELF REMEMBER THINGS THAT SHE MAY FORGET IN THE FUTURE, WHICH INCLUDES HERSELF, HER FAMILY, AND HER FRIENDS, SHE STARTS A JOURNAL TO HER FUTURE SELF. SHE WRITES IN A JOURNAL, HER MEMORY BOOK, ABOUT HER FAMILY, FRIENDS, SCHOOL, BOYFRIEND, AND THE STRUGGLES THAT GO ALONG WITH THOSE RELATIONSHIPS. I LOOKED UP THIS DISEASE TO SEE IF IT WAS A REAL THING AND UNFORTUNATELY, IT IS. IN FACT, I THINK NEIMANN PICK DISEASE IS WORSE IN REAL LIFE THAN DESCRIBED IN THE BOOK WHICH MAKES SENSE SINCE THE STORY IS FICTIONAL AND NEEDED TO BE COMPRESSED FOR BOOK PURPOSES. HOWEVER, MS. AVERY DOES A PHENOMENAL JOB OF SHOWING US THROUGH THE STORY (SAMMIE’S JOURNAL) HOW SAMMIE BEGINS TO DETERIORATE. HER FUTURE IS SO PROMISING AND SHE STARTS TO REALIZE IT PROBABLY WON’T HAPPEN. IT IS HEARTBREAKING TO READ AND SHARE IN SAMMIE’S REALIZATION OF THIS. THE MEMORY BOOK BOOK PULLS AT THE HEARTSTRINGS AND DEFINITELY MADE ME WANT TO HUG MY KIDS MORE.

This post is linked up with The Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature put on by Breaking the Spine.  It is where we talk about books we are anxiously waiting to read.

#1  FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM SCREENPLAY

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This comes out in about a month along with the movie.  So exciting!

#2 The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

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Ms. Meyer hasn’t had a new book (not counting the revamped, pun intended, Twilight book) in years. I think she is a great story teller and I am looking forward to this adult novel.  This comes out the end of November.

 

#3 Secret Service Dogs by Maria Goodavage

I love Ms. Goodavage’s book about working dogs.  This book comes out October 25th.

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What books are you waiting to read? Tell me!

Tell Me Tuesday and a Huge TBR List

Tell Me Tuesday is a weekly feature put on by La La in the Library. It is where we discuss what we are reading this week and why. So tell me, what are you reading?  Be sure to check out La La’s blog!

Lately, I have been getting approved more than usual for books from Net Galley.  Normally, I was only getting approved about half the time but last week all the books I requested, I was approved for! This made my TBR list grow fast. Several of the books need reviews by November 1st so I have been reading like a crazy person the last few days. My latest read was…

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Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark.

I love road trip books! It makes me want to grab some snacks and jump in the car and just drive. Jess and Chunk have decided to drive from California to Chicago and stop at kitchy tourist stops on the way to Jess’s dad’s wedding. But her dad isn’t expecting his child to show up as Jessica, but instead as Jeremy. Jeremy was born as a boy but feels he is a girl. His dad was not happy about Jeremy’s decision to start hormone therapy and so they haven’t talked in months. This story has amazing characters and Jess and Chunk meet many of them on the road. What I liked about this story was the spontaneity and Jess and Chunk’s relationship. They have known each other since first grade. As best friends, they have years of inside jokes and memories but things have been a little strained since Jess has been transitioning from Jeremy to Jess. I haven’t read many books with a transgender main character. The premise of this book was great but a few things were tiresome and predictable. For example, Jess’s paranoia and her treatment of Chunk throughout the book was sometimes annoying. Also, the book seemed to end abruptly and too neat and tidy. However, there are lots of great moments and reading about Jess’s transition is sometimes joyful and sometimes heartbreaking. Overall, a good read.

savinghamlet

I read the book Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth over the weekend.

This is such a fun book.  When I read the summary and it mentioned Shakespeare, I thought “oh no this is going to be boring or too difficult to follow.”  I am not a Shakespearean expert but the author definitely is! She does such a great job explaining through the story’s characters and plot the many different theories of what the play and character Hamlet is about.  Emma is 16 and loves theater.  Her high school is putting on Hamlet and she is one of the stage managers.  Things get stressful when Emma’s best friend, Lulu, is cast as Ophelia instead of Hamlet and Josh, the jock, is cast as Hamlet.  One night after rehearsal, Emma is alone on the stage trying to de-stress and accidentally falls through the trap door.  When she gets up, she finds that she is not under the stage at her high school but under the stage of the Globe Theater in Elizabethan England.  Emma at first thinks this is some sort of hallucination or dream but soon realizes that it is not.  She has actually traveled back in time and is watching the dress rehearsals of Hamlet.  Emma meets Shakespeare himself and other characters who teach her valuable lessons about love, life, and friendship.  Emma makes several trips back and forth through time during the course of the book.  The thing I LIKED most about the time travel aspect was that it wasn’t complicated.  Sometimes time travel plots are ridiculous and take over the story.  This one did not.  The thing I LOVED most was that I actually learned about the play Hamlet.  I, like many of you I am sure, was required to read it in high school.  I don’t remember it much and it made very little sense to me. I would really like to see the play now that I know more about it.  Saving Hamlet, was a fun read that will make you a Shakespeare fan by the end.

The Sunday Post & Saving Hamlet

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Last Week’s Read-Replica by Lauren Oliver

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Goodreads Review here!

This Week’s Read-Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth

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This is such a fun book.  When I read the summary and it mentioned Shakespeare, I thought “oh no this is going to be boring or too difficult to follow.”  I am not a Shakespearean expert but the author definitely is! She does such a great job explaining through the story’s characters and plot the many different theories of what the play and character Hamlet is about.  Emma is 16 and loves theater.  Her high school is putting on Hamlet and she is one of the stage managers.  Things get stressful when Emma’s best friend, Lulu, is cast as Ophelia instead of Hamlet and Josh, the jock, is cast as Hamlet.  One night after rehearsal, Emma is alone on the stage trying to de-stress and accidentally falls through the trap door.  When she gets up, she finds that she is not under the stage at her high school but under the stage of the Globe Theater in Elizabethan England.  Emma at first thinks this is some sort of hallucination or dream but soon realizes that it is not.  She has actually traveled back in time and is watching the dress rehearsals of Hamlet.  Emma meets Shakespeare himself and other characters who teach her valuable lessons about love, life, and friendship.  Emma makes several trips back and forth through time during the course of the book.  The thing I LIKED most about the time travel aspect was that it wasn’t complicated.  Sometimes time travel plots are ridiculous and take over the story.  This one did not.  The thing I LOVED most was that I actually learned about the play Hamlet.  I, like many of you I am sure, was required to read it in high school.  I don’t remember it much and it made very little sense to me. I would really like to see the play now that I know more about it.  Saving Hamlet, was a fun read that will make you a Shakespeare fan by the end.

 

Currently Reading-Jess, Chunk, and the Road Trip to Infinity by Kristin Elizabeth Clark

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DNF-Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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I just couldn’t get into this one.  It was dull and hard to read.  I was very bummed about this and feel like a failure for not liking a classic.  Maybe I will rent the movie instead (gasp!)

 

Replica by Lauren Oliver

Today I am linked up with Stacking the Shelves and Saturday Situation. Check out these amazing blogs too.

This week marks my 6th month blogiversary! It doesn’t seem possible that I have been blogging for half a year already.

Back in May, I went to BEA in Chicago.  It was my first time going and it was a bit overwhelming.  However, I did have a good time and met some of my favorite authors.  Lauren Oliver was one of those authors.  She was signing and handing out an ARC of her latest book, Replica. 

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First of all this is such a unique book. It is basically two books in one.  There is Gemma’s story and Lyra’s story.  It is set up in a way that you can read each story by itself or you can read from Gemma’s perspective then flip the book over and read from Lyra’s perspective.

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Since I have read a couple books lately from multiple points of view, I decided to read each story individually.  I started with Gemma.  Gemma is an only child of wealthy parents.  Her father used to own a pharmaceutical company.  For some mysterious reason, he doesn’t own it anymore.  This leads Gemma to dig further and discover a place called Haven which is in Florida.  Gemma meets Jake in Florida.  He is trying to discover what is going on at Haven.  There are lots of rumors from aliens to monsters.  Lyra is from Haven.  It is all she remembers.  Her life has been nothing but doctor’s, nurses, and medical tests.  She is a replica or also known as a clone.  Gemma and Lyra accidentally run into each other. Lyra discovers that Gemma looks just like her friend Cassiopeia from Haven.  Is Gemma a replica too?  Ms. Oliver does a great job of meshing the two stories together.  I preferred Gemma’s story because it seemed more important to the plot and fleshed out.  Lyra’s perspective is nice to have so we can get an idea of the life she had in Haven. This was a great Sci-Fi book.  Parts of it to me were a bit disturbing. When Lyra describes how the doctors and nurses treat them and call them “it” instead of giving them names, broke my heart.  The replicas are considered science experiments and not considered humans. This book ends with a bit of a cliffhanger.  I look forward to the sequel.

Currently Reading

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Here are 3 books I can’t wait to get started on!

It has been an exciting week for me in the blogger universe.  I was approved by Net Galley for Roseblood by A.G. Howard. I love Phantom of the Opera.  I have seen the musical (three times), watched the movie(too many times to count), read the book (twice) , and been to the actual Opera House (once) in Paris.  When I was approved, I tweeted the author my excitement and she answered me with a lovely and lengthy message back.  roseblood.jpg

Then a couple days later, I tweeted my author friend, Maria Goodavage because I noticed she has a new book out at the end of this month.  She writes amazing books on military service dogs.  I told her I was excited for her new book called Secret Service Dogs: The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States.  Next thing I know, she emailed her publisher, and I am getting an advanced copy to read and then feature on my blog! So stay tuned for that in a few weeks.

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Literally, a few hours later I got an email saying I had won a book from Read It Forward that I had won a book.  It is Margaret Atwood’s newest book which is awesome because she is coming to my hometown in a few weeks.  I have never read any of her books so I am excited to start with this one.

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I am starting to feel a bit overwhelmed because I have been approved for several books from Net Galley.  I hardly ever got approved and now it seems like I am always approved.  It is a GREAT problem to have! I look forward to a full fall season of reading.

WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU WAITING ON?

Tell Me Tuesday

Tell Me Tuesday is a weekly blog post put on by La La in the Library. We discuss what we have been reading lately and why. So tell me, what are you reading?

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STILL LIFE WITH TORNADO BY A.S. KING

This was a fabulous book!  My favorite thi. ng about this book is how it was written.  Ms.King’s writing style is so poetic and lyrical.  It is a nice break from the norm. Sarah is sixteen years old and has decided to drop out of school because of “the incident”. Also,she hasn’t seen her brother for six years, her parents don’t speak, she follows around a homeless guy, is an artist looking for an original idea, and has started to see different versions of herself in public.  Sarah meets her 23 year old self on the bus and shortly after meets her 10 year old self.  Ten year old Sarah is the one who helps 16 year old Sarah unlock suppressed memories from their family trip to Mexico six years ago when her brother, Brian, left for good.  This story is told from both Sarah’s point of view and her mom’s point of view. Her mom, Helen, provides insight to the abuse she has had to endure from her husband that was hidden from Sarah until now.  When Sarah finds out, she feels that her whole life has been unoriginal and a lie.  This book is about abuse, anger, forgiveness, and looking at life as art whether it is original or not.  I highly recommend this book if you are wanting a different type of read that is original.  (The “original” comments will make sense once you read the book.)

THIS WEEK’S READ

replica

I finished Replica by Lauren Oliver this weekend.  I really enjoyed this book! Full Review later this week.  Click for Goodreads summary HERE!

NEXT WEEK’S READ

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In the spirit of Halloween, now that it is October, I have decided to read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.  I have never read it or even seen the movies made about it.  I think it will be a nice creepy read.

 BOOKSTAGRAMS

I am still having fun posting bookstagram photos on Instagram. You can see them all HERE! Feel free to follow me on Instagram too.

 HAVE A GREAT WEEK EVERYONE!!!