Monday, May 20, 2019

A Monster Like Me by Wendy S. Swore

Synopsis (via Goodreads): There are trolls, goblins, and witches. Which kind of monster is Sophie?

Sophie is a monster expert. Thanks to her Big Book of Monsters and her vivid imagination, Sophie can identify the monsters in her school and neighborhood. Clearly, the bullies are trolls and goblins. Her nice neighbor must be a good witch, and Sophie’s new best friend is obviously a fairy. But what about Sophie? She’s convinced she is definitely a monster because of the “monster mark” on her face. At least that’s what she calls it. The doctors call it a blood tumor. Sophie tries to hide it but it covers almost half her face. And if she’s a monster on the outside, then she must be a monster on the inside, too.

Being the new kid at school is hard. Being called a monster is even harder. Sophie knows that it’s only a matter of time before the other kids, the doctors, and even her mom figure it out. And then her mom will probably leave — just like her dad did.

Because who would want to live with a real monster?

Inspired by real events in the author’s life, A Monster Like Me teaches the importance of believing in oneself, accepting change, and the power of friendship.
"Oftentimes we fickle humans have fleeting wishes for a life not our own, but such superficial desires lead to discontent and unhappiness. Better to take heed of all the good in your life, and take nothing for granted. Look for the good and you will find it, no magic or wish required."

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

A Monster Like Me really captured what it's like to have a child's imagination. At one point, Sophie and Autumn were at the beach, and they imagined stone giants where others simply saw rocks. When they were underneath a willow tree, they believed they were battling a ferocious monster with webs and arms. It felt like an authentic portrayal of what children see when they look at the world. It's like they have a special lens when they're younger, and it was nice to be reminded of how magical even the most mundane items can be. Sophie has a talisman that could've easily been called junk, but it meant the world to her. It may have looked like mishmash to an adult, but every item she selected for it was special and unique.

Sophie's story also broke my heart. I can understand children teasing her about the mark on her face, but it really shocked me when adults were sometimes worse than their children. Something happens at the beginning of the book that felt totally unrealistic, and I made a note to say something about it in my review, but another blogger mentioned it was based on a real experience the author had. It still baffles me, because in my mind, adults should be responsible and kind, not verbally abusive and cruel. However, I know that there are some really rotten people in the world, so it shouldn't have been so surprising.

Despite my overall enjoyment of the book, I do have some quibbles regarding the story. One, I have no idea how old Sophie is supposed to be in this book. She can read, her mother also leaves her alone at the Farmer's Market (Sophie seems to know her way around), and she uses words my five-year-old doesn't know yet. Sophie still needs adult supervision when her mother goes on a date, but her mom left her home alone when she was pretending to be too sick to go to school. There was a lot of conflicting information that made it hard for me to place her age, and it's not specified anywhere within the story.

My second complaint would be the vocabulary. I believe this book was written for a younger audience, yet some of the words from Sophie's Big Book of Monsters were hard for me to pronounce. I had to Google a few of them to make sure I was reading them correctly (example: cireincròin), and there were a lot of different monsters and mythological creatures mentioned throughout the book. One of them was a constant in her life, and I still have no idea how she pronounced what she thought he was.

Speaking of the Big Book of Monsters, I loved the little excerpts at the beginning of each chapter. Sometimes Sophie's story would obviously tie into the reference, and other times it was a little harder to make the connection. After a few chapters, the excerpts started to take on a very motivational vibe. "Remember, dear reader, the truth these creatures will never understand: emotion is a powerful force, and while it is easy to use it to destroy, it is far nobler to build. Things once said, cannot be unsaid. Whether emotion-fueled rampages strike a city of millions or a single person’s heart, painful scars are left behind. And some scars are invisible to all except those who carry them."

As a whole, I really enjoyed this book. I think there were a lot of wonderful aspects, and the author gives you a lot to reflect on even as an adult. I wish Sophie's interactions with a counselor had been expanded on, but I'm happy that it was even mentioned. It seems unlikely that the counselor would have bought a gift to bribe Sophie, and the fact that she won the game seemed purely coincidental, but it was easy to overlook. At least her mom knew that her daughter needed to talk with someone that would be able to better understand what Sophie was thinking and feeling.

A Monster Like Me also shows what it's like to be an imperfect parent. Sophie's mother makes mistakes, but it's obvious she loves her daughter. She wants Sophie to have an easy life, and she doesn't want other people to bully or ridicule her child. I think her mother's reactions to other people added to Sophie's discomfort and embarrassment. Honestly, I didn't like her mother most of the time, because she saw Sophie's mark as something to be fixed, instead of loving her daughter with no reservations. I think if she'd been unbothered by other people's perceptions of Sophie, her daughter would have been more accepting of herself.

I tried to read this one to my five-year-old, but I don't think he's quite there yet. Although, I do think this will be an excellent book for children that can understand (and possibly relate to) the various concepts mentioned throughout the book. ISwore has written an incredibly impactful story that shows what's it like to be different, and how to accept and love those differences.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

The Sunday Post [19]

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly at the Caffeinated Reviewer! It's an opportunity to share news, post a recap for the previous week, showcase books, and highlight what's planned for the week ahead.

News:

Our washing machine is still broken, but I refuse to talk about it anymore, haha. The new new part came in, so we scheduled a time for them to replace it, but no one showed up. They're closed over the weekend, so I won't have any answers until Monday (this has been going on for nearly a month now).

It's been over a year, but I finally got a pedicure! I convinced my pseudo-parents to watch the little monsters for an hour or so, and they did a fun scavenger hunt while I was gone (and brought their nature finds home, haha). I love my kiddos, but it was lovely having a moment to myself. My feet look amazing, and I was able to read uninterrupted (mostly) for about an hour. Yay!

I've started really working out again (kickboxing and PIIT28), so I've been adjusting my eating habits this week (more green, less microwave). I'm a huuuuge fan of snacks, and could eat an entire bag of chips with salsa in one sitting, so I'm trying to keep healthier snack foods in the house. I'll spend forever making well-balanced meals for the kids, but then heat something up for myself. It's easier to do it that way, and faster (with the exception of dinner, which we all eat together).

I'm also staying on top of my review books, which has been amazing, and it's also given me time to read other books that I've neglected. I'm currently working my way through the backlogged books on NetGalley and made a lot of progress yesterday! Unfortunately, some of those were DNFs, but at least they're not just sitting there anymore. What does your NetGalley percentage look like? 

Previous week on the blog:

Sunday: The Sunday Post [18]
Tuesday: Nothing! 
Wednesday: Nothing!

What I'm currently reading:

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5) by Marissa Meyer
Beware the Night (Beware the Night, #1) by Jessika Fleck
Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke

I finished The Lunar Chronicles earlier this year, and totally forgot to read Fairest before reading Winter. The audiobook was available through my library, and I decided it was finally time to fully finish the series. I doubt Levana's story will make me sympathetic, but it might offer some insight that would make me more understanding. Also, Rebecca Soler! She's an amazing narrator. 

What I plan on reading next: 

I Spy the Boy Next Door by Samantha Armstrong 
Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi
Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum 

What I'm watching:

I've been keeping up with Game of Thrones, but I'm just so disappointed with this season. Everything feels rushed, which might be why certain things seem uncharacteristic. Does anyone know why they chose to do the final season in six episodes? Finales usually require more, right? 

I did love how they chose to end The Big Bang Theory! This show has been a part of my life for so long, it's crazy to think it's not going to be there anymore. Twelve years is insane! 


I hope everyone is having an amazing weekend! Don't forget to enter the giveaway for All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton. :)

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Mini Reviews [27]

Daredevil (#1-4) by Chip Zdarsky, 
Marco Checchetto (Illustrator), 
Julian Tedesco (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): KNOW FEAR.

My husband loves Daredevil. I've lost track of how many times he's re-watched the series on Netflix, but I do know it's a ridiculous number. We watched the first two seasons together, and while I enjoyed it, it wasn't something I was itching to see again. However, when I discovered Chip Zdarsky was writing the new series, I was curious. I've really liked some of his other work, and wanted to see his version of the Devil of Hell's Kitchen. 

Zdarsky didn't disappoint! I'm already weirdly addicted to this darker version of Matt Murdock and what that means for future issues. Matt has been struggling with his identity and his place in the world for a while now, and I like that the author not-so-gently pushed him over an invisible line. Matt's going to face some hard truths, and who is more honest than Frank Castle? Honestly, I'm more partial to Frank's sense of justice, and I'm not sure what that says about me. It's hard to disagree with him when Matt fights the same enemies over and over again, and Frank only fights them once.

I'm curious what role Detective North will continue to play, since he seems to have issues with both Daredevil and Fisk. Also, Daredevil's attire at the end of the fourth issue was badass, and hopefully foreshadows an ever darker version of the Devil and what he's capable of. However, I disagree with his treatment of Frank after what Castle did for him. Jerk.



Spider-Man: Life Story (#1-2) by Chip
Zdarsky, Mark Bagley (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): In 1962, in AMAZING FANTASY #15, 15-year-old Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and became the Amazing Spider-Man! Fifty-seven years have passed in the real world since that event — so what would have happened if the same amount of time passed for Peter as well? A special high-end limited series that’s a part of the celebration of Marvel’s 80th anniversary, SPIDER-MAN: LIFE STORY combines the talents of Chip Zdarsky (SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, MARVEL 2-IN-ONE) and Mark Bagley (AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN) to tell the entire history of Spider-Man from beginning to end, set against the key events of the decades through which he lived! In this first oversized issue, when Flash Thompson is drafted to serve during the Vietnam War, Spidey must weigh the question of where his responsibility truly lies!

Clearly I'm on a Chip Zdarsky kick, and I'm totally okay with that! I've read the first two issues of Spider-Man: Life Story and really enjoyed them both. We get to see how Peter Parker would have reacted to problems over the span of a few decades. Does he join the war because he has powers and could really help, or does his involvement only perpetuate the problem? It was interesting to see Peter's moral dilemma as Spider-Man, and seeing him question himself made him even more relatable.

I've always liked Spider-Man, and I hate that his life has always been so hard and full of heartache. He's trying to live his life as Peter Parker, but also save people as Spider-Man, and sometimes one negatively impacts the other. I hate that happiness doesn't seem to last long for Peter, and Zdarsky makes that very apparent at the end of the second issue (this author likes to write dirty). Give Peter some love, Chip! You know he deserves it.



Miles Morales: Spider-Man (#1-5) by
Saladin Ahmed, Javier Garron Illustrator),
Brian Stelfreeze (Illustrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Balancing his normal life, school, parents, etc…and super-heroing has never been easy, but when the Rhino and a cadre of mysterious criminals start plaguing Brooklyn, things take a dark turn. And Miles doesn’t even know the half of it yet. Eisner Award-winner Saladin Ahmed (BLACK BOLT) and Young Gun Javier Garrón (ANT-MAN & THE WASP) bring you the latest incarnation of the coolest character in the Marvel Universe!

Saladin Ahmed is a new favorite! His writing is phenomenal, and he's made Miles Morales completely relatable. He even manages to address real world problems within the comic, and it makes you really think about the world we live in. I know some people like to read to escape, but Ahmed makes it clear that you cannot avoid the hard realities happening all around us.

Miles is an amazing character that's dealing with school, friends, and even a love interest. He also has two parents that love and accept him and his secrets. They just want him to be happy and responsible. I like that they're being supportive, even though their child is constantly putting himself in danger. He's Spider-Man, and that isn't an easy life to live. Also, Miles may be a different version of Spider-Man, but they're both sarcastic and like to be witty when fighting bad guys.

Miles is your typical teenager, but with superpowers, so it's interesting to see how he chooses to handle problems. I really love everything they're doing with this comic and cannot wait to see what happens next!



West Coast Avengers #10 by Kelly Thompson,
Gang Hyuk Lim (Illustrator), 
Moy R (Illustrator) *FT
Synopsis (via Goodreads): THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE BEAUTIFUL CONCLUDES! HAWKEYE and HAWKEYE lead the fight to save AMERICA CHAVEZ from a cult that believes she’s their prophesized chosen one who will lead them into the light — and also into victory — as they attempt a takeover of Los Angeles. But just as things look darkest, the team is joined by a mysterious and powerful new ally. Amid flying arrows and punching fists, relationships are both blossoming and being torn apart — what does it all mean for the future of the West Coast Avengers?!

Kelly Thompson is a goddess with brilliant ideas, and she knows how to tell a story. She weaves little threads that connect throughout a series, and now we'll never know what was going to happen with this one! I have so many questions about Kate's parents and Ramona's heritage. I wanted to see the relationships flourish or run their course. Despite the comic's untimely end, Thompson managed to leave this one on a high note with all the sarcasm and charm that I've come to love from these characters.

West Coast Avengers has been one of my all-time favorites, so I'm super bummed it was cancelled just like Thompson's All-New Hawkeye. Even though All-New Hawkeye ended in a positive place, there were still a lot of unanswered questions. However, the author managed to tie those loose ends into this new series, and things were going fantastically well! The team was growing, they had a place to call their own, and the characters were diverse and perfect. Gwenpool was back and as crazy as ever, both Hawkeyes were in this one (hell yes), and America was a fierce force to be reckoned with. I loved her relationship with Ramona. There were even siblings on the team! Seriously, this one had everything I wanted and I hate that it ended so soon after it started. Also, Jeff fighting vampires was the best! He was absolutely perfect for Gwen (and so was someone else...)!

The current arc was wrapped up, but it's clear Kate and crew had more adventures to go on. I look forward to seeing what Thompson does next, and I'll keep my fingers crossed that West Coast Avengers is brought back in the future (preferably the near future).

Friday, May 17, 2019

There's Something About Sweetie (Dimple and Rishi, #2)
by Sandhya Menon

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.


Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

𑁋

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I haven't read When Dimple Met Rishi, but now I really want to! They were mentioned a few times throughout this book, and now I'm curious about their story. There's Something About Sweetie was an impactful read that left me questioning myself as well as society. Sweetie is totally right, because "fat" isn't a bad word. Like she says, it's just the opposite of thin, and there's nothing wrong with that. 

I've struggled with my body and how it looks in the past, and my parents were a part of the problem. My mom would criticize me if I wore a shirt that showed my "pooch," and my dad would yell during softball games, "You could run faster if you unhitched that caboose!" In retrospect, I don't think my parents meant any harm, but their words were damaging. They made me question my weight and appearance, instead of being happy with the person I was. I could totally relate to Sweetie and her Sassy Sweetie Project. I wish I'd had her confidence in high school! 

Sweetie's relationship with her mother broke my heart. I wish her father had realized sooner that his daughter was hurting and stepped in, but more than that, I wish her mother would have defended her against verbal attacks and digs about her daughter's weight. She wanted to protect her daughter (usually by telling her not to eat this or wear that), but she would also let people say whatever they wanted about Sweetie's appearance and eating habits. 

Ashish was cocky and he knew it. Smoldering Ash? Hah! I really liked his group of friends and how supportive they were. Their friendship was easy and the result of many years spent together. I'm curious if Samir will get a book after this, because I think there needs to be a story about him and Pinky! Sweetie had great friends, too. They were encouraging and maybe a little too eager to fight on her behalf. 

Actually, that's my one quibble with this book... Sweetie's reaction to a perceived wrongdoing. I felt like she and her friends acted impulsively and out of character. I can understand why they would have been upset, but Sweetie jumped to conclusions without giving someone she trusted the benefit of the doubt. Instead, they did something completely unnecessary and over-the-top, and accomplished nothing. If anything, in that moment they were the ones being judgmental bullies. 

I really liked both Ashish and Sweetie's families! They wanted to be involved in their children's lives (maybe a little too much in some instances), but it was obvious they cared. The Patel's wanted Ashish to understand his culture, and the Nair's wanted their daughter to be accepted and not ridiculed (this was more her mother than her father). Parents do things out of love, but it doesn't always come across the right way.

There's Something About Sweetie was an encouraging story that will stick with me. Sweetie proved to everyone and herself, that she was perfect exactly the way she was. She loved herself and the life that she had, despite the ignorance of others. I think there were a lot of lessons to take away from this story, and believe a lot of people will be able to relate to the characters. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

My Weekly Pull [70] & Can't Wait Wednesday [40]

My Weekly Pull is something I do every Wednesday (yep, it's Thursday) to show which comics I had pulled for me that week! If you're into comics, or you're looking to start, please join me! If you decide to do your own post, there's a link-up at the bottom. I would love to stop by and check it out!

Firefly #6 by Greg Pak, Dan McDaid, Lee Garbett 
Transformers #5 by Brian Ruckley, Angel Hernandez, Andrew Griffith, Cachet Whitman
Spider-Man Life Story #3 (of 6) by Chip Zdarsky, Mark Bagely

Jacob's comics for the week!
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Shredder in Hell #3 by Mateus Santolouco, Kevin Eastman
Kick-Ass #14 by Steve Niles, Marcelo Frusin, Chris Burnham
Amazing Spider-Man #21 by Nick Spencer, Humberto Ramos
Daredevil #5 by Chip Zdarsky, Marco Checchetto, Julian Totino Tedesco
Guardians of the Galaxy #5 by Donny Cates, Geoff Shaw, Jong-Ju Kim
War of Realms #4 (of 6) by Jason Aaron, Russell Dauterman, Aaron Kuder
War of Realms Spider-Man & League of Realms #1 (of 3) by Sean Ryan, Nico Leon, Ken Lashley
War of Realms Strikeforce War Avengers #1 by Dennis "Hopeless" Hallum, Kim Jacinto

I don't think my husband knows what it means to do something early, haha! He didn't send his pull list for this week until the wee hours of Wednesday morning, which left me zero time to create a post. He likes to procrastinate until the very last minute, and it drives me bananas. 

Firefly, Transformers, and Spider-Man Life Story are all comics that I'm really enjoying! Greg Pak has managed to recreate one of my favorite television shows with authentic characters and an enjoyable storyline. Transformers has completely started over, so we get to see the characters before they became the names we know today. Zdarksy is spinning an interesting perspective for Spider-Man, and I've really liked seeing how he would've lived during different decades.

I highly recommend all three of these comics! They're new-ish, so it wouldn't take very long to catch up! Also, I'm seriously considering giving everyone my husband's email, so we can make reminding him to send his list a group effort. ;) Once I have a little more time, I'm going to start reading Daredevil and Guardians of the Galaxy from his list. I'm not entirely sure what War of the Realms entails, but it looks interesting!

Can't Wait Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings, that highlights upcoming releases that we're anticipating and excited to read. It's a spinoff of the feature Waiting on Wednesday that was hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

The Last True Poets of the Sea 
by Julia Drake
Expected publication: October 1st 2019

Synopsis (via Goodreads): From a stunning new voice in YA literature comes an epic, utterly unforgettable contemporary novel about a lost shipwreck, a missing piece of family history, and weathering the storms of life.

"Profound and page-turning."
--Madeline Miller, #1 New York Times best-selling author of
Circe


The Larkin family isn't just lucky-they persevere. At least that's what Violet and her younger brother, Sam, were always told. When the Lyric sank off the coast of Maine, their great-great-great-grandmother didn't drown like the rest of the passengers. No, Fidelia swam to shore, fell in love, and founded Lyric, Maine, the town Violet and Sam returned to every summer.

But wrecks seem to run in the family: Tall, funny, musical Violet can't stop partying with the wrong people. And, one beautiful summer day, brilliant, sensitive Sam attempts to take his own life.

Shipped back to Lyric while Sam is in treatment, Violet is haunted by her family's missing piece-the lost shipwreck she and Sam dreamed of discovering when they were children. Desperate to make amends, Violet embarks on a wildly ambitious mission: locate the Lyric, lain hidden in a watery grave for over a century.

She finds a fellow wreck hunter in Liv Stone, an amateur local historian whose sparkling intelligence and guarded gray eyes make Violet ache in an exhilarating new way. Whether or not they find the Lyric, the journey Violet takes-and the bridges she builds along the way-may be the start of something like survival.

Epic, funny, and sweepingly romantic,
The Last True Poets of the Sea is an astonishing debut about the strength it takes to swim up from a wreck.

The Last True Poets of the Sea sounds absolutely amazing! I love the idea of a lost shipwreck, and two people trying to find it, but also the story behind their family's survival. Can you imagine swimming away from something like that and being the sole survivor? 

*Share your My Weekly Pull post! Please leave the direct link to your My Weekly Pull post and not just your blog's URL. Thank you for participating and happy reading!

Monday, May 13, 2019

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of... lucky.
"I experience a moment of pure terror when I imagine how mortifying it would be for our cold, wet butt cheeks to touch."
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

The Unhoneymooners is not a book you should read while putting your kids down for a nap. Laughter was literally bursting from my body, despite many attempts at mentally telling myself to shhhhhh! The girls would sit up and look at me, but I couldn't contain the fits of giggles. If you've read this, the Bathroom of Doom had me laughing hysterically! I have a very vivid imagination, and ohmygod that was amazing and too funny for words. I want someone to make a movie out of this book, just so I can see that scene happen on a screen somewhere.

Olive and Ethan have a rocky relationship at best, and also a string of bad luck crazy coincidences, but their dislike is based on a single misunderstanding (normally this bothers me, but the misunderstanding wasn't entirely their fault). It's a long time before they're comfortable enough with each other to discuss their issues, but the journey was entertaining and endearing. I loved both of their personalities, and how ridiculous some of their conversations were. They're stubborn, yes, but not unwilling to be reasonable.

This one is definiltely a romance, and there are some steamy scenes, but I feel like they were short and left a lot to the imagination. It really worked for this book, despite my lady parts wishing for more dirty details. Ethan seems like he would be very thorough, but Olive skims over the interesting tidbits. He's here, he's there, and then she's everywhere.

I loved Olive's family! It was amazing how connected they were, and how fiercely protective they were of each other. If one person knew something, everyone knew. It was also common for more than one family member to show up unexpectedly and just stay to talk, or cook dinner. I know they mention Ethan's family, but I would have liked to know more about them as well. Especially since Olive's family plays such a large role.

There are no heartbreaking moments, but I did feel like being violent on Olive's behalf. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just say there was a douche canoe that I wanted to kick repeatedly. However, in the end he got his comeuppance, and it was perfection. It definitely beats the kicking and eye-stabbing I was imagining, although he deserved both. It was also nice to see people dealing with their problems by talking, instead of adding a lot of unnecessary drama.

My favorite parts of the book happened while Olive and Ethan were on their borrowed honeymoon, and I really enjoyed seeing the two of them slowly connect over time. At some point their dislike turned into a really solid friendship, which eventually led to something more. I really liked how honest they were with one another, even when saying something the other person wouldn't want to hear. It was refreshing to see characters that didn't lie for the sake of someone else's feelings (even though they did lie about being married to score an awesome vacation). They were honest about what they were thinking, and I think that made a huge difference. Also, Maui sounds like an amazing place to visit! If you're reading this, husband of mine, pretend I'm winking at you in a suggestive way.

In the end, The Unhoneymooners was a hilarious read that I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm excited about this book being released into the world, because I know it's going to make a lot of people smile. "...when you get to the backside, remember: push together, don't spread." I'm grinning like a maniac remembering this scene, and how it's referenced later. Also, if you're a fan of books with grand gestures, this author duo has you covered!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Sunday Post [18]

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly at the Caffeinated Reviewer! It's an opportunity to share news, post a recap for the previous week, showcase books, and highlight what's planned for the week ahead.

News:

For those of you that tuned in last week, my washing machine is still broken. The parts arrived, the machine was serviced, and everyone was happy. However, two loads later and my laundry room was flooded. There was water everywhere! The machine itself still works, so I guess I could technically wash clothes, but at the expense of my floor and many towels (which also means more laundry). When I called them about the problem (on the same day), I was told that I had to make another request through Lowe's (who we have our warranty with), and that they didn't have anything open until next week.

I feel like someone should have been able to come back out, since it wasn't repaired properly the first time. I've been without a solid working washer for two weeks now, and it's making me crazy. My eye is twitching!

I really like rain, but I feel like I haven't seen the sun in a month. My son's last three soccer games were cancelled, and he hasn't been able to practice either. We've also had storms and tornados, which prevented us from visiting in-laws the other day. My MIL called and told me it took her over an hour to get home, and it typically takes her fifteen minutes. There were trees down and a lot of people still don't have power. We went two nights without electricity, but it was on during the day. I slept terribly without the fan on in the room, but at least I was able to cook and use appliances during the day (with the exception of my washing machine, ugh).

On a more positive note, I've been getting a lot of things done. My house is CLEAN, I've been READING, and the monsters and I have been having FUN! I think I've finally found my rhythm. During the week I don't stress about housework, and focus only on getting through the day and doing essentials (dishes, sweeping, laundry (hahahaha)), and devote Saturday to everything else (mopping, dusting, bathrooms, etc.). It's been working well! I feel better about life, even though messes still make me twitchy.

As for my reading, I'm on schedule and getting ahead! I don't have reviews written in advance, but that's okay. I'm happy with where I am. I've nearly finished The Unhoneymooners, and it's been a riot so far! My NetGalley average is almost back to 80%, and I'm completely caught up on my comics.

My dad didn't have to work on Friday, so we took the kids to a trampoline park. The kids and I have been before, but I've never taken all three solo. Surprisingly, we had the place to ourselves, and the monsters went wild! They loved that Pops was there to play with them, and my dad kept trying to do front flips into the whatever you call it... it's inflatable and absorbs the impact of your jump... but then you have to crawl for days to get out? When my dad and I got tired, there was a huge playground area for the youngsters,which allowed us to rest for a few minutes (jumping nonstop is exhausting).

My dad did bust his ass once, and it was hilarious once I made sure he was alive and not broken (my mother would have murdered me). He stayed on the floor for a few minutes, but was unharmed. I think his brain told him he could do something that he physically wasn't able to do anymore (a small ninja course). We really had fun, and I enjoyed getting out of the house with the kids. Normally, we spend most of our time outside, but the rain... wow this really got away from me. Sorry for the long news portion of this post! ;)

Previous week on the blog:

Friday: Nothing!
Saturday: Nothing!

What I'm currently reading:
 The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren 
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik 
The Looking Glass Wars (The Looking Glass Wars, #1) by Frank Beddor

I'm really enjoying The Unhoneymooners! I've laughed out loud multiple times, which isn't helpful when I'm trying to get the kids to take a nap or go to sleep for the night. I'll try to suppress a giggle, but then it continues to be funny until I cackle. If you've read this... The Bathroom of Doom destroyed me. Laughter was unavoidable. 

Spinning Silver is my current audiobook, and it's been interesting so far. I'm only a few chapters in, but I'm already really curious about whatever is hidden in the woods. Why does the road move? Why do they leave frost behind?

The Looking Glass Wars is a series I read years ago, although I don't think I ever read the third book. I thought it would be fun to read this one with my son, but I had forgotten how violent it was. I kept having to skim paragraphs, so I'll probably re-read this one on my own and find something else to read with my son.

What I plan on reading next:
Star-Crossed by Minnie Darke
There's Something About Sweetie (Dimple and Rishi, #2) by Sandhya Menon
Hazel and Holly by Sara C. Snider

What I'm watching:

Nothing really... random YouTube videos when I can't sleep.

Challenge updates:

Audiobook Challenge: 20 / 30+
Discussion Challenge: 2 / 11-20

I hope everyone is having an amazing week! Also, you should definitely read All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton. I seriously have no complaints. It was beautiful and perfect!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

All Our Broken Pieces by L.D. Crichton
[Blog Tour: Review + Giveaway]

Hello! Welcome to the next stop on the All Our Broken Pieces blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I'm really happy to share my thoughts on this book with you! It might be my favorite read this year! 

Title: ALL OUR BROKEN PIECES
Author: L.D. Crichton
Pub. Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 416
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Kindle, B&N, iBooks, Kobo, TBD

"You can’t keep two people who are meant to be together apart for long...”

Lennon Davis doesn’t believe in much, but she does believe in the security of the number five. If she flicks the bedroom light switch five times, maybe her new L.A. school won’t suck. But that doesn’t feel right, so she flicks the switch again. And again. Ten more flicks of the switch and maybe her new step family will accept her. Twenty-five more flicks and maybe she won’t cause any more of her loved ones to die. Fifty times more and then she can finally go to sleep.

Kyler Benton witnesses this pattern of lights from the safety of his treehouse in the yard next door. It is only there, hidden from the unwanted stares of his peers, that Kyler can fill his notebooks with lyrics that reveal the true scars of the boy behind the oversized hoodies and caustic humor. But Kyler finds that descriptions of blonde hair, sad eyes, and tapping fingers are beginning to fill the pages of his notebooks. Lennon, the lonely girl next door his father has warned him about, infiltrates his mind. Even though he has enough to deal with without Lennon’s rumored tragic past in his life, Kyler can’t help but want to know the truth about his new muse.
"I don't want to be captured in the pages of Kyler's story. He'd be like a book I could never stop reading."
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I loved this. 
I loved this.
I loved this.
I loved this.
I loved this.

I am overflowing with love for this book! L.D. Crichton has created something beautiful and memorable, and I cannot wait to see what she writes next. The writing was lovely and flowed from one page to the next. Kyler and Lennon were two very distinct characters that I could relate to, and enjoyed reading about. Everything about this book was perfection, and that's not something I say lightly. I honestly have nothing negative to say about All Our Broken Pieces. Whether your purchase a copy for yourself, or borrow a copy from the library, this is a book you need in your life.

First of all, I want to say how much I enjoyed the family dynamics. Lennon has to move in with her father and stepmother after an accident, and it's an adjustment for everyone. Her OCD is new to them, and they have to learn how the condition impacts Lennon, and also what it means to have her in their lives. They are more than willing to help and really try to understand. It's super obvious they love and care about her. Her father shares memories of her mother and how they met, and Claire (Lennon's stepmother) laughs along with everyone else. There is not jealousy or hatred, just happiness and acceptance.

The odd little bird would be Andrea, the stepsister and daughter from Claire's previous marriage, who seems to hate everyone and everything. She's definitely a character you love to hate, and I'm not sure I'll ever forgive her. Jacob, the child Lennon's father and stepmother share, is five and adorable. I loved all of his interactions with the other characters, and the youthful innocence he possesses. He's fiercely loyal to Lennon, and does try to understand her condition. He's always attentive and never judgmental. He'll be the best superhero reporter when he grows up!

I really enjoyed Lennon's facts before her chapters, and that she was so into trivia and random knowledge. I also loved Kyler's lyrics that were shared before all of his. He's crazy talented, but feels unsure about himself because of his physical appearance. He doesn't trust others easily, but there was undeniable bond between him and Lennon. They think it's because they're both broken, but I thought they were perfect. Lennon gives as good as she gets, and Kyler appreciates her honestly and perspective of the world. Lennon doesn't notice the one thing that constantly occupies his thoughts, and he doesn't care that her brain doesn't work like everyone else's. Kyler tells Lennon that weird is beautiful, and she's the weirdest person he's ever met. Seriously, these two will melt your heart and have your face hurting in the best possible way.

There are so many amazing things I could say about this book! It was truly a remarkable read, and one I'm sure I'll be thinking about weeks (possibly months) from now. I swear, the only time I stopped smiling was when I started crying. All Our Broken Pieces was a heartfelt story that really captures what it is to love someone unconditionally. If you have a chance to read this one, don't hesitate. It's one of the best books I've ever read.


About the Author:

L.D. Crichton is the author of THE ENCHANTMENT OF EMMA FLETCHER, which received a starred review from School Library Journal. She’s a coffee devotee and lip gloss enthusiast whose infatuation with music is truly astonishing. If she’s not reading, writing, or checking her horoscope for signs from the Universe, you can find her by the water in search of mermaids because they're real. ALL OUR BROKEN PIECES is her first young adult novel. Represented by John Silbersack @ The Bent Agency.

She is one of 6 hosts for a weekly Twitter chat about writing. Search the hashtag #Wattpad4 Monday nights at 8:00 PM EST on Twitter to join in!


Giveaway details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of ALL OUR BROKEN PIECES, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:

Week One: 
5/1/2019- Lifestyle Of Me- Review
5/2/2019- A Dream Within A Dream- Excerpt
5/3/2019- Novel Novice- Guest Post

Week Two: 
5/6/2019- Betwixt the Pages- Review
5/7/2019- BookHounds YA- Review
5/8/2019- Life of a Literary Nerd- Excerpt
5/9/2019- Do You Dog-ear?- Review
5/10/2019- Novel Nerd Faction- Review

Week Three: 
5/13/2019- A Bookish Escape- Review
5/14/2019- Here's to Happy Endings- Review
5/15/2019- Dani Reviews Things- Review
5/16/2019- The Pages In-Between- Review
5/17/2019- Lone Tree Reviews- Review

Week Four: 
5/20/2019- Savings in Seconds- Review
5/21/2019- Book-Keeping- Review
5/22/2019- Life of a Simple Reader- Review
5/23/2019- Smada's Book Smack- Review
5/24/2019- Eli to the nth- Review

Week Five: 
5/27/2019- Popthebutterfly Reads- Review
5/28/2019- Jena Brown Writes- Review
5/29/2019- Literary Meanderings- Interview
5/30/2019- Paper Reader- Review 
5/31/2019- Two points of interest- Review