Review: All in Pieces – Suzanne Young

Review: All in Pieces – Suzanne YoungAll in Pieces by Suzanne Young
Published by Simon Pulse
Published: November 8th 2016
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five-stars

“Anger-management issues.”

That’s how they classified Savannah Sutton after she stuck a pencil in her ex-boyfriend’s hand because he mocked her little brother, Evan, for being disabled. That’s why they sent her to Brooks Academy—an alternative high school that’s used as a temporary detention center.

The days at Brooks are miserable, but at home, life is far more bleak. Savvy’s struggling to take care of her brother since her mom left years ago, and her alcoholic dad can’t be bothered. Life with Evan is a constant challenge, but he’s also the most important person in the world to Savvy.

Then there’s Cameron, a new student at Brooks with issues of his own; a guy from a perfect family that Savvy thought only existed on TV. Cameron seems determined to break through every one of the walls Savvy’s built around herself, except if she lets herself trust him, it could make everything she’s worked so hard for fall apart in an instant.

And with her aunt seeking custody of her brother and her ex-boyfriend seeking revenge, Savvy’s fighting to hold all the pieces together. But she’s not sure how much tighter she can be pulled before she breaks completely.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It isn’t often that you get the privilege of reading a book that wraps you up in the story so much that you actually forget you are reading. Usually when I read I’m aware there is a book in my hand, aware I’m flipping pages on my Kindle, aware that I’m reading fiction. All in Pieces was one of those rare occasions where I forgot I was reading. I forgot that I wasn’t part of the story. I forgot it was fiction. I forgot everything but the beauty of the story Suzanne Young crafted to perfection. I can’t say enough how much I loved this book.

All in Pieces! What do I say about All in Pieces?? The book was mesmerizing and beautiful and heartbreaking and gorgeous. That’s what I can say about it. The way Suzanne told the story of this poor girl that was dealt a crappy deck of life cards just blew me away. Savvy tried so hard, loved so much, and did everything she could for her brother and she just never felt like it was enough, like she was enough. She would have given everything she could of for her little brother, Evan, and my heart broke because there was then nothing left for her. The way she loved Evan was just beautiful and pure and it made me love Savvy all that much more.

Speaking of Savvy I also loved her family. When I say family I don’t mean it in conventional terms. For Savvy her family was made up of her two friends, Travis and Retha, who had her back no matter what. They were the ones that made her believe in herself and if it wasn’t for Retha I don’t think Savvy ever would have let Cameron in. Cameron, oh Cameron. He was so imperfectly perfect and the best person Savvy would ever invite into her life and heart. He was so patient and loving and kind and just awesome. Instead of walking away (which I think most people would have) he gave her time to trust and open up and I think that right there was everything to Savvy. Basically he and Savannah were perfect together.

All in Pieces is everything I wanted and needed in a book that I didn’t know I wanted or needed. It’s the kind of book that gives you a plethora of feels and just leaves you wanting more. I was a sobby mess in the end and I’m so thankful for this book and for Suzanne Young for writing it. A must add to your TBR.

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Blog Tour: For This Life Only by Stacey Kade – Top Ten TV Characters (+a Giveaway)

forthis

Welcome top my stop on Stacey Kade’s blog tour for For This Life Only. Stacey was kind enough to do a Top 10 post and is doing it on her Top Ten Favorite TV Characters. Without further ado:

Oh my. *rubs hands together in glee* This is going to be fun! Or extremely difficult given how much TV I watch!  😀

Disclaimer: These aren’t in top ten order. They’re just my ten favorites.

forthis1Ryan Atwood (The O.C.)
I have watched the pilot of this show so many times. And the scene where Sandy helps Ryan with his tie makes me emotional every single time. Ryan is just that perfect good heart/bad boy combination that is completely irresistible.  And I don’t care what anyone says: Season 4 rocks.

Peter Bishop (Fringe)
Smart, handsome and a bit of a con artist. But the way he takes care of his father, Walter, who is less than stable and very contrary, makes me love him even more.

Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica)
Katee Sackoff. I adore her. But I knew I loved this character from the first time she explained why she was in the brig *this time*: “For striking a superior asshole.” *insert emoji with cartoon-heart-eyes here*

Dana Scully (The X-Files)
Smart. Scientist. Redhead. Walking contradiction with her faith in religion and her doubt of the paranormal. Badass who did not need to wear midriff-bearing shirts or leather pants to convince us of her badassery.

forthis2Olivia Dunham (Fringe)
We wouldn’t have Olivia without Dana Scully, and like her predecessor, Olivia is smart, dedicated and not someone you want to cross. She, however, I think, was allowed to show more vulnerability at times than Scully. And I think that’s a sign of progress. “Strong” doesn’t always mean strong in one particular way (aka usually the “male” version of strength).

Bellamy Blake/Clarke Griffin (The 100)
Okay, this is a bit of a cheat. Honestly, I love this show, but these characters individually can drive me crazy. However, seeing them work together is nothing but sheer delight.

forthis3Dean Winchester (Supernatural)
I confess: originally, I preferred Sam. All that angsty-goodness. But now, on rewatching, it’s Dean all the way. That smirk. The humor he uses to hide his deepest hurts and fears. Yeah. Plus? The single perfect tear.

Jessica Jones (Jessica Jones)
Is this one really a surprise? Probably not. I adore flawed female characters. Particularly angry ones who have good reason to be angry and aren’t afraid to show it, never fearing that they’ll be liked less. Even if they are.

Veronica Mars (Veronica Mars)
I want to grow up to be Veronica. That is all.

forthis4The cast of FRIENDS
Okay, now I’m REALLY cheating. But if they can negotiate together, I can list them together. 🙂 And collectively, they are a favorite; I couldn’t choose just one. FRIENDS is my go-to show on a bad day, when I’m sick or just feeling blah. If I were still in college, I would write a paper about how The One where Monica and Richard are Just Friends is the best episode of the series and possibly a perfect sitcom episode in general.

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Blog Tour: For This Life Only by Stacey Kade – Top Ten TV Characters (+a Giveaway)For This Life Only by Stacey Kade
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published: August 30th 2016
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A young man struggles to move forward after the death of his twin brother in this gripping, coming-of-age tale about loss, redemption, love, and the moment you begin to see the world differently.

Three minutes.

JA young man struggles to move forward after the death of his twin brother in this gripping, coming-of-age tale about loss, redemption, love, and the moment you begin to see the world differently.

Three minutes.

Jacob Palmer died for three life-changing minutes.

And when he woke up, nothing was the same. Elijah, his twin brother, is dead, and his family is broken. Jace’s planned future is crushed, along with his pitching arm. Everyone keeps telling him that Eli’s in a better place, but Jace isn’t so sure. Because in those three minutes, there was nothing.

Overwhelmed by guilt and doubt, Jace struggles to adjust to this new version of the world, one without his brother, one without the certainties he once relied on. And then Thera comes into his life.

She’s the last girl he should be turning to for help.

But she’s also the first person to truly see him.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

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About Stacey Kade

As an award-winning corporate copywriter, Stacey Kade has written about everything from backhoe loaders to breast pumps. But she prefers to make things up instead.

She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Greg, and two retired racing greyhounds, SheWearsThePants (Pansy) and Shutter. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll likely find her parked in front of the television catching up on her favorite shows (Scandal, The Vampire Diaries, Almost Human, The Walking Dead, and Sherlock, among others.)

Stacey is the author of the The Ghost and the Goth trilogy (THE GHOST AND THE GOTH, QUEEN OF THE DEAD, and BODY & SOUL) and The Project Paper Doll Series (THE RULES and THE HUNT). You can find her (far too often) on Facebook and Twitter as well as http://www.staceykade.com

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Tour Schedule

Week 1:
8/22: I Turn the Pages – Mood Board
8/23: Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Review
8/24: What Sarah Read – Q&A
8/25: Oops! I Read A Book Again – Review
8/26: Andi’s ABCs – Top 10

Week 2:

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3 Finished Copies of FOR THIS LIFE ONLY (US Only)

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Review: The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love – Sarvenaz Tash

Review: The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love – Sarvenaz TashThe Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published: June 14th 2016
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five-stars

John Hughes meets Comic Con in this hilarious, unabashedly romantic, coming-of-age novel about a teenager who is trying to get his best friend to fall in love with him from the author of Three Day Summer.

Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy...Archie and Veronica...Althena and Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy...

Archie and Veronica...

Althena and Noth...

...Graham and Roxy?

Graham met his best friend, Roxana, when he moved into her neighborhood eight years ago, and she asked him which Hogwarts house he'd be sorted into. Graham has been in love with her ever since.

But now they're sixteen, still neighbors, still best friends. And Graham and Roxy share more than ever--moving on from their Harry Potter obsession to a serious love of comic books.

When Graham learns that the creator of their favorite comic, The Chronicles of Althena, is making a rare appearance at this year's New York Comic Con, he knows he must score tickets. And the event inspires Graham to come up with the perfect plan to tell Roxy how he really feels about her. He's got three days to woo his best friend at the coolest, kookiest con full of superheroes and supervillains. But no one at a comic book convention is who they appear to be...even Roxy. And Graham is starting to realize fictional love stories are way less complicated than real-life ones.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I am smitten! Smitten with these characters; smitten with this author; smitten with this book.  I can’t really describe it. After reading Tash’s debut, Three Day Summer, I knew I would read anything she wrote. It was such a great story about human interaction at a time that seems so long ago. I loved the characters and the story telling and they heart behind it all. So when I heard about The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love it was a given I would read it. What I didn’t expect was how taken I would be by it. It was so fun and real and epic and wondrous.

The thing that I loved the most about The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love, besides the characters (more on that below), is that it isn’t a coming of age book. It isn’t a book about comic nerds. It isn’t even a true love story/romance. The Geek’s Guide is a book that is real. Things in life don’t always go as planned. You don’t always win the big game, or get into the school of your dreams. You don’t always get the girl or get something you are hoping for. Life just doesn’t work that way. You have to adapt and move on and come up with a new plan or idea. Tash captured that to perfection with Graham’s story. Nothing went the poor kid’s way. Everything that could go wrong for him did, but he just kept on going. Whether he was mad or sad or hurt or happy, he just kept on going like we all have to do.

Actually Graham was the one character that made the book for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Roxy and co., but Graham was like a red headed Seth Cohen (and let’s face it Seth Cohen made geeky hot). He had this inner dialogue that just killed me. He was quirky and funny and charming. I liked him immediately and he truly made me giggle throughout the book. And his knowledge of pop-culture…OH MY GOD! So epic. Graham was the perfect kind of character to control this kind of story and I kind of love him (and the rest of them).

Basically this book was just what I needed to reminded me about the ups and downs of life and love and friendship. Sarvenez crafted a book that is so perfect (sorry Felicia) that I need everyone to read it and be smitten with me. To be honest I knew I would love it after Three Day Summer, but I didn’t know I would end up being as over the moon about it as I was. If Tash’s books are not on your radar you need to fix that immediately. She is one author that is doing great, great things. Now go and read her books!cohen

*On 6/16, I’m a stop on the Geek’s Guide blog tour. Make sure you stop by for a special ABCs that day. There will be a giveaway happening for both of Sarvenaz’s books.

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Review: Violent Ends – Shaun David Hutchinson, et al.

Review: Violent Ends – Shaun David Hutchinson, et al.Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson, Neal Shusterman, Brendan Shusterman, Beth Revis, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Courtney Summers, Kendare Blake, Delilah S. Dawson, Steve Brezenoff, Tom Leveen, Hannah Moskowitz, Blythe Woolston, Trish Doller, Mindi Scott, Margie Gelbwasser, Christine Johnson, Elisa Nader, E.M. Kokie
Published by Simon Pulse
Published: September 1st 2015
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four-stars

In a one-of-a-kind collaboration, seventeen of the most recognizable YA writers—including Shaun David Hutchinson, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, and Beth Revis—come together to share the viewpoints of a group of students affected by a school shooting.

It took only twenty-two minutes for Kirby Matheson to exit his car, march onto the school grounds, enter the gymnasium, and open fire, killing six and injuring five others.

But this isn’t a story about the shooting itself. This isn’t about recounting that one unforgettable day.

This is about Kirby and how one boy—who had friends, enjoyed reading, playing saxophone in the band, and had never been in trouble before—became a monster capable of entering his school with a loaded gun and firing on his classmates.

Each chapter is told from a different victim’s viewpoint, giving insight into who Kirby was and who he’d become. Some are sweet, some are dark; some are seemingly unrelated, about fights or first kisses or late-night parties. This is a book of perspectives—with one character and one event drawing them all together—from the minds of some of YA’s most recognizable names.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I went through a span recently where I had trouble finding a good book. Everything just felt blah or just okay. I wanted to be wowed but I was scared to read something I was super excited to read. Instead I went on gut instinct and picked a back list book that I had been excited to read. I went with Violent Ends and I’m so happy I just picked it and didn’t over think the selection. It really helped my semi reading slump.

I say this a lot but I just don’t know what to really say about Violent Ends. I’ve read a few school shooting stories over the years but there was something different about this one. This one really made me think. It isn’t told from the point of view of the shooter. It isn’t told from the point of view of a victim or girlfriend/boyfriend. It is told from a variety of point of views. Each one is different in terms of connection to the shooter. Some are very close, some are in small ways. But each story just makes you think about how you would feel if you were that person and this tragedy happened to you or around you. By the story being written this one you really got to see all sides of the shooter and a variety of aspects of people’s lives.

Did I love all the stories the same? No. Some I thought were stronger than others and one I thought was just weird. But they all lead to one thing, a story of a group of people effected one way or another by a troubled boy.

I do warn you that this book isn’t something you can read in one sitting or even over a short span of time. I took almost 2 weeks to read it because it is heavy and emotional and thought provoking. I had to take breaks and step back because I was just sad reading it. That right there is a testament to all the authors and the reason why you should check Violent Ends out.

 

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Review: The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson

Review: The Unexpected Everything – Morgan MatsonThe Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published: May 3rd 2016
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five-stars

Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan.

Future? A top-tier medical school.
Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around).
Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else?
Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks.

So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too.

Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all—working as a dog walker, doing an epic scavenger hunt with her dad, and maybe, just maybe, letting the super cute Clark get closer than she expected. Palmer, Bri, and Toby tell her to embrace all the chaos, but can she really let go of her control?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

What can I say about Morgan Matson’s books that I haven’t said before? I was destroyed by Second Chance Summer, enthralled by Since You’ve Been Gone, and wooed by Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. She’s written herself so high in my list of author’s I love that I don’t think she can get any higher. And then she gives me The Unexpected Everything which made me feel the things I felt in the first 3 books she has written and changes my expectations again. I mean can she do anything wrong? This book was just fantastic.

The Unexpected Everything is the story of Andie, the daughter of a congressman that is currently being investigated. Andie has always had a plan. It was the easiest way to live life. If she knew what was coming she didn’t have to figure out what to do. But this summer is anything but typical for Andie. Instead of her plan she finds herself spending the summer in a way she never expected and maybe learning life is sometimes better lived when you don’t know what’s coming.

This book put me through a gamut of emotions. I laughed and smiled and cringed and cried. I was angry and upset and excited. I felt everything that was happening much like Andie did. I felt like I was part of Andie’s journey and I loved that. Because really that is what The Unexpected Everything was about, Andie’s journey. She was so certain she could plan and schedule things but life isn’t like that and she needed the summer she had to prove that to herself. She needed everything that happened with her friends to happen. She needed to have real conversations with people. She needed to see that life happens when you are waiting on plans unless you do something and live it. And she really needed Clark.

Clark, Clark, Clark. Nerdy and adorable and sweet and unsure. He is everything that is right about swoony book boys and he was the perfect counterpart for Andie. They were complete opposites but there was something magical about them together. And awkward. Man were they awkward at times. Eh, it just made them more endearing. But seriously Clark really helped Andie in her summer of the unknown by actually being part of the unknown. I just loved him. Oh and Andie’s friends. They were such a great unit. They too were real and some of their story arcs just broke my heart (I’m looking at you Morgan. Making me cry at jury duty!).

I don’t want to give too much away and take anything from this masterpiece. It was really just perfect. From the characters to a familiar location (!!!!!!!) to some familiar mentions (!!!!!) there wasn’t anything I didn’t love about this story and Andie’s growth. All I can say is if you are new to Morgan Matson, start at the beginning and read them all. If you are a Morgan fan…you are in for a reading treat.

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