The Homecoming

Title: The Homecoming

Author: Stacie Ramey

Series: Standalone

Publication: November 1st 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire

Pages: 288

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

Forced to return to his estranged family, John discovers how hard it is to truly go home.

It’s been a year since John lost his girlfriend, Leah, to suicide. Living with his uncle keeps his mind from the tragedy and his screwed up family-until he gets into trouble and a judge sends him back home. With a neglectful mother and abusive brother, John’s homecoming is far from happy.

As he tries to navigate and repair the relationships he abandoned years ago, Emily, the girl next door, is the only bright spot. She’s sweet and smart and makes him think his heart may finally be healing. But tragedy isn’t far away, and John must soon face an impossible decision: save his family or save himself.


My Thoughts:

The Homecoming was a detailed adventure through the downward spiral that often follows grief. It illustrates the vivid reality that “no, everything is not okay”, and it does so in a way that makes it impossible to escape from. Death is horrible. Loosing someone you love is horrible. Despite all the well wishes and counseling you might receive, that hole they loved one now lost leaves in your chest is something nearly impossible to plug – so what happens when that hole threatens to consume you? The Homecoming focuses on what happens when that gap in your heart pulls you too far under to breathe, at least until you find something to keep yourself going again.

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Until I Break

Title: Until I Break

Author: Kara Bietz

Series: Standalone

Publication: November 1st 2016 by Albert Whitman & Company

Pages: 256

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

Two boys: One is a star athlete and top student with a deep-seated need to prove himself. The other is a chip-on-his-shoulder quarterback who will never settle for second best. When gunshots echo through the halls of Broadmeadow High School, whose finger is on the trigger? This unforgettable novel counts down the twelve months leading up to an explosive moment. A year before the shooting, Sam North has a bright future as well as a problem that nobody else seems to see Ace Quinn, his neighbor and teammate. For years, Ace has been bullying and harassing Sam, yet he’s managed to deftly conceal his actions and threats from the rest of the world. As Ace’s secret rage intensifies, Sam becomes more desperate to stop him. But how far will he go? And what if Ace takes his threats even farther?


A Listical of Thoughts:

  • A mystery that purposefully witholds information and dangles it in front of your nose – both yay and nay.
  • Well done back and forth format. It’s a seamless blend between past and present

(hold onto your hats because this is where nice Sammi goes bye bye)

  • Characters were awful and one dimensional. Not to mention they had no development or motivation beyond basic banal bullshit.
  • Ace bullying Sam was so unrealistic it made me want to pull my hair out. He was so over the top and ridiculous – it completely took away from his impact on the story. It took away that power he needed to have. Honestly, despite how horrible the things he said to Sam were, it just made me laugh because it was so completely, utterly over the top.
  • The timeline itself is a complete whack job. Besides the blending of past and present, the way the events themselves unfold is neither seamless nor is it easy to understand. It is, quite frankly, a mish-mash of uninteresting, nonsensical events we are supposed to care about – but really don’t. It doesn’t add up.

I don’t really know what to say. All in all, it wasn’t my favorite – but it wasn’t awful. It was just sort of meh and I got dragged along for the ride. I didn’t want to put it down in the hopes it would get better, but it never did. It almost sort of got worse? If that’s even an accurate measurement. It wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t good, it was just there, Kind of a waste of time, in the long run.

The Best Possible Answer

There are so many unknowns, and so many possibilities. Sometimes there are things you can say, and talking makes it better. But sometimes, there are no words.

Title: The Best Possible Answer

Author: E. Katherine Kottaras

Series: Standalone

Publication: November 1st 2016 by St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 272

Source: Publisher in exchange for a honest review

Summary from Goodreads:

AP Exams – check
SAT test – check
College Application – check
Date the wrong guy and ruin everything you’ve spent your whole life working for– check

Ultra-high-achiever Viviana Rabinovich-Lowe has always had a plan—and no room to be anything less than perfect. But her quest for perfection comes to a screeching halt when her boyfriend leaks racy pictures of her to the entire school. Making matters worse, her parents are getting divorced and now her perfect family is falling apart. For the first time, Viv feels like a complete and utter failure.

Then she gets a job working at the community pool, where she meets a new group of friends who know nothing about her past. That includes Evan, a gorgeous guy who makes her want to do something she never thought she’d do again: trust. For the first time in her life, Viv realizes she can finally be whoever she wants. But who is that? While she tries to figure it out, she learns something they never covered in her AP courses: that it’s okay to be less than perfect, because it’s our imperfections that make us who we are.


A List of Thoughts:

  1. The book contains an authentic and realistic portrayal of anxiety and the pressure many students face.
  2. It is very easy to relate to. I’m sure we all have tales of being told we have to be perfect, get a better score, be first string on a team, get the buzzer beater, etc.
  3. The book itself embodies the cloaking of one of the larger issues at hand with Viv’s pictures having been leaked. I thought the parallelism between structure and plot was beautifully done and innovative.
  4. The family dynamic was complicated as hell, and I applaud it. It was heart-breaking to see the different ways the family members interacted.
  5. The pressure from the family itself, even unintentional, is another factor that is easy to relate to. Younger sister looking up to an older sibling – check. Mother and father not thinking you’re good enough though you do all you can – check. Thinking you’re not good enough because you got an 94% rather than a 100% – check. We’ve all felt some degree of this.
  6. FRIENDSHIP! One of the biggest emotional impacts in this book is between friends. Viv and Sammie have been friends for years, and it showed. It felt real and believable, and I really wanted to worm my way into their friend group.
  7. Viv’s emotional journey/ development throughout the book is one of the biggest highlights.
  8. Self realization, acceptance, and believing in oneself are all main themes.
  9. The formatting of the chapters was brilliant. Some started off as test questions that Viv answered: essay prompts, actual math questions, physics – it’s mind-blowingly brilliant and fantastic. It only adds more and more layers to the story.

The Best Possible Answer is a must read novel for anyone who has ever felt they weren’t good enough, no matter the circumstances. It is a beautiful story of self-discovery and the strength it takes to believe in yourself.


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Coming Soon: November 2016

Who else is ready for another round of books?

That’s right, this girl!

Books are amazing, unique packages of magic and every month there is a whole slew of new additions to the fold. Here are some of my most anticipated books coming out this upcoming month.

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Owl Crate: October 2016

I’m not screaming, you’re screaming. Actually, we’re all screaming.

 

IT’S OWLCRATE TIME!

In case you don’t know what the glorious OwlCrate is, it’s just like Fandom of the Month only.. better? I don’t know, I love them both. OwlCrate gives you a new release in the Young Adult world and a bunch of bookish stuff centered around a specific theme. It’s a subscription box that is worth every little penny – count on that. (You guys can sign up here)

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Glitter

On Wednesdays I’m now required to enter the grand assembly in the Hall of Mirrors on his arm like a glowing trophy. Not the kind of trophy one wins for completing a challenge, the kind one stuffs and hangs on the wall after killing it.

Title: Glitter

Author: Aprilynne Pike

Series: Standalone

Publication: October 25th 2016 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Pages: 384

Source: Netgalley

Summary from Goodreads:

 Outside the palace of Versailles, it’s modern day. Inside, the people dress, eat, and act like it’s the eighteenth century—with the added bonus of technology to make court life lavish, privileged, and frivolous. The palace has every indulgence, but for one pretty young thing, it’s about to become a very beautiful prison.

When Danica witnesses an act of murder by the young king, her mother makes a cruel power play . . . blackmailing the king into making Dani his queen. When she turns eighteen, Dani will marry the most ruthless and dangerous man of the court. She has six months to escape her terrifying destiny. Six months to raise enough money to disappear into the real world beyond the palace gates.

Her ticket out? Glitter. A drug so powerful that a tiny pinch mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss can make the wearer hopelessly addicted. Addicted to a drug Dani can sell for more money than she ever dreamed.
But in Versailles, secrets are impossible to keep. And the most dangerous secret—falling for a drug dealer outside the palace walls—is one risk she has to take.

My Thoughts:

My gosh. My head is spinning so quickly I cannot begin to fathom what to say. Perhaps “Glitter… a novel that sparkles and shines much in the same way as its namesake”. Or maybe “Glitter the high stakes fairy tale that is made from the glimmering dust of nightmares.” You get the idea. Glitter is the type of book that just builds, and builds, and builds itself up so high on the most unstable foundation in existence. It is the epitome of anxiety inducing bliss, as it were. High stakes, indeed.

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Moon Chosen Blog Tour: Q & A With P.C Cast

Hey all you awesome people!

Today is a very special day. Today, I get to share with all of you an amazing Q & A with P.C Cast (whom I adore). If you’re a fan of House of Night or the Partholon series, or even a newbie falling in love with Moon Chosen, today is the day for you!

So I got to submit a bunch of questions, along with a host of other bloggers, to this amazing, beautiful woman. And SHE ACTUALLY ANSWERED THEM! Can you believe that? I died a bit, okay, I died a lot. I fangirled, and screamed, and cried, and went to my happy place.


1. What 3 words would you use to describe your book?

EXCITING – HEARTWARMING – UNIQUE

2. Writing a fantasy book seems like such a daunting task. How did you plan out the world?

It is a daunting task, indeed! Well, the inspiration for the plot came from the bond between my amazing personal protection dog, an Eastern European German Shepherd named Badger, and me. He’s my hero, my Warrior, and my confidant. He loves me unconditionally and would give his life for me.

Then a move to the northwest (Portland, OR), lit my imagination on fire. This part of the world is so incredibly beautiful! So, I had my setting and my basic plot inspiration. Then I called one of my best friends, Christine Zika, who was the editor for my Goddess Summoning Series. She and I had an old fashioned brainstorming session, and from that I wrote a loose outline. I did a lot of research about the NW (including fabulous hikes!), and of course I asked for my dad’s help with creating the biology of my post apocalypse world – and then dove in!

3. I’m intrigued by the idea of a totally different world with animal allies and Earth Walkers. Where did you get your ideas for this book?

Thank you for asking! The idea of animal allies and the bonds formed between animals, at first specifically canines and humans, was inspired by my bond with my working dog, Badger. I had something scary happen in my life about four years ago, and I decided to invest in a personal protection canine. I’ve always had a menagerie of dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, guinea pigs, etc., etc., but I had no experience with working dogs or German Shepherds. They delivered Badger, my personal protection canine, and the moment he and I met we had an immediate connection. It was like nothing I’d ever experienced before, and was so profound that I knew it must be the foundation for a new adventure – for me and for my readers! I, of course, had to include other fabulous canine familiars, as well as a variety of felines, equines, and many other surprises.

The physical setting was inspired by my move to the northwest. The beauty and wildness of the landscape surrounding me set my imagination on fire, and as usual, I turned to my brilliant father who helped me extrapolate what might happen to our world if it had survived a series of massive solar flares that changed the atmosphere, topography, flora and fauna – as well as humans. Then I added a big dose of goddess magick!

4. Which do you find the hardest to write, the first or the last line of your novels? Why?

Definitely the first. I always struggle with a manuscript until a little after the midway point, then it’s like I’m on a roller coaster that’s finally found its downhill track, and the rest of it speeds by – including the final line.

5. What scene in the book are you proudest of, and why?

That’s a really hard question to answer! I’m very proud of this book, this world, this series – but if I have to choose one scene it has to be a scene between Mari and her mother – the one that happens after Mari calls down sunfire for the first time. It was one of the most difficult scenes I’ve ever written. I felt every word of it, and I am proud of every word. I can’t say more without giving away a major spoiler!

6. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

To follow my gut, but to do it by using my brains and my experiences in the business. Also, to be kind to myself. Writers can have some very weird work hours. Sometimes I put in weeks of twelve hour days all in a row, and sometimes I take breaks in the middle of books to rethink plots, scenes, and characters. It’s easy to get down on myself during the breaks, and even after writing thirty plus books I have to remind myself that just because I’m not in front of my computer typing that doesn’t mean I’m not working.

7. What do you like most about the cover of the book?

The gorgeous German Shepherd modeled after my dog, Badger who inspired the series!

8. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?

Revising! Definitely! I revise the entire time I’m writing. Then when I finally finish my first draft I put it aside for about a week, then gleefully go back and begin revising from page one!

9. What would you say is your superpower?

Creativity! And it’s definitely a super power. I’m surprised (and grateful!) over and over again as my creativity imagines new adventures and worlds and characters with which to fill them.

10. What’s up next for you?

Finishing SUN WARRIOR, book two in this series. Also, Kristin and I are going to begin a new YA series called THE DYSASTERS, which we’re super excited about! The first two books will be released spring and summer of 2018. And hard at work on a 10th anniversary House of Night surprise for our fabulous fans!

LIGHTENING ROUND:

Twitter or Facebook? Facebook

Favorite Superhero? Wonder Woman and Superman – I love them equally.

Favorite TV show? Currently Outlander

Sweet or Salty? Salty

Any Phobias? Birds and big things under the water – like the bottoms of ships. (shudder)

Song you can’t get enough of right now? Buffalo Springfield’s For What it’s Worth

Fall Movie you’re most looking forward to? WONDER WOMAN!! But, it’s not out until 2017 (it was the first movie I thought of).

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? PASTA!


If you haven’t already, go and check out Moon Chosen:

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