Review: Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell

Book Title: Summer on the Short Bus
Author: Bethany Crandell
Published Date: April 1st, 2014
Publisher: Roaring Press Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonThe Book Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Spoiled, Versace-clad Cricket Montgomery has seventeen years of pampering under her belt. So when her father decides to ship her off to a summer camp for disabled teens to help her learn some accountability, Cricket resigns herself to three weeks of handicapped hell. 

Her sentence takes a bearable turn as she discovers the humor and likeability of the campers and grows close to fellow counselors. Now, if she can just convince a certain Zac Efron look-alike with amazing blue eyes that she finally realizes there’s life after Gucci, this summer could turn out to be the best she’s ever had.

Summer on the Short Bus is a very non-P.C., contemporary YA with a lot of attitude, tons of laughs, and a little life lesson along the way.

Disclaimer: This was a personal purchase.

Review:
There are so few books about kids with disabilities, so as soon as I saw the synopsis for this book, I knew I had to have it. As a teenager, I attended an aquatics summer camp for teens with disabilities, so Summer on the Short Bus really excited me and I was so hoping this book wouldn’t disappoint me. I wasn’t even concerned with the non-P.C. qualities that it was supposed to possess.

Yes, Cricket was a pain in the butt. She was a spoiled, pampered princess who really had no idea what it was like to grow up in the normal world. Was she ignorant, rude and, at times, downright mean? Yes, she was. It was clear to me that she was not comfortable around kids with disabilities. Truth be told, I was not very comfortable around kids with disabilities even though I have my own disability, but I honestly think that for me, it’s because I never really saw myself as disabled. So I really didn’t crucify her for feeling uncomfortable around these teenagers.

Quinn was an awesome surprise and I was really glad we got to know his story as I thought it was really important. It was important to find out how he had come to work at Camp I Can, and what inspired him to do so. I loved how Cricket slowly began to soften around him. It wasn’t a quick turnaround for Cricket, which made sense to me. It was more realistic for Cricket to be physically attracted to Quinn early on, but to have their relationship slowly grow and develop. I love the slow burn so I was excited to see it here, with these two.

This book was really an awesome surprise, but I really wish there had been more character development for the secondary characters. Especially Colin, Fantine, Aidan, Meredith and Claire. We ended up getting more than I expected about Rainbow, so big kudos to Crandell for that one. Had there been more overall character development I know I would have loved this book. With that said, I really did enjoy this book and will be giving it 4 stars.

Review: Stronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry

Book Title: Stronger Than You Know
Author: Jolene Perry
Published Date: September 1st, 2014
Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonThe Book Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads:
After police intervention, fifteen-year-old Joy has finally escaped the trailer where she once lived with her mother and survived years of confinement and abuse. Now living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in a comfortable house, she’s sure she’ll never belong. Wracked by panic attacks, afraid to talk to anyone at her new school, Joy’s got a whole list of reasons why she’s crazy. With immense courage, Joy finds friends and grows closer to her new family. But just when hope is taking hold, she learns she must testify in her mother’s trial. Can she face her old life without losing her way in the new one? Will she ever truly belong in a world that seems too normal to be real?

Disclaimer: I received this book from Albert Whitman Teen via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
Review:
Oh my goodness, this book shattered my heart and broke my feels. At the end of 2013, I read Perry’s previous book The Summer I Found You and while it was good overall, nothing could have prepared me for what this book would hold. I remember reading the synopsis on NetGalley and really wanting this book. I clicked the request button and crossed my fingers and toes. I was super excited to get approved for it and I couldn’t wait to be able to dive in.
Well, it was about 8 days ago that I finally sat down to read this book, and I read it cover to cover in one sitting. It was very different from The Summer I Found You, and actually it reminded me of some of my other favorite books, namely If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch and Fault Line and Bleed Like Me, both written by Christa Desir. All three of these aforementioned books are very dark contemporaries, and they are also ones that I really enjoyed and even loved.
When we first meet Joy, she’s settling into a “new normal” She’s now living with her aunt, uncle and two cousins. She’s still very quiet, prefers to be alone in her room. Family dinners are uncomfortable for her and her uncle Rob scares her. Soft voices are used around her so she’s not startled. She shies away from being touched and the smell of beer and cigarettes makes her nauseated and takes her back to the life she had with her mother…and those men. All of those men who hurt her. Especially Richard, the scariest one of them all.
I loved watching Joy’s journey. It’s was both beautiful and heartbreaking. So many times I wanted to reach through the Kindle and hug her. Her therapist, Lydia set these goals for her and at first Joy struggles to meet even one of them, but as she gets more comfortable, she slowly opens up a bit more. Even if it’s just to tell a lie to the incredibly cute Justin.She’s supposed to talk to at least one person at school, at first.
Her next assignment is to talk to her uncle Rob. Logically, she knows her uncle wouldn’t hurt her, but her body doesn’t realize that yet. So her anxiety manifests in strange ways, shaking being the number one way. When she first opened up to her uncle Rob, I full on sobbed. I could tell that this was a big deal for her and I was so incredibly proud of her for doing this.
“Everyone has a different normal, Joy.” -Uncle Rob-
As much as I loved Joy as a character, I loved her aunt Nicole almost as much. It was so clear to me that she blamed herself for not getting Joy out of there sooner and it killed me to see this sweet woman blaming herself. Nicole starts attending therapy with Joy’s therapist as well, which felt like a betrayal to Joy, until Nicole explains things.
“I was here for me. Because I feel like I should have rescued you a long time ago.” -Aunt Nicole-

Nicole carries a lot of guilt for not being there for Joy when she was younger. A conversation from when Joy was 8 years old still plays in Nicole’s head and she wishes she had done something more about it. I hated seeing her beat herself up about it. I wanted to hug Nicole hard.

Family has never really meant anything to Joy. She’s been abused, mistreated, malnourished her entire life, so she doesn’t really understand what it means to have a good family that loves you and protects you. Rob and Nicole give her that sense of security that she has never had before. They make her feel like she’s part of a family.

“I’m so heavy.” -Joy-
“Then you lean on us for a while. Let us carry you, Joy, until you’re not heavy anymore. That’s what family is.” -Uncle Rob-

There’s no way I could end this review without talking about Justin. YES, finally a boy who respects girls, who doesn’t push them for more when they aren’t ready and who’s willing to be friends for as long as necessary before it turns into anything more. I loved Justin for everything he did for Joy. He didn’t push her for a relationship. He respected her space, didn’t force anything, and probably most important, he didn’t run away when he learned of her harrowing childhood. He was the perfect guy to help Joy realize that, yes, there are still good guys her age out there who wouldn’t be pushing for more when they were just in a car together.
This book was amazing, absolutely beautiful, heartbreaking and awesome. I adored this book and I cannot wait to see what Perry writes next. 5 stars to this story about what it truly means to be a family, to love and to begin to heal.

Stacking the Shelves #56

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This feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

This week brought some great books into my life. After nearly a month, my box of books arrived from Amazon. The whole thing was very aggravating, complicated by having my wallet and credit card stolen right about the time I made the order. I picked up 4 NetGalley books and I received 2 books for review in the mail from Bloomsbury. I also picked up some library books that I’m very excited about.

Near the end of the week I got a package from my Secret Sister. It had some awesome dark chocolate treats inside as well as a book. It was a book I had enjoyed, but I wanted a finished copy. So I was stoked to get it from my Secret Sister. So thank you, whoever you are.

Let’s see what I added to my shelves!

Bought
Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine
Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell
Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss #2) by Stephanie Perkins
Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3) by Stephanie Perkins
Nil (Nil #1) by Lynne Matson
Received for Review

-NetGalley-

Echo Bridge by Kristen O’Toole
The Family by Marissa Kennerson

Ensnared (Splintered #3) by A.G. Howard (Sample)
The Melody of Light by M.L. Rice

-From the Publisher-

This Side of Home by Renee Watson
Soulprint by Megan Miranda

Library

Things I Can’t Forget (Hundred Oaks #3) by Miranda Kenneally
Fire with Fire (Burn for Burn #2) by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1) by Robin LaFevers
The Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5) by Sarah J. Maas

Gifted

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Be sure to let me know if you’ve read any of these or if you are planning to. Also, leave your links to your haul posts & vlogs. Have a great week everyone!

Review: (Don’t You) Forget About Me by Kate Karyus Quinn

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Book Title: (Don’t You) Forget About Me
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Published Date: June 10th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA Mystery/Horror
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

Except…
There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

Disclaimer: I received this book from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
This book, much like Quinn’s first book, was a puzzle. Normally I hate puzzles. They frustrate me, they make me lose my temper a lot. But when there’s a puzzle in a book, I’m patient and eager to see how things unfold. That was certainly the case with this book. I was fascinated by the world that Quinn had created.

Gardnerville was a place where no one got sick, everyone lived a long life and it was place that promised newcomers a happy, illness free life. But that life came at a price. Every 4 years teenagers are affected with deadly powers. A teen could turn his entire football team into stone or, even lead them to a watery grave. 

This book had so many twists and turns in it that I wasn’t even sure what direction the book would take. It did take me awhile to read it but I think part of that was that I was trying to figure out what was going on and I was actually reading slower than I normally do in an attempt to really let everything sink in. Little tidbits of information at every turn kept me guessing about what was truly going on and I still was never able to figure it out before the book ended.

The last 25% of the book was the best part. That’s when things began to click into place and all of my questions were answered. The way the story was weaved was awesome and I absolutely loved how this story was like an onion. As I read the book, layers and layers of the book unfolded until the entire story was laid out in front of you by the end.

This book was truly awesome and I’m giving it 4 stars. It was absolutely fascinating and Quinn has earned herself a spot on my auto-buy author’s list. This book was such a great ride and I cannot wait to see what Quinn writes next.

Next In Line: ARC Edition #2

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So I wanted to do another edition of this because I had found it very helpful and I was very grateful for everyone’s input. If you guys would like to help me out again, I’d be very appreciative. There are so many gorgeous books and I’m not even sure where to start with these 5.
Here are the possibilities
Loop (Loop #1) by Karen Akins 
Synopsis:
At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her. 

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future. 

 The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending #1) by Rachel Harris
Synopsis:
According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you’re friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.
 No Place to Fall by Jayne Robin Brown

Synopsis:
Amber Vaughn is a good girl. She sings solos at church, babysits her nephew after school, and spends every Friday night hanging out at her best friend Devon’s house. It’s only when Amber goes exploring in the woods near her home, singing camp songs with the hikers she meets on the Appalachian Trail, that she feels free—and when the bigger world feels just a little bit more in reach.

When Amber learns about an audition at the North Carolina School of the Arts, she decides that her dream—to sing on bigger stages—could also be her ticket to a new life. Devon’s older (and unavailable) brother, Will, helps Amber prepare for her one chance to try out for the hypercompetitive arts school. But the more time Will and Amber spend together, the more complicated their relationship becomes . . . and Amber starts to wonder if she’s such a good girl, after all.

Then, in an afternoon, the bottom drops out of her family’s world—and Amber is faced with an impossible choice between her promise as an artist and the people she loves. Amber always thought she knew what a good girl would do. But between “right” and “wrong,” there’s a whole world of possibilities.
 Winterspell by Claire LeGrand

Synopsis:
The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly nothuman. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The NutcrackerWinterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear
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Suspicion by Alexandra Monir
Synopsis:
Mysterious. Magnificent. Creepy. Welcome to Rockford Manor.

“There’s something hidden in the Maze.” Seventeen-year-old Imogen has never forgotten the last words her father said to her seven years ago, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family’s English country manor.

Haunted by her parents’ deaths, Imogen moves to New York City with her new guardians. But when a letter arrives with the news of her cousin’s untimely death, revealing that Imogen is now the only heir left to run the estate, she returns to England and warily accepts her role as duchess.

All is not as it seems at Rockford, and Imogen quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind the mansion’s aristocratic exterior, hinting that the spate of deaths in her family were no accident. And at the center of the mystery is Imogen herself–and Sebastian, the childhood friend she has secretly loved for years. Just what has Imogen walked into?

Combining a fresh twist on the classic REBECCA with a spine-tingling mystery and powerful romance, SUSPICION is an action-packed thrill ride.

These five books are the next books I’ll be reading. Any idea where I should start first?

Review: The Edge of You by Theresa DaLayne

Book Title: The Edge of You
Author: Theresa DaLayne
Published Date: September 25th, 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
He left home to escape. She made a new life out of guilt. Neither one expected to find love—but not even the Arctic can cool this steamy romance.

Maya knows she’s doing the right thing by moving to Alaska with her parents, but that doesn’t mean she has to be happy about it. Forced to give up a scholarship to a prestigious art school, she relocates to a Podunk town with one college the size of her high school cafeteria, all to help hold her family together after the death of her little sister. But a fresh start can only do so much.

Jake doesn’t like handouts and he certainly doesn’t need any distractions. Working on a salmon boat in Kodiak, Alaska is the only way to pay for his mother’s surgery back in the lower forty-eight. Juggling college courses and constant worry about his mother’s health, Jake couldn’t imagine anything else fitting into his life. That is, until he meets Maya, the sexy Californian artist who tints his world in technicolor.

But when Maya’s family starts to crumble and Jake’s mom takes a turn for the worse, will they drag each other down, or can they find what they were missing all along?

In this new adult romance, Theresa DaLayne paints a swoon-worthy story about life under the midnight sun, following your heart, and learning to live on the edge.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Bloomsbury Spark via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
In a romance book, you have to want to root for the couple. You have to feel the sparks coming off the page every time they interact with each other. You have to cheer when they finally kiss. I couldn’t root for these two. I just couldn’t do it. I think, because I am very picky about my New Adult books that I choose to read, I hold them to a higher standard. Impress me, wow me. Very few NA’s have been able to do that.

Maya was impossible to like. She was maddening and aggravating and she made me want to throw my Kindle across the room. At 20 years old, she didn’t “need” to go with her family when they relocated to Alaska, but she felt guilty about not going, so she gave up everything and went. But when they get there, she spends half the time whining about it. She sounded like she was much younger than 20 years old.

I did like Jake and his devotion to his mom. That definitely warmed my heart. But it’s his behavior after he met Maya that is enough to drive me bat-crap crazy. He barely knows this girl, but suddenly he’s putting his job in danger, a job he claims he needs because his mom needs surgery. All of a sudden, since a pretty girl has shown up in Kodiak, his focus has shifted and that really drove me nuts. I would have never essentially put my mom’s health on the back burner for a guy. No freaking way would I ever let that happen. So I lost a lot of respect for Jake after he met Maya.

Sometimes, people work better together when they’re just friends and I felt like that was Jake and Maya. They never really had the romantic sparks I was expecting. Their chemistry was bland at best. I was really disappointed by this book. I was hoping that I had found another NA that I would love. Unfortunately that just wasn’t the case with this one. 

I was completely bored out of my mind with this one, so it should not surprise anyone that I’m giving this book 2 stars. The chemistry was bland, I did not like them as a couple at all. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone.

Review: Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally

Book Title: Racing Savannah
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Published Date: January 1st, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone/Companion
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
They’re from two different worlds.

He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.

With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review:
Yay, finally we get a book set on a horse farm! Like most girls, I loved horses as a child. I even took horseback riding lessons from 4th to 8th grade and I loved it. I was never all that good, but I loved doing it all the same. Some of my favorite books were The Saddle Club series and it’s spin-off Pine Hollow. My other favorite horsey series was Throughbred. So of course I had to get this book. It seemed like it was right up my alley and I couldn’t wait to dive in.

It started off a little slow for me. It wasn’t until I was about 100 pages into it that I really started to get into it. I’m not even sure why that was. It could have just been my mood, because by the time I hit page 105 I was really getting into it and I loved all the horse racing stuff. It brought me right back to my childhood.

I liked Savannah, yeah she had some issues with rich people, but once you got the backstory behind that, I wasn’t bothered by her attitude towards the rich people anymore. She had a totally different life than the Goodwin’s or the Whitfield’s. Savannah’s dad, his pregnant girlfriend Cindy, and Savannah struggled to make ends meet. College wasn’t even something Savannah was entertaining because just to apply cost money and her grades weren’t great.

I didn’t love the romance in this one. It got better towards the end, but I never really liked Jack for Savannah all that much. I wanted to feel the heat, the sexual tension between them and I just didn’t feel it at all. That really bummed me out as I think it had the potential to be a very hot romance.

Savannah’s journey was absolutely fascinating and heartwarming to watch. Her journey from thinking that horses were all there was to realizing that she could go to college if it was important to her. Watching her relationship with her dad’s girlfriend evolve was definitely good to see. Despite it having been 5 years since her mother had passed, I think Savannah struggled with the fact that her dad was in love & having a baby with someone else. 

I did enjoy this book a lot, despite not liking the romance and I think it’s because there was a lot of self discovery happening for Savannah. I’m always a sucker for those stories. I am going to give it 4 stars, and Miranda Kenneally has earned herself a spot on my auto-buy authors list. I’m definitely a fan of her books.

Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Book Title: Lies We Tell Ourselves
Author: Robin Talley
Publish Date: September 30th, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: YA Historical
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Links: AmazonThe Book Depository
Synopsis from Goodreads:
In 1959 Virginia, the lives of two girls on opposite sides of the battle for civil rights will be changed forever.

Sarah Dunbar is one of the first black students to attend the previously all-white Jefferson High School. An honors student at her old school, she is put into remedial classes, spit on and tormented daily.

Linda Hairston is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of school integration. She has been taught all her life that the races should be kept “separate but equal.”

Forced to work together on a school project, Sarah and Linda must confront harsh truths about race, power and how they really feel about one another.

Boldly realistic and emotionally compelling, Lies We Tell Ourselves is a brave and stunning novel about finding truth amid the lies, and finding your voice even when others are determined to silence it.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Harlequin Teen via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

Review:
“I don’t think right and wrong is always that simple.”

This book made me feel all the things. Anger, sadness, happiness, hope, despair and so many other emotions, it’s hard to keep it all straight. Right off the bat, we’re introduced to Sarah Dunbar, her sister Ruth and 8 other “colored” students who are attempting to be the first colored students to integrate into Jefferson High. 

I had studied this time period in college history classes so I was worried it wouldn’t feel authentic. But it did. Everything that Sarah, Ruth, Yvonne, Chuck, Paulie & Ennis went through was heartbreaking and before I had even gotten a quarter of the way through it, I had sobbed out loud, multiple times, scaring my cat.

Not only is Sarah dealing with integrating at a new, all-white school, she’s also dealing with sinful thoughts about girls.

“I used to think the wrong things all the time. Before I knew they were wrong.” -Sarah-

At this time in history, being LGBT was considered “wrong” and “sinful” and “not normal” Sarah struggled with knowing that the way she felt about girls was considered wrong by society & by God. She’s so focused on pleasing her parents and being a good girl and not disappointing them, that she doesn’t take the time for herself to think about what she wants and what she believes.

“I don’t talk back and I don’t ask questions. That’s what good daughters do. Being good means being invisible.” -Sarah-

I know I would have failed big time in this time in history. I get that it was a totally different time in our history, but wow, things have definitely changed at least in some ways.

“It isn’t right for girls to talk about being smart around boys.” -Sarah-

This line absolutely infuriated me. Again, I know that this was a very different time in our history where girls were expected to shut up, not question their father or their husband and pop out babies. I was absolutely livid at reading this. Especially knowing that Sarah was smart. She was very smart, yet she couldn’t talk about that around boys.

“Everyone is counting on me. I can’t be a failure.” -Sarah-

That seems like a lot of pressure on a teenager and I was, once again, infuriated on Sarah’s behalf. She was so concerned about not failing anyone and I was honestly worried for her. What would happen if she did fail? Would she be able to deal with the disappointment and move on?

Linda had it all. She was popular, worry free and seemingly happy. Her father was well known in the community and he was also very well respected. But Linda’s hiding a secret, well a couple of secrets. Both of which she knows she cannot leak out or it would damage her family’s reputation.

Since she was a small child, she’s obediently listened to her father and willingly parroted all his beliefs to her friends. She agrees with everything her father says about the dangers of Negroes and how the end of segregation is going to ruin America. But everything changes when she meets Sarah.

“It didn’t seem right that she had to be so scared just because she was a Negro. She couldn’t help the color of her skin.” -Linda-

Linda waffled on her beliefs a lot and while I was continuously frustrated by her, I understood her, at least a little bit. All her life her father had said bad things about Negroes and she was so desperate to get his approval that she agreed with him without doing any of her own thinking on the subject. Meeting Sarah was exactly what Linda needed in order to realize that maybe these people were okay. Maybe they weren’t lazy, uneducated slobs like her Daddy always said they were.

Linda was also dating a much older boy in the hopes that they would get married after graduation and she could move out of her father’s home and start popping out babies with Jack. She honestly didn’t think there were any other choices. At that time, marriage and babies were really the only choice for most women.

“Jack is all I need.” -Linda-

That quote frustrated me, but again I know why she felt like that. She wanted to get away from her awful father and she truly believed that Jack was all she needed because she wanted to marry him and leave home. She was convinced that a life with Jack was all she wanted and needed.

It’s Sarah who tries to get Linda to figure out on her own what she believes and to stop taking everything her father says as gospel. Sarah is not afraid to call Linda out on it either. That I loved.These two had so many passionate discussions on what was right and what was wrong. That was the basis of many of their conversations early on which I thought was awesome.

I wish there had been more in the way of romance. I was definitely excited to see the romance unfold and I was disappointed that we really didn’t get a lot of it. Also, at about 65% of the way through, it had slowed down and it was a bit boring for awhile. Thankfully it picked back up. I did enjoy this book a lot, more than I expected to actually and I’m really glad I took a chance on this book. I’m giving it 4 stars.

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally

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Book Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Published Date: July 15th, 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: YA/NA Contemporary
Standalone/Companion
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

Disclaimer: Library book.

Review:
I had a lot of hope for this book. I had heard awesome things about it and it was going to be my first Miranda Kenneally book, so I was definitely feeling apprehensive. What if I didn’t like it? What if it didn’t wow me like I wanted it to? I’m so glad I can answer this positively. It was an awesome book where I very quickly fell in love with Annie and with Jeremiah.

I loved how Jeremiah didn’t push her, he let things unfold at her pace and he didn’t try to rush her. He reminded me of my fiance in that way. He knew Annie was still grieving for the boy she loved before.

Yet he introduced her to his family along the way. Guys don’t do that unless they are seriously interested in a girl. He even took her to meet his grandfather who was living in an old folks home. Jeremiah had a close relationship with his PopPop, allowing them to joke around.

“Stop hitting on her PopPop. She’s not your type.” -Jeremiah-
“And what is her type?” -PopPop-
“Somebody under seventy.” -Jeremiah-

I loved the rest of Jeremiah’s family. They all seemed very close knit, and his mother especially seemed overly concerned. I understood why she was so anxious about her adrenaline seeking son, but as someone who is very much an adrenaline junkie, I totally sympathized with Jeremiah. I understood the feeling of wanting that rush, but not wanting to hurt or even scare my family.

Annie’s family was interesting. It was just her mom, Annie, and Annie’s brother Nick. Annie lives her life with constant thoughts of what if. She constantly blames herself for Kyle’s death although as we find out, no one is to blame. She even goes as far as to blame her mother for Kyle’s death. Of course she regrets saying that. 

Her mom never really felt things with Kyle were all that healthy. When Annie began dating Kyle, she dropped everything. Her friends, her activities, things she did for herself. If Kyle wasn’t a part of something, Annie didn’t want to participate. 

“A guy should fit into your life, Annie, not become it.” -Annie’s mom-

I totally agreed with her mom on this. A guy should never be your whole life. He should never become the only thing you think about or hang out with. A guy should compliment you, not complete you. 

Kyle was also the reason she lost friends. Kelsey in particular was hurt when Annie began dating Kyle and I totally understood. To Kelsey, it felt like Annie had left her behind in favor of a boy. While I understood Annie a little bit, I was also so angry with her. Boys should never come before friends and I was so annoyed that Annie had allowed that to happen.

I loved the ending, it was awesome and it left me incredibly happy. It felt like I was Annie for so many reasons. We were both afraid to move on, and love someone no matter how caring and supportive and patient they were. I absolutely loved this book and I cannot wait to read more of Kenneally’s books. 5 stars to this awesome book that broke me out of my reading slump.

“If you don’t put yourself out there, if you don’t take risks, you can’t truly feel.”

Stacking the Shelves #55

This feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

Hi everyone! This week was a week in which I wanted to pinch myself. Several weeks ago I got an email from Bloomsbury Publishing, with their Winter 2015 catalog and a request form to fill out. I filled it out, picking and choosing the titles I was most interested in and emailed it back. I had pretty much forgotten about it until this week, when they sent me one of the titles I requested. There was a lot of flailing & fangirling and freaking out that day. This week, I also got two books from NetGalley and I picked up 3 library books.

Let’s see what landed in my mailbox this week.

Bought
Received for Review
-From Publisher-

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

-NetGalley-
The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter
Gifted
Won

Library

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Stealing Parker (Hundred Oaks #2) by Miranda Kenneally

Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn #1) by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

So that’s it for me this week. Be sure to let me know if you’ve read any of these. Also leave the links to your Stacking the Shelves posts and vlogs so I can try to stop by. Have a great wee everyone!