Reading with Finn: Naptime with Theo and Beau by Jessica Shyba

Reading with Finn: Naptime with Theo and Beau by Jessica ShybaNaptime with Theo and Beau by Jessica Shyba
on February 3, 2015
Genres: Picture Books
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
5 Stars

It all started when a loving mother posted a few pictures of her son, Beau, and their new puppy, Theo, napping together on her popular blog Momma’s Gone City. But these pictures were so “unbearably adorable” (The Daily Mail) and “utterly charming” (The Huffington Post) that it quickly became much, much more. By faithfully recording and sharing what Good Morning America calls “the most mesmerizing naps ever caught on camera,” Jessica Shyba and her family captured the hearts of people all over the world, and these beautiful images of friendship and trust have become an international viral sensation.

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I’ve followed the Theo and Beau Instagram account for some time now, so when I had the opportunity to get an early copy of their picture book I jumped on it. I’m sure you’re familiar with Theo and Beau, too? An adorable toddler and an adorable puppy take naps together. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever.

What Mom Likes:

The book is short and every page has an picture from Theo and Beau’s naps. It’s a simple but gorgeous little picture book.

What Finn Likes:

Finn pretty much likes everything. The whole reading experience revolves around Finn pointing to Theo and Beau on every page and asking ‘This?’. He loves the picture with Theo yawning the most.

I’m so happy to have Naptime with Theo and Beau in Finn’s little library. It’s such a cute, fun read.

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Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

Review: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia HandThe Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
on February 10, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
5 Stars

There’s death all around us.
We just don’t pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn’t look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she’s just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that’s all she’ll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there’s a secret she hasn’t told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex’s brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn’t have to be real to keep you from moving on.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

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I had no doubt that The Last Time We Say Goodbye was going to be incredible. Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly series is one of my favorites. This new book was quite the departure from her supernatural series, since this one is straight up contemporary. It’s just as gorgeously written.

I won’t beat around the bush, this book is heartbreaking. Just when you think it can’t break your heart any more it does. Somehow I never found it depressing, though. The story is a sad tale of suicide and the blame and questions that are left afterward. I think it was a very honest look at grief and family dynamics after a death.

Lex was just a really great main character. She had done something that she felt was unforgivable. She’s shut everyone out and basically going through the motions, but she was utterly likable. My heart broke with hers so many times. I loved going on the journey to self forgiveness with her.

I’ve made it pretty clear that The Last Time We Say Goodbye is sad, right? Because it is, but please don’t shy away because of that! I honestly had no idea how the book was going to end but I can think of a more perfect ending. It was uplifting and hopeful but not in a tidy, fake way. I’m so happy how things ended for all the characters.

Cynthia Hand was already on my auto-read list but The Last Time We Say Goodbye just solidified that. It’s an incredible book. I can’t recommend it enough.

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Saving June by Hannah Harrington
Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather DemetriosI'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
on February 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
4 Stars

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

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When I started hearing all the buzz about I’ll Meet You There from fellow contemporary lovers I knew I had to read it. Soon. So I bumped it right up to the top of my enormous get caught up reading pile. I’m so happy I did.

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrois is a gritty story from the start. It has a small town, nothing to lose feel. I grew up in a very small town so I know that feeling all too well. There’s lots of drinking and sex and really, lots of unhappiness. But I promise the story is worth it.

The characters are what pulled me in and kept me turning pages. Skyler is a smart girl. She can’t get out of town fast enough. I really liked her. I think she was easy to relate to. My one tiny problem with her was how she lost her head completely when she started having feelings for Josh. I’m not sure why she felt like her life was so one or the other. Things worked out in the end, though.

Josh was a pretty great character. He was so real. Seeing him through Skyler’s eyes and then reading his small chapters really gives you a lot of insight. Skyler and Josh still had a long road ahead of them when the book ended. I rated the book 4 stars instead of 5 because everything didn’t seem completely resolved to me.

I’ll Meet You There isn’t just a romance. It’s about finding out who you are and learning to be okay with where you came from. I’m really anxious to read more by Heather Demetrois now.

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Be sure to check out my giveaway for I’ll Meet You There
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Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

Review: My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine WargaMy Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
on February 10, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
3 Stars

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.

pireviewMy Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga was one of those books that I wanted to read the instant I heard about. It just sounded like something I’d love. Maybe that combined with great early reviews made my expectations too high, because I just didn’t love the book the way I wanted to.

I really have some readers guilt with this one. I seem to be the only person that didn’t think it was absolutely incredible. I think my biggest issue is that I never really felt a big connection to Aysel and Roman. I didn’t dislike them…I just didn’t have a lot of feelings for them. Roman’s story was heartbreaking, but I feel like Aysel’s life wasn’t really as bad as she thought. I know her eyes were clouded with depression, but it was frustrating to me that she didn’t see these things right in front of her. Maybe I have trouble with books where the main characters are contemplating suicide. I have in the past, so maybe it’s an issue for me and not really the book’s fault.

Despite all that I still found My Heart and Other Black Holes to be a compelling read. I had to know how Aysel and Roman’s lives turned out (or didn’t). That kept me turning pages. It’s also a pretty fast read.

So, while it wasn’t my favorite book, it was an interesting one. I’ll certainly read future books my Jasmine Warga.

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Willow by Julia Hoban
By the Time You Read This, I’ll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers
Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Review: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

 

Release Date: September 2, 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Netgalley
IBSN:9780803734968
Blurb:

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

pireviewI’ll Give You the Sun might just be one of the most beautiful, awe inspiring books I’ve ever read. I did have a rocky start with it, though. I started it, the. decided to listen to it on audio instead. Then did like Jude’s voice so I put it aside. I finally picked up the book a month or so later and gave it another try. I’m so unbelievably happy I did.

Let me be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t love Jandy Nelson debut as much as everyone else did. I liked The Sky is Everywhere but I didn’t LOVE it. So I was a bit anxious over how I’d feel about I’ll Give You the Sun. I shouldn’t have been. It swept me right off my feet.

The writing is extraordinary. Jandy Nelson definitely has a way with words. The slight feel was magical realism was such an amazing touch. I think it’s one of the reasons I feel in love with the book to start with.

Jude and Noah have done so many things to hurt each other and others as well. Impossible, cringe worthy things. I’ll Give You the Sun is about them overcoming their past, learning to trust and forgive. The duel narratives were great and definitely vital to the story. Jude’s is from present day and and Noah’s is from two or so years before. The heartbreaking story unravels slowly but in a way that gets you so attached to these characters. I felt for them so much.

I’ll Give You the Sun isn’t only heartbreaking, there’s also two very warm and fuzzy inducing story lines. I adored Jude’s time with Oscar so much. Their banter was outstanding and I definitely swooned at times. Noah and Brian was also incredible. The tentative, unsure, complicated feelings. It was beautifully done. I loved seeing the resolution for those two as well.

Really, I just don’t have the words to accurately deserve how beautiful this book is. I’ll Give You the Sun is something special. Jandy Nelson has earned another life long reader. I urge you to read it if you haven’t.

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Audiobook Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

 

Release Date: July 8, 2014
Read by: Rebecca Lowman
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Bought
IBSN: 9781250049377)
Blurb:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

pireviewRainbow Rowell could make the phone book funny and compelling. Seriously, I’ve adored every one of her books. She swept me off my feet with Attachments. It was a warm fuzzy, slow burn story. Landline isn’t so happy but it was just as compelling.

Landline throws you into the middle of an unhappy marriage. Just like in real life there’s many, many things that lead Georgie and Neal to this point in their lives. Relationships are complicated and Rainbow Rowell captures that flawlessly. I think anyone who’s been in a relationship can relate to Georgie and Neal. I really liked that Georgie wasn’t some innocent heartbroken wife. She wasn’t a completely likeable character in the beginning, but it was easy to warm up to her once you started to understand what got them to this point.

The magic phone aspect could’ve been strange in another authors hands, but I think it was done wonderfully. I really enjoyed the conversations. The flashbacks added a warm fuzzy feeling of first love. I loved seeing how Georgie and Neal fell for each other. Those scenes are what made me like them and root for them.

Landline was a really entertaining read. I listened to it on audio and the performance by Rebecca Lowman was superb. I certainly recommend this for any fans of Rainbow Rowell’s YA books.

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

 

Release Date: November 4, 2014
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Amazon
IBSN:9781442484238)
Blurb:

Mara Dyer wants to believe there’s more to the lies she’s been told.
There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead.
She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance.
She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.

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I’m going to say it, I’m the Mara Dyer trilogy’s biggest fan. That’s quite a statement, I know. I’ve been singing its praises from the rooftops since before The Unbecoming came out. What an incredible, unique, mind-bind-y series. And now it’s over. No more crazy Mara or creepy alligators. It’s done. Thankfully, it ended with a bang and I enjoyed every single word of it.

It’s been over a year since I read The Evolution of Mara Dyer so the details were a little fuzzy but it didn’t take me long to get caught back up in the story. The Retribution of Mara Dyer was probably the darkest story yet. Mara has changed. She’s given up on that normal, ideal life. So now she’s not afraid to do what it takes to find the answers she and her friends so desperately need.

Honestly, Mara made me a bit uncomfortable in this one. She’s scary and dark and I loved every second of it. Even the uncomfortable bits. There wasn’t as much swooning in this one but I think chapter 73 makes up for it, yes? Sigh…

Throughout the series we’ve had more questions than answers. Many, many more. They all get answered in the conclusion in a slow completely addicting fashion. I’m so thrilled with the way the story came together. I was on the edge of my seat for at least 98% of the book. I might need a massage from all the tension!

Really, you guys, what and incredibly well written series. Michelle Hodkin is a genius. I couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion. There were a few things left open. I’ll be really interested to see if there’s a spin-off book/series (pleasepleaseplease). If you haven’t started the series yet we can’t be friends. Read it!

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin