ARC Review: We Come Apart

We Come Apart

 

**I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.**

 

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I started this as I had not read anything by Crossan before but the premise sounded amazing. I was not prepared to be hit directly in the feels. When I finished this, I was ugly crying and I regret nothing.

Short recap: Nicu, an immigrant from Romania who is being forced into an arranged marriage, and Jess, a teen with a very troubled home life, cross paths in an unusual way. As they become closer their dark secrets are revealed. Just how far are they willing to go to help each other out of their bad situations?

This story hit me right in the feels. Hard. The writing style too me a minute to get used to but once I did, this story flowed. It was beautiful, emotional, heart shattering, and raw. I loved every minute of this story. It is told in alternating POV so when it was Nicu’s chapter, the broken English made me feel as if he were sitting next to me telling me his story. It felt real. It felt believable. It was captivating. It made me connect to him even more. Same with Jess’ chapters. The horrors that girl went through on a daily basis hurt my soul. I wanted to save her myself. These two together just worked. Nicu was trying to escape his parents and the arranged marriage they are setting up. He does not want to marry a stranger, he wants to live his own life. Jess wants to escape her abusive stepfather and enabling mother. Together these two try to save each other from what could be a terrible future. The ending is one I did not see coming. Just when I thought I had it figured out, Crossan threw a wonderful curve ball that knocked me for a loop. Well done!

This is a very quick read but it is a powerful story. Crossan did a fantastic job of breathing life into her characters, as did Conaghan. This is not just a story of two teens trying to run away from a bad life, it touches on heavy, serious social issues like domestic violence, racial profiling, and racism. Some of the comments made toward Nicu were hard to read. That may be because things like that are said every day whether we realize it or not.

I hope everyone gives this story a chance. It is an important and current story. I think this is one that needs to be told. It is about transcending barriers and testing friendships. As I mentioned, this was an emotional read and it has stayed with me long after I put the book down. Please, add this to your TBR. Read it and come back to talk to me about it. Let me know your thoughts.

 

sara-signature1

 

Books Left Unread #82

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 Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire, #1)

 

This has been on my TBR for quite some time but as always with fantasy books, it sits waiting for me to be ready to read it. If you couldn’t guess… that hasn’t happened yet. Have you read this one? If so, let me know.

sara-signature1

Review: The Memory of Light

The Memory of Light

 

I had such high expectations for this book but it just did not work for me. I feel bad giving it a low 2 star rating but I could not get into this story.

Short recap: Vicky is a teenager having a very difficult time with her life and as a result she tried to kill herself. Many issues pushed her to this decision but she is not willing to openly talk about any of them. She is forced into a treatment facility for the help she needs.

For a book that deals with teens trying to commit suicide, this was not an engaging story. I never connected with any character or the story itself. It did not read like a work of fiction, it read like a textbook chapter on teens with depression. Vicky’s character was not a relatable character so it forced me to really keep my distance. I was not given the opportunity to connect with her or any character because I was never given the chance to see exactly how depression affected her. I read about all of her interactions with doctors, psychiatrists, and some of her friends but those barely scratched the surface of the problem. Maybe there was more to Vicky’s depression than her mom’s passing, her father remarrying, and her nanny being forced to retire and move back to Mexico. Those are all significant events but I was not given the chance to see exactly how they all compacted so much to force Vicky to try to take her own life.

I went into this hoping and expecting an emotional tear jerker of a story but instead it was really, really boring. I know it is a serious topic but I truly believe it was not delivered properly. It was not believable in my eyes. I can’t say I have ever read an article or heard a doctor say they would take suicidal patients outside of the facility to their own personal farm as a form of treatment. Especially teens that just tried to end their life five days beforehand. I also don’t believe a doctor and/or facility would let said suicidal patients (teens or not) leave the facility to attend a family dinner. I won’t go into it too much about how I also don’t believe a facility would house both adults and teens on the same floor of said health facility. I could keep going but items like the ones above gave me even more cause to not enjoy this book.

The one thing this author did correctly was put a whole cast of diverse characters together. I commend him for that. They were portrayed very well so I cannot fault him for that. What I can fault him for is not delivering a book about a serious topic well. I appreciate that he included “advice” on how to fight depression and how he included talks of how real peer pressure can be to a teenage girl. But that’s about as far as it goes. Stork got the informational part of depression and possible suicide right, but he didn’t quite capture the human/emotional element of it.

Overall, I wanted more from this story. I feel Stork could have told a more compelling story if the treatments used were a little more realistic. Also, add the human element and allow readers to connect with the characters. I wanted to be able to relate with Vicky but it never happened.

 

sara-signature1

 

 

Review: Bang

Bang

 

After reading and loving Lyga’s other books, I had high expectations for his latest novel. Sadly, I fall into the Black Sheep category because this was just an alright read for me (2.5 stars).

Short recap: Sebastian has grown up being told that he shot and killed his baby sister when he was only four years old. It was an accident but Sebastian cannot forgive himself for what happened, while everyone else around him cannot forget. As a result, Sebastian plans to kill himself and end the suffering.

The big, overall problem I had with this was the narrative (Sebastian’s POV) was not believable. He talks as if he is a college graduate yet he chooses not to apply himself at school. He is a good student but not special or gifted. Why should he go above and beyond since he is planning on ending his life? Speaking of school, why would his classmates still give him such a hard time over something that happened when he was four? No court in the country would hold a child that age accountable for their actions. Why did everyone pile the guilt on as if the event happened a month ago? There is also his friendship with Evan, who is supposed to be his best friend. How were they best friends if they had very little in common? Sebastian was quick to kick Evan to the curb to hang out with Aneesa, the new girl in town, so I would not and could not consider Evan a “best friend”. Let’s not forget about how apparently Sebastian really did remember everything that happened during that fateful evening with his sister yet he chose to act ignorant and clueless his entire life. Uh.. why? Why would he not talk to his therapist or parents about this? What purpose did it serve to lie to everyone for 10 years? (Don’t forget, Sebastian is only 14 in this story.)

Here is where things got really weird for me with this story and I basically checked out: Sebastian and Aneesa decide to start making pizza videos on YouTube.

Image result for what gif

That’s right! In the midst of Sebastian making a life altering decision to kill himself, he decides to postpone ending his life to make pizza videos with his new friend, Aneesa, who happens to be Islamic. That plays a part in the story because several comments on the YouTube videos become hateful towards her and insulting. Sadly a good chunk of this story is dedicated to these two making videos over their summer vacation. Uh.. ok. Whatever. I can tell you that it really messed up the pacing of the story. It made no sense to me. He and his mother barely scrape by as it is so where does he come up with the money for the fancy ingredients for the pies? Also, how did he learn to combine such sophisticated ingredients if he has had no formal training? This mixed in with such a serious topic did not work. 

I personally feel this should have had a stronger impact than it did. Yes, there were some very serious topics to cover (gun violence, suicide, and Islamophobia). It really bothered me how that was all Sebastian could think about, all he could imagine, all he wanted to do – end his life. He carried the guilt with him everyday because nobody would let him forget. Even his parents blame him and that was messed up. His mother needed help but never got any. They had a lifetime subscription to their issues. But this mixed with the stupid pizza tutorials just made me not care.

I never connected with these characters or the story. My lack of emotion with the story kept me from caring what happened to anyone. The ending alone did not work with the story. It felt slapped together and rushed. It was missing something that should have been powerful and outstanding. What we were given was anything but that. I know I’m the minority with this story and I am okay with that. I hope others find a way to enjoy it because I certainly did not.

 

sara-signature1

Waiting on Wednesday: Because You Love to Hate Me

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:

Because You Love to Hate Me Edited By Ameriie

Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy

From Goodreads:

Leave it to the heroes to save the world–villains just want to rule the world.

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel).”

I am over the moon excited to read this book!! Is this on your TBR? What do you think?

sara-signature1

Top Ten Tuesday: YA Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start

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…

YA Series I’ve Been Meaning To Start

 

A Beautiful Dark

A Beautiful Dark (A Beautiful Dark, #1)

 

 

Everneath

Everneath (Everneath, #1)

 

 

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns, #1)

 

 

Ink and Bone

Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1)

 

 

Something Strange and Deadly

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly, #1)

 

 

Queen of Shadows (Let’s be real… anything by SJM)

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4)

 

 

Under the Never Sky

Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky, #1)

 

 

The Name of the Star

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)

 

 

Blood Red Road

Blood Red Road (Dust Lands, #1)

 

 

Birthmarked

Birthmarked (Birthmarked, #1)

 

 

What series have you been meaning to start or have you wanted to start? Let me know!

sara-signature1

ARC Review: Aftercare Instructions

Aftercare Instructions

 

Why aren’t more people talking about this book?! It was amazing! Is it because it has the topic of abortion? Let me put to rest the fears that this book is all about that topic, because it is not. It does not go into gross detail, nor does it beat the topic to death. What it does do is address the topic in a very realistic manner. I loved this story so much that I want to scream from the rooftops.

Short recap: Genesis Johnson has a rather broken homelife but does the best she can. Everything changes when she and her boyfriend, Peter, have sex and Genesis becomes pregnant. They make the decision to have an abortion but Peter leaves Genesis at the clinic and she must figure everything out on her own.

There were such strong characters and voices in this story and I loved it more for that. Genesis had one of the strongest voices I have read in awhile. She has had a very, very tough life but as her story went on, she always stuck to her guns and stood up for herself.  She never wanted pity for anyone. Her father died of a heroin overdose. Her mother is in a severe depression and can barely leave the bedroom on most days. Her ex-best friend, Vanessa, told the school everything that happened to Gen’s parents at the same time she is trying to steal Peter, Gen’s boyfriend. Gen’s sister left to live with their grandparents which meant Gen was left to deal with their mom on her own. The only thing Gen has going good in her life is her best friend, Rose, and her boyfriend, Peter, who comes from a super religious family. When Peter leaves Genesis at the clinic with no notice, Gen does her best to make sense of what happened. There is so much more drama, suspense, coming of age, and growing that happens but I won’t ruin it for you.

I felt a little concerned for Gen in the middle of the book because it felt like she was all over the charts. She did not make some great choices and she put herself in some danger. I wanted to reach through the pages and slap some sense into her. That’s a sign of a good book because I was invested in what was going on. I felt like I was on this crazy journey with Genesis. I really did feel like I was right there on the bus rides with her because Genesis’ character felt real. I believed her. I believed in her. She was full of spunk, witty comebacks, sarcastic comments, and wise beyond her years. The poor girl had to grow up far too quickly so she came across as an old soul.

As I mentioned, this story does talk about abortion but Pipkin does it brilliantly. However, that is not the entire focus of this story. It also talked about family, relationships, recovery, and simply being human. We are all human and we all make mistakes. Nobody is perfect so nobody has the right to judge. They way that abortion was not the main focus of the story was amazing. Everything else that happens gave more insight into Genesis and who she is as a character. It made her feel real and that made her feel believable. It made the story believable. It made me not want to put this book down until the very last page was turned. Even then, I kept thinking about the story. I wanted to know more about Gen and what happened to her after.

I hope people give this story a chance. It really is very well done and I will not stop recommending it to everyone.

 

sara-signature1