Friday, October 31, 2014

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

It is 1959 and life is about to change for all the students of Jefferson High School.  Sarah is among one of several black students chosen to take part of an integration program and Jefferson Hig
h.  Linda is also a student at, Jefferson. She is white, rich, popular and one of the students fighting against integration.

Life for those in this little town in, Virgina is about to change. Not all changes will be good. In fact a lot of things go horribly wrong. Students are abused physically and emotionally. Lines will be crossed and friendships will be forged and broken.

Sarah and Linda are both narrators of this story. They have many differences but one major similarity unfolds, bring them closer than anyone would ever expect. This similarity adds more heat to an already serious subject matter.

Talley portrays the prejudices in a very vivid manner, drawing you in emotionally. Her characters have very distinct voices and the writing keeps you turning the pages. The only fault, I could find in this heavily researched novel is the level of predictability.

Grade: A

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Why Did She Jump: My Daughter’s Battle with Bipolar Disorderr by Joan E. Childs LCSW

Joan's daughter, Pam committed suicide. She, succumbed to her mental illness. One that had plagued her, nearly her entire life. Pam was bipolar and no amount of medical intervention could help her. The very system that should have saved her life, failed her time and time again.

Joan and her daughter, Pam were both trained psychotherapists and despite having in-depth knowledge of  her mental illness, neither of them could save her life. 

Fuel by grief and guilt, Joan has written this book, to mend her broken heart. She gives an honesty and open account on what it's like to live with someone who has a mental illness. She re accounts the days leading up to the death of her daughter and then the aftermath.

This is an emotional and heart wrenching read. 

"The disease became her executioner. It had a life force of its, own controlling her will, her actions, and causing her death." - Joan E. Childs, Why Did She Jump? An Angel to Remember

*** Please note that this book will not be rated due to the nature of the subject matter.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand

Ven is an imitation, a clone. She has been reproduced in a lab. She is expendable. She lives in a world  in which,  clones are created for the rich. To protect them, to replace them, to die for them.

Ven's authentic is a rich, spoiled girl named, Raven who has a hit out on her life. Ven is quickly swept into,  Raven's world, one that is difficult for Ven to replicated. They might look alike but their personalities are as different as n
ight and day.

The deeper, Ven gets into, Ravens world the more she begins to question and nothing is as it seems.

The characters are realistic. The writing flows and the plot is well developed. This is one book you should set some time aside to read.

The sequel , Deviation, comes out, December 30, 2014. I"ll know, I'll be reading it. Will you?

Grade: A

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

“I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside. It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.” 
― Marie LuThe Young Elites

The Young Elites is a story about power, ambition, courage and love.

The premise is great, the plot is dark, the "villains" tell the story but the characters lack development and halfway through the book, everything just falls apart. The most interesting character, Enzo has least amount of book time. 

Adelina is the main focus of the book. She along with countless others are survivors of the blood plague. A plague that left its victims scared, disfigured and with powers. They are called malfettos. They are shunned by society and considered dangerous. This fear doesn't go without merit.

The Young Elites help others like them, but only those that, they consider worthy. Their primary goal is to kill the current, King and Queen and put the rightful heir on the throne.

The execution of this story is so lackluster that I seriously doubt I will read any future books in this series.

Grade: C-


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings by Michelle Knight and Michelle Burford

Michelle Knight is a survivor.

She was abused and neglected as a child. The abuse was physical, emotional and sexual. The very people who should have protected her, failed to do so.  She ran away from home and lived on the streets, until she was found and forced to return 'home". Michelle, became a teen mom and on the day she was scheduled to visit her son, she was kidnapped by Ariel Castro, the father of one of her friends.

Castro lured, Knight into his home, a home that became a torture chamber. She was imprisoned for 11 long years. During that time, she was  frequently raped, starved and abused.  Castro kidnapped two other women, Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus. They also suffered greatly at the hands on this madman.

Castro made, escaping nearly impossible. He kept them chained up and used a variety of tactics to keep them immured and then... Castro slipped up. He left an inner door unlocked, giving, Amanda a way to reach out to a neighbor, who helped her, so that Amanda could call 911 and help free her cohabitants.
Rather then face the repercussions of what he had done, Castro committed suicide in his cell. No, justice was ever served but Amanda, Gina and Michelle are free. 

This is Michelle's story, her point of view. This isn't the best written book but it speaks volumes. I was engrossed from start to finish.  Some parts of the book are extremely disturbing and made me recoil in horror. I can't begin to fathom what, Knight went through but I hope that telling her story was cathartic and that she finds peace.

*** Please note that this book will not be rated due to the nature of the subject matter.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Harlow & Sage (and Indiana): A True Story About Best Friends

Cutest book ever! I could not get enough of, Sage, Harlow and Indiana!
The pictures are adorable and the story is told from, Harlow's perspective.
Expect to smile, laugh and cry! 
This is a perfect gift for any four legged, furry friend lover!

Grade: A+

I don't normally do this but click HERE to follow Harlow & Sage on instagram!

Monday, October 13, 2014

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

“You know someone for a while and then one day a hole opens underneath them, and they fall out of your world.” 
― Joe Hill20th Century Ghosts

I've never been a huge fan of short stories. They don't "speak" to me but at the urging of a fellow and trusted bibliophile, I picked up, Joe Hills, 20th Century Ghosts.

20th Century Ghosts is compilation of stories varying in degree from horror to sweet. Each tale is unique and open to interpretation for example, I felt that the first story was a love story but someone else felt it was a horror story.

Each story features characters that are haunted by their past, befitting of the title, 20th Century Ghosts. Many of these stories left me haunted long after I finished reading this book. I found myself asking over and over again.. "How does he come up with these ideas." They are astute, profound and mesmerizing.

Joe Hill has obviously inherited his father's flair for writing but stands on his, far out from under the shadow of his fathers name.

Grade: A

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Forgetting to Be Afraid: A Memoir by Wendy Davis

 “Very quickly after receiving the official ruling from the lieutenant governor on the floor, my Democratic colleagues and I exited the senate chamber, where we were met by hundreds and hundreds of people, joyously shouting. We were embraced by therm and cheered by them as we spoke and thanked them. There was so much emotion that it’s hard to even describe what that moment felt like. It was surreal. Who among us could have possibly predicted the events of the day?” -Wendy Davis,  Forgetting to Be Afraid

Wendy Davis is the first Democrat in over two decades to take a serious run at becoming the next Governor of, Texas.

This is her story. Wendy, was raised by a single mother and like many other women before and after her, she became a statistic. A single, teen mom.

Davis, struggled but didn't give up! She pushed herself to excel and eventually became an alum of the very prestigious, Harvard University. Along the way, Davis and her family had to make many sacrifices. This included but was not limited to, Davis living alone while going to, Harvard and flying back home on weekends to see her husband and children.

Davis is perhaps best known for her fight to protect women's right. She filibustered, Governor Rick Perry's bill that aimed to close all but five abortion clinics in her home state of Texas.

Davis has also included her own private medical history, which included ending an ectopic pregnancy (which is 100% fatal to the mother and child) and aborting a fetus that was already suffering and would have continued to do so had it reached full gestational age. A difficult choice for any parent to make.

Wendy Davis is a courageous. This is an well written, educational read.

Grade: A

Thursday, October 2, 2014

PIECES OF YOU by Ella Harper

PIECES OF YOU, will be released, January 27, 2015

"I love you, Stripes," he said, his hand resting on my hip. "Like, to pieces." - Ella Harper, Pieces of You

Lucy and Luke have been trying to have a baby. It's been eight years of miscarriages and heartache. Lucy is pregnant once again and on the night she miscarries her husband is in a horrific accident, leaving him in a coma. 

Lucy and Luke's family sit at his bedside, hoping and waiting for, Luke to wakeup. Life continues around him and broken family bonds are built. Luke has been hiding a secret, a secret full of devastating news and hope. 

Harper writes with compassion and her characters are true to life. She understands the struggles of infertility and the tole it takes on a woman's heart and soul. She captures the grief that comes with wanting something so dearly, you heart breaks.  Harper knows the struggles a couple face together and individually. Harper knows. She knows what it's like to love someone who doesn't love you back. She is essentially every character she has created..... I think, Harper put pieces of herself in every character of this emotionally drawn novel.

Grade: A

The Embalmer by Caillé Anne-Reneé and Mullins Rhonda

The Embalmer is a short book around 80 pages or so. It's not as macabre as I was hoping but it is rather interesting. The book centers a...