BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Brutal Youth by Anthony Breznican

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Brutal Youth

Anthony Breznican

Published June 2nd 2015 by St. Martin’s Griffin

YA > Thriller | Mystery

 

 

 

Purchase links:

Amazon | TBD | BN 

 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

Three freshmen must join forces to survive at a troubled, working-class Catholic high school with a student body full of bullies and zealots, and a faculty that’s even worse in Anthony Breznican’s Brutal Youth.

With a plunging reputation and enrollment rate, Saint Michael’s has become a crumbling dumping ground for expelled delinquents and a haven for the stridently religious when incoming freshman Peter Davidek signs up. On his first day, tensions are clearly on the rise as a picked-upon upperclassmen finally snaps, unleashing a violent
attack on both the students who tormented him for so long, and the corrupt, petty faculty that let it happen. But within this desperate place, Peter befriends fellow freshmen Noah Stein, a volatile-classmate whose face bears the scars of a hard-fighting past, and the beautiful but lonely Lorelei Paskal —so eager to become popular, she makes only enemies.

To even stand a chance at surviving their freshmen year, the trio must join forces as they navigate a bullying culture dominated by administrators like the once popular Ms. Bromine, their embittered guidance counselor, and Father Mercedes, the parish priest who plans to scapegoat the students as he makes off with church finances. A coming-of-age tale reversed, Brutal Youth follows these students as they discover that instead of growing older and wiser, going bad may be the only way to survive.

 

 

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[tour schedule]

 
 

 Welcome to my stop for the Brutal Youth tour! Check out the excerpt because this book might be for you! Don’t forget to enter the awesome giveaway!!

 

 

EXCERPT:

 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

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Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

Anthony Breznican was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsurgh in 1998. He has worked as a reporter for The Arizona Republic, Associated Press, and USA Today. He is currently a senior staff writer for Entertainment Weekly.
Brutal Youth is his debut novel.

 

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

TOUR HOST:

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REVIEWS: The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase, Shadow and Bone by Leigh Berdugo, Down From The Mountain by Elizabeth Fixmer a.k.a ‘let’s do it random!’

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That One That Got Away
Bethany Chase
Published March 31st 2015 by Ballantine Books
352pages (kindle edition)
A/NA > Contemporary | Romance
arc via publisher

 

3 ★★★1/2

 

 

Purchase links:
Amazon | BN

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

Perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, this bright, funny debut from a fresh voice in fiction offers a delicious take on love, family, and what it means to build a home of one’s own.
Sarina Mahler thinks she has her life all nailed down: a growing architecture practice in Austin, Texas, and an any-day-now proposal from her loving boyfriend, Noah. She’s well on her way to having the family she’s hoped for since her mother’s death ten years ago. But with Noah on a temporary assignment abroad and retired Olympic swimmer — and former flame — Eamon Roy back in town asking her to renovate his new fixer-upper, Sarina’s life takes an unexpected turn.
Eamon proves to be Sarina’s dream client, someone who instinctively trusts every one of her choices — and Sarina is reminded of all the reasons she was first drawn to him back in the day. Suddenly her carefully planned future with Noah seems a little less than perfect. And when tragedy strikes, Sarina is left reeling. With her world completely upended, she is forced to question what she truly wants in life — and in love.
Full of both humor and heartbreak, The One That Got Away is the story of one woman’s discovery that, sometimes, life is what happens when you leave the blueprints behind.

 

REVIEW:

 

 

‘Every woman has one. That name you Google at two o’clock in the morning. That intoxicating connection that somehow never solidified into anything real; that particular memory you still visit every now and then, for that guaranteed hit of pure, sugar-packed dopamine. It’s that story that starts with “There was this one time” and ends, reluctantly, with “but I guess …”’

 

Katy Perry is totally playing at the background.

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So, this was a total chick lit. And although I had some minor problems with it, I still enjoyed this book so much.

First, who agrees with that quote above? Raise of hands please. Well, I totally do. Let me tell about you about Sarina. Sarina is getting married and she’s about to see Eamon again after 7 years! Who is Eamon by the way? Well lets just say she’s Sarinas ‘There was this one time’ so I guess its kinda normal that she’s freaking out a little bit? What if she isn’t over him like what she’s saying?

The One That Got Away is very light and fun. I can absolutely say that even though Sarina is older to me, she was relatable. I like her humor and how she thinks and acts towards her situation with Eamon. She have a fiance, and SHE KNOWS IT. Her action were very acceptable to me and I admire that the way she acts is perfect for her age! Not like some immature lady who is deprived of love. I never liked those characters.

I had some problems with the pacing though. It was slow and there was a moment when I feel like it was dragging. I had to close it for awhile and talk myself into picking it up again.

But the way the story wrapped up was realistically written and I really liked it. I was even stoked when I found out that there’ll be more for Bethany Chase’s other characters. I’m really looking forward to that. Overall, The One That Got Away is recommended for readers who inhales books in this genre. If you’re looking for a beach read or a book for a lazy afternoon? TOTGA is perfect for that too!

 

 

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Shadow and Bone (The Grisha #1)/span>
Leigh Bardugo
Published June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
YA > Fantasy | Romance
358pages (hardcover)
 arc via publisher

 

3 ★★★1/2

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.

 

REVIEW:

 

Uhm, the feels are missing.

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DOES THIS MEAN I DON’T HAVE A HEART?!?!?!?!?!

NAH.

“There is something more powerful than any army.  Something strong enough to topple kings, and even Darklings. Do you know what that thing is?”
I shook my head, inching away from him.
“Faith,” he breathed, his black eyes wild. “Faith”

This will be a Wishy Washy review since I know I came late to the party anyway. I feel like I’m the only one who hasn’t read it. So this speech will be short.

Bardugo’s writing is just…. I loved it. I’m instantly a fan. Alina is kickass. I love her. I do! I do! The Darkling is intriguing, He reminds me of  Warren from Ignite Me, but the Darkling is more decent and actually swoony and I actually like him. And Mal… oh my heart, MAL.

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The boy is sooooo fine. He knows how to make a speech. He knows how to make a girl swoon. He’s such a douche at first but seriously, it was love at first chapter.

I’m still a little lost when it comes to the whole plot which might be the reason why the feels I expected to feel is missing, but I slowly grasped it at the last few chapters. It was pretty exciting actually, and exhilarating. I immediately bought the second book. So yeah, that means I’ll be continuing with the series. I’m really looking forward for the 2 books left. I’m sensing a love triangle but I’m completely fine with it and well, I’m not really sure if it’ll be a love triangle.

Overall, I may not over gaga about Shadow and Bone it’s still one satisfying read. And besides, this is usually me when it come to first books on series. I can’t wait to read the second installment, hopefully, I will be completely and utterly invested with it.

 

 

 

 

 

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Down from the Mountain
Elizabeth Fixmer
March 1st 2015 by Albert Whitman & Company
YA
272pages (hardcover)
arc via publisher

 

4 ★★★★

 

Purchase links:
Amazon 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

Eva just wants to be a good disciple of Righteous Path. She grew up knowing that she’s among the chosen few to be saved from Armageddon. Lately, though, being saved feels awfully treacherous. Ever since they moved to the compound in Colorado, their food supplies have dwindled even while their leader, Ezekiel, has stockpiled weapons. The only money comes from the jewelry Eva makes and sells down in Boulder–a purpose she’ll serve until she becomes one of Ezekiel’s wives. But a college student named Trevor and the other “heathens” she meets on her trips beyond the compound are far different from what she’s been led to believe. Now Eva doesn’t know which is more dangerous–the outside world, or Brother Ezekiel’s plans 

 

 

 

REVIEW:

 

Down from the Mountain is the first book that’s I’ve read about cults. And to be honest, this book is still haunting me. I’ve never expected that it was gonna be that honest and shocking. My knowledge about cults is limited, I just know that they exist and that’s it. So when I first read the blurb of Down from the Mountain, my interest was piqued and I just know that I have to read it.

Elizabeth Fixmer’s writing is really vivid. It feels like you are right there along with the main characters environment and experiencing what her characters are going through. I mentioned in my past reviews that I loved putting myself in the main characters shoes when I’m reading because it helps me understand the book even more, but in here, it was hard. Eva is so young and her strength and her curious mind is admirable. I asked myself, ‘What if I’m on Eva’s shoes? At that age. With that kind of situation. What will I do?’ I came up with.. nothing.

The plot, everything in this book actually, is so real that it terrifies me. Because what’s happening are twisted and scary and some are even inhumane. I found out that Elizabeth Fixmer is really someone who works with people who are rescued from a cult that’s why everything screams ‘accurate’. And yes, that little fact over there just terrified me even more.

Down from the Mountain is really a book worth reading! Read and your eyes will be open about some dark things that is really happening in our world. Elizabeth Fixmer is brave and admirable because of writing such a book like this. Down from the Mountain deserves to be in your shelf!

Paula

AUTHOR TAKEOVER #008: Katelyn Detweiler, author of: ‘IMMACULATE’ + Giveaway!!

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Author Takeover is a new feature here in HBT where we let our current favorite authors took over the blog. Expect Guest Posts, Interviews, LOTS of Playlists, giveaways and of course, a bunch load of FUN!


You guys, I’m so so excited to have Katelyn on the blog today. I just started IMMACULATE a week ago, and let me tell you.. it’s precious! You know those books that you give one glance and a thought just immediately formed inside your head that says, ‘Yeah, this book will be a favorite’ THAT IS IMMACULATE!

 

The Book..

 

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Immaculate

Published May 26th 2015 by Viking Children’s
YA > Contemporary | Magical Realism

Purchase it: amazon | bn

 

 

About the book..

 

Mina is seventeen. A virgin. And pregnant.
Mina is top of her class, girlfriend to the most ambitious guy in school, able to reason and study her way through anything. But when she suddenly finds herself pregnant—despite having never had sex—her orderly world collapses. Almost nobody believes Mina’s claims of virginity. Her father assumes that her boyfriend is responsible; her boyfriend believes she must have cheated on him. As news of Mina’s story spreads, there are those who brand her a liar. There are those who brand her a heretic. And there are those who believe that miracles are possible—and that Mina’s unborn child could be the greatest miracle of all.

 

The author..

 

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connect: twitter | website | goodreads page | instagram

 

 

Katelyn Detweiler was born and raised in Pennsylvania—in a small town much like Mina’s—living in a centuries-old farmhouse surrounded by fields and woods. After graduating from Penn State University, she made the move to New York City, where she is a literary agent representing books for all ages and across all genres. Katelyn currently lives, agents, and writes in Brooklyn.

 

The Interview..

 

1. Hi Katelyn!! Thanks for stopping by on the blog!! We’re so excited! To start off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 🙂
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania, living in a lovely old farmhouse surrounded by fields and woods. I see so much of my childhood in my writing—especially in IMMACULATE, in Mina’s world, the friends and family, the town, the scenic backdrop.Pennsylvania will always feel like my home. I’ve been in New York City for the last 7 years—I live and work in Brooklyn now, which is magical because I can actuallywalk to work. (No subway!!) I’m a literary agent representing books for all ages—it’s my dream job, really, aside from being an author. Lots of reading, writing, words all the time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

2. Your debut novel, Immaculate has one of the most intriguing and unique synopsis we have ever read, we’re really curios on how did this idea came to you. Can you share how did the whole concept of the book materialized in your head? 🙂
This idea—without me realizing it—had been soaking in my brain for a long, long time. When I was about Mina’s age, I had asked my mom if she would believe me if I told her that I was a pregnant virgin. (I asked a lot of obnoxious hypothetical questions back then. Scratch that. Still do. ;)) My mom said yes. YES. It took a few years and some growing up to realize exactly how huge that was, and it took a few more years after that to wonder: how is this a story that hasn’t been told?!

 

3. How would you introduce your main character, Mina, to us? Did you have a particular muse for her?
Oh, Mina. Mina is a bit rigid and by the book, a perfectionist—very focused on grades, college, her future. She has a plan for everything, with very little room for deviation. But she’s also warm and loving and loyal; she’s an amazing girlfriend, best friend, daughter, and sister. She cares very deeply for the people in her life. I poured a lot of 17-year-old me into Mina, because I was so fascinated by the idea of how my family and friends would have reacted to me making this kind of claim. I was also a hyper-motivated student—so I get what makes Mina tick—and I was interested in thinking about how this kind of person would respond when something so completely momentous drops into her life and throws all the grand plans off track.

 

4. Is this the genre you originally want to write? What other genre would you like to try in the future?
For now at least, I am entirely smitten with YA. I read a lot of YA for work, I read a lot of YA for fun; my head is totally in the YA space right now. I love all of the exciting, totally original ideas coming out of it—it all just feels so fresh, so from the heart. I can’t entirely rule out different genres, but for now, this is my writing home.

 

5. The title and the cover of the book is really eye catching, how did you decide it? And will you change anything if you could?
I can take no credit for the cover! This was all the fabulous work of the design team at Penguin. (The designer was phenomenalDanielle Calotta.) I really had no idea what to expect, but when this came in, I immediately fell head over heels in love. The team there so completely nailed the essence of this book. As for the title, I had it down long before I wrote any other words. There was never any other possibility—the word just fit. The reference to Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception, and the idea of Mina being so pure, blameless, perfect as the story opens.

 

6. What is the hardest thing you ever did while writing Immaculate? Can you share a bit of your experience?
The hardest thing was sending the manuscript to my boss—and now agent!—having no clue what she would really think of the project. I wasn’t sure if what I’d written was total trash, or if it actually had the potential to be something. (Somehow, despite my job as an agent, when it comes to my writing I have zero perspective.) We work with so many amazing, amazing authors, the bar was set quite high!.

 

7. What will readers expect from the romance aspect in this book?
There’s definitely some romance here, but it’s also not the main focus. This is very much a book about female relationships—best friends, sisters, mothers and daughters—and how much stronger these connections make us. But rest assured, the love interest is pretty great, too : ) Though I might be a bit biased!

 

8. Did something creepy or funny or even scary thing that happened while writing Immaculate?
I was working on the Christmas Eve scene—a big moment for Mina, given the focus on the biblical story of the Virgin Mary giving birth to Jesus—and to set the mood, I turned all my bedroom lights off, started playingSilent Night on my computer, sipped some Christmassy tea. It was lovely and inspiring… for about 30 seconds. And then I somehow managed to drop my steaming hot tea and spill it all over my desk and lap. All serenity lost!

 

9. Are you working on something new already? Do you have a WIP that you can tell us about? 🙂
I do, yes! I can’t say too much yet, but there will be a follow up coming out next year, a story that takes place 17 years after IMMACULATE ends. Mina’s child is just finding out the truth of his/her past, and all the major consequences that news might have for the present—and the future. I had so much fun writing this book, looking at these characters 17 years later, thinking about where they’d all be, what they’d be doing. I was so excited to watch them grow up.

 

10. Lastly, what’s your three current YA favorites?
I am majorly behind on my “MUST READ” list, but here are three I’m dying to get to: Saint Anything, by Sarah Dessen; The Walls Around Us, by Nova Ren Suma; Vanishing Girls, by Lauren Oliver.

 

Thanks again, Katelyn for the Q&A! We’re excited to hear the playlist that you’ll be sharing with us! Scroll down for the tracks. (SPOILER: They’re all awesome)

 

IMMACULATE Playlist

 

I’m not someone who can actually listen to music while I write. (I wish I could! Really, I wish.) I need silence, or at least as much silence as I can possibly create. I bought a white noise machine a few years ago when I lived three flights above the constantly noisy Second Avenue, desperate to be alone with my thoughts, minus the rumbling freight trucks, the incessant honking, the never-ending construction, street music, sirens, shouting…!!! Don’t get me wrong. There’s a charm to the sounds of NYC. But when I write, I like to feel like I’m in a bubble, just me, my thoughts, and a bright white Word doc on my computer screen.
But walking around the city, ear buds in, music blaring, is usually when I brainstorm the best solutions to any roadblocks in my writing. It’s when I feel closest to my characters—when I feel the most inside of their story and their emotions.These were the songs that helped me bust through the barricades, and helped IMMACULATE become the actual finished book that it is today.

 

Taylor Swift – Safe & Sound
Ingrid Michaelson – Soldier
The Civil Wars – Dust to Dust
Imagine Dragons – Radioactive
EmeliSande – Wonder
Florence & the Machine – Never Let Me Go
Florence & The Machine (I had to pick two!) – Cosmic Love
Ellie Golding – The Writer
Tegan and Sara – Walking With A Ghost
Ben Howard –Keep Your Head Up
Tom Odell – Long Way Down
Robyn – Dancing On My Own
Vampire Weekend – Unbelievers
Matt Pond PA – Remains
A Great Big World – Say Something
Priscilla Ahn – Silent Night

 

 

 

The Giveaway..

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

What do you guys think of IMMACULATE? Will you be reading it? Am I the only one who think that this has one of the most unique premise EVER?! Share your thoughts!

Paula

ARC REVIEW: Burnt Edges

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Burnt Edges
Dana Leipold
Published May 21st 2015 by Gravity (first published October 21st 2014)
YA > Contemporary |
arc via publisher
 
 

3 ★★★ 1/2

 
 
Purchase links:
Amazon | BN 
 
 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 
Familiar abuse or an uncertain future? Which would you choose?
This is Laurel Lee Page’s dilemma when she is faced with an unplanned pregnancy at nineteen. Born into a broken family, guilt and shame are all she has ever known. No matter what she does or whom she meets, Laurel appears to be living a condemned life. However, she is determined to find independence and freedom in spite of her family’s legacy of hatred and self-contempt.
Set in Southern California during the tumultuous 1960’s, Burnt Edges is a contemporary novel based on true events that prove strength can emerge in the most horrific of circumstances.
 
 Marry Me Charlotte B Banner
 [tour schedule]
 

 

 

REVIEW:


“I wish life were easier, Laurel Lee,” he said. “But God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. He’ll put us through the fire a few times, so we get a little burnt around the edges, but all in all, we come out fine.”

I was speechless and pretty much bawling my eyes out after reading Burnt Edges. And it just intensified when I read the authors note and found out that what I just read was based on true events. There’s something so touching and emotional when you find out that what you just read all happened in real life. Although half of this book was heartbreaking and I would not wish it to happen to anyone ever, it awes me that someone, a true person, experienced all of this and survived!

Burnt Edges is set in the 1960’s and the author really did a great job in transporting the readers into where Laurel is. What I really admire about this novel is how vivid everything is. To be honest, I did have a hard time reading this book so much. Although the rapes aren’t too graphic, its still heartbreaking. I was angry, full of tears and I just want to close the book. But no, if the author has the strength to write this book, then I should be brave enough to read it.

Burnt Edges will shock you, play with your emotions and will open your eyes. Its brave and provocative and absolutely a must read. Laurel Lee’s story is heartbreaking, very emotional and authentic. You will be awed by her strength, by her power to push through, and her braveness to love again. Praise for Dana Leipold!

 

AUTHOR:

 

Author photo

Website Facebook| Twitter 

 

Dana Leipold is a freelance writer, author, and member of the Association of Independent Authors and Creativity Coaching Association. Her debut novel, Burnt Edges, depicts the unwavering resilience of a young woman in the face of family violence and abuse. She has self-published two other books: a collection of limericks in Dr. Seuss-style for adults entitled, Stupid Poetry: The Ultimate Collection of Sublime and Ridiculous Poems, and a non-fiction book entitled, The Power of Writing Well: Write Well. Change the World. Leipold lives with her husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paula

Bookish Thoughts #007: ‘they see me DNFin’, they hatin”

bookish thoughts

 

Welcome to Book-ish thoughts! A feature  here on Her Book Thoughts where we ask for a little of your time to share a thought about useless and nonsense things. YAY! Don’t worry, it will ALWAYS have something to do with a book or anything bookish!

See past posts HERE


Maybe not everyone is doing it, but I do. Some people think its wrong. But I don’t. How about you though? What are your thoughts about it?

I’ve been DNF-ing books since the dawn of time. There are books that I still want to pick up again but there were books that made me jump for joy while screaming, ‘I AM FREE!’ This post doesn’t encourage readers to DNF every books. I’m writing this because I want to tell you that it’s alright. And that its not a crime. And that it happens. As a book blogger, we can all agree that our time is important. There’s so many books to read!!!! Are you really gonna waste it on a book that isn’t for you?

But maybe some of you are curious.

“WHY DO YOU DNF, PAULA?”

 

Well, my reasons are here. Maybe some of you will agree with me. And maybe some of you won’t. One thing is for sure, if I don’t have time for books that isn’t for me, I don’t have time for people who brings negativity in my life either. This is pretty much my mantra:

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Why do Paula DNF? Well, here’s why!

 

 It’s so sad my tears have permanently damaged my vision.

 

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I don’t have the happiest life on earth. I’m not saying I’m unhappy or miserable but the truth is, the reason I read is because once in a while I want to escape from the sad realities of life. Imagine reading a book and the main character has the same problem you’re trying to not remember. NO THANKS I don’t want the urge to kill myself.

 

Every time I start reading it, I have the urge to turn on the television set.

 

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Boredom is definitely my number one reason. There’s a lot of reasons to be bored when reading a book. It can be because of a mediocre writing, a bland character, a snoozefest romance or because of a… a… I DON’T KNOW ANYMORE I’M TOO BORED TO CONTINUE. Its just this, when its not working out anymore… you leave it and move on. Its better for you.. and the book (but this can also be applied in your, say, love life)

 

The plot makes no sense

When midway through and the book will make me think, “IS IT DYSTOPIAN OR ROMANCE OR A BIOGRAPHY?”

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THAT is a great enough reason for me to DNF. We have to face reality! Some book covers and blurbs can fool us.

 

When main character has annoying, creepy, disgusting, unbelievably inhumane characteristics.

 

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This doesn’t happen a lot. But once in a while I encounter a book with great premise and absolutely stunning writing but the characters are so so making me hate them. YOU KNOW THOSE CHARACTERS THAT YOU FEEL LIKE THEY WERE WRITTEN TO BE HATED BY EVERY READER? I kid you not, a book actually exist where every characters are, like, competing who gets to be hated the most.

And btw, characters licking their lips a million times like its their source of energy counts as annoying, creepy, disgusting, unbelievably inhumane characteristic. For me.

 

You can feel your IQ drop with each passing sentence.

 

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There are books that inspires you and some books that will completely make you change how you see the world so it just makes sense that books like this also exist. I’m not the smartest human in the world. So I want to take care of the not-so-few-not-so-many braincells that I have

 

There’s so much awkward/petty fighting, you feel like you’re watching an episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.

 

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Oh man, DRAMAAAAA. Those characters who keep doing complications in their life and then cry about it? I cannot even. Committing mistakes is fine, nobody is perfect after all. But committing mistakes over and over again like you’re not aware of the consequences and then asks WHYYYYYY. Guuurrrrl, you have a problem.

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I’m pretty sure there’s still a lot of reasons why readers DNF. But this is mine. I wanna hear about yours!

How about you guys? Do you DNF? Do you think its wrong? Why? Are you secretly hating me right now? Why again? Share your thoughts!

Paula