Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

Our Own Private Universe
"Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it's mostly about sex.

No, it isn't that kind of theory. Aki already knows she's bisexual—even if, until now, it's mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too.

Actually, Aki's theory is that she's got only one shot at living an interesting life—and that means she's got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It's time for her to actually do something. Or at least try.

So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa—slightly older, far more experienced—it seems her theory is prime for the testing.

But it's not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you're in love? It's going to be a summer of testing theories—and the result may just be love."- summary from Amazon

In a little over two years, Talley has become one of my go-to authors- her books are compelling, inclusive, and simply amazing. I particularly enjoyed this one because it was from the point of view of a bisexual (which I don't see often enough) and dealing with new experiences, like falling in love with a girl, who is also bisexual, on her church's aid mission to a little town in Mexico. Aki's journey through the book is extremely relateable regardless of orientation- falling in love is a universal feeling and the all-encompassing nature of first loves is known to all. Talley does a great job highlighting all aspects of a person's life- while the love definitely takes center stage, there's a lot of the book that deals with her family relationships (including coming out to her minister father) and her friendship with her BFF Lori. This is a book worth checking out so go out and get it, and then read Talley's other books if you haven't already!

FTC: Received ARC from Media Masters Publicity. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
"Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there?

Solomon is the answer.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, sitting through Star Trek marathons with him and introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they’d be, and when their walls fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well."- summary from Amazon

This is my first Whaley book (I know, I know) and I really enjoyed it! I loved reading from both Solomon and Lisa's perspectives, and it was interesting to read a book about an agoraphobe (I'm pretty sure I never have). I thought Whaley did a great job making Solomon's agoraphobia realistic and gave his progress a clear arc throughout the novel, though it's far from gone when the story ends. It's a weird book (in the best possible way) but really smart, very funny, and extremely insightful. I'm really looking forward to going back and reading Whaley's other books. I highly recommend this one!

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Blog Tour- The You I've Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.

THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWN
By: Ellen Hopkins
Release Date: January 24, 2017
Pages: 608
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.

Purchase links:

Goodreads | IndieBound | B&N | Amazon | Powell's |BAM |S&S

I'm sure my review won't make much of a difference; by now, readers should know if they like Ellen Hopkins or not. Of course I absolutely love her and her books. They are such heart-wrenching, insightful, and realistic reads, and she makes the characters so relateable, even though they are going through things we may never have to deal with (or have dealt with personally, though I know many of her readers find comfort in her books, knowing they are not alone). This book is no different; the only difference is that it's told both in verse (her normal style) and prose. Ariel's side is told through verse and is beautifully written, and then there's Maya's side, told in prose as well as journal entries. The two cross paths in a way I never would have guessed and it was a roller coaster of emotions reading their scenes together.

All in all, another fantastic book from Hopkins that I highly recommend and as I do finishing each new book, I am already looking forward to her next novel.

About Ellen:
Ellen Hopkins is a poet, freelance writer, and the award-winning author of twenty nonfiction titles and five NY Times Bestselling novels-in-verse. She has published hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from aviation to child abuse to winegrowing.

Ellen mentors other writers through her position as a regional adviser for the Nevada chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

She is a regular speaker at schools; book festivals and writers conferences across the US, and now throughout the world.

Social Media Links:
Goodreads | Website | Twitter |Facebook | Pinterest | Tumblr

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Charmed, I'm Sure by Sarah Darer Littman

Charmed, I'm Sure by Sarah Darer Littman
"Meet Rosie White Charming. You probably know her parents, Snow and Prince. Yup—that Snow and Prince. You would think that being the only daughter of two of the most famous people in fairy tale history would be awesome.

But you would be wrong.

After failing to secure a date for the Fall Festive dance, Rosie is on a mission to prove that the daughter of the fairest in the land can actually hold her own. With the help of a mysterious and magical compact that her mother gives her (and a nice blowout from her mother’s favorite salon) Rosie starts to become the person she thinks she should be. But is being the fairest in all of the land really going to give Rosie her happily-ever-after?"- summary from Amazon

I absolutely adored this start to a new series from Littman- she's one of my favorite authors and I always love fairy tale retellings. This was one of my most favorite retellings; it's such an interesting way to tell a new yet familiar story. It was so cute and I loved seeing fairy tale characters in a real world setting; following along on Rosie's journey was great. I'm so excited to read more from this series following other children of fairy tales.

FTC: Received e-galley from Edelweiss. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Lucky Few by Kathryn Ormsbee

Lucky Few by Kathryn Ormsbee
"The life of homeschooler Stevie Hart gets all shook up when she meets a strange boy, Max, who survived a freak near-fatal accident and is now obsessed with death. He enlists her and her best friend, Sanger, to help him complete his absurd “23 Ways to Fake My Death Without Dying” checklist. What starts off as fun begins spiraling downward when Stevie’s diabetes sabotages her fumbling romance with Max, Sanger announces she’s moving out of state, and then death—real death—cuts close to home."- summary from Amazon

This was a really interesting book about death and loss in all of its different forms, yet it's also really funny. I enjoyed the interactions between Sanger, Max and Stevie as they go through Max's fake death list. I also liked the depiction of home-schooling and the many different approaches to it; I usually never read books that involve the character being home-schooled, so it's a great perspective to see. I enjoyed this book a lot and I'm looking forward to reading more of Ormsbee's books; I highly recommend this one.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, January 2, 2017

My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows

My Lady Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows
"At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.

Like that could go wrong."- summary from Amazon

This novel was simply amazing, hilarious, romantic, and I loved the shape-shifter aspect of the book too. I don't even know what else to say about this book except to go get it right now. I'm not usually a fan of historical books, but this was just the greatest and made it all so fun and enjoyable! The story is told from three different points of view- Jane, Edward and Gifford (aka G)- and it was so fun to bounce back and forth between those characters. I am so excited to see that there's more books coming from these three talented authors!

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.