ARC Review: Girl in Pieces

Girl in Pieces

 

I thought I was ready for this book but I wasn’t. It was such a raw and powerful book. This is a very important book.

This is the story of 17-year old Charlie and her road to recovery from being a cutter. That sounds pretty bleak and straight forward, I know, but it is so much more complicated than you may think. She was removed from a very horrific period in her life to a rehab center. Before rehab, she was being forced to work as a prostitute and felt there was no way out. She loves being in rehab because it means that none of the bad people from her past can get to her. Rehab was not all peaches and cream so she was checked out of there and did her best to find her way on her own. She found a job, a place to stay, and even makes friends. These are all huge steps for Charlie but every day she fights her demons. She struggles to make the right choices but the old ones seem so much easier.Will Charlie be able to overcome the past that haunts her? Will she be able to put herself back together?

The first thing that caught my attention about this book was the writing. Glasgow’s writing style really is full of raw, thick emotion. It is a different writing style than I am used to, but it really is an added element to this story. Simply beautiful.  The way Glasgow weaved a mesmerizing atmosphere blew me away. This story took no time sinking its claws in to me. My heart ached at Charlie’s constant struggle with her sense of self, her ongoing pain, and her self doubt. As the story continues, the secrets of Charlie’s past come to light. That is when the reader learns who has hurt Charlie and how. I must warn you that there is so much hurt and ache in the story that it will stay with you long after you finish the story.

This was a very difficult story to get through. There are talks of physical acts of cutting and how that affects the person afterwards, both emotionally and physically. Charlie has a lot of scars she must carry – both internal and external. She starts out being ashamed of her physical scars but over time learns that they are part of her past and make her who she is. She can still be loveable with these scars. Cutting is not the only illness/disease covered in this story. Drug addiction and other forms of self harm are discussed. Glasgow does not shy away from covering some very, very tough topics.

With all of that said, this story is not one simply of various forms if mental illnesses, it is about survival. It is about both physical and emotional survival. Charlie had to learn and come to the realization that she is a surviver. She survived being homeless with no food or shelter, no one to rely on, being addicted to drugs, being sold for sex, cutting to releave the pain she has built up inside, and abandonment and abuse on nearly every level. It is also about finding your voice in this world and embracing it. Whatever it takes to help you feel whole and like you have a place.

This was such an intense and beautifully written book that I hope everyone reads. Yes, it is difficult and at times you will want (or need) to put the book down and walk away for a bit, but it is a necessary story. I am so very grateful I was able to read it because Charlie is the type of protagonist that everyone shoud know. This was a true 5 star read and I hope everyone will give it a chance.

 

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Books Left Unread #40

Wallpaper-Books

Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

 

The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks

The Lifeboat Clique

 

I have heard good things about it but just haven’t pulled it off of my shelf yet. Have you read this one?

 

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Review: Tell Me Three Things

Tell Me Three Things

 

My heart.. this book is so sweet and adorable that it made my heart lighter.

Tell Me Three Things is Buxbaum’s debut novel but you would never know it. This novel reads like a seasoned writer is behind the words. This is the story of Jessie and Somebody Nobody. Jessie’s life is uprooted and turned upside down after her mother’s death. Her Dad meets and suddenly marries a woman he met in a bereavement support group. Jessie has to start all over when she is moved from Chicago to LA. She starts in a super uppity fancy school in California without her friends or knowing anyone. Jessie sticks out like a sore thumb and some of the classmates there like to remind her of that. On the Jessie’s first day, she receives a mysterious email from “Somebody Nobody” who claims he wants to be Jessie’s friend and help her navigate her new school. Just who is this mystery SN? Is this a cruel joke or is this just the person Jessie needs in her life?

The constant ongoing mystery behind Somebody Nobody is so precious. I don’t mean that in an adorable baby kind of precious, more of the “my heart is so full of hope” precious. The author did a wonderful job of keeping the identity of SN a secret. I was going back and forth wondering if it was Liam, the lead singer of OVille, or Caleb, Liam’s friend, or Ethan, Jessie’s English partner. I know who I wanted it to be, but that doesn’t mean it is who SN turned out to be. SPOILER FREE REVIEW so you won’t get outta me who SN really is. *evil laugh*

There are just so many parts of this story that stood out to me, one of them being the friendship with her father. It was so refreshing to read a story where the MC’s father actually wants to be that involved with his dauther’s life. He had his moments where I couldn’t stand him for being selfish, but he really had his heart in the right place. To read how open he was with Jessie was so amazing. Towards the end of the story, all of the hurt and anger Jessie had towards her father changed. She finally realized that he is human and he is grieving the loss of his wife the best he can. He openly admits that if Jessie isn’t happy, they will move out of LA, back to Chicago, and do whatever it takes to make her happy. That tugged at my heartstrings. That was such a beautiful moment.

The cast of characters, outside of Jessie and SN, really make this story. I felt for the friend Jessie left behind in Chicago – Scarlet. I understood her anger and applaud her for speaking her feelings the way she did. It took me a while to warm up to Theo, the stepbrother. I wasn’t sure if he was just a jerk or if he was hiding something deeper, as if he was putting on a front. I still don’t like the stepmom, Rachel, even though she is still trying to figure things out after the loss of her husband. That still didn’t give her the right to behave the way she did. Jessie’s new friends from school were so great: Dri and Agnes. I appreciated their openness and honesty with Jessie. They were true friends and so happy Jessie had them in her corner.

Now let’s talk about Jessie’s character. There were times I felt her voice sounded a little immature for a sixteen year old, and other times she was wise beyond her years. I think it was the texting/emailing/chatting with SN that made her sound immature at times. Maybe it was her being nervous and flirting with a boy that brought it out of her? Either way, I liked her. I like how she developed and grew into her skin. She had been through so much more than other girls her age and handled it the best way she could. She did her best to make the most of a bad situtation.

Oh, SN. How dreamy and swoonworthy are you. I loved the idea of this character. The idea of writing a boy as the one who is shy and hesitant to approach the new girl, yet gave him the platform via technology to be himself. I adored his character.

I felt this was an outstanding debut novel for Buxbaum. It was well written and wasn’t afraid to breach the usually taboo topic of teens and sex. It was mentioned throughout the book, but not in such a way that it was negative. Rather, it was talked about in a mature way. I applaud the author for being able to do that. I also really enjoyed how the topic of death and grief were always present. How it showed a teenager’s point of view on losing an a parent and how difficult that could be. Mourning and being able to grieve was so important to this story, right along with building the relationship with new friends, and strengthing the bond between her and her dad. I hope Buxbaum continues to knock it out of the park and writes more novels like this.

 

 

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Rockstar Book Tours Cover Reveal: Faithful by Michelle Hauck

 

Today Michelle Hauck and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for FAITHFUL, book two in the Birth of Saints series which releases November 15, 2016! Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win a SIGNED copy of book 1 GRUDGING!

On to the reveal! 





Title: FAITHFUL (Birth of Saints #2)

Author: Michelle Hauck

Pub. Date: November 15, 2016

Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse

Formats: eBook

ISBN: 9780062447173

Find it: Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Goodreads



Following Grudging–and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall–religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck’s Birth of Saints series!

A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.

What they find instead is an old woman.

But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.

A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.

Exclusive Excerpt!
 
Not for the first time, Claire reconsidered her decision to stay when Ramiro had asked her. She’d lingered out of curiosity—and truthfully because it felt good to be needed—but they didn’t need her now with the Northern army defeated. She could return to the swamp and away from so many people. Despite her hopes of friends and community, she felt awkward here. Reason said she’d get used to their ways, but being around so many folk made her want to hide. Everything pressed down. The walls of the tent shrunk, pinning her in, and smothering her. It became hard to breathe.
She reached for a fresh strip of cloth, only to have her hand shake. She snatched the material and began to roll it, trying to shut out everything else, including her own doubts.
Before she could find a semblance of peace, though, someone shouted. Ladies screamed. Claire looked over her shoulder at the noise. A brown-bearded man in a poncho and a floppy hat ran in her direction. “My family is dead, because of the evacuations. Because of you.”
Claire gasped. He seemed to be talking to Beatriz, then his gaze found Claire.
“Witch!” His outstretched hand suddenly held a long butcher knife. “Witch! Stay away from us! Murderer! Abomination! Die!”
Fronilde dropped to the ground, but Claire couldn’t move. Surprise robbed her brain of a Song to stop him. Even the words of the Hornet Tune, which she knew as well as her name, deserted her. The man closed as everyone scrambled out of his way. Then Beatriz sprang from her chair to stand over Claire, holding up her hand. The tall, black-lace mantilla atop her head waved like a flag. “Stop.”
Something about the authority in the First Wife’s voice—or maybe her simple resistance instead of cringing or scrambling away—brought the man up short, making him pause for a moment. Just the moment the bodyguard needed to crush the lunatic to the floor and overpower him, wrestling free the knife. More guards came running from outside.
Breath rushed back in Claire’s lungs. Beatriz sniffed and touched a spot on her chest over her heart and then her forehead and stomach areas. “Imbecile. He didn’t know who he was dealing with.”
About Michelle: 

 

Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling
metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons
help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children
by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A
book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for
any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.
She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat and Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow.Her epic fantasy, Kindar’s Cure, is published by Divertir
Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, is published by The
Elephant’s Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer’s Double Edge.
She’s repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.

Website | Twitter | Facebook page | Tumblr | Goodreads


Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a signed  of GRUDGING, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Review: It Ends With Us (this one got me)

It Ends with Us

*CAUTION* SPOILERS SPRINKLED BELOW*

 

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write a review on CoHo’s latest masterpiece, but I came to the decision that I had many thoughts and feelings about this book that I needed to get off of my chest … so … here we go.

When this story opens, Lily has just buried her father… her abusive father. He never hurt her directly, but she witnessed what happened to her mother. Unable to do anything about this abuse as a child, Lily endured years of hearing it happen to a mother who refused to end it. Trying to hold on to the belief that there is good in the world, she befriends a homeless teen that is living in the vacant house next to hers – Atlas. They become fast friends and she tries to help him out the best she can. They spend time together and after some time, once she turns 16, she and Atlas take their friendship to more than friendship. Atlas was Lily’s first kiss, first love, first everything. Suddenly, Atlas disappears and Lily never sees him again. Flash forward to current day and Lily is now living in Boston… happy. She befriends a handsome man, Ryle, and the two begin a rather unconventional relationship. Things are going very, very well for Ryle and Lily, until one night a simple accident turns into something incredibly serious. Lily is flashed back to her childhood and she battles her emotions to make sense of it. Lily suddenly finds herself in her mother’s situtation and she now realizes that making the decision to end everything is not as black and white as she first thought it was.

I’m going to be very, very frank and honest in this review so prepare yourself. I am a survivor of domestic abuse. Not sure I’ve ever typed those words before… but it is part of what made me who I am today. With that said, reading this story was so incredibly hard for me. It felt as if Colleen was writing a part of my history, as if she found a way into my memories. I didn’t suffer as much of the physical as Lily’s character did, but everything else felt as if I was reading my own story (minus the being pregnant part). The emotional, the psychological, the mental abuse were all there. That is why I felt so deeply connected to Lily and her story. I’m just laying the ground work for why I felt so deeply for this story. I was connected to Lily’s character from page one. I just had to know how this story was going to end. This was nothing short of a non-stop emotional roller coaster ride. I felt all of the ups and downs as if I was right in the story with Lily. I wanted to desperately to take her hands and try to talk some sense in to her, but like real life sometimes, you have to let it play out.

I loved how real this story felt (for me, at least). The raw emotions that came across on page were intense. I commend Colleen for being so brave and putting this story into the world. It is needed so much. Colleen does state at the end that parts of this story are taken from her own personal life. That’s brave. That’s hardcore. That’s amazing. To be willing to share a part of yourself that is so personal in such a way is mind blowing. This book is simply sad, painful, brutally honest, and damn smart. The way she portrays notion that everyone has of being in and dealing with an abusive relationship is right on the money. Those relationships are deep, complex, and anything but just black and white. I believe she has finally been able to explain this situation in a way that actually makes sense to everyone.

The other thing that stuck with me about this story is the power of female friendship. Thankfully the MC had a wonderful best friend that she could rely on no matter what. Allysa was well written and I just loved her. I want to be best friend with her in real life.

I know I am going to be bias about this book for reasons above, but I have every right to be. I am not ashamed of what I went through because like the MC in this story, it made me a better, stronger person. I went into this book blind and I wish everyone would as well. Although… that might be difficult to do if you have read my review. Ooops… but I hope you give it a try. It is a powerful read that everyone should have on their TBR.

 

Note: I was able to attend the CoHo siging when she came through Houston August 9. The event itself was not planned well by B&N, the organization was non-existant, and some of the attendees were rude as all get out, but I’m glad I went because I was able to talk to Colleen directly. I was able to thank her personally for writing this story and putting it into the world.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Hear the Wolves

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

 

Hear The Wolves by Victoria Scott

 

Hear the Wolves

 

From Goodreads:

“It’s survival of the strongest in a contemporary, girl-versus-wild middle-grade debut from Fire & Flood author Victoria Scott!

Sloan is a hunter.

So she shouldn’t be afraid of anything. But ever since her mom left the family and she lost hearing in one ear in a blizzard, it’s been hard to talk to people, and near-impossible to go anywhere or do anything without her dad or big sister within eyesight — it makes her too scared to be on her own.

When they leave her home alone for what should only be two nights, she’s already panicked. Then the snow starts falling and doesn’t stop. One of her neighbors is hurt in an accident. And the few people still left in Rusic need to make it to the river and the boat that’s tied there — their only way to get to a doctor from their isolated Alaska town.

But the woods are icy cold, and the wolves are hungry. Sloan and her group are running out of food, out of energy, and out of time. That’s when the wolves start hunting them . . .”

 

Have you heard about Victoria’s new book? Are you excited to read it? I know I am!

 

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ARC Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

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Stalking Jack the Ripper

 

I couldn’t wait to get my grubby hands on this book. It was right up my alley and I’m happy to say that this book does not disappoint.

Stalking Jack the Ripper is set in the 1880s, right around the time of the famous Jack the Ripper killings. Our protagonist, Audrey Rose, is a 17 year old girl born into wealth and privilege. Instead of doing what most propery girls do, Audrey Rose loves to spend almost all of her free time in the morgue learning the ways of science with her uncle. She is not like other girls, that is for sure. She jumped at the chance to follow her uncle when he was asked to help investigate the recent Jack the Ripper murders. Audrey Rose finds that she is quickly drawn into the decaying streets of Whitechapel in hopes of bringing the horrific and gruesome murders to an end.

I loved Audrey Rose’s character. She is a take charge, strong willed, brilliant young woman who knows what she wants and is not willing to back down. She was so confident in who she was and what she wanted to do with her life. I really enjoyed reading her in this story and cannot wait to see how the rest of the books play out (this is book one of an unnamed trilogy). I really liked how Maniscalco was not afraid to write a strong female lead is a role that was not typical of the British time period. Audrey Rose was still bound by the customs and traditions of the day, such as young single women had to be supervised by adults if in the same room with young single men. She was often in the company of the charmingly handsome Thomas Cresswell. They found themselves sneaking around the streets of Whitecastle in search of “Leather Apron” and escaping the danger that is around every turn.

There is not much romance in this book, and I think that made for a better read. There was not the dreaded love traingle to worry about, only the thrill of the hunt. Do they like each other? Will they get together? The reader never knows until the very end. What the reader is given instead of instalove or a love triangle is a wonderful friendship that is built on mutual understanding and acceptance. Audrey Rose and Thomas start out as classmates and things build from there. It is a progression and it is beautiful to watch. That’s not to say Thomas isn’t snarky, challenging, and frustrating at times, but that makes him so much more endearing.

This book had so many twists and turns! Just when I thought I figured out who Jack the Ripper was, I was given a huge curve ball. The mystery itself is very well written. I always struggle with historical novels set in the 1800s as I can easily be bored with filler talk of weekly tea parties full of gossip and what is propery for a young lady to do. In case you are curious, that is needle work and shopping. If a lady shows even so much as an ankle or touches a young man with a bare hand, it is scandalous! Honestly, I don’t like stories like that. Thankfully this story was not so dull and kept my interest with mystery instead.

I highly recommend this book to everyone! As a member of the Knights of Whitechapel, I hope you pick up this one and love it as much as I do. If you have already read it, let me know what you thought!

 

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