Review: The Brightsiders

The Brightsiders

 

This was my first Jen Wilde book and I’m here to say that it will not be the last. I cannot say exactly what it was that urged me to use one of my precious Audible credits on this story but I’m ever so glad I did. I went into this blind and I felt that was the best thing.

Short recap: Emmy is a teenage sensation – the drummer for the wildly popular group, The Brightsiders. She is getting used to being in the spotlight but she still struggles with the trashy tabloids and rumors that are always swarming her. Not to mention her toxic relationship with her girlfriend and her even more horrible parents. When an audio is leaked of her breaking up with her girlfriend, Emmy decides she needs to get out of the spotlight for a short time. During this time away, she starts to develop feelings for someone she never knew she had feelings for. Can this fling turn into something more? Can Emmy really pull herself out of her destructive ways and realize that she really is someone worthy of love?

I have nothing but positive and amazing things to say about this story and characters. Everything about this story made me stop and take notice of the author. Not only was the story itself amazing on so many levels, but the writing style was brilliant. I’ll go into more detail on both – let’s start with characters.

Emmy is the protagonist and this poor girl was given one of the crappiest hands of life I have ever witnessed. Her parents completely blame her for their musical careers dying off. Her mother became pregnant and clearly didn’t want a child because that would force her to grow up. Her dad was just as nasty. He was still living in his 15 minutes of fame he had decades ago. In order to still appear youthful and relevant, they threw parties at all times of day regardless of what was going on with their daughter. Those people were horrid and I wish I could have called CPS on them just to have them thrown in jail. They were repulsive. Emmy could have turned out so much worse than she was but thankfully had a somewhat decent head on her shoulders. Not to mention (!!!) she was struggling with how to come out as a bisexual. She struggled because she wanted nothing more than people to like her so she carried fear, guilt, and anxiety that she might let someone down. She was afraid that people would label her as a terrible bi. Could you imagine?! This girl was hiding who she truly was because she was raised to believe that people would always be disappointed in her, always thinking that she wasn’t good enough. My heart shattered for her. I connected with her immediately and on a deep level. I wanted to be friends with her so bad in real life. I wanted to text her, call her, email or Tweet her just to let her know that she was not alone and she was enough… that she would always be enough.

Emmy had the most amazing supporting group of friends, who also happened to be her band mates. They were her rock when she needed, her Jimmy Cricket as well. While her parents were being steaming piles of shit, her friends were there to pick her up, dust her off, and get her back on her feet. My goodness they were a wonderful breath of fresh air. I loved them for how fiercely they loved Emmy. Now as for Emmy’s ex-girlfriend? That waste of space needed a good hard slap of reality and possibly a high five in the face with a chair. She was abusive and manipulative, so naturally I wanted to drop a house on her.

The characters aside, the story itself was marvelous. A story about a girl who was trying to find her place even though she had everything a girl could want – fame, money, and fans. This was a story to remind people that those three things are not always enough for someone to feel accepted and wanted. Emmy fought tooth and nail to find her footing in a crumbing heap that was supposed to be her life. With the amazing and unwavering support of her friends, she eventually found it. This was a quick read of a story and I was sad to see it end. I loved this world and cast of characters. The story was gut wrenching, heart shattering, tear inducing, and swoon worthy.

I am not going to be able to say enough good things about this story. I’m really sorry I didn’t check it out sooner. This blew me away and now I want everyone to read it. Give it a chance, please.

 

sara-signature11

Advertisements

Review: Gunslinger Girl

Gunslinger Girl

 

Y’all. What in the h*ck was this about. The cover screams one genre while the actual story was something completely different. In the end, this was just not for me.

I’m not giving a short recap because I’m not even sure what this story was truly supposed to be about. I thought it was a Wild West type story but instead it was a badly written steampunk-futuristic-carnival. I did not sign up for that at all. The story did start out in the West with gunslingers, stage coaches, and whatnot, but it did not last more than 30 pages. It quickly – and I do mean quickly – morphed into a futuristic Wild West with robots and a corrupt government. Mind you, it was not explained how or why the world became the way that it did, it just did. Don’t ask questions because you won’t get answers.

The story did continue to get stranger and much more disappointing as it went on. The MC was taken in by a traveling carnival and she was forced to become an act. Apparently options for a young girl in that time were very slim with the main option being a baby-making factory. I am not lying when I say that. It was said so many times that a girl/woman was often sent away to have babies. Again, it was not explained why this was such an ordeal (the inability for couples to have babies and whatnot) so don’t ask questions. You have to just scratch your head an accept it.

Ignoring the fact that very little was explained about the setting of this story, the main character was one of the greatest reasons I did not enjoy this story. Her name alone made me want to punch walls: Pity. That’s right – Pity. It is short for Serendipity. Of all of the possibilities she could have gone with, she chose… Pity. What in the ever loving h*ck. She was so far from what I expected her character to be it made my head spin. The cover clearly shows her being an all around bada$$ and being able to handle herself. In the story that could not have been farther from the truth. She basically was scared of her own shadow. She was painfully immature and was living in the shadow of her mother who was a bada$$. She was always mentally psyching herself up to do a show or whatever, but in real life she was meek and cowardly. She could talk a mean game but she just could not ever back it up. It was maddening.

think there was a a romance within the pages of this book but I couldn’t bring myself to care about any of it. I really had no clue what was going on or why I should even care. The plot was not very clear, the world was not developed at all, and the characters were not flushed out. How can I care about a story that isn’t pieced together well?

I am an avid audiobook reader so when I say this, it is because it played a significant factor as to why I did not like the book as much as I hoped. Yes, the points listed above are on that list, but there is one more: the audiobook narrator. The narrator was just not the right voice for this story. I believe I knew what she was trying to convey as a narrator but she clearly hit the mark. She was just not good with an accent and I’m not even sure it was necessary for this story. I don’t know when producers will understand that a narrator can truly make or break an audiobook.

I had such high hopes for this book but walked away absolutely disappointed. This was not the story I wanted nor was it one I cared about. I did give it a shot but it let me down in every way a book could let me down.

 

sara-signature11

Waiting on Wednesday: These Rebel Waves

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:

 

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

These Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders, #1)

 

 

From Goodreads:

Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work.

Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war.

Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre.

As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.

 

I’m here for female pirates!

sara-signature1

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Read In One Day

TTT
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week I’m listing…

Books I Read In One Day

 

 

The Brightsiders

The Brightsiders

 

 

Undead Girl Gang

Undead Girl Gang

 

 

Twisted

Twisted

 

 

Love & Luck

Love & Luck

 

 

The Way You Make Me Feel

The Way You Make Me Feel

 

 

9 Days & 9 Nights

9 Days and 9 Nights

 

 

The Poet X

The Poet X

 

 

Emergency Contact

Emergency Contact

 

 

Tyler Johnson Was Here

Tyler Johnson Was Here

 

 

 

The Prince and the Dressmaker

The Prince and the Dressmaker

 

 

Have you read a book in a day or a sitting? Let me know!

sara-signature1

Review: Save The Date

Save the Date

 

If there is one thing I love about the contemporary genre – it is Morgan Matson books. This girl knows how to write! Just in time for the wedding season, her latest book is one you don’t want to miss.

Short recap: The Grant family is a force to be reckoned with and one that nearly everyone knows. The family has been immortalized in comic form as the mom chose to put her family’s antics into syndication and share with the world. The youngest Grant, Charlie, has a hard time letting go and moving on, however. She is the last sibling at home and loves her family time. With her big sister’s wedding just days away, Charlie is thrilled at the idea of the family being together one last time before her childhood house is sold. What could go wrong with everyone in town? Everything, apparently.

Not to sound too cliche but there wasn’t much about this story that I didn’t enjoy. It was a roller coaster of chaos and mishaps that on times felt like too much. There is no way everything within a wedding could go wrong the way it did in this story. Sure, it was probably for the sake of humor and/or moving the story along, but there was a point where it felt like a little too much. What did cause me to give the higher rating to the overall story (4.5 stars) was the fact that this story was presented in all of its wonder with little to no love story involved! How can that happen? It’s a Morgan Matson story! I know it may be hard to believe but it’s true! Sure, Charlie’s character does have a boy she is crushing on and he does have a presence (obviously) but that isn’t the focus of the story. Family and friends stay the focal point and I thought that was brilliant.

This was completely a character driven story and it was done marvelously. Charlie was the youngest and last Grant to leave the family nest. She was having a hard time at the thought of another family living in her home but she doesn’t have a voice in the matter. She will soon be leaving to go to college and move on with her life. It was kind of crappy the way her siblings always expected her to solve their problems. But on the opposite side of that coin, Charlie never did stand up to her siblings to tell them that they would have to take care of themselves at some point. It felt like Charlie over-extended herself and scarified herself to make everyone else happy. That doesn’t ever end well. She does grow and have a great character arc throughout the story so never fear.

Although this is a big book and a long audio, it does fly by quickly. Why? Because it never slows down! There is always, and I do mean always, something happening. Whether it was the house alarm always going off, the neighbor claiming that things were too noisy, the war with the snotty papergirl not delivering papers, or the Journey cover band, it was a non-stop adventure. I know that seems like the wrong way to describe this story but it sort of was. I was addicted and could not wait to see what crazy thing happened next.

Do I recommend this to people? ABSOLUTELY. I loved every minute. This author is an auto-buy for me and always will be. I have yet to read a book of hers that I did not enjoy. This story pulled at my heartstrings and made me say, “AWWWW!” several times. If you have not read this already, please add it to your TBR and read as soon as you can. This was worth the time.

 

sara-signature11

Books Left Unread #131

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 Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden, #1)

 

This is another one that has been on my shelf for a while… have you read it? Should I move it up my TBR?

sara-signature1

Review: American Panda

American Panda

 

This little gem of a book caught me off guard. I am surprised I haven’t heard more buzz about it. I found it to be utterly delightful, insightful, and hilarious!

Short recap: Mei is a Taiwanese-American teenager trying to live up to the expectations of her Taiwanese parents while being true to her American side as well. It should be no surprise that this is not an easy task for Mei. Her parents skipped her a grade in school and she is attending MIT at the age of 17. Her parents have dreams of her becoming a doctor all the while ignoring the fact that Mei has a thing about germs. She also has a crush on someone her family would not approve of because he is not Taiwanese nor a doctor. How is Mei going to navigate this imperative year of her youth so she can make herself happy and respect her family?

From the first page I knew I was going to fall head over heels for Mei – and I did! She was a brilliant character. She was deeply flawed and wonderfully complex. I immediately felt for her and wanted to be friends with her. I wanted to give her a hug to let her know that at some point things would work out. The poor struggles this girl went through… the guilt and shame! Throughout everything, she still kept her whit and kindness. She always knew what she wanted to do but having the courage to stand up to her parents was something else. I loved reading her development as the story continued. She was just delightful to read.

I hope this does not come across the wrong way but I feel I learned a lot about the Taiwanese culture and some customs from this story. I had no idea so much was required of children! It really helped open my eyes, that’s for sure. Sure, it was fun to laugh at how crazy Mei’s mom came across but I have a strong feeling a lot of Taiwanese children live that daily and they are not laughing. I think the humor was a nice way of helping the story move forward. I’m not making light of anything – please know that. Mei’s mom and her reactions to things really was humorous at times.

I am not going to be able to write enough positive things about this book. In the end, it really is about a girl finding her hidden strength to stand up for herself to her over-bearing parents. Well, most of us would find them over-bearing, Mei and girls like Mei deal with it on the daily. I loved Mei and her story. I loved her path to self discovery. I loved the story of how important family is and how important they are in our lives. I loved reading about the culture. I loved everything about this book. My only regret is that I didn’t read it sooner.

 

sara-signature11