From My Bookshelf: “The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August”

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I’ve decided to pull a book from my bookshelf to read at least once a month and feature it on my blog. The first one I’ll be reading from my bookshelf this year is The Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. I saw someone showing this off on YouTube and I decided to pick it up. Also, it reminds me a lot of Every day by David Levithan which I absolutely LOVED. I hope to love this one as well.

This book follows a man named Harry August. Every time he dies he goes back to a child. He goes back in time many times before he dies again, but this time it all changes. He finds a little girl by his bedside and she asks him to help her. She calls him doctor and she needs to send a message. Soon Harry tries to save a past he can’t change and a future he can’t allow to happen.

Can’t wait to get into the story!

Book Review: Landline by Rainbow Rowell

landline2After I read and loved Positive, I picked up Landline by Rainbow Rowell. The story is about a couple who are on the rocks. Georgie, the wife of Neal and mom of two girls, is a busy writer for a popular television show which consumes her life. She cowrites with her best friend Seth. Seth and Neal aren’t the best of friends because there’s always been jealousy between them. Neal wants Georgie to spend Christmas with him and the girls at his mom’s house in Nebraska. Georgie refuses because she has work to do at her job. That is pretty much how the story begins. Of course Georgie finds a phone and connects it to the landline at her mother’s house. This phone will connect her to the past and allows her to relive when she first met her husband and she figures out what she has to do to sort of win him back. This phone gave her the ability to talk to her husband before they got married and had children. Practically when the were dating and no one knows this but Georgie. Even past Neal didn’t know he was talking to future Georgie.

I would have liked this story if it wasn’t so repetitive. The only funny and interesting part in this book to me was Georgie’s two girls Noomi and…forgot the other name, but those two girls are hilarious! Other than that, I read this book incredibly slow. It was mainly a back and forth battle with getting in touch with her husband. There was always an excuse as to why he couldn’t answer his phone. This could have been a teen drama because I felt like the characters were too immature to be adults.

I don’t feel I learned anything from this book. It was all a big blah to me. I think the story could have been shorter. Landline is Rowell’s second adult book, so I don’t want to be too harsh and this was also the first book I read from her. I do know of Fangirl, Eleanor & Park, and Attachments. Not sure if I will check those out because I’m not really a fan of her writing style. All in all, I didn’t care for this book, but it wasn’t terrible. I also don’t get the hype surrounding this story. The humor was good enough for me to give it two stars on Goodreads.

I’m currently reading, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch and a review will be posted soon.

Book Reviews: Half Bad, Popular & We Were Liars

Hello! I’ve read 3 books so far and we’re only 4 days into the new year. I am very surprised! I chose to read some really engaging books, so I’m guessing that may be why I’ve read them so fast. Instead of doing one post for each book I decided to knock them all out since I finished them all so quickly. Let’s get to the reviews.

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I really liked this book. It is a memoir written by Maya, who was thirteen during the time about her life being a geek. Her father bought a book a long time ago about popularity, style, and etiquette for teens. Maya found it while rummaging through things. Then she got the idea to follow the popularity guide and document her life throughout her 8th grade school year. I thought this book was very honest. When people review this book they only say it’s about a young girl following a popularity guide from years ago, but it’s a lot more than that. She tells us a lot about her life living near the Texas/Mexico boarder, the dangers that come with her place of residence, the socioeconomic statuses of her family and those around her, race, class, and the community she grew up in. There’s a lot more to this book than a young girl following a popularity guide.

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I absolutely adore it! I couldn’t put it down. I cannot wait for book two, Half Wild. It’s set to release in March. I normally don’t pick up books about witches. I’m really glad I picked this one up. The story is so fresh and nothing like I’ve ever read before. First of all, the story takes place in England. This is interesting. To put it simply, it’s not the typical witch book. This story is about a boy named Nathan who is a half white witch and half black witch. Needless to say he is not liked by many people. When he turns a certain age he has to get his gifts, if not then he will surely die. However, since he’s a half black witch in a society that is ruled by white witches he has a chance of dying anyway. If that wasn’t bad enough, Nathan is the son of the most famous and strongest black witch there is. Yes. Very interesting story. There is a lot of backstory, so it didn’t get interesting to me until the middle of the book, then things started to pick up from there. The ending left me hoping the second book would release earlier than expected.

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Where do I start…. I was expecting so much more from this book because everyone has been raving about it. The concept was interesting, but it was poorly written. I can’t say much about it because (here we go again) everyone says it’s better if you don’t know anything about this book before you read it. I didn’t find not knowing to help me find this book entertaining or mysterious. It didn’t help at all. I think it’s more of a marketing ploy to get people to buy and read it. The metaphors are terrible. There was no defined climax. The ending was mediocre. If you really want to know what I’m talking about give the book a try. I must say the first chapter, well first couple of pages took me off guard. That was it for the shock factor.

Those are the books I’ve read between December 31, 2014 – January 3, 2015! I’ve never had such a good set of books (minus We Were Liars) that I’ve read ever! Really happy about it.

Book Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

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Published July 2, 2013

Length: 320 pages

Source: Oyster Books

Money can’t buy a good first impression.

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. And after years of studying them from behind the cash register of her mom’s porcelain-doll shop, she has seen nothing to prove otherwise. Enter Xander Spence—he’s tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and the fact that he seems to be one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. With so many obstacles standing in their way, can she close the distance between them? (summary from Amazon)

I normally don’t read contemporary books because I don’t like the overly romantic aspect of them, but I gave this one a try and I must say I’m glad I did! It was the opposite of what I expected. If you aren’t into contemporary and you want to read at least a couple, this book is great for starters. I don’t want to give it away, but there’s a certain reality to this book that separates it from other books in the same genre.

2am At The Cat’s Pajamas

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Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, rebellious nine-year-old who also happens to be an aspiring jazz singer. Still mourning the recent death of her mother, and caring for her grief-stricken father, she doesn’t realize that on the eve of Christmas Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day—and night—of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia’s legendary jazz club The Cat’s Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat’s Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it.

2am At The Cat’s Pajamas is a very interesting book. It has a unique story line. I think it would have liked it better if I read it around Christmas. I really liked the ambitious nature of Madeleine. To say that she went through a lot with her mother dying and taking care of her father, she still kept her dream alive because it was something very important to her.  It is a quick read, so it won’t take you a whole week. I would recommend this book to music lovers.

I received this book from Blogging for books for review.

Romantic Reads Deal!

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If you are a fan of romance, then you should love Apple’s iBook deal. Romantic books are offered in iBooks for $1.99 each for a limited time only! It does include the sub genres of Romance as well, like Contemporary. Check it out!

Review: If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

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If You Could Be Mine

Sara Farizan

Released: August 20, 2013

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Length: 257 pages

Synopsis

In this terrific debut novel, readers meet Sahar, a 17-year-old student who lives in Tehran. She is smart and ambitious, and she has a secret that could get her arrested or even killed; she is a lesbian and is in love with her best friend. When Nasrin’s parents arrange for her to marry a young male doctor, Sahar knows that she and Nasrin will no longer be able to be with each other. When desperate Sahar meets transsexual Parveen at a party given by her gay cousin, she thinks she sees a way to be with Nasrin. In Iran, it is not illegal to be transsexual, as it is to be gay or lesbian, and the state will even pay for sex reassignment surgery because it is seen as a necessary medical procedure. Sahar pursues sex reassignment, dreaming of marrying Nasrin even though she knows in her heart that she doesn’t really want to become a man. As Nasrin’s wedding approaches, Sahar realizes its inevitability and must decide what she is going to do. Farizan’s portrayal of Sahar and her predicament is sensitive and heartbreaking. Even less-sympathetic characters, such as Nasrin and her parents, are portrayed in a nuanced manner; in the culture Farizan depicts, the girls’ fears that their romantic relationship will become known are realistic and understandable.

Review

I love this book and I highly recommend it. It chronicles the life of two teenage girls who are in love with each other. They were friends since they were little girls because their mothers were best friends. Sahar has to deal with seeing her best friend, Nasrin get married and knowing she isn’t able to be with her publicly due to the strict rules governing Iran. I do find it odd that Nasrin identifying herself as lesbian or not wasn’t clear. It is clear to the reader that Sahar is lesbian. Nasrin insists on separating herself from the homosexual and transexual community, while Sahar didn’t.

The author gives us a glimpse into their lives about things that are taboo to talk about in Middle Eastern countries. The book even explains what people have to go through who feel they are the wrong gender (transgendered). It’s amazing to read about how far someone would go for love, even in a stage of immaturity, then in the end realize that there is more to life than the one you love. There are other people who love you just as much. I am not a lesbian, but I can relate to Sahar in a lot of ways. This is a beautiful story about friendship, love, and loss.

If You Could Be Mine is available in the Amazon ebook store for $2.99 and in paperback or hardcover.

Review: Belong To Me by Marisa de los Santos

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Belong To Me

Author: Marisa de los Santos

Published: March 17, 2009

Length: 481 pages

 

 Synopsis

Cornelia Brown surprised herself when she was gripped by the sudden, inescapable desire to move with her husband to the suburbs. Her mettle is quickly tested by her impeccably dressed, overly judgmental neighbor Piper Truitt–the embodiment of everything Cornelia feared she’d find in suburbia. With Lake, another decent arrival, Cornelia shares her love of literature and old movies–as she forms an instant bond with this warm yet intrusive woman and her perceptive, brilliant young son, Dev. But there are shocking secrets and unexpected surprises lurking beneath the peaceful veneer of suburban life–and nothing is quite what it seems.

Review

I purchased this book from bookoutlet.com because I wanted to read more fiction. I wanted to love this book. I was so intrigued by the cover, but the pages say something totally different for me. I barely got through to the eighth chapter and I didn’t finish. What I did not like about this book was there are too many different stories going on at once and it was hard to keep up with them all. You wonder who’s talking.. who is narrating the chapters? Sometimes I thought Cornelia was talking. Other times I thought Piper was talking. This book is very confusing. You read about Cornelia’s story… Piper’s story… and Lake’s story separately and sometimes they weave together and as a reader it can be confusing. You even read from the view of Piper’s best friend and Dev’s son. So confusing!!! What was I supposed to get while reading this book? Where’s the climax?  If there was one or two stories within the main storyline, that would have been fine, but this is too much! I wish I could have finished the book. I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. I’m sure I will give her books another try. I know she’s written a few more. I will try to read another one after this experience, but I believe I won’t get to it this year. Hopefully, I will!