Books Left Unread #57

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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:

 

Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra & Dhonielle Clayton

Tiny Pretty Things (Tiny Pretty Things, #1)

 

I was excited when this book came out but that excitement faded after a while simply because reading books about ballet don’t appeal to me that much. I know this book is not completely about ballet, but it has a lot to do with it. That topic doesn’t appeal to me so much so I’ve avoided this. Tell me, have you read this? Should I give it a go?

 

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ARC Review: Sad Perfect

Sad Perfect

 

I count myself fortunate to read this book as part of the author’s ARC tour. This book caught me off guard for several reasons, mainly because I actually found myself relating to the protagonist. I have never admitted that to anyone but the author herself. This story is raw, rough, and beautifully written.

Pea, a sixteen year old girl, looks like your average teenager only she isn’t. Pea has some dark secrets she is keeping private. She has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID), which means she actively avoids a lot of food. The only way she can describe it is like having a monster living inside of her talking to her. She has a small list of foods that are deemed “okay” to eat. This “monster” not only controls her eating, it causes depression, anxiety, and much darker thoughts. Pea doesn’t want to admit she has this monster but after she meets a boy, Ben, the monster becomes too much for her to ignore. Everything escalates and quickly gets out of control. Pea starts to believe she doesn’t need her anxiety medicine so she stops taking it. Things go from bad to worse faster than anyone could have realized. Just when it seemed Pea would never find her way out of the black hole, she has the realization that with the strength of her family and Ben, she can beat this monster and the eating disorder doesn’t have to rule her life.

The main thing that stuck out to me about this story was the fact that it was written in second person. I have not ever read a story in second person before. I believed it worked perfectly for this story. I truly felt as if I was experiencing everything Pea was going through. To have the extra insight into Pea’s thoughts and feelings added another level to this story. Pea’s character is actually based directly on Stephanie’s daughter. That means this is based on a true story. I felt it was incredibly brave of Stephanie to put her daughter’s story out for the world to read. At the same time, it made me accept the fact that I have my own food avoidance eating problem. I never thought I would read about a protagonist with the same issue.

I really liked the characters in the story. I felt they were all so well developed and defined. Pea’s character isn’t bombarded with the need to be thin and “fit in” but it does bring the topic of food avoidance and anxiety to light. Ben’s character does a wonderful job of being supportive and not pressuring. Not one time does he do anything he isn’t supposed to do. He never pushes Pea to be something she isn’t. Instead, he gives her his entire support even when she is being secretive. Stephanie captured the start of Pea & Ben’s relationship in a sensational light. It starts out sweet and tender and innocent, but it isn’t always that way as they are both very young and bound to make mistakes. Pea’s parents have a wonderful presence in this story. I loved reading how involved her parents were. It was refreshing, I’ll tell you that much. Even her brother was worried about her sister and it showed that an entire family can rally together to show support for a loved one. Amazing.

Pea’s character fills the void for those teens that avoid food for one reason or another. Let’s be honest – there is just too much pressure on teenage girls in today’s society to be a certain size and look. This story nailed that topic so well. It also brought light to this particular disorder. Stephanie doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable situations. It talks about both positive and negative coping mechanisms. It worked perfectly in this story. I also like how as the story goes along, it is more than a contemporary story. It shows how important the love and support of family and friends can be for someone suffering from anxiety, depression, and an eating disorder. I am sure I don’t need to say I tore through this book in no time. Once I started reading I couldn’t stop. It flowed wonderfully and it was over before I knew it. It was an emotional roller coaster for me.

I’m not sure I can say enough good things about this story. I want everyone to read it. I want everyone to give it a chance and read Pea’s story. This is such a astonishing story that will stay with a reader long after they finish it. Please, add this to your TBR if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.

 

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Review: The Female of the Species

The Female of the Species

 

I hesitated starting this one because I haven’t had the best of luck with Mindy’s previous books. I went into this absolutely blind and that may have been the best way to read this. If you hear people use words like “raw” and “powerful” and “emotional”, they are not lying. This is a very hard story to get through because it is downright crude and will make your skin crawl, but the underlying message of the story is necessary.

Alex Craft is not someone you would ever want to mess with. She has not had an easy life after the brutal murder of her sister three years ago. What Alex does have is a nasty, dirty little secret: she knows how to kill people. She is actually very good at it but you would never think that by looking at her. Her level of violence against people who do harm to others is the only way she knows how to express herself. She opts to not draw attention to herself and sticks to the shadows. All of that changes when she becomes friends (and more than friends) with Jack Fisher and best friends with Peekay. Horrible events during their Senior Year bring these three teens together to form a very strong friendship. Alex’s violent side comes out one night for everyone to see and that sets the events in motion to change everyone’s lives forever.

I am going to start this by stating there are serious triggers in this book. Rape. Date Rape. Rape Culture. Animal abuse. Molestation.These are always very tough topics to put into a story but they are actually done very well in this story. Yes, it is difficult to get through. Yes, it is uncomfortable. Yes, it will make your skin crawl. But realistic stories like this need to be read to bring awareness. This story absolutely shied away from nothing. It was so vulgar at times that it made me flinch. I don’t ever want to hear these words or phrases again. But I feel it was necessary in this story for it to make such an impact. It showed what can happen when teens are a product of their lax and sex-driven society. It is not frowned upon for a HS teenage boy to perform lewd actions on a school basketball during class. He isn’t praised, but he isn’t reprimanded either. His teammates laugh and the teachers turn a blind eye. Disgusting. That leads to the boys believing it will be fine if they try to force themselves on girls and the girls are too terrified to report it.

I know that everyone has their own thresholds for what they can handle in dark and disturbing stories like this, but animal abuse is something I absolutely will not tolerate. I almost stopped reading this based on the animal abuse alone. I have no stomach for it and won’t read it. I can also tell you that I didn’t feel the animal abuse  or talk of animal abuse served any purpose in this story. It did not propel it forward. It did not help develop a character. It was cruel and not needed at all. Instead it triggered me in a way that I have already mentioned.

Now with that said, the rest of the story was dark and disturbing. Knowing Alex knows how to kill people is slightly terrifying thing to have in my mind while I continued the story. I was hoping for a female Dexter character but that isn’t what I got. The characters were very well developed and wonderfully complex. Who they started out being at the start of the book is not who they were at the end. I love when that happens because it means the author did something right. Alex was so unassuming and I found myself cheering for her. I wanted her to find peace with her sister’s killing and move out of the small town. I felt the same way about Jack and Peekay. Jack is the typical teenage jock that all other teen jocks want to be. He has a rational fear of being stuck in his small nowhere hometown. Peekay is the Preacher’s Kid (get it?) and has been living in the shadow of her father’s profession. I can’t fault any kid for wanting to be bigger and better than the small town they are raised in.

The brutality of the events within the story will probably haunt me for a long time. I need a lot of kitty snuggles and Disney movies to soothe my battered soul. Like I mentioned, the overall message within the story is powerful and one that needs to be pushed out. I know you will read reviews about this story (like this one) that say this is a tough book to read but worth it if you can get past the triggers. I do recommend this to everyone and I hope people give it a chance, if you can. If not, I’m not mad at you. Like I said, I almost DNFd based on reasons above. If you have read, let me know your thoughts.

 

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Radius of Us

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:

 

The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt

The Radius of Us

 

From Goodreads:

What happens when you fall in love with someone everyone seems determined to fear?

Ninety seconds can change a life — not just daily routine, but who you are as a person. Gretchen Asher knows this, because that’s how long a stranger held her body to the ground. When a car sped toward them and Gretchen’s attacker told her to run, she recognized a surprising terror in his eyes. And now she doesn’t even recognize herself.

Ninety seconds can change a life — not just the place you live, but the person others think you are. Phoenix Flores-Flores knows this, because months after setting off toward the U.S. / Mexico border in search of safety for his brother, he finally walked out of detention. But Phoenix didn’t just trade a perilous barrio in El Salvador for a leafy suburb in Atlanta. He became that person — the one his new neighbors crossed the street to avoid.

Ninety seconds can change a life — so how will the ninety seconds of Gretchen and Phoenix’s first encounter change theirs?

Told in alternating first person points of view, The Radius of Us is a story of love, sacrifice, and the journey from victim to survivor. It offers an intimate glimpse into the causes and devastating impact of Latino gang violence, both in the U.S. and in Central America, and explores the risks that victims take when they try to start over. Most importantly, Marie Marquardt’s The Radius of Us shows how people struggling to overcome trauma can find healing in love.”

 

Is this on your radar? Have you added it to your TBR?

 

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week I’m listing…

My Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2016

Walk on Earth a Stranger

Walk on Earth a Stranger  (The Gold Seer Trilogy, #1)

Ready Player One

Ready Player One

We Are The Ants

We Are the Ants

It Ends With Us

It Ends with Us

Caraval

Caraval

Goodbye Days

Goodbye Days

A List of Cages

A List of Cages

Learning to Swear in America

Learning to Swear in America

The Naturals

The Naturals (The Naturals, #1)

The Sun is Also a Star

The Sun Is Also a Star

What were the best books you read this year, regardless of publication date??

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Review: I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl

I'm Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl

 

Sigh. I feel this topic has been overdone in stories lately. I went into this book blind but was quickly hit with every stereotypical HS character, storyline, and outcome imaginable. Nothing about this book blew me away. I found myself heavily sighing and rolling eyes more than anything.

This is the story of math nerd genius, Beatrice, and her friends who decide to reinvent themselves for their senior year of high school. After being dumped by her new boyfriend, she created a formula for the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Beatrice knows this formula will help her win her ex-boyfriend back. Plus, this will help solidify her placement at M.I.T., the only college she wants to attend. Once this formula is in place, it is not just her life that Beatrice is messing with… she is messing with the lives of her best friends. Is this really what Beatrice wants to do? Is this the life Beatrice wants? Is she willing to risk the friendship of the two that know her best?

That all sounds great but this story truly did not deliver. The characters were supposed to be seniors in high school but they came across as if they were just starting junior high. It was painful how immature they were. I did not relate to them, nor did I find myself cheering for any of them. Beatrice was a badly written protagonist because she was shallow, self centered, bossy, egotistical, and very narrow minded. When it came to her ex-boyfriend, she swore having a boyfriend is what made her be an actual person. GROW UP, HONEY. You don’t need a boy to define you! The romance between the two of them was all over the place. It didn’t feel believable, it felt one-sided. I am almost never on board with the “I must win back the guy who dumped me for another girl!” plot because it always ends up with the girl realizing she didn’t need the guy to begin with. yawn It has been done so many times already.

I also did not enjoy how all of the characters in this book are the most severe versions of stereotypes written. There is the gay best friend, the artist, the popular Queen B girl in school with her following, the dreamy exchange student, the laid back cool guy every girl wants to date, and the math nerd. The moral of this story was “be yourself!” but it was not delivered well. It almost came across that if you reinvent yourself – even when you are a senior in high school – you will achieve your new goal of being class president. Uh, not sure that is how that works. Why change to impress people you will probably never see again after HS? Is their opinion really that important to you?

This was a hard book for me to get through because I felt I was rolling my eyes on nearly every page. I gave it two stars because this was not an original plot line, nor did it really send a positive message. I know it tried to but I feel it got lost along the way. I would have a very hard time recommending this to anyone. It just felt scattered and confusing. This was my first Gretchen McNeil book but if the rest of her stories are like this one, I may pass on them all.

 

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Books Left Unread #56

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:

Ashfall by Mike Mullin

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This book stood out to me mainly because of the cover. When will I learn that I cannot fall for such pretty covers? sigh Regardless, this has sat on my shelf since I bought it. Maybe the fact it is a large book has kept me from starting. Or maybe it is the fact that I’m afraid it will not be good. Have you read this? If so, what do you think?

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