Review: Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz

NOSBook Title: Not Otherwise Specified
Author: Hannah Moskowitz
Published Date: March 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis
Etta is tired of dealing with all of the labels and categories that seem so important to everyone else in her small Nebraska hometown.

Everywhere she turns, someone feels she’s too fringe for the fringe. Not gay enough for the Dykes, her ex-clique, thanks to a recent relationship with a boy; not tiny and white enough for ballet, her first passion; and not sick enough to look anorexic (partially thanks to recovery). Etta doesn’t fit anywhere— until she meets Bianca, the straight, white, Christian, and seriously sick girl in Etta’s therapy group. Both girls are auditioning for Brentwood, a prestigious New York theater academy that is so not Nebraska. Bianca seems like Etta’s salvation, but how can Etta be saved by a girl who needs saving herself?

The latest powerful, original novel from Hannah Moskowitz is the story about living in and outside communities and stereotypes, and defining your own identity.

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

Review
There is such a shortage of bisexual main characters in YA, so when I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it.

I liked Etta’s voice almost immediately, and I was able to connect with her in a way that I haven’t been able to connect with many characters. I’ve struggled with not fitting in. I struggled for 5 years with the realization that I was interested in both men and women.

Not to mention I have other health issues that set me apart from other people. So feeling like an outsider is not a new feeling for me.

Etta found this group of people who cared for her and accepted her as she was. Now that was a great thing to see. Mason, James and of course, Bianca. Bianca she had met in group for their eating disorders and James was her brother and Mason was the guy that Etta was sort of attracted to.

I still cannot figure out why I didn’t enjoy this as much as I was wanting to. I think a lot of it had to do with Bianca and even Etta’s relationship with her. First of all, Bianca was fourteen. What the heck was she doing around a bunch of seventeen year olds. I know Etta was just trying to support her, and be there for her, but there were times that the friendship would set off alarm bells in my head.

And yet, I know what it’s like to not have anything in common with people your own age. I know what it’s like to relate to someone older or younger than you. So while sometimes I’d get weirded out by the friendship between Etta & Bianca, usually I understood it. So I was sometimes conflicted.

I thought the character development for Mason & James was not as strong as it should have been and normally, I’d consider that a book’s downfall, but in this case, I was enamored with Etta’s voice, so I was willing to overlook certain things, like the character development not being as strong for these two as I was hoping.

All in all, I did enjoy this book. It was an enjoyable book, but I wish I had loved it like I wanted to. I am giving it 4 stars and I do recommend this book for people who want diverse books, because this one fits that bill to a T.

Waiting on Wednesday #18

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This feature is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It’s a way to showcase upcoming titles that we’re excited about.

My Pick
FIRSTS
Firsts

Synopsis
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

My Thoughts
I am so insanely excited for this book. I love the sex positive message I’m getting from it. Society tells girls that they shouldn’t want sex. That it’s unfeminine to be sexual. Society tells us that only men want sex and women should just give it to them whenever they want it. This book shows a teenager who is taking control of her sexual experiences after her first time was not all she thought it would be.

Top Ten (Okay Twenty) Diverse YA Contemporary Books

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015This feature is hosted by the ladies of The Broke and the Bookish.

Today’s prompt was all about celebrating diversity. Now, I’m all for that, so of course I had to jump right into it.

LGBT Books
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Not Otherwise Specified by Hannah Moskowitz
-There are so few bisexual main characters in books that I had to put this one on the list even though I haven’t finished it-
Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
-My favorite LGBT book of the year so far. Simon & Blue were ADORABLE-
Far From You by Tess Sharpe
-One of my favorite books of 2014. Yet another bisexual main character-
Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2) by Dahlia Adler
-I’ve heard that Van & Bri are all kinds of sexy, so I cannot wait to read this-
The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi
-Still my favorite Jessica Verdi book. It was a hard book to read, but so, so important-
One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva
-I loved this book. It was different as there was a lot of emphasis on Armenian culture, which I loved-

Eating Disorders/OCD/Anxiety/Mental Illness Books
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Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
-I have not read this one yet, but I have it out from the library right now. Hopefully I can get to it soon-
Paperweight by Meg Haston
-I absolutely adored this book. It was beautiful, heartbreaking and hopeful-
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
-I have an e-ARC of this. I started to read it last month, but it was so triggering, I had to put it back down-
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
-Utterly beautiful book. Captivating characters, story and loads of feels-
The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno
-One of my all time favorite books. It was awesome and heartbreaking-
My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
-One of my favorite books of 2015. This book made me feel all the feels-

Books about Rape/Sexual Assault
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Pointe by Brandy Colbert
-This book is the book I routinely recommend to everyone. Such a gorgeous book-
All The Rage by Courtney Summers
-This book enraged me in the best possible way-
Fault Line by Christa Desir
-I adored this book, I think mostly because it didn’t end neatly. It showed a different side to what happens to rape victims-
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
-I need to read this book. I cannot believe I haven’t read it yet-
Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens
-One of my favorite books of 2014. It was beautiful, feelsy and heartwarming-

Books that feature disabled characters
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 Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell
-This book was so much fun. I related to it in a way I wasn’t expecting-
Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
-I was thrilled to read this book. There really is so few books out there featuring physically disabled characters-
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
-I have not read this book yet, but I think I probably should. It does look like something I’d enjoy-

If you did a TTT post this week, be sure to leave me links so I can stop by your posts as well.

Review: Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

DODSBook Title: Daughter of Deep Silence
Author: Carrie Ryan
Published Date: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Dutton Books For Young Readers
Genre: YA Mystery
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Purchase Links: AmazonBarnes & NobleThe Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads
I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

Disclaimer: This is a library book.

Review
I’ve been in an epic book slump this past month or so. I’m not even sure how many (if any) books I read in July. Needless to say, I was worried Daughter of Deep Silence wouldn’t pull me out of it. I needed a really good book.

Thankfully, Daughter of Deep Silence pulled me in almost immediately. I was a little put off at first when I realized Frances was only 14. That is younger than most of the characters in YA books. I was worried she would stay that age throughout the entire book. I think that would have caused me not to enjoy the book, despite getting into it really quickly.

Thankfully, after a few chapters, the book fast forwarded four years. Once that happened, I was less nervous. I just didn’t know how I was going to handle the book being about a 14 year old girl. It would have felt too young for me.

With the time jump, I was able to enjoy the story. Enjoy how Libby/Frances handled things when she knew Senator Wells and his son, Grey had lied about had happened that night. It wasn’t a wave that took out the Persephone and the majority of it’s passengers. It was men with guns who took out the Persephone and it’s passengers.

Only a few people know the truth and Frances/Libby is determined to make sure the truth comes out. She’s tired of hiding, tired of pretending she’s one person, when she’s really not.

And then there’s Grey. Grey who fell in love with Frances on that boat. Grey who was still missing Frances just as badly four years later. What baffles me that Grey knew Frances only a short amount of time, and yet he never forgot about her. Not only that, he didn’t even recognize her when she was standing in front of him.

Grey’s father was creepy and he gave me the heebie jeebies. I never trusted him, I always suspected he knew more than he was willing to tell anyone. He was savy, smart and cunning. He knew what to say, what not to say, how to act, etc. He was not going to allow anyone to find out what he knew.

Yet, he knew Libby was dangerous. Even if Libby claims she can’t remember anything from that fateful night. Senator Wells tries everything in his power to keep his on Grey from associating with her. But Grey can’t stop.

He’s falling for her.

And she is falling for him.

A lot of the stuff I want to talk about, I really can’t because it’s pretty spoilery. I will say that I enjoyed this book a lot and I definitely recommend it to those readers who enjoy a good mystery with a compelling main character. I am giving it four stars.

Stacking the Shelves #80

581bc-stsThis feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. It’s a way to show our readers what books we’ve added to our shelves this week.

This week, I ended up with a small haul, and to be honest, I’m really happy about that. I’ve been dealing with an epic reading slump. I am hoping that these three books will help pull me out of the slump.

Received for Review
-Edelweiss-
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Bounce (Boomerang #3) by Noelle August
Need by Joelle Charbonneau
Has To Be Love by Jolene Perry

Be sure to let me know if you are planning to read any of these. Also, leave me the links to your Stacking the Shelves posts/vlogs.

Waiting on Wednesday #17

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This feature is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It’s a way to showcase upcoming releases.

My Pick
TSQ

Goodreads

Synopsis
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.

In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.

But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.

My Thoughts
Holy crap, gimmie this book. This book sounds amazing, and I’m MADLY in love with this cover. It sounds like the kind of fantasy novel that I will love. I’ve been looking for some amazing fantasy reads. I think this one will be one of them.

Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession

cd680-tttThis feature is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

I have added several books to my shelves recently. I added a few library books to my shelves as well, so those will hang around for only a few weeks.

Go forth and check out the books I added this week!

Library Books
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Becoming Jinn (Becoming Jinn #1) by Lori Goldstein
-I’ve heard both good and bad things about this book, but I’m head over heels in love with the cover-
Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
-I’ve heard mostly good things about this book, and it definitely looks like something I’ll love-
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
-My FAVORITE Sarah Dessen book. So, so, SO good!-
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
-I had my eye on this book before, but it was Corey Ann Haydu’s vehement insistence that I read this book, that won me over-

Review Books
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The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jan Bennett
-I’m very hopeful for this book. It looks like something I’ll enjoy-
The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey
-Suicide pact + sister books! Eeeeeep! Things that I love. I have high hopes for this book-

Gifted
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The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno
-One of my FAVORITE books of 2014. A million thank yous to my Secret Sister for sending it to me-

Bought
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Under the Lights (Daylight Falls #2) by Dahlia Adler
-I am so excited to read this book. I’m in LOVE with that cover-
Paperweight by Meg Haston
-One of my favorite books of 2015. It was utterly gorgeous & I needed a finished copy-
The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson
-I fell in love with The Kiss of Deception and I knew I needed to pre-order The Heart of Betrayal-

Let me know if you added any of the same books on your list this week. Also don’t forget to leave the links to your post in the comments below.

Stacking the Shelves #79

581bc-stsThis feature is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews. It’s a way to show off what books arrived on our shelves.

This week, two of my pre-orders arrived. One book I had read and loved and the other book was a highly anticipated sequel to a book I had loved last year.

I got two e-ARCs from NetGalley.

I stopped by the library and picked up two books.

Bought
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Paperweight by Meg Haston
The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson

Received for Review
-NetGalley-
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The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey
The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

Library
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Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
Becoming Jinn (Becoming Jinn #1) by Laurie Goldstein

I hope you all had a great week!

Trigger Monday

So earlier this week, there was a Twitter hashtag #noshameday focusing on breaking the silence on mental health issues. I shared a few things that have affected my own mental health, and I wanted to talk about them a bit more today.

My mom’s second marriage was a disaster right from the start. He was verbally abusive to me, my mom and my little brother. He would scream at me and my baby brother, and verbally demean my mom. Every time I spoke up for her, he would scream at me to shut up and that this was none of my business.

He was abusive to my mom. How the fuck could anyone expect me to be quiet about the way he was treating her?

I am forever grateful that she finally left the marriage. I was still living at home due to my own health issues, and when she left him, I went with her. That was never even a question in my mind. She was my mom, I loved her, and I was going to go with her. No matter what.

The past 4 1/2 years have been so goddamm peaceful. She is healthier, both physically and emotionally and I am healthier as well.

Every time someone yells or screams, even if it’s not mean sounding, my heart jumps into my throat, I start shaking and I shut down completely. I don’t need a doctor to tell me that this is PTSD.

I still have to see him sometimes. Usually I can avoid it. When he comes to pick up my brother, I hide in my room. I used to be embarrassed that I did that, but not anymore. If my brother has an event, I fight through it and make sure I am not sitting anywhere near him.

Now another one of my issues started 10 years ago, when I was getting an MRI. I had a full on panic attack due to feeling closed in. It’s not as bad now, but crowds can trigger it, elevators can trigger it (actually I’d consider an elevator my biggest trigger)

You guys all know that I ended a relationship last October. I’ve been doing so well that I didn’t expect to be affected by any sort of triggers. Until I found the hand towels he bought me with my favorite retired basketball players’ name on it. I just froze and then broke down into sobs. I had forgotten all about them.

Then I thought it would be a great idea to listen to Taylor Swift’s newest album. I absolutely adore the album and I never in a million years expected to be triggered by it. Usually it helps me feel better whenever I’m having a bad day.

But then, I heard this part of one of the songs:
I want you for worse or for better,
I would wait forever and ever (ever and ever),
Broke your heart, I’ll put it back together (together).
I would wait forever and ever (ever and ever).

And I basically lost it all over again. Because we were best friends for YEARS before we got together. He always swore I was the one, forever and that he wanted to marry me someday. It took me a long time to agree to date him because I did not want to mess up our friendship.

Forever and always was the one thing he always said to me.

I’ll probably write more about this at another time, but damn, I miss him so much. I miss how he knew me better than anyone else in the world. I miss how I could tell him anything and he wouldn’t judge me. He knew I was bisexual, and he didn’t care. It didn’t matter to him.

Yet, I’m angry at him. So fucking angry with him. I loved him, I trusted him with my heart and he ripped my heart up into tiny unrecognizable pieces. How can someone you love, break your heart like this?

The idea of trusting anyone with my heart is so incredibly scary that I don’t think I can do it. My walls had always been down around him because I believed he would never hurt me.

I want to put the Berlin Wall around my heart.

Sometimes I don’t feel worthy of love. I don’t want to pull anyone into my life. I’ve got a lot of health issues, coupled with the anxiety, PTSD, who is going to love me?

I thought it was supposed to be Chris.

I don’t trust easily. I trust my immediate family and a handful of other people. Monday was just so full of triggers for me. Whether it was talking on Twitter, listening to music or looking for something in my closet.

I don’t know if I’m even going to post this.  It’s probably the most personal I’ve ever gotten on the blog.

If you’re seeing this, thanks for reading.

Top Ten Most Hyped Books I Haven’t Read Yet

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This weekly feature is from The Broke and the Bookish.

I wanted to do this list because there are so many books that are hyped up that I haven’t read. There are also a lot of series that are hyped up that I haven’t read. So I stuck with three series that I haven’t read. It’s just a coincidence that it all adds up to ten books.

I couldn’t do this list on Tuesday because I had something else scheduled for that day, so I decided to do the list today instead.

Here they are!

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The Assassin’s Blade (#0.1-0.5)
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1)
Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2)
Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)

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Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)
Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2)
Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone ( Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)
Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2)
Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3)

Let me know if you did this at some point this week, and leave your links so I can stop by and check out your lists.