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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass


Friday, December 27, 2013

Review: The Whole Stupid Way We Are

The Whole Stupid Way We Are
N. Griffin
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
February 5th, 2013
Young Adult
Unsolicited For Review


Synopsis via Goodreads
What happens when everything you’ve got to give isn’t enough to save someone you love?

It’s Maine. It’s winter. And it’s FREEZING STINKIN’ COLD! Dinah is wildly worried about her best friend, Skint. He won’t wear a coat. Refuses to wear a coat. It’s twelve degrees out, and he won’t wear a coat. So Dinah’s going to figure out how to help. That’s what Dinah does—she helps. But she’s too busy trying to help to notice that sometimes, she’s doing more harm than good. Seeing the trees instead of the forest? That’s Dinah.

And Skint isn’t going to be the one to tell her. He’s got his own problems. He’s worried about a little boy whose dad won’t let him visit his mom. He’s worried about an elderly couple in a too-cold house down the street.

But the wedge between what drives Dinah and what concerns Skint is wide enough for a big old slab of ice. Because Skint’s own father is in trouble. Because Skint’s mother refuses to ask for help even though she’s at her breaking point. And because Dinah might just decide to…help. She thinks she’s cracking through a sheet of ice, but what’s actually there is an entire iceberg.

Review
There is a wall in my dorm room, and on it exists an image of a girl standing in the snow, the words 'The Whole Stupid Way We Are' marked in the paint. Why? Because that is how hard I threw this frikin' book at the wall. True story. Not really. Don't get me wrong, it is a good book, great even, but it often had me wanting to pull my hair out. So. Exasperating. XD

Our protagonists, Dinah and Skint, bless their little hearts, are headed to no place good rather quickly. The two are pretty much all each other has and yet they manage to be both their own, and each other's, worst enemy. While Dinah has a pretty stable home life, Skint's couldn't be any further from that. They both seemed way too young to handle the gravity of Skint's situation, but then, I kept forgetting that they were actually well in there teens. Dinah is constantly trying to help, but in all the wrong ways, while Skint never asks for the help that he so desperately needs. He's stubborn. Angry. Cynical. Depressed by the crimes of the world. She's naive. Well-meaning. Fanciful. Blind to the harsh realities of the here and now. Watching these two together was like watching a train headed towards a disastrous crash. I knew I was helpless to do anything and found myself wishing I could protect them. Wishing for a miracle. My heart ached for them. My brain was mentally face-palming at Dinah's futile attempts. Neither character experiences a lot of development. In fact, Skint stays pretty static throughout, though I felt this was handled quite realistically. Dinah, on the other hand, didn't experience her pivotal turning point until right at the end. I often found myself wanting to reach into the book and slap her back into the real world.

The Whole Stupid Way We Are is very much a character-driven novel. The families in this book are so messed up, specifically Skint's. There are times when the reader is given a very close-up, personal look into Skint's family life and these glimpses often had me feeling disgusted, outraged, and helpless. The tension and conflict was so painfully palpable at times; it was overwhelmingly real. The relationship between Dinah and Skint is strictly platonic, which I appreciated. Romance was the last thing this book needed, so if you are a reader that craves that in a book, along with serious action, this isn't for you. That said, the family, friend, and community relationships are strong, well fleshed out elements.

I must say, I loved the writing. Griffin's style was beautifully sparse and to the point, though perhaps a bit bizarre. Despite being in third-person, the narrative was surprisingly charged emotionally. It took some getting used to at first; however it quickly grew on me, and it ended up being my favorite thing about the book.

At first, I thought about calling the ending sad, or maybe even heartbreaking. But honestly, I find the word tragic much more accurate. To be heartbreaking, I would have needed to be at least a little surprised by the ending. That said, I pretty much knew from the start that this book was not going to end well, therefor giving me the entire novel to resign myself to not getting a nice big happily-ever-after bow to tie things up. This didn't make the ending any less sad, though.

In Essence

Characters: Frustrating, child-like (not -ish), overburdened. A great array of supporting characters.
Writing: Beautiful and unique!
Plot: Emotionally evocative and often gut-wrenching. 
Ending: Tragic, suitable.
Enjoyment/Likability: Well it was sad and incredibly frustrating, so not enjoyable, but I did like the book.
Recommendable: Probably not everyone's cup of tea. Definitely on the quirky side of books.

Overall: The Whole Stupid Way We Are, in my opinion, is in many ways a tragedy. (For clarity, in the Romeo and Juliet sense. Not in the...let's say...Miley Cyrus sense.) At times, this book left me so irritated, which it couldn't have done without having me seriously emotionally invested in it. If you prefer plot driven novels, this isn't for you. However, fans of character-driven contemporary YA should definitely give this book a try. It is a bit odd in its expression, but that's part of what made it so special and unique. 

Cover: Very pretty and real feeling, if that makes sense. 

Buy The Whole Stupid Way We Are
Amazon / B&N / Book Depository


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

An Update: Yes, I'm Still Alive!

Hello lovelies! I have missed you guys like crazy. I know I have been inactive for a while, and I'm sorry. This semester has been hell, and I have been dealing with a lot in my life lately. Next week is finals, and then I'M FREE! I will be back to actively blogging soon after and can't wait to start getting some reviews and posts up again. I've missed this community so much and am hoping next semester will allow me to stay consistently involved throughout.

On another note, for those of you who don't know, I also do a great deal of photography. From Dec. 16th until approximately Jan. 10th, I'm going to be in the New Jersey area. Jackson, to be more specific. If you would be interested in having some photos done during that time, please feel free to contact me. It's $45 for a CD of photos (or I can send them to you via Dropbox). For author photos, only $40. I am willing to travel into, within reason, Pennsylvania, New York, and other connecting states. That said, a travel/gas fee may be charged unless I was already planning to be in the area. If you'd like more information, contact me via my email or my Facebook photography page. In case you are wondering what my work looks like, here are a couple of examples:



You can like my page and find out more information below:


Also, if you just want to meet up and hang out one day, that's cool too. :D

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

YA Kindle Deals!

~$1.99 or Less~


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~$2.99 or Less~
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~$3.99~

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Waiting on Wednesday: Vengeance

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Vengeance
Megan Miranda
Walker Childrens
February 13th, 2014
Fracture, #2
Young Adult


Synopsis via Goodreads

Nobody really believes in a curse. Until you know the people who disappear. Too much coincidence, you look for reason. Too much death, you grasp for something to blame. Carson pulled Delaney out and he died on the side of the road with her mouth pressed to his. Her air in his body. Troy. She told the cops it was suicide. Didn't matter. The lake released her and grabbed another. But when Decker's father dies in a pool of spilled water on their kitchen floor, all Decker can feel is a slow burning rage. Because he knows that Delaney knew that his dad was going to die. She knew and backed out of his house and never said a word. Falcon Lake still has a hold on them both, and Decker can't forgive Delaney until he knows why.


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I enjoyed Fracture fairly well and have been looking forward to delving more into the world that Megan Miranda has created. I still have a lot of questions and I'm hoping this book will answer them. Gotta say though, this cover doesn't quite live up to my expectations set by the previous book's cover. Not bad though.

Check out my review of Fracture here.



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Scorched Pre-Order Campaign

From Sourcebooks....

It’s Game of Thrones meets The Terminator in award-winning author Mari Mancusi’s newest, powerful new series, SCORCHED which will be in stores on September 3rd!
We’ve put together a fun campaign to thank readers for pre-ordering: send us your proof of pre-order and we’ll send you this fabulous dragon charm!

A Gift for You, for Pre-Ordering SCORCHED by Mari Mancusi

We have a special offer for U.S. and Canada YA fans for the release of SCORCHED by Mari Mancusi in stores in a little over three weeks! If you pre-order the book, we will send you an exclusive dragon charm—perfect to wear as jewelry or to decorate an accessory. You have until September 2 or until quantities run out.


Here’s how to get your charm:
1. Pre-order the book (print or eBook) through any retailer (Barnes & Noble, Amazon, your local independent bookseller/Indiebound, Books-A-Million, Hastings, etc.)

2. Email your proof of purchase (receipt or picture of the receipt) to teenfire@sourcebooks.com. Put “Scorched Pre-Order” in the subject line. Don’t forget to include your home address (US & Canada only please) so we can send you the dragon charm! If you’ve already pre-ordered this book—not a problem! Send us your receipt!

3. You will get an email back confirming when the items have been sent out.

4. Enjoy Scorched when it comes out in September!

Optional: take a pic of you and your dragon charm and share it with Mari Mancusi or Sourcebooks Fire on Twitter! You can find Mari @marimancusi and Sourcebooks Fire @sourcebooksfire.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Guest Post: A Day in the 20's by Jillian Larkin

A little while ago, Jillian Larkin agreed to do a guest post for my blog. I gave her a couple of prompts to choose from and this is the question she picked:

If you could go back in time to the Roaring Twenties for one day, where would you go and how would you spend the day?

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What an excellent question! I thought about this a lot while I was writing The Flappers series, so I’m glad I officially get to answer it now! I've often imagined how thrilling it would be to spend a day as Clara living her old flapper life in New York, before she moved to Chicago at the start of Vixen. The rush of the city in the 1920's—the lavish parties, glamorous fashion, and rebellious adventures—is sure to make for a fabulous and memorable experience. Even the legendary Jay Gatsby’s 12-bedroom mansion rested along Long Island’s Gold Coast, so I would absolutely have to take a trek out there. With all of the possibilities, why would I choose to spend the day any other place?

I’d start my day by getting my hands on some glad rags and beauty essentials on Fifth Avenue (nothing beats Chanel early in the morning!). I’d buy a glamorous day dress and a new gown for the evening's festivities (I’m a redhead like Gloria, so I may indulge in a deep green number to complement the fiery hue—and I’ve always been a sucker for peacock feathers). Then, to truly pull off my new look, I’d have to take the plunge and stop by a barber to get the infamous, short bob hairstyle that flappers are so known. After applying some coal and cherry red lipstick, I’d be the Real McCoy, and ready to meet up with new girlfriends for mimosas and brunch near Central Park.

Once all the plates have been emptied (and the waiters winked at), it would be time to see the sights! Although I am a proud and well-seasoned New Yorker, being a part of the City in the Roaring 20's would be an entirely new world in need of exploring. One stop I’d have to make would be the New Amsterdam Theater to see Ziegfeld's showgirl experience, Follies, in the flesh. The theatrical productions were known for their elaborate and awe inducing costumes and their larger than life stars such as Gilda Gray and Josephine Baker.

Once the sun went down, I'd truly embrace the flapper spirit. Who wouldn't take this once and lifetime opportunity to crash a ritzy Fitzgerald-esque party, show off one's spiffy get-up, and dance the night away? I'd most certainly have to kick off the night with a visit to a swank speakeasy—possibly The Back Room in the Lower East Side or Jack and Charlie’s 21 on 52nd Street, but definitely a classy joint—where I could scope out the pack for a worthy dance partner.

When it comes to dancing, I might have to pull a Lorraine and simply improvise the steps. However, if I picked it up quick, I love to learn the Charleston, the Black Bottom, and the Varsity Drag! I’d dance until my feet hurt before giving my lips a fresh coat and a blot or two, crowding into a cab with glamorous socialites, and charming my way into a hotsy-totsy, nouveau riche bash to munch on baby quiche and sway to the rhythm of the top-notch jazz band dressed head to toe in white on the far side of the ballroom.

Once even the most notorious flappers have called it a night, I’d take to the city’s streets one final time. After picking up a rich cup of coffee and a sticky pastry, I’d find a cozy bench to nestle on as I watched the sun peak over the New York skyline.

After 24 hours of imitating an authentic flapper, I know I’d be posilutely exhausted! I’d probably have to sleep for an entire day to catch up. The Clara's, Gloria's, and Lorraine's of the 1920's could go out on the town night after night with energy and ease, proud to be young women taking charge of their own lives. As for the flapper lifestyle, all I'd need would be a little taste—a chance to dance like Louise Brooks and dine like the Fitzgeralds. It would truly be a dream come true.

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Don't forget to check out Jillian's Flappers series!


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Saturday, August 3, 2013

Stacking the Shelves (4)

As hosted by Tynga's Reviews













For Review from Netgalley
~Losing It (ARC) edited by Keith Gray
~The Book of Lost Things (ARC) by Cynthia Voigt
~Witchstruck (ARC) by Victoria Lamb

For Review from Edelweiss
~White Space (ARC) by Ilsa J. Bick
~The Shadow Prince (ARC) by Bree Despain
~The Scar Boys (ARC) by Len Vlahos

For Review from Jillian Larkin
~Vixen by Jillian Larkin
~Ingenue by Jillian Larkin
~Diva by Jillian Larkin

Bought for Kindle
~Wildefire by Karsten Knight
~A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness ($1.99!)
~Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King ($2.99!)
~Of Poseidon by Anna Banks ($2.99!)
~Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles ($2.99!)
~Tessa Masterson Will Go to Prom by Brendan Halpin & Emily Franklin ($2.99!)
~The Musician's Daughter by Susanne Dunlap ($2.99!)

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A big thanks to Netgalley, Edelweiss, and Jillian Larkin for the awesome review books! I'm so excited to be adding all of these to my personal library, and I can't wait to get started reading them.



Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Summer Giveaway Hop!


For this giveaway, I am giving one lucky reader the chance to win a copy of one of the following YA August 2013 releases. This giveaway is open internationally! Here are the choices:









a Rafflecopter giveaway


And check out what other folks are giving away for the hop!



Rockin' Awesome Peeps!

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