Monday, May 25, 2015

My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh

My Sunshine Away takes place in, Louisiana. The year is 1989 and  15 year old, Lindy  Simpson has  become a victim of a crime. There are four suspects and the  foundations of their upper class neighborhood have been shaken.

The book is narrated by a man who gives an account of what his life was like and what took place during his teen years. He not only suffered from regular teen angst but had to deal with the death of a sibling, an absentee father and a mother who was a wreck and simply could not get over the infidelity of her husband.  He also had a heart breaking innocent crush on, Lindy who he ultimately betrays.

This is a coming of age novel that spans a few years and deals with a variety of subjects. It is well written and the ending won't disappoint.

Grade: B+


Friday, May 22, 2015

The Heir (The Selection) by Kiera Cass

 “I’m not sure anyone knows what they’re looking for until they find it.”
― Kiera Cass,
The Heir

The Heir is the fourth installment in, The Selection  Series. America and Maxon are married. They have two children and the cast system has been abolished. This story is about their children, not them. Their characters have become nearly unrecognizable.

Their oldest is female and heir to the throne. Her name is Eadlyn and she is a self centered, spoiled, brat but she knows what she wants and is unapologetic for it. The people of the country are upset and in turmoil. Maxon and American convince, Eadlyn to hold her own selection in hopes to raise the spirits of the country and cause some distraction.

Eadlyn begrudgingly agrees and is determined to do it her way and send everyone home. She sends suitors without a second thought and then she finally takes the time to get to know some of them and finds out that they aren't all as bad as she thinks (despite there being some bad apples in the bunch).

Eadlyn is insufferable but her antics will make you laugh, shake your head and call it teen angst! I hated her at first but grew to love her! It's really fun to see the selection from different points of view and to see a character grow is a short span of time.I really enjoyed reading this book but the ending -- the ending is a cheap cliffhanger that ruffled my feathers!

Grade: A

You can find the reviews to the rest of the series below:

THE SELECTION
THE ELITE
THE ONE

THE PRINCE - A NOVELA

Monday, May 18, 2015

So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

I love this book -- well not at first! It took a bit of time to get into it and then I loved it!

This novel is about the public shamming that takes place over social media and the lasting impacts faced by those who are shammed.

What makes some stories stick and others disappear? Public humiliation has lasting ramifications and can cost people their jobs, reputation and more! Ronsons examines cases of shaming, some more interesting then others.

This book really makes you think about what you post and how one single post can change your life and that of others.

Grade: A-

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Conquering Chaos by Catelynn Lowell, Tyler Baltierra

Yes, I watch Teen Mom (hangs head in same) but I have a reason. I really do! I normally loathe reality TV but this one reality series has me intrigued. You see ---  I am the child of a teen mom and I broke all the stats and so did she.

I was raised by my grandparents and saw my parents on a semi-regular basis. Both my parents graduated from High School and although they got divorced they both waited 13 years to have another child. I myself have no children and became the first person on both sides of my family not only go to college but to also graduate.

My dad was born in another country and  brought to the United States as a baby. He was raised by his grandparents along with his 3 siblings. Their lives were hard, difficult and full of poverty yet -- all four managed to graduate from High School despite the hardships they faced being minorities and immigrants. My dad made me his world --- we had a special bond up until the last day of his life.

My mom -- was wild, young and fun but sadly didn't become a steady fixture in my life until I was 13. She managed to get her GED (before I was born!) and she went to cosmetology school -- all because she wanted ME to be proud of her and make something of herself and she did. She eventually became a teacher of cosmetology and then a director of a cosmetology school! How fucking awesome is that?! 

Back to my Teen Mom obsession --- Giving me up to be raised by my grandparents must have been one of the most difficult choices they made and one that fills them with guilt despite me being forgiving and more than okay with it. They unknowingly gave me the best gift in the world -- The love, trust and security of my grandmother and with that came an unbreakable bond.

 I have on occasion wondered what my life would have been like had it been put on a different path -- I imagine it would have been far different then what it is now, a world I do not want to picture for myself and because of this I watch Teen Mom, with intrigue and sociological eyes.

Back to  Conquering Chaos -- Catelynn and Tyler use to be my favorite teen mom couple but the way, Tyler treats animals (he abuses the) and the way he treats Catelynn and they way she allows herself to be treated has put me off them. I had hoped this book would once again make them my favorites but it didn't.

They don't seem to hold much back but they also don't tell us anything they haven't hinted at or revealed. Their life accounts are repetitive and the book comes off as preachy. There is no depth and the book is full of more grammatical errors that I can count (and I can usually get passed them). Catelynn and Tyler do have a story to tell but they aren't storytellers. If you have an hour or two to spare -- go ahead and pick it up. It's a super fast, easy read and under 150 pages. I think it is over priced so, borrow if from a friend, check it out from the library or wait until it is in paperback.

Grade:C-

 My Teenage Dream Ended by Farrah Abraham

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Royal We by Heather Cocks, Jessica Morgan

 “I don’t know why it takes something monumentally destructive to remind you what you want to save.” ― Heather Cocks, The Royal We

 Rebecca Porter or "Bex" as she is fondly know as is an American. A bloody, American who has captured t
he heart of the prince.

Bex first meeting with the prince is rather hilarious as she has no clue who he is! Prince Nick, is heir the throne of England and his relationship with, Bex starts out innocent enough. They are friends who bond over late night, insomniac, TV watching. Over time they develop strong feelings for one another and fall in love, however like the real Kate and William they beak it off and then rekindle their romance.

This book is obviously based on the royal family and runs parallel to the real lives of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. There are vital characters such as Bex's twin sister and Nick's brother, Freddie.  There is a lot of drama, romance and humor. This is one of those fun reads, that you become shamelessly addicted to and can't quite put down!

I absolutely devoured this book but the ending left me feeling blah ----  very abrupt and gave the book an unfinished feeling. Something this reader despises but I know there are others out there who will love it!

Grade: B+






Thursday, May 7, 2015

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng



“It will be all right, she told herself, and she stepped out of the boat into the water.”
― Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You


The premise of this book is quite simple. The favorite child of a mixed raced couple has just been found dead. Was is homicide
or was it suicide? Lydia seemed perfect  but she had secrets that could break apart the foundation of her families life. She strove to be the "perfect" child and her parents, her mother in particular attempted to live out her unfilled ambitions through, Lydia.

Lydia's family is left to grieve and rather than unite they all go their separate ways to deal with her untimely death. Expect flashbacks that are oddly important to the storyline as it gives you an idea of the type of character's you are dealing with.

The character development is strong but the story itself is missing something ---  It is anti-climatic and has no true closure however this is an exquisite novel considering it its, Ng's debut.


Grade:B-/C+

Monday, May 4, 2015

Inside the O'Brien by Lisa Genova

“Fenway seats just over thirty-seven thousand, about the same number of people as have Huntington’s in the United States. Thirty-seven thousand. It’s a faceless number,”
― Lisa Genova,
Inside the O'Briens: A Novel

Lisa Genova can write! She has a way with words and stories that makes you a part of it. You experience the emotions and feel the magnitude of the issues at hand. Lisa Genova is probably best known for her novel, STILL ALICE but she has also written LEFT NEGLECTED and LOVE ANTHONY

If, I was forced to choose my favorite it would be, Inside the O'Briens. The characters are well developed and  the storyline is not just about the disease but about family. It is created in such a way, that you become part of the O'Briens. You become an O'Brien.

Joe O'Brien is only 44 years old. He is a cop with Boston PD. He has a wife and four children. They are his entire world but a tick, an inability to stand still and involuntary movements are about to change the man  he is and test his family in ways they never imagined.

It started off simple enough, an angry outburst, then forgetfulness and clumsiness. Joe boils it all down to stress but as his wife's insistence he sees a doctor and a few weeks later he is diagnosed with, Huntington's Disease. Huntington's disease is fatal and offspring have a 50% chance of getting it. Joe's children are faced with deciding if they want to know what the future has in store for them. If they want to be tested and find out their fate, a fate worst then death.

Inside the O'Briens chronicles Joe's disease as it progresses, the choices his children are faced with and the everyday inns and outs of someone with this disease and how it impacts those around them.

Put this book on your to be read list -- it is one read you don't want to miss out on.

Grade: A++




The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

The Lying Game comes out, July 25th One text " I need you" has Isa, Kate, Fatima and Thea reuniting. The 4 women meet in t...