Wednesday, August 24, 2016

#ARC Review || The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis || How Deep is Your Love?

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Published September 20, 2016
ARC via Andye @ ReadingTeen
Goodreads || Amazon

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

"My violence is everywhere here" (ARC)"

How does one even begin a review of a book that is literally EVERYTHING that they were hoping for? There’s this poem by Rudyard Kipling that you should read, mainly because the second half of “the female of the species” phrase is super revealing in terms of the context of the book. Plus it’s also just a really fun poem. Mwahaha.

THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is the story of Alex, Peekay, and Jack. The story begins with Alex telling the reader how she kills. Alex is damaged by the Criminal-Minds worthy murder of her older sister. Her sister’s name was Anna, and she was both Anna’s protector, and the one to calm her when she felt too much. Her story is what I wanted from the New Adult book Marrow, by Tarryn Fisher. While I liked that one, THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is a story that will stick with me for a long time. And it’s all because of Alex. She may actually be one of my favorite characters out of any book ever.

She’s incredibly unique. I haven’t read a character like her except for in Marrow.

Alex is the discourse of right and wrong, she is the line between sanity and the insane, she is the vengeance and redemption. She knows who she is, and she’s more than aware that she is capable of murder, and is able to do so again. When Peekay and Jack invade her life, she does not suddenly become a whole new person. Peekay is the preacher’s kid, and their working together at the animal shelter brings them together. Jack is the beloved sporty hot guy of the high school, and senior year marks a fascination with Alex that he can’t shake off. They both want to know her.

THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is about social injustice (think rape, sex offenders) just as much as it is about murder, a wolf in human skin, and the main character interacting with people her own age—really just people in general-- for the first time. The book is all about the gray areas.

The story itself is incredibly authentic. I was connected to the town, to each of the character’s families. I was made to wonder, wanted to look through my high school year book, which of my classmates was the one who quietly avenged those wronged by society. In the center of Alex’s turmoil with her own (being, should I call it being?) being there was still a high school with academics and teenage drama and Life After High School.

The fact is that this book is beyond beautiful, and brutal, and heart-wrenching. And I love it.

"I'm this raw, bleeding thing feeling everything for the first time, the joy and the pain" (ARC). 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Me, In Real Life


Okay, y'all have been with me through the thick and thin. (thanks for all the twitter love + happy wishes for the real world experiences)

When I began this book blog as a high school fishy, I never imagined that it would amount to all the opportunities I've been to gifted to have. Thanks to this lovely community of people I adore I've been in books, met and talked with the laughed with authors who I'm now happy to call my friends, met my New Adult buddies who've recc'd some killer reads, been to author events and book festivals.

I've even illustrated a children's book with one of my closest and best friends.

I've interned with HelloFlo, working under some lovely ladies who've both made me a better writer.

Y'all are an awesome support group.

Anyways (no I'm not brushing away tears) (okay maybe I am a little bit) here's to another new beginning! I hope you'll be with me for another awesome 4 years.

The best is yet to come, babes. The best is yet to come.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

#BookLook || Worked Up by Tessa Bailey

Worked Up by Tessa Bailey

Worked Up by Tessa Bailey by nobentspines featuring evening bags

My Two Cents

That skirt. It's everything I ever wanted but never knew I needed.

And I do mean need. 

The Look 

Factory mechanic Duke Crawford just wants to watch SportsCenter in peace. Unfortunately, living with four divorcee sisters doesn’t provide much silence, nor does it change his stance on relationships. But when a fellow commitment-phobe stumbles into his life, getting him good and worked up, he can’t deny his protective instincts.

Samantha Waverly’s brother just put her in an impossible situation. The only way out? Marry huge, gruff, gladiator look-alike Duke—for show, of course. She doesn’t make promises—she knows too well how easily they can be broken—and this is no exception.

As the blistering attraction between them grows, the lines around the no-strings relationship blur. But Duke and Samantha’s marriage is only for show…or is it?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

#ARC Review || I'm Still Here by Clelie Avit || A Modern Sleeping Beauty

I'm Still Here by Clelie Avit
ARC via Publisher + NetGalley
Published August 23, 2016
Amazon || Goodreads

A modern take on Sleeping Beauty, for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Elsa is spending her thirtieth birthday in the hospital bed where she's lain for months after a devastating mountain accident. Unable to speak, see, or move, she appears to be in an irreversible coma, but her friends and family don't know that she's regained the power of hearing.

That day, a stranger named Thibault enters the hospital to visit his brother, who's just been injured in an accident that killed two young girls. He instead seeks refuge in the room where Elsa lies, and quickly becomes intrigued by the young woman, returning day after day to sit beside her, convinced that his words are being heard.

As their connection grows, the doctors deliver a devastating blow to her family. Is it possible that Thibault knows something no one else does, and can he reach her before it's too late?

Once upon a time, a girl who is desperately in love with snow covered mountains takes a fall. For five months she is in a coma. On the fifth month, and young man’s brother enters the hospital to bring his mother to his bother. His brother is currently hospitalized for driving under the influence and killing two children and injuring himself in the process. He does not visit him. Instead, he wanders the hallways and finds his way to the woman in the coma. He sits with her, falls asleep, and talks to her in a way that no one has in a long time: without treating her like she is made of glass.

Well, dear readers, I’M STILL HERE is pitched as a modern Sleeping Beauty. Human falls in love with a sleeping-like-the-dead human and proceeds to wake them up.

(of course, the original tale included necrophilia, rape, pregnancy and birth while in this sleeping-like-the-dead state, as well as a lovely dose of death and cannibalism. The olden days were grand indeed.)

I actually liked this more than I expected. The book follows the thoughts of the two main characters. She’s struggling with hearing the world move on without her, and he’s struggling with the crime his brother committed and where to take their relationship from where it left off. They’re both serving a purpose to the other. For her, he’s inspiration to wake up—to try harder to wake up. For him, it was like a really good therapy/ nap session.

To be honest, I could see how she fell for him. I mean he sat there and talked to her and was a different voice in the bleak. He was a nice deviation from the weekly grind. For him though? I was very questionable. He’s in love with a girl who hasn’t expressed a single though or emotion to him. Hasn’t contradicted a thing he has said. Hasn’t held his hand. Hasn’t met his family. Hasn’t shared her hopes and her dreams.

So, yeah, I can see her falling in love her his oddly placed affection for her. Not necessarily him falling for her. I mean all she did was be in a coma while he figured things out in his personal life.

So while I thought the plot was intriguing, I didn’t quite buy the romance aspect. For a The Sleeping Beauty retelling though, claps. Lots of claps.

Monday, August 15, 2016

If he's a Bad Romeo, she's a real Bad Juliet

via Pexels
Cassie and Ethan have a past full of rocky waters. Because of Ethan’s traumatic past, he’s very uncomfortable with affection. He is untrusting, is easily jealous, and easy to anger. Cassie, the main character of the novel, wants the relationship to manifest past the behind the scenes everything-but-sex. She wants their relationship to be out in the open, where everyone can know that they are with each other.

While this is understandable from an emotional standpoint—I mean, everyone wants to be acknowledged—I don’t agree with her pressuring him to have sex with her when he clearly had said no. Yes, the reader can tell that he wants to have sex (I mean he even said he did) but pressuring over (and over and over and over and over) just because you don’t feel like going out and ordering a vibrator is a no-no.

Regardless of his reasons (this being that he wanted to protect her from himself; how self-sacrificial), when someone says no to sex you do not pester them until they agree. I feel like this was brushed over, and while I (sort of) get why, I’m going to go ahead and chat with you about it for a bit.

In BAD ROMEO, Cassie wants to get rid of her “pesky virginity” and she wants Ethan to be the one to do so. Ethan is very hot-and-cold, back-in-forth, love-her-love-her-not through the entire novel. This boy has so many unresolved issues.

To be frank, I don’t think that he should have been in a relationship in the first place. His self-esteem is so low that it’s destructive. Through reading the entire book, I wanted to drag him to a therapist’s office to talk and rant. And then maybe to a boxing gym to punch things.

This leads me back to the sex issue. Cassie is horny beyond belief through the book and I wanted to buy her a vibrator as much as I wanted to take Ethan to see a therapist. Instead, she continuously pressures him to take their intimate relationship further. It seemed to me that she was brushing off his obvious personal problems in favor of her own sexual relief. While he obviously wanted to have sex with her, he didn’t.

Not once did she really, like open and face-to-face and in his interest, ask why he didn’t want to go ahead and have sex. When she asked, she felt like he didn’t want her. Again: understandable. But, come on babe; you are literally the only one that he makes a conscious effort to be open with.

I was expecting him to have done something horrible. Disgusting beyond belief horrible. The way it was built up throughout the book. I was more frustrated with her than I was with him though. For loving him so much and all that, and for being so broken by his actions and words (or lack thereof) she is as much at fault—maybe more so—as he is. And I just really wish that was acknowledged.

I mean if a guy was pressuring an emotionally distraught girl to have sex—even if she did actually want to have sex—even after she sad no, what would the world be saying then? Hmmm? No matter the people in the relationship, no matter the person doing the pressuring, no matter the circumstances, once someone says no then back the hell off.

And freaking take the other person’s emotional state into consideration.

Anyways, that’s my two cents about the book. I adore the cover, but sadly the inside was less than for me. Obviously I’m in the minority here. Leave me some of your thoughts in the comments! Have you read BAD ROMEO?

Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven
Paperback Edition 

When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing, Cassie and Ethan's romance seemed destined. Until he broke her heart and betrayed her trust. Now the A-list heartthrob is back in her life and turning her world around. One touch at a time. 

Cast as romantic leads once again, they're forced to confront raw memories of the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their secret college affair. But they'll also discover that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks.