PopCulture Readathon Book #2: Death and Other Holidays- Marci Vogel

Title: Death and other Holidays

Author: Marci Vogel

Publisher: Melville House

Pages: 144

Rating: 4/5

” The problems of the world are impossible to solve” 
-Wilson, Death and other Holidays
TW/CW: Grieving a family members death, divorce, talks of suicide

A short book, but very well written (to me anyway). We’re taken into the life of April. Set in the 90’s, April just lost her stepfather, Wilson. Her mother biological father separated when she was younger, and her father committed suicide when she was a teenager, so she’s had a pretty crappy life and has been dealing with death more than she should. She’s grieving them both and being in her late 20’s and now alone after her room mate Libby moved out to be with her boyfriend she has a lot of time to reflect on her past and present relationships as well as everything in between. These stories are often shown in little snippets or in a few pages. The words making a impactful statement, making you feel something in your soul. This is my first novella and I enjoyed it. 

ARC Review: Arms of the Ocean- Jamie Webster & M. Dalto

Title: Arms of the Ocean

Author: Jamie Webster & M. Dalto

Publisher: The Parliament House

Pages: N/A

Rating: 5/5

When I saw this beautiful book I knew I had to read it. I love stories that have to do with the ocean and mermaids. Arms of the Ocean takes place in the city of Inara. A beautiful city that’s described as a place where no harm can be done. We meet Tristaine who lives with her alcoholic father who she’s trying to help. After her mother up’s and abandons them, her father turns to liquid poison to deal with her absence, but her brothers as well. He decided to go and make his own life and get married. Who could blame him? No matter how many times he asks his sister to do the same.She simply can’t. She loves Inara too much. It needs her.

But after a situation with her father goes horribly wrong, her limits are tested and she starts to wonder if her love for Inara and her life is even worth it anymore. I won’t tell you the rest, you’re gonna have to find out for yourself. I really enjoyed this book. Webster and Dalto did any amazing job writing it, and it was simply magical like I knew it would be. Thank you to the Parliament House Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Harlequin Blog Tours ARC Review: She’s Faking it- Kristin Rockaway

Title: She’s Faking It

Author: Kristin Rockaway

Publisher: Graydon Press

Pages: 384

Rating: 5/5

This is my first book from Kristin Rockaway and I absolutely loved it. Bree Bozeman feels like crap. She has a job at Grubgetter as a delivery driver, she has a crappy car that finally died on her while making a delivery and ignoring her check engine light that started flashing 3 weeks ago, she lives in a crappy space on top of someone’s garage, her last relationship failed, and one of her professors from college said to her that she doesn’t have what it takes for med school. Something that made her leave school. Life is just really hard for Bree and she just wants something good to happen for once.

Her sister Heather, whom has the best of intentions to help her sister, can come off as standoffish, judgmental, and annoying. With her obsessive organizing business and her husband being a orthodontist. Heather doesn’t need to worry about struggling. You have to admire Bree’s tenacity to better herself though. She may hate her job, but she does it so well. After finding out about a social media influencer, she decides to make her own Instagram and finally chase that lifestyle she so desperately was seeking. Her life seems to be going right on track including finding a hunky guy after creating her social media profile, but at what cost? I really enjoyed this beach read and definitely would recommend it. Huge thanks to NetGalley and Graydon House for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Read a Rainbow Book #1 Review: American Born Chinese- Gene Luen Yang

Hey guys! I wanted to come again and present to you the second readathon I’m participating in this month as well. The readathon is called:”Read a Rainbow” and it’s hosted by: Books and Pixie Dust. You can find more info on their blog and twitter. I present to you my first completed book for the yellow cover prompt.

Title: American Born Chinese

Author: Gene Luen Yang

Publisher: Square Fish

Pages: 233

Rating: 5/5

American Born Chinese has been on my TBR list for a while now. This graphic novel has 3 stories in one. First, we meet Jin Wang whose moved to San Francisco with his parents. He starts going to a new school as a Chinese American boy. Making friends isn’t easy at first. Some of the students and teachers can be a bit a-holish and type racists? He meets a new kid who comes to the school named Wei Chen, but Jin Wang doesn’t want to be around someone that’s FOB (fresh off the boat), however, they became friends after a while. Jin then meets a beautiful American girl and falls for her immediately. 

The second one is about a monkey who wishes to have the power of a god. He’s already lived for thousands of years. Has mastered the arts of Kung Fu and discipline. He wants more….
Lastly, we meet Danny, a American boy whose on the basketball team and really popular, especially with the girls at school. Only one problem…he’s frustrated because his cousin Chin-Kee is visiting town and is embarrassing him at school and cramping his style. He’s tired of it and wishes he would just leave. 

I’ll admit I was having second thoughts on the book because of the monkey story and all that, but once I got to the ending I started to realize there was a reason why the stories were being told. You’ll see why. I really enjoyed the book and how it crushes the narrative that graphic novels aren’t books. I would definitely recommend it. 

ARC Review: Of Bears and Ballots- Heather Hende

Title: Of Bears and Ballots

Author: Heather Lende

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Pages: 288

Rating: 4/5

In the same year orange man was running for president, Lende was one of the many women wanting to take part in politics. Lende started a campaign for assembly woman in Haines, Alaska. A small populated town. Despite never running for politics and there being many others running as well. Lende was victorious after all Lende was a advocate for her community.

I will be honest this wasn’t a story I normally read. Well, politics anyway. I think they’re boring, but it was interesting to see her journey into politics. As we should see more women do (good ones anyway). Thank you to NetGalley and Algoquin books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

PopCulture Readathon Book #1 Review: Turtle Under Ice- Juleah del Rosario

Hey Guys!

So if you’re on book twitter, you might’ve seen this graphic within the bookish community. My absolutely amazing friend Whitney @ books whit me created the PopCulture Readathon centered around the 90’s. My other amazing friend Lorryn @ Reading Parental is the co-host as well. If you want more info on this readathon you can find it at their twitter here. It’s not too late to join. July has just begun, and it runs until the end of the month.I chose to do the adult bingo board and read my first book this morning in a hour.

Title: Turtle Under Ice

Author: Juleah del Rosario

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 272

Rating: 5/5

CW/TW: Death, dealing with grief, loss of a baby, thoughts of not being enough, dealing with the death of a parent

“Because, like snowstorms and earthquakes and death, your future will happen regardless of whether you planned for it” p. 15

“my grief makes people uncomfortable, I am not a walking disease because my mother died, I am not abnormal. I am not contagious” p. 65

“There was no right time for my mother to die, because when someone we love dies, it will always be untimely” p. 143

I have so much to say about this book. All good things of course. Row and Arianna lost their mother a few years ago and they’ve both went their separate ways and trying to figure out how to deal with themselves and life without their mother. One night Ariana picks up and leaves in the middle of the night during a snowstorm without telling anyone where she was headed to. Meanwhile, Row is left home alone, alone trying to figure out her feelings, her life, and her relationship with her sister. All while trying to piece together clues of her sister’s whereabouts with the help of her friend Kennedy.

My thoughts:
This book simply put is…amazing! Written in verse and from two different POV’S, it takes you on both of these sister’s journeys. Allow me to break it down:

Row: A soccer player, but also a worrier, she was there when her mother passed away. Always thought that no-one wanted to be around her because she was grieving her mother’s death. She worries about her sister Ariana and what would’ve been her baby sister.

Ariana: In pain from losing her mother, she also loses herself. She’s doing bad in school and is on the verge of not graduating, until her teacher gives her a second chance to redeem herself…

Overall, this book really hit home. I lost my grandmother who was like my mother, and ever since then I lost myself as well. Many people have decided to distance themselves from me because they believe I need to “get over it” and “move on”. Turtle Under Ice really opened my eyes and I’m glad the author wrote it.

Review: The Revolutionaries: Book One Power Divided- S.Behr

Title: Power Divided

Author: S. Behr

Publisher: S. Behr

Pages: 376

Rating: 5/5

When I received this book from S.Behr I was absolutely ecstatic about it. I was immediately sucked into the story. The book can be considered two genres, well at least to me. It was sci-fi, but definitely has some YA fantasy elements to it. It also has futuristic elements to it, especially when it has a character that is an AI named Hailey. The book started off very fast paced and full of action. The book shows you the beginnings of Violet’s self discovery, especially about some very special and unique powers even she didn’t know about.

I absolutely loved Hailey. She was quirky, sarcastic, as well as a amazing friend. She made sure to take care of Violet and her furry friend Jane when they were most vulnerable. Don’t get me started on the cuteness that is Jane. I’m just so glad nothing bad happened to her. Otherwise, I would’ve probably thrown the book against the wall. lol. I really enjoyed the Sci-Fi elements in the book because it’s a genre I normally don’t read at all. The book teaches you about love, acceptance, and forgiveness. One thing I would’ve probably changed is the ending a bit, just because it focus too much on the princess and courtship you usually find in YA books. I really wanted my continual Sci-Fi fix along with Hailey. Hopefully she makes another appearance. I’m also intrigued what the second book has in store for Violet. S. Behr did an amazing job writing the book. Her words were so beautifully intertwined with the story, and she really described everything so well. She definitely didn’t make you feel bored with it. The description of landscapes, and the realms and overall all of Amera was well done. Thank you again to S.Behr for a copy of this amazing book in exchange for an honest review.

Harlequin Blog Tours: ARC Review: Out Now: Queer We Go Again!- Saundra Mitchell

Title: Out Now: Queer We Go Again!

Author: Saundra Mitchell

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Pages: 416

Rating: 3/5

I REALLY tried to like this book but I just couldn’t get into it for the life of me. Some stories were good, others lacked. With multiple stories like this, I like for the stories to have some sort of realism to them. I just didn’t get that from this book. I feel like I’m being harsh but, I’m just being truthful. I’ve seen people say the first book to this was better, so I might just give that one a go and see if I like it better. Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin Tours and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

ARC Review: Breath Like Water- Anna Jarzab

Title: Breath Like Water

Author: Anna Jarzab

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Pages: 416

Rating: 5/5

As a person whose only known swimming all her life and wanting to be in the olympics, Susannah fears her body is slowing her down as she gets older. She thinks about the championship she won at 14 years old and if she can reach her potential again. Swimming demands so much out of young people and she’s scared to fail. Two people enter her life that will rearrange her life and career around. A coach that could help her reach that dream and a new fellow swimmer named Harry.

Susannah is such an amazing character. She’s mature, strong, and trying to fight those nagging demons in her head. Harry on the other hand is dealing with his own demons. He’s bipolar. Dealing with constant mood swings and anger throughout his life. He falls in love with Susannah but, he’s afraid his mental condition might scare her away.

This book is far from swimming competitions and the stress from it. It’s about friendship, hope, being opened to new experiences in life and trusting people. I loved how Susannah and Harry connected despite their differences. Sorta hit close to home as my significant other also is bipolar. What an amazing story of two young people and their struggles with life and family. I truly enjoyed the ride this book took me on. Special thanks to NetGalley, and Harlequin Teen/ Inkyard Press for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: As Much As I Ever Could- Brandy Woods Snow

Title: As Much as I Ever Could

Author: Brandy Woods Snow

Publisher: Files Vertes Publishing

Pages: 300

Rating: 5/5

This is my first Brandy Woods Snow novel and I have to admit she’s easily become a fave author of mine now. The story was amazing. Snow is a great writer. Her descriptions throughout her writing were simply invigorating. The characters she brought to life left me speechless and I just wanted to learn more about them. This novel had a little bit of everything to satisfy your needs…romance, humor, sadness and so much more. 

We meet CJ whose gone through a traumatic event in her life. After getting into a fatal car accident that took her mother and sister’s lives, CJ has been feeling pretty guilty because she survived and they didn’t. After that accident she became afraid to drive a car ever again.Her dad also felt some type of way towards her because of the accident, and that just made her feel even worse. As a result, CJ decided to go and live at her grandmother’s home in Edisto beach. A tranquil place to get away. All she wants to do is to be able to heal from the tragedy and finally come face to face with the person who was behind the wheel of the car who claimed her mother and sister’s lives. She meets handsome and dreamy Jett Ramsey who turns her life around and makes her face her fears of being behind the wheel again. After all he is a race car driver.

I really just loved this book. I love CJ’s and Jett’s chemistry. They supported each other in such a beautiful way. It’s amazing how tragedy can bring two people close together, especially when both of those people have experienced it. That love for each other also helped bring down those stubborn walls that they both had put up for so long. Join CJ and Jett on their journey of love, healing, and facing your fears. Huge thanks to Files Vertes publishing and Candace Robinson for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I truly enjoyed it.