ARC Review: How to Build a Heart- Maria Padian

Title: How to Build a Heart

Author: Maria Padian

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 352

Rating: 5/5

“You understand that no one is just a color, like crayon”
-Maria Padian, How to Build a Heart

Nice the passing of her father who was a Marine 6 years ago, Izzy and her family have been moving constantly. Each place being smaller than the last.

Things seem to be going okay. She’s going to a good school, she’s part of a popular cappella group, and most of all her family has been selected by “Habitat for Humanity” for a new home. They’re super excited. Being in the cappella group also comes with some extra perks. She becomes friends with Aubrey, whom is a new recruit. Aubrey is also the sister of the super hunk from school, Sam. The boy Roz, Izzy’s friend, has had a total crush on for the longest.

Even though she starts feeling comfy and at home, she doesn’t want her friends, school peers, and even Sam to know that she’s low incomes and needs a scholarship to continue her studies. And most of all, she doesn’t understand why her extended family wants nothing to do with them. Of course, those secrets come out into the light. Follow Izzy on her journey through secrets, jealousy, and friendships. I really enjoyed Maria Padian’s writing. Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC Review: Curse of the Evil Librarian- Michelle Knudsen

Title: Curse if the Evil Librarian

Author: Michelle Knudsen

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Pages: 336

Rating: 5/5

I remember taking out ‘The Evil Librarian’ a few years ago from the library. I remember devouring it within two days. I had no idea it was going to be a trilogy and I happily checked out the second book and devoured that one too. Now we’re here on the third and final installment of the series. I was very glad to see in depth analysis of the characters. I’m a sucker for knowing the backgrounds of characters.

We continue with the spunky Cynthia and accompany her on her senior year of school, where she hopes she doesn’t have to deal with anymore evil librarians. However, that’s the not the case. Mr. Gabriel is back and more evil than ever! He’s like the Michael Myers of Librarians…HE JUST WON’T DIE!..everytime Knudsen brings him back, he’s badder and better than ever. That’s what I think keeps making this series so good. We have to stan the characters for having grown up and taking matters into their own hands. DEFEAT THOSE DEMONS! And that’s what brings them closer together. I really enjoyed this book. Brought back a lot of good memories back. Thank you to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Top Ten Tuesday

The Last Ten Books Thats Gave Me a Book Hangover

Sometimes there’s books that leave us feeling empty…wanting to read more. I know I’ve felt like that many times. However, I don’t have a problem with moving on to a new book back to back. Below you’ll find the ten books that have left me with a major book hangover.

Thanks to Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl for taking over the awesome Top Ten Tuesday. Make sure to check out her blog and read more on TTT.

  1. With the Fire on High- Elizabeth Acevedo: This story left me wanting more. I really wanted to see what happened with Emoni after she finally made it to her dreams. Acevedo has a way with words.
  2. I Wish You All The Best- Mason Deaver: A non-binary teen comes out to their parents and has to deal with their anxiety stemming from the rejection of their family. They have to juggle with this and many other issues while trying to keep a low profile in school.
  3. Scars Like Wings- Erin Stewart: A young lady loses her parents in a tragic fire that left her disfigured. She moves in with her aunt and uncle whom encourage her to go back to school and learn to live again.
  4. The Shrike and The Shadows- Chantal Gadoury: A dark retelling of Hansel and Gretel, this book left me on the edge of my seat. I was craving ore of it. I can’t wait till the next one!
  5. Juliet Takes a breath- Gabby Rivera: After coming out to her mom and not being received with open arms Juliet decides to head out and figure out her life in Oregon while interning with her favorite writer. A writer whose all about feminism, women empowerment, and all things gay. I really wanted to know what happened with Juliet after she returned to the Bronx.

6. Eleanor & Park- Rainbow Rowell- A cute story between two teens who seem awkward to everyone else, but to each other they’re perfect.

7. Winger- Andrew Smith: Ryan Dean West goes to boarding school.. a rich one at that. He’s in the troubled dorm and is trying to adjust to his new surroundings and taming his newfound feelings for his best friend Annie. An adventure you’ll never forget as a reader.

8. Flowers in the Attic- V.C. Andrews: We all mostly know this classic. This family is forced to move out of their home when tragedy strikes. The mother and the children go live at their grandmother’s home, but the children are forced to stay in the attic. Their grandmother, a hateful woman wants no part of them. They grow in the attic and go through numerous trials and tribulations.

9. Matilda- Roald Dahl: The children’s classic that made me fall in love with reading. Matilda is my absolute favorite. I wish we had a follow-up with how her life with Miss honey as her mother was like.

10. The Nightstalker- Philip Carlo: This book is actually a true crime book. Richard Ramirez was a ruthless and sadistic serial killer. I’m such a serial killer fanatic (not in that way). This book even gives you an exclusive interview with the killer while on death row. Richard Ramirez died a few years ago.

Whew! that was a long post lol. But yes, these are the books that have tickled my book hangovers. I’m hoping for more to do this to me in the future.

January Releases!

Happy New Year everyone!

With a new year comes new books to continue to add to that never ending list …the TBR list. Here are some of the books that I’m looking forward to this month. Some have came out already, but it doesn’t mean I can’t wish for them lol.

January 7th

  1. Woven in Moonlight- Isabel Ibanez
  2. A Heart So Fierce and Broken- Brigid Kemmerer
  3. One of Us is Next- Karen M. McManus
  4. The Night Country- Melissa Albert
  5. Jane Anonymous- Laurie Faria Stolarz
  6. We Used to be Friends- Amy Spalding

January 14

Black Girl Unlimited- Echo Brown

January 16

Dreamland- Nancy

January 2

  1. Tweet Cute- Emma Lord
  2. Not So Pure and Simple- Lamar Giles
  3. American Dirt- Jeanine Cummins

There you have kids. There’s still so many more books that I’m looking forward to. Still have about two shelves of books to be read. Plus a ton of ARC’s as well. I made my goodreads challenge for 50 books….Its a more realistic number than the 100 I put. Let’s get to reading!

ARC Review:Scars Like Wings- Erin Stewart

Title: Scars Like Wings

Author: Erin Stewart

Publisher: Delacorte

Pages: 352

Rating: 5/5

TW: Burn survivor story and flashbacks, Suicide Attempt

Based on her friend who has dealt with what Ava has dealt with, Erin Stewart gives us a glimpse into the life of a burn survivor. Ava has been through a traumatic experience in her life, one that has haunted her since the day it happened. Ava lost both her parents and her cousin Sara in a house fire. Fortunately, Ava made it out alive, however, she had 60% of her body burned which resulted in 19 surgeries. Ava lives with her Aunt Cora and her uncle Glenn. They have provided for Ava and cared for her ever since their daughter Sara died. Ava attends a support group for burn survivors and she meets Piper. They start forming a bond and pretty soon Ava starts school and meets Asad. Ava soon gets wind of drama club and Piper and Asad convinces Ava to join them. After all Ava has an amazing voice and was active at her previous school’s drama club as well. 
Of course, with every new school comes new drama, new romances, and new personalities. Kenzie is your typical drama queen who enjoys being a mean girl to everyone, especially when it comes to Ava and Piper. Ava soon learns that Piper was the one responsible for the car accident that caused Piper to be in a wheelchair because of a drunken mistake. Then there’s Asad whose a delight, and Ava agrees. She realizes she likes Asad and hopes he feels the same way about her. 
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It really is emotional and takes you on a roller coaster of emotions. This book teaches you about empathy, friendships, self-love, and being a survivor.

Finally, thank you to Netgalley for a copy of this book in a exchange for an honest review.

Review: On The Come Up- Angie Thomas

Title: On the Come Up

Author: Angie Thomas

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Pages: 464

Rating: 5/5

Allow me to regain my balance after having fallen off my chair from this amazing book!
I’m not just gassin’ it up either, this book was worth all the stars.

Bri is a 16 years old and misunderstood. Trying to steer from her father’s legacy, she tries to make a name for herself by trying to get into the rap game. Bri’s father was an underground rap legend name Lawless who unfortunately lost his life to the dangers of the street. Bri’s life isn’t exactly a fairy tale. Her mom was a drug addict who finally got the help she needed and was able to return to her children’s lives. Unfortunately, she lost her job due to the riot’s the previous year and the loss of money affected her church. After that her life is full of shutoff notices, trying to find food at food banks and walking with used and abused shoes. So she focuses on her rap battles and trying to make it with the help of her aunt Pooh. Even though Bri is a feisty, outspoken, and impulsive, she’s very bright and is fighting for a great cause and for the well-being of her family (her brother and mother can’t be the only ones trying to provide for her, besides they have dreams too) Of course, she has to go through a few scares and make a few life-changing decisions but, it’s all worth it for family. I don’t want to give away a lot from the book except that it’s worth it and really makes you realize a lot of things about issues that are important in today’s society. 

Just a few things:
I hate Supreme and the Crowns.
Long and Tate can go sit on spikes balls.
Mrs. Rhodes needs to stop being so dumb and naive.
Hype….oh Hype…Just to keep it PG…you suck!

Review: Winger- Andrew Smith

Title: Winger

Author: Andrew Smith

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Pages: 439

Rating: 5/5

Yet another great book that I picked up thanks to the YA Audience on social media. They never disappoint me.

Ryan Dean, he’s smart, he’s full of hormones, plays Rugby and very extensive colorful language. The love of his life Annie, is hot (according to Ryan’s eyes), athletic, smart, and has some pretty awesome parents who just happen to both be doctors. Within the story there’s plenty of Rugby action. Hitting, slamming, take downs, and apparently its all a nut smashing of a time (see what I did there). I know understand what Rugby is all about lol. Then you have all the side characters like Chas, JP, Joey (my absolute fave), Casey, Megan, Kevin and many more who come into the picture. I absolutely loved how Smith made all these characters flow into the story without thinking to yourself: “why is this character relevant”?

The story is funny, witty, pervy, and dramatic all in one. Although I did find myself hating Ryan a lot of the time, seriously I can’t stand kids like him and his friends but in a way Smith makes us like them for being so stupid. If a writer can make me like a dummy like West then I guess you did your job well Mr. Smith. Everything is going so smooth in the novel. Dating, fooling around, more rugy, pervy jokes, and other mischievous things, and you get towards the end and you’re like :

Absolutely didn’t see that coming. But all in all I really enjoyed this book. It mad me laugh, made me get angry, fed up, sad and everything else. I think that’s so essential when you’re a writer. I definitely recommend this book.

Original Review Published: 5/23/15

Review: Eleanor & Park- Rainbow Rowell

Title: Eleanor and Park

Author: Rainbow Rowel

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 328

Rating: 5/5

I’ve been wanting to read this book since I started seeing it all over Social media. I’m really glad I actually gave it a chance.Eleanor isn’t your average girl. In fact, she’s the weird one. She has big curly red hair (sorta like brave)she’s chubby, wears weird clothes and she’s shy. Of course, because of her awkwardness she gets teased and harassed in school on a daily basis. not to mention the fact that things at home aren’t exactly peachy keen for Eleanor, adding stress to her already discombobulated life.Park is a boy fascinated by comics, rock music, black clothing, and most of all….Eleanor. At first, it seems like these two cannot stand the mere existence of each other but, as the days go by and the more of each other they see, Eleanor & Park start to develop a special bond, bringing her comic books, and cassette tapes everyday for her. They eventually start talking to each other and develop strong attraction and feelings for each other that neither one can’t seem to explain. After being ridiculed for so long, she can’t believe someone likes her with such an intensity like Park has for her….heck even love her as much as he does. As they go through this journey together of pure romantic bliss and awkward situations, they grow inseparable more and more everyday. Until one night…a huge problem arises with Eleanor’s step father and she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life… I really enjoyed this book. It easily became one of my absolute favorite books. I highly recommend it. It’s romantic, sad, makes you frustrated and angry. I can honestly say that I had many emotions going through me while reading this book. And while I love it I hope maybe there’s a part 2? There’s just too many unanswered questions.

Original Review Published: 2/1/15

Review: Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 483

Rating: 5/5

Now that I finished now what? Who will accompany me in my bed at night? lol.
I realize even more now when people say how heartbreaking it is to finish a really good book. I absolutely feel like that right now. I picked up this book at the library not realizing that the author that wrote this book is the same one that wrote Eleanor & Park. i realize now why everyone loves this author and her books. She is just simply amazing!! I could not put this book down. It took me 3 days to finish but only because I was sick. Let’s break down the characters now shall we?

Cather: I can relate to her as a character. She’s a quiet girl who dissolves in the fan-fiction world. She’s real close to her sister, and in a way has a little kid in her still. I also love the fact that she’s caring towards everyone, but she really lacks self-confidence and discipline. Just like me. I’m pretty sure she is the way she is because she never had her mother around, and that’s understandable….at least to me because i too grew up without a mother.

Wren: I disliked Wren from the very beginning. I thought that she was a total brat and a jerk to her sister. Of course, I started taking a bit of a liking to her at the end, but, I still didn’t really like her. She had issues, and she was way too hard-headed. What made me even more mad is how she didn’t want to be around her sister when she got to college. Or when she didn’t tell Cather about talking to their mother.

Levi: I really had no problem with Levi until he was caught in the kitchen of his party kissing another girl. My inner guy wanted to jump through the pages and punch him square in that jaw of his. But, I did think he was a sweetheart. He truly cared for cather and I’m glad they got together.

Nick: He’s a jerk for taking credit for a story that him and Cather wrote together. Bottomline total D-bag.

Reagan: She’s was weird and a jerk also in her own way. Wasn’t too fond of her either.

I really enjoyed this book, like ALOT! I wasn’t too crazy about the story that Cather was writing, mainly because I’m not a Vampire story fan like that. But, I thought it was very creative of the author to put in the book. Overall, I highly recommend the book. It’s a page turner and you will definitely get lost in the story and into the characters.

Original Review Published: 1/10/15