Sep 29, 2017

Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie


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Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Author: Sherman Alexie
Publisher: Little, Brown Books
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Paperback, 230 Pages
Published September 2007



Summary: Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.


I was assigned this book to read for my YA Fiction Writing class, and I had never heard about it before. So at first, I was unsure of what to expect. I didn't know much of what this book was going to be tackling and dealing with, but I went into it eagerly because I had already learned that this story was semi-autobiographical and I knew that Sherman Alexie was a successful writer, so I was eager to get a glimpse into his life growing up on an Indian reservation, even if it only came through the story in bits and pieces. 

As the summary explains, Junior has a lot of problems. Not only is he small and mousy, but he was born with fluid in his brain and has a history of a lot of medical issues. Which makes him a target among his peers at the reservation, because we all know how everyone likes to pick on the small guy. And then things get worse when he decides that he wants to attend an all-white school outside of the reservation -- because now, in addition to being the weird runt of the group, he is branded as a traitor. 

So the story follows Junior as he attends this new school, meets a lot of people (both good and bad), is the subject to a pretty prevalent amount of racism, and fights for his chance to fit in and make people see him as someone cool and worthy of their time, rather than that poor Indian kid who has to walk to school some days because their car doesn't have enough gas. 

What I really liked about this book was the humor. The book isn't really told in a "dear diary" sort of format, with different entries and all of that, but scattered throughout the story are drawings that are meant to be understood as Junior's (because he is a cartoonist), and there are even some fourth-wall breaks where it becomes clear that Junior is addressing the reader rather than whoever he is surrounded by in the story. And there were so many different quips and frank little jokes that had me laughing so hard I had to stop and share them with my roommate, and even take some Snapchats to send to my boyfriend and best friends. 

Another thing that I enjoyed about this book was how many different topics it managed to cover in just a short 230 pages. This book discussed everything from medical issues, to broken families, to alcoholism, to racism, to love, to eating disorders, friendships, families, relationships, and everything in between. I was impressed that all those different facets managed to fit in so naturally and not feel forced, and it was really impressive to see. I'm curious to see which parts of Alexie's life shone through in this story, especially because there were several pretty awesome moments, as well as some very devastating ones as well. This book kept me on the edge of my seat with its ups and downs, and I never lost interest in the story for a single second from start to finish. 

Overall, I enjoyed The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. It had me laughing at all the right moments, and feeling shocked or sympathetic at those proper moments, too. I'm glad that this book was assigned for my class because I got a chance to explore something that I may not have noticed otherwise, and I ended up flying through the book and being hooked by the story, which was something that I was not expecting, although it turned out to be pretty delightful. :-) 


 

Sep 27, 2017

Waiting On Wednesday: The Key to Everything by Paula Stokes

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Emily's Waiting on:


Title: The Key to Everything
Author: Paula Stokes
Genre: New Adult Contemporary 
Publication Date: Nov. 7th, 2017

Summary: College senior Oakland Fuller has always believed in signs and soulmates, so when both a therapist and a fortuneteller say that her repeated relationship failures are due to unresolved feelings for her high school boyfriend, Seth, Oakland tries desperately to get back in touch with him. Problem: Seth isn’t responding to her online messages.
To rescue Oakland from a pathetic Christmas break of sitting in front of the computer, her best friend Morgan books the two of them on a guided excursion of Thailand. When the girls meet a pair of American soldiers in Bangkok, Oakland takes Morgan’s advice and engages in a little harmless holiday hooking up. Sergeant Tyson Banks is the perfect mix of sexy and fun. Two weeks with him might just turn out to be the best relationship Oakland has ever had.
Until the day she spots someone familiar across a crowded temple complex—it’s Seth! Somehow the boy she’s been trying to reconnect with is in Bangkok too. If that’s not a sign, then what is?
Filled with friendship, romance, bromance, and gorgeous faraway settings, The Key to Everything is a story for anyone who’s ever dreamd of finding love when (or where) they least expected it.
New Adult is starting to become one of my favorite genres (could be because I'm a new adult, but still). I love second chance love, I just think it's so cute. I'm a huge fan of Colleen Hoover and this totally sounds like something she'd write so I feel like I'll totally enjoy this. Give it a try if you're a fan of Hoover or New Adult and be sure to let us know what you think!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so we can stop back! 


Sep 26, 2017

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien


Carry Me Home
Jessica Therrien
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, Young Adult

“A riveting page-turner… Jessica Therrien broke my heart into a million pieces — and then put it back together again. This book will haunt and uplift readers long after they turn the last page.”
-KAT ROSS, best-selling author of The Midnight Sea

CARRY ME HOME is a fictional novel inspired by the true story of a teenage girl’s involvement in several Mexican gangs in San Jose and Los Angeles. The members of her crew call her, Guera, Spanish for “white girl” and it doesn’t take long for her to get lost in their world of guns and drugs.
* * *
Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.
They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.
But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world.
Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.
Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival.
EXCERPT:
“You ready for this, Guera?” he asks.
It’s a test, Guera. Only thing I can say is you’re allowed to fight back. Take ‘em out with everything you got.
I’d heard of people being jumped into a gang before, maybe it was Rosa who told me about it. As the girls start to descend from their spots around the room, slowly closing in like encircling wolves, I know what’s about to happen.
The realization takes hold in my chest, a quick plunge of the heart into an icy lake of fear. I back away slowly out of instinct, ready to run, but there’s nowhere to go. The sound of their skittering feet is the first thing I hear before they come at me. Me against all of them. Me against Rose Tattoo and Cigarette Twins. Me against the jealous novias. Ten sets of eyes glinting with the thrill of a fight. I flinch and turn my back to avoid the fists, but they’re all around me. One of them catches me by the shoulders, holding me in place as the other girls hit the back of my skull. My head flies forward, chin to chest.
At first I don’t know whether to swing or cover. I reach up to protect myself, but there are too many points of contact. The rush of adrenaline is intense. It blocks the pain, but there is a fiery need in me to get away. I try and kick or punch, feeling one or two connect, but the girls are everywhere. An elbow slams against my temple. My head splits and my ears ring. I go down.
Every infinite minute of being the enemy feels like it’ll never end.
Someone’s shoe stomps my thigh. Others strike my ribs. I heave and gag until I can’t breathe. But that kind of terror turns me into a resilient kind of crazy. The kind of rabid-mad that is born of desperation. I scrape and flail until I’m on my feet, pulling hair and swinging my fists, making contact with whatever I can. I don’t realize I’m screaming until Toño calls them to a stop.
It ceases the moment the girls hear his voice, and I’m left there shaking and crazed, my breath dragging in and out of my lungs in a feverish effort to return to its normal rhythm. I pant and cry, as softly as I can, but it’s hard to deny my body the relief of all-out sobbing. My head hurts. My brain smashes against my skull with the pulse of too much pressure. I taste blood in my mouth, though no one has touched my face. Now that it’s over, the pain of it all rushes to the surface and makes me want to vomit. I feel like I could die.
Why am I here? Why am I doing this?
“She’s in,” Toño says, and the cheers of the group shock my senses and make me tense up.
They all rush me, and at first I’m terrified it’s about to start again, but instead they hug me and pat me on the shoulder all at once. Each hand on my back or squeeze around the shoulders rocks me with pain, but they’re so happy. Their laughter and cheering is contagious, it flows into me, filling me with a strange sense of pride and belonging. I can’t help my smile when I see their encouraging faces. I even start to laugh.


Author Bio:
Jessica Therrien is the author of the young adult series Children of the Gods. Book one in the series, Oppression, became a Barnes & Noble best-seller shortly after its release. Her trilogy has been translated and sold through major publishers around the world, such as Editions AdA (Canada), EditionsMilan (France), and SharpPoint Press (China).
Aside from her Children of the Gods series, Jessica is the author of a kid’s picture book called, The Loneliest Whale. Her award-winning stories can also be found in a published anthology of flash fiction.
Jessica currently lives in Irvine with her husband and two young sons. She is working on an a YA suspense thriller series and a middle grade fantasy series.

GIVEAWAY!

We'd once again like to thank the awesome team over at Xpresso for allowing us to be a part of this book tour! Best of luck to everybody who enters the giveaway!


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Sep 25, 2017

Review: Time Between Us (Time Between Us #1) by Tamara Ireland Stone

Title: Time Between Us (Time Between Us #1)
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: SciFi Romance 
Publisher: Hyperion

Summary: Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.
As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.

When I first saw this book, the summary grabbed my attention right away. Time travel intrigues and confuses me at the same time and I've been loving all these contemporary novels that have a SciFi spin on them!

Like it says in the summary, Bennett Cooper can travel back in time. He doesn't know why or how but knows he can only travel back as far as he's been alive. While in Chicago 1995, he meets Anna Greene. As their relationship progresses, and they travel to places Anna never thought she'd be able to visit, they begin to realize just how dangerous their relationship could be. They need to decide if it's worth staying together, even though Bennett could be knocked back to 2012, possibly forever.

I liked this book a lot. The plot had me drawn in from the beginning. Like imagine being able to travel back in time and visit any country you could imagine? Bennett and his sister would travel back in time to go see concerts (and thats exactly what I'd do to be honest). On the other hand, I was anxious throughout the entire story. You hear in other movies and stories how changing even one little thing can cause the butterfly effect, so it freaked me out the way they would go back to do over something (like, you can change the world! Stop!). One other thing, in 1995 Bennett is technically a new born baby and Anna is 16, so that kind of freaked me out a little bit, but at the same time I thought they were so cute together. Especially when he would take her to tropical islands and cute cafes in Italy.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The cute little love story and the ending is what everyone looks for in a book. So if you love contemporary's with a SciFi twist or anything involving time travel, this is a book for you. Give it a read and be sure to leave your opinions below!






Sep 24, 2017

Review: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath


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Title: The Bell Jar
Author: Sylvia Plath
Publisher: Harper Perennial 
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Paperback Edition, 244 Pages
Published January 1963



Summary: Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic.

 

I know exactly what you're all going to say, so you may as well save your breath: It's embarrassing that I waited too long to read this book. And I totally agree. The Bell Jar is arguably one of the most widely-recognized books among people in our generation today, and while I knew that the book existed, I didn't know much of what it was about and I hadn't read it. The only thing I associated with The Bell Jar when I heard about it previously was the fact that it was apparently really sad. That was it.

Yeah. I'm pretty embarrassed, and I know I should be.

So when this book was assigned as part of the requirement for my YA Writing Course at school, I was eager for the chance to finally be reading one of the books that is always talked about but I haven't yet had a chance to start, and I didn't have even the slightest clue what to expect.

However, once I started reading the book, I really got into it. While I didn't like Esther as a character that much (mainly because of how rude and mean she could be towards everyone around her), I found it interesting to be taken into her mind and to see her struggle with mental illness and just wanting a sense of freedom when all it felt like was that there was a bell jar descending over her and closing her out from the world every single day.

Esther's struggles were very troubling, and there were points in the book where I found myself cringing (mainly because I'm so squeamish when it comes to blood and razors and such), and times where I was gasping with either surprise or sometimes even laughter after something outlandish that Esther said. Upon finishing the book, I can definitely understand why people think it's an extremely sad read, and I have to agree. However, I don't regret reading the book, because I feel that The Bell Jar has such pivotal sadness as an effective tool for making us aware of our own emotions and even the struggles that the author herself was going through before she tragically ended her life.

Overall, I enjoyed The Bell Jar much more than I thought I was going to. Although it was definitely a really sad book that tugged at the heartstrings, it did an excellent job of showing one woman's up-and-down struggle with mental illness and yearning for freedom and peace, especially in an era where her gender was unfortunately crucial in holding her back from that, in addition to everything else that was going on in her life. This book really opened my eyes, and I'm really grateful that I was given the opportunity to read it.





Sep 23, 2017

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Train To The Edge Of The Moon by Asper Blurry


Train to the Edge of the Moon
Asper Blurry
Publication date: October 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

Punk is no ordinary millennial who takes the life as it is. She has a nasty habit of getting in troubles, she shows the middle finger to prejudice and stupidity, she fights against her broken identity and darkness of her soul. She goes against the stream with her heavy, tight shoes, but she still tries to be a better person. Punk’s adventurous journey to become someone who matters starts in a Place Without a Name, continues in Italy and London. Her train is full of sad reflections, laughs, modern tales about our young lives, relationships and occasional heartbreaks.
“Train to the Edge of the Moon” is about all shades of the young people reality – struggles with career, romances, feeling lost in the corporate machinery, feeling misunderstood and rejected by society. It’s funny, it makes you laugh and in the next moment it gets sad and dark and you want to crawl in the corner and cry a little. It also raises controversial issues such as addictions, depression, and abuse. Those who have been beaten down, trampled over and nearly robbed of everything that makes them who they are, those who refuse to adapt and be another brick in the wall in the modern mayhem will find here hope and strength to fight for their happiness and peace of soul.
Imagine “Girl, interrupted” partying up with the older “Catcher in the Rye” and immerse your curiosity in Punk’s wild adventures.
EXCERPT:
Gloomy room
immersed in a scent
of modern cowards
Filled with
shapeless creatures
sitting in silence
because they have
nothing to say
Fake plastic faces
with a grimace
of disappointment
painted on them
Are we stuck on hold
expecting our turn
in a waiting room
of so-called
lost generation?

London 2015
Weak raindrops were pouring down her leather jacket. It was raining every day lately, and she missed the warmth of Italian sun. Yet Punk couldn’t leave London just like that. It wasn’t just some place for her. She considered London to be a he. A breathing creature with his virtues, weaknesses and vices. His violent dynamism was intoxicating. It would bring her joyful moments of light mixed with deep secrets of a black soul. At first, his huge size and activity caused her dizziness and it took her a while to adjust.
Punk was waiting for them in front of the Oxford Circus tube. Her long, brown hair was tangled by the strong wind. These days it wouldn’t allow her to breathe consciously. A frozen glimmer of the sun appeared on the gray sky, buried behind the dark clouds. But no one bothered to spot it happening above the vivid city life. Punk was like a single shadow that ran within the turmoil of passing strangers on Oxford Street. Quick and invisible like a current of the wild river.
Sometimes the wave of London’s beauty would throw her into unknown dangerous waters, sinking her with anxiety and astonishment. The city is very demanding. He doesn’t want you. He wants all of you; pushing you inside his unique core of riot. And if you’re not strong or confident enough he will spit you out like a piece of used shred. He will devour all your vigor, leaving you with naked ass hid in the bushes.
Punk resembled London in many ways. But she couldn’t stay alive like he did. She could feel life only through glass. It made her hungry and eager to try and live it all. Mostly in homelessness and detachment.
Yet when she saw her two lovers emerging from the stream of dim sunlight a delicate glow covered her pale cheeks. It looked like a smile. She was less scared now after all they’d been through, but she still couldn’t get used to feeling this way.
Someone said she was beautiful and untouchable. So where did all this ugliness come from? Was it her illusion? Was it their notion? Was it even real?


Author Bio:
Asper Blurry is a writer, poet, thinker, seeker, traveler and much more. She often finds herself in places of different dimensions and cruel whispers, far from the dreamland. But that's the price she pays for her creations and she keeps writing because of this artistic force inside her heart and mind.
Her voice is genuine, blunt and raw, sometimes poetic and mysterious. She writes freely about our ordinary life and the reality of modern, young people. She's not afraid of addressing controversial issues such as addictions, depression and intolerance. She's convinced that if her writing touches your soul or makes you feel something, all those nights spent in the darkness on the other side will be worth it.

GIVEAWAY!

We'd like to once again thank the lovely team over at Xpresso for allowing us to be a part of this book tour! This book seems super interesting and we can't wait to add it to our TBR. What're your thoughts? Comment down below and let us know!



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Sep 20, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Jessica's Waiting on:

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Title: The Poet X
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Publisher: HarperTeen 
Publication Date: March 6th, 2018


Summary: A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo. Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems. Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

Okay, for starters, the summary alone makes it clear that this is going to be one of the most kickass books of 2018. Poet Sarah Kay mentioned it on her Twitter a few weeks ago, and that's what caused me to look up the book on Goodreads and decide that it was definitely something I wanted to read. I can't wait to have this book in my hands and read it, because not only does this seem like a book about creativity and finding yourself and standing up against expectations, but this book also seems to be speaking to the power of words, which, as a reader and writer, I think is totally awesome. I'm really looking forward to 2018 so I'll get a chance to read this book!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so I can stop back! 


Sep 19, 2017

Brooklyn Book Festival Recap!

Hi guys! This past Sunday I went to the Brooklyn Book Festival for the very first time with my school's creative writing club, and it was such a spectacular time. I met so many great readers, authors, and publishers that I just had to talk about it, so here we are!

So, for starters, I was totally shocked that this entire event was free. I didn't know what to expect, but several club members had gone before and assured me that the event was free, the panels were free, and you were given all sorts of swag and books and totes for free as well. (Think a mini-BookCon!) So when I stepped off the subway and looked around, I was totally floored. There were so many booths stretching as far as the eye could see -- seriously so many! I wasn't even able to see the entire layout of the festival from the entrance. There was just so much going on. There were booths with publishers and booksellers and authors, food trucks, outdoor panels, and even live music. It was basically a fantastically bookish street fair, so I was immediately like count me in. 


So I walked around and checked out the booths of a lot of the publishers that we've worked with before, which was awesome. I also got some info about grad school writing programs and writer's workshops, which got me super psyched. By the end of the event, I was itching to get back to my laptop and start hammering away at my current work in progress, which had been stalled recently and left me feeling helpless and anxious about it -- but just the entire atmosphere of the event made me crave my notebook, my laptop, and a quiet place to write. I practically sprinted to the subway to get back once the day was over, and it's already been a few days since the event and my motivation to write seems to have stuck, which is really exciting. 


But back to the event itself. I grabbed a quick snack for lunch, which was exciting because they were these DELICIOUS fries from Home Frite with some lemon garlic butter dipping sauce, so even though my calorie count for the day wasn't enthusiastic about it, my tastebuds certainly were. 


And then it was time for the panels! The panels were also totally free at the event, which I was shocked (but really impressed) by. I decided to look up the panels a few days before just to kill some time, and when I found out that Sarah Dessen and Adam Silvera were going to be there...I lost it, guys. I totally lost it. If you've been around for awhile, you'd know that Sarah and Adam are two of my favorite writers of all time, and my literary heroes that I am constantly striving to emulate because they're half the reason I write what I write. 

So when I got to go to a panel of theirs for free and be in the same room as them (as well as Lilliam Rivera and Gabby Rivera!), I was practically buzzing with excitement. I also got the chance to meet Taylor, one of our book blogger friends from Stay On The Page, which was awesome, even if we only got to say a quick hello before the panel started! And once the panel did start, I got so many awesome tips and tidbits that I needed to learn how to better write a romance story for my new book. I left feeling starstruck and totally satisfied, and also loaded with tons of new book recs, which is always an awesome thing.



Overall, I really enjoyed the Brooklyn Book Festival. I can't believe that I didn't go last year, but I can now safely say that I've learned my lesson and will be attending next year and far into the future as well! 

Did you go to the Brooklyn Book Festival this weekend? If so, what was your favorite part? And if not, do you think you'll be going in the future? Comment down below and share your thoughts!


Sep 18, 2017

Review: Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith


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Title: Windfall 
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Delacorte Press
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 418 Pages
Published May 2017



Summary: Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall. As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

 

I've been a Jennifer E. Smith fan for a pretty long time now, so I was super excited when I heard about Windfall. Her stories just have a way of always making me smile at all the right moments, and I'm always left with such a warm, fuzzy feeling. So when Emily and I went book shopping right before we went back to school, and this one's beautiful cover caught my eye and I was reminded of how excited I had been for this book -- so it was one of my top purchases that I brought to school with me!

As I've mentioned before, it's really hard to keep up with reading when you're in college, especially when you're an English major. You're given so many other books to read for assignments, and I've never been a good multitasker when it came to reading multiple books at the same time, so I had to get through this one pretty slowly. However, slowly but surely, I managed to find snippets of free time where I had a chance to sit down and just soak up as much of this book as I could. Even though it was 400+ pages, I felt myself fly through it like it was nothing, because I was so hooked on wanting to find out what happened next.

As the summary explains, Alice and Teddy have been best friends for an incredibly long time. So for Teddy's eighteenth birthday, Alice jokingly buys him a lottery ticket, not expecting anything from it. But when Teddy ends up winning over 141 million dollars, everything changes.

The only problem is that not everything changes in a good way. While Teddy's life (and the lives of everyone surrounding him) suddenly stumbles into this much wealth, people naturally come out of the woodwork wanting to take advantage of this -- one of the most notable people being Teddy's deadbeat father who had a gambling addiction and up and left him years ago. So the book takes you through his struggles of suddenly being "cursed" with so much money, and having to balance between pleasing the do-gooders around him (such as his parents and Alice) while also splurging a little bit, having grown up in a home with very little money and finally being given the golden opportunity that he never had. It also takes you through another struggle -- Alice has been in love with Teddy for years, but she can't find the heart to tell him. Until she suddenly does -- and things definitely don't go as planned. (But I won't spoil that part for you -- you'll have to read the book yourself to find out what happens!)

My favorite character in this book was definitely Alice. She spent so much of her time trying to do good for others, and it was honestly incredibly inspiring. Of course everyone in this world (or at least, everyone with a heart) wants to do good for others, but it takes a certain person to dedicate so much of their free time towards being selfless and going to soup kitchens and raising money and tutoring orphaned children. Which is why Teddy coming across all of this money causes a rift between him and Alice -- because she has plans for him changing the world with it, and he can barely think past the present day. 

(Minor spoilers in this paragraph -- please skip to the next one if you don't want the book ruined for you!) Towards the ending of the book, Teddy and Alice's little romance had me so excited and smiling so big that my roommate looked over at me several times to ask if I was okay, because I was sitting there grinning at my book like a goon. At first I was shocked when she didn't take the offer Teddy gave her with the program, but then it was quickly made up for by that adorable ending. I mean, guys. I almost felt my heart stop, it was so dang cute. My cheeks seriously hurt from smiling. I loved it. 

Overall, I really enjoyed Windfall. Jennifer E. Smith did another spectacular job of creating a feel-good romance while also creating a story that I'd never wandered into before -- the story of someone having so much wealth so suddenly that they had no idea what to do with it, and the pros and cons of each decision they made that followed thereafter. If this book wasn't on your TBR already, it definitely should be -- as well as the rest of Jennifer E. Smith's books! I really enjoyed tearing through this one and I'm eagerly awaiting some of her future work as well. :-)





Sep 16, 2017

My Thoughts On Chapter One of Turtles All The Way Down

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If you haven't been keeping up with social media lately, you probably missed John Green reading the first chapter of his newest book, Turtles All The Way Down, which is coming out in October. (If you haven't seen the video yet, you can click here to see it!) So today on the blog, having just watched the video myself, I'm here to share my thoughts on the first chapter and what I think the rest of the book will be like.

So, John Green had mentioned in several previous Vlogbrothers videos that the book was going to be dealing with thought spirals, which are something that he has mentioned he has experienced multiple times before. So in addition to this book being a gripping mystery full of wit and charm (as all his books are), it also heads over into the direction of mental health, which is an area not usually written about by him, so that was a change I was immediately eager to see. And just from listening to the first chapter, it's pretty evident -- the main character explains her history with thought spirals and how her best friend understands it, and then you're actually taken through one. 

As a matter of fact, I was sort of surprised with how intense the book is when it first begins -- you're pretty much launched right into one of the main character's thought spirals. She gives a little bit about her history too, so although the reader gets right into the thick of things, they aren't left totally in the dark. 

There were also a few parts about the opening chapter that made me laugh, especially after it made me think back on my high school years. And in typical John Green fashion, he takes something that we tend to view as totally mundane and habitual -- such as the bells in between classes in high school -- and turns them into something that makes you pause and contemplate. (For real. I never realized how mindlessly we all followed the big beep in the sky until he pointed it out. He tends to do stuff like that.) It was both really captivating and really, really awesome. 

Overall, I'm just really freaking excited for this book. It already seems super interesting, and like I said (and like you probably already know, if you've been a fan of this blog for awhile!), I'm a huge John Green fan. So you already know I'll be lined up to get this book as soon as I can -- and hopefully you all will be, too! 

So, those are my thoughts after hearing the first chapter of Turtles All The Way Down. I'm really excited for this book to come out next month, and to finally hold it in my hands! I've been a fan of John Green for as long as I can remember, with Looking For Alaska being one of my favorite books of all time. I even had a quote from the book inspire my graduation cap a few years ago!


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What're your thoughts on the first chapter of Turtles All The Way Down? Comment down below and share your thoughts -- I'd love to hear them!