Mini Reviews #4

Mini Reviews #4Wrecked by Maria Padian
Published by Algonquin Young Readers
Published: October 4th 2016
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four-stars

Everyone on campus has a different version of what happened that night.

Haley saw Jenny return from the party, shell-shocked.

Richard heard Jordan brag about the cute freshman he hooked up with.

When Jenny accuses Jordan of rape, Haley and Richard are pushed to opposite sides of the school’s investigation. Now conflicting versions of the story may make bringing the truth to light nearly impossible--especially when reputations, relationships, and whole futures are riding on the verdict.

Wrecked offers a kaleidoscopic account of a sexual assault on a college campus. It will leave you thinking about how memory, identity, and who sits in judgment shape what we all decide to believe about the truth.

Wrecked was a weird reading experience for me. To be honest I hated the characters. There truthfully wasn’t one character that I actually liked. I don’t think I was supposed to like any of them so that was a bit of a struggle. But I loved the story and how true it felt. And it is a story that a lot of people need to read because like it or not these things happen more and more in college and I think we need to pay more attention to that as a society.

I guess the first thing I can say about Wrecked was I didn’t envy Haley’s position. It’s hard to put into words really. I 100% felt for Jenny, even if I didn’t like her all the time, I can’t imagine what she was going through and how hard it was for her. I also felt bad for Haley. What she was asked to do for Jenny would have been hard if it had been your best friend for years and years and years. But Haley and Jenny had only known each other a few months and here she was with this responsibility. It honestly made me think what I would have done in that position. It was a terrible place for both characters when it comes down to it and I didn’t want to be either one of them.

I guess when it comes down to it Wrecked is just an important book. It’s a book that realistically looks at a he said/she said argument in terms of sexual assault. It’s a book that shows you how sides are drawn and how people are put in the middle. A book that shows you how the victim is made into a criminal. Like the characters or not, it’s a book that should be read.

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Mini Reviews #4For This Life Only by Stacey Kade
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
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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.

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.

Having just read Stacey Kade’s book, 738 Days, not that long ago, I was excited with the prospect of reading another by her. The concept of For This Life Only sounded great. It totally seemed to be a book that was my kind of book. Sadly when I finished it I didn’t have the same feelings I felt when I read 738 Days. To be truthful I was really conflicted (still am) on how I felt about it.

I guess in all honesty it kind of threw me a little as I was reading. I didn’t expect For This Life Only to have such a strong religious theme to it and it did. Don’t get me wrong, I will happily read books that are religious themed (Pure by Terra Elan McVoy and Small Town Sinners by Melissa Walker are two of my favorites) but I want to know it is going to be religious when I go in. I had no idea this book was going to be and it threw me a little.

I really liked the idea behind the book, still do, but in the end I felt like a lot wasn’t answered and the religious aspect was huge but really didn’t even add to the story. I guess I don’t know what felt off for me, but something did and when all is said and done I was sad. If you do decide to read For This Life Only know there are religious parts. Maybe knowing that going in will make a difference. I wish I did.

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Mini Reviews #4Game On by Michelle Smith
Series: Lewis Creek #1
Published by Bloomsbury Spark
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four-stars

As king of baseball in the small town of Lewis Creek, Eric Perry can have any girl he wants and win every game he plays. But when a fight lands him in jail, he’s only got one more strike before his baseball career is over for good. His only chance for redemption? The girl next door, Bri Johnson.

Bri hasn’t talked to Eric in months—for starters, she’s been too busy dealing with her jerk of an ex-boyfriend, not to mention the fact that Eric’s been preoccupied trying to drink every keg in the country dry. But when he needs a way to stay on the team, she proposes a plan: if he helps her out with community service, he can stay on the team. At first it’s a nightmare—Eric and Bri stopped being friends years ago, surely that was for a good reason, right? But as volunteering turns to bonding over old memories of first kisses under the stars, they start to have trouble remembering what pushed them apart.

In a town as small as Lewis Creek, nothing stays secret for long and their friendship and romance might mean bad news. But in this final, tumultuous spring before graduation, Eric and Bri are about to realize that nobody’s perfect alone, but they might just be perfect together.

Game On is definitely my favorite of the two books in the Lewis Creek stories. Eric and Bri’s story was the perfect “girl next door” type of story. Seriously I just loved both of these characters so much. And they played off each other perfectly. They had a natural chemistry and you just couldn’t help falling for them. They were both in a place where they needed to grow and change and I think finding their lost friendship was a way for them to do that.

I guess what I liked the most was how Michelle Smith told the story of Eric and Bri. They didn’t go from not being friends to being friends in the blink of an eye. It was a process and it slowly happened, naturally happened. And when it did they remembered all the things that had made them besties in the first place and built off of that. That was what I enjoyed the most and what made Game On a book I would recommend.

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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
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads

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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Blog Tour : 738 Days by Stacey Kade Q & A (+ giveaway)

738tour

Today on the blog I have Stacey Kade, author of the newly released 738 Days. She is doing a Q&A for me and I’m so excited. I seriously loved this book so much so it was fun to find out some of the inner workings of Stacey’s mind when writing it.

 

The description of the book is very reminiscent of some popular news stories from the past few years. Was that your motivation for the story?

I’m a little bit obsessed with true crime, so yes, definitely. It was specifically the Elizabeth Smart case that triggered the idea. This is kind of a long story, so bear with me.

I was working as a copywriter for a large insurance company at the time. And one day, I was walking by the company museum/media center and found a crowd gathered around the television. This wasn’t long after 9/11, so the museum TV was always on CNN and a crowd watching meant bad news.

I stopped to find out what was going on. I don’t remember much about what was known at the point, but the conversation I had there is burned into my brain.

As part of my job, I frequently worked with the corporate lawyers in getting approvals. One of them—Dee—was one of the people there watching CNN when I arrived. Dee had a reputation for being tough but professional. Still, what she said at that point took me completely off guard.

She clucked her tongue.  “That’s too bad. They’ll never find her alive.

My face must have shown my shock. Because she just shook her head at me, like I was hopelessly naive. “They never do.” And then she walked away, continuing to her office.

I knew logically that she was right. She was just saying what everyone else was thinking. (At that point, it was still years before Jaycee Dugard would be found alive. Same with the women in Ohio: Amanda Berry, Michelle Knight, and Georgina DeJesus.)

Still, I couldn’t help but think about the girl, Elizabeth, if she was still alive and what it must have been like to know that, with every hour going by, more and more people were writing you off as a lost cause, dead.  It struck me particularly hard as I have a sister who, at the time, was just a year younger than Elizabeth.

That conversation, that moment, stuck with me. Especially when, against all odds, Elizabeth was found alive nine months later. (When that news broke, I went out of my way to tell Dee, who was as pleased as anyone that there was a happy ending.)

The media response to her recovery was huge. Elizabeth Smart’s face was everywhere. And again, I found myself trying to imagine what that must have been like. How do you go back to being a normal teenager when you’ve lived through something this horrible and everyone in the world knows the awful details?

It’s not just the trauma of the events themselves but how those events and the publicity around them change how people see you. You’re stuck with a label (victim or survivor) as soon as people realize who you are. How do you find your way through that? How do you date or have a relationship without that label hanging over your head?

All of those questions were at the heart of what would become 738 DAYS.

What made you decide to tell the story from the perspective of years later and not right after she got back?

I wanted to write a romance. Setting the story immediately after her escape would have put the major focus on her recovery, which is fine but not the story I wanted to tell. I felt like Amanda needed time to heal—emotionally, physically, and psychologically—before romance could be a possibility. The trigger, in this case, is that she’s been free now for as long as she was held (738 days) and in her head, that is the mile marker by which she feels she should be recovered. Of course, that’s not really a rational expectation, given what she went through, but it is the key to her frustration with herself and why she’s so motivated to pursue change.

Amanda and Chase seem like complete opposite stories. Amanda a tragedy and Chase a typical ‘Hollywood’ story. What was your inspiration to connect these two characters? 

Years after the Elizabeth Smart coverage, I read a brief “celebrity gossip item” that indicated that Natalee Holloway’s mother was dating Jon-Benet Ramsey’s father. I don’t know if it was true or not, but it made sense to me that these two people would, perhaps, understand each other better than the average person.

For Amanda and Chase, I wanted two people who truly understood the darker side of fame. Amanda’s family needed the media exposure to keep the focus on the search for her, but the public interest in her case didn’t go away when she was found. Instead, she’s somewhat of a public figure, even though she doesn’t want to be. Chase knows that the public that adores you one second can turn on you in the next. Fame is a perishable commodity. He needs it, she doesn’t want it. I liked the idea of that being an obstacle or conflict in their relationship.

If you could cast your book who would play Chase and who would play Amanda?

I always “cast” my books when I start writing because it helps me visualize the scenes. I doubt that my casting would hold up in a real-world movie or tv scenario, but Anna Kendrick for Amanda—because I think she’s fantastic and has the capacity to show vulnerability without seeming or timid—and a cross between Ben McKenzie and Jensen Ackles for Chase.

If you could write a book with one other author, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

I’m kind of a control freak, unfortunately. It’s true in general, but particularly with writing. So, I’m not sure either of us would enjoy a co-authoring experience!

What books have you read lately that you would recommend?

Oh, gosh, I LOVED Borderline by Mishell Baker. I adore a good urban fantasy, and I think they’re kind of hard to find nowadays. I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.

And the questions I ask everyone, what is the one accessory or clothing item you couldn’t live without?

Yoga pants! Best invention ever.

Blog Tour : 738 Days by Stacey Kade Q & A (+ giveaway)738 Days by Stacey Kade
Published by Forge Books
Published: June 7th 2016
Buy on Amazon
Add to Goodreads

At fifteen, Amanda Grace was abducted on her way home from school. 738 days later, she escaped. Her 20/20 interview is what everyone remembers—Amanda describing the room where she was kept, the torn poster of TV heartthrob Chase Henry on the wall. It reminded her of home and gave her the strength to keep fighting.

Now, years later, Amanda is struggling to live normally. Her friends have gone on to college, while she battles PTSD. She’s not getting any better, and she fears that if something doesn’t change soon she never will.

Six years ago, Chase Henry defied astronomical odds, won a coveted role on a new TV show, and was elevated to super-stardom. With it, came drugs, alcohol, arrests, and crazy spending sprees. Now he's sober and a Hollywood pariah, washed up at twenty-four.

To revamp his image, Chase’s publicist comes up with a plan: surprise Amanda Grace with the chance to meet her hero, followed by a visit to the set of Chase’s new movie. The meeting is a disaster, but out of mutual desperation, Amanda and Chase strike a deal. What starts as a simple arrangement, though, rapidly becomes more complicated when they realize they need each other in more ways than one. But when the past resurfaces in a new threat, will they stand together or fall apart?

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

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:
 
Week 2:
6/27: Andi’s ABCs – Q&A

3 Finished Copies of 738 DAYS (US Only)

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