ARC REVIEW: This Ordinary Life by Jennifer Walkup

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This Ordinary Life

Jennifer Walkup

Expected publication: October 1st 2015 by Luminis Books, Inc.

YA >Contemporary | Romance

 

 

 

4 ★★★★

 

 

Purchase links:

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Sometimes Hope is the Most Extraordinary Gift of All.

High-school radio host Jasmine Torres’s life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around.

That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future.

Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep her from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her.

Jasmine can’t control everything. Not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health–not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but maybe what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.

 

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REVIEW:

 

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I’m not gonna lie. The cover is what caught my attention. Because of the headphones, I instantly thought that This Ordinary Life has something to do with music and therefore… off to my TBR you go. But it turns out that TOL isn’t about music at all and I wasn’t actually bothered by it.

Jasmine is their schools RJ. Her father left them when she was still a kid and her brother has epilepsy. Her mother was stuck in the past and still trying to get up from her husbands absence. I guess you can say that Jazz doesn’t have the easiest life. But you know why I love this book so much? Its because our main protagonist is a fighter! Life keep hitting her, throwing different kind of obstacles in her way but still.. she remains standing and hopeful. Jasmine is really one of the most admirable heroine that I’ve ever read. She’s a flawed character, yes, but that just made her even more wonderful.

The romance was great! Wes is just.. incredible. I wished that his character was explored more though because when I was reading TOL, I only see/read him when he’s with Jazz. I just would’ve love it even more if he was more fleshed out. But other than that, Wes is nothing more than fantastic. I couldn’t think of anyone that is more perfect for our heroine. It was impressive how these two made their relationship happen. It was sweet, slow and so swoony. Who needs those instalove anyway?

Despite its swoony romance, TOL tackled serious issues too like epilepsy and alcoholism. I wasn’t completely sold by her mothers changes but I’m happy about her character development. I was heartbroken by Danny’s illness but I learned a lot too along the way. I’m not an expert but while I was reading, I can’t help but think that the book was well researched.

This Ordinary Life is such a delight! I’m gonna confess right now and say that I will be stalking Jennifer Walkup from now on. I’m pretty certain that she has a lot of wonderful novels waiting to be read. I can’t help but be charmed and fascinated by This Ordinary Life. I can confidently say that there’s nothing ordinary about this book. I highly recommend it!

 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Website | Twitter | Facebook | 

Award-winning author Jennifer Walkup is most often found writing, reading, and spending time with her husband and young sons. A member of SCBWI and RWA, Jennifer also works as an editor and creative writing instructor, and is an advocate for Epilepsy awareness. This Ordinary Life is her second novel.

To hear about Jennifer’s upcoming books, sign up for her newsletter here:

http://eepurl.com/belmjH

 

 

 
   

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ARC REVIEW: I Crawl Though It by A.S. King

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I Crawl Through It
A.S. King
September 22nd 2015
YA | Contemporary | Magical Realism
336 Pages
eARC via NetGalley

 

3 ★★★1/2

 

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Four teenagers are on the verge of exploding. The anxieties they face at every turn have nearly pushed them to the point of surrender: senseless high-stakes testing, the lingering damage of past trauma, the buried grief and guilt of tragic loss. They are desperate to cope, but no one is listening.
So they will lie. They will split in two. They will turn inside out. They will even build an invisible helicopter to fly themselves far away…but nothing releases the pressure. Because, as they discover, the only way to truly escape their world is to fly right into it.
The genius of acclaimed author A.S. King reaches new heights in this groundbreaking work of surrealist fiction; it will mesmerize readers with its deeply affecting exploration of how we crawl through traumatic experience-and find the way out.

 

REVIEW:

 

I liked it. I didn’t like it. I am split in two. (That’s me attempting to make a reference to the book! lol)

For the most part, I feel like I Crawl Through It was over my head. Yes it was amazing, and yes I think it was genius, but I didn’t get it. I could tell when moments were intended to be meaningful and I recognized the symbolic parts but I couldn’t really figure it out.

The main characters in this book are Stanzi, China, Lansdale, and Gustav. Stanzi, China and Lansdale have clearly been through unimaginable tragedies, and seem to suffer from PTSD. This fact is never really mentioned outright,  but as a reader you should be able to easily infer it.

These characters are very…uh…I don’t even know how to describe them. Gustav is building an invisible helicopter, which only Stanzi can see on Tuesdays (isn’t that something.) Lansdale is a compulsive liar and her hair is described as growing when she lies, similarly to Pinocchio’s nose. China turns herself inside out. Some days she is a only a stomach, other days only a gallbladder, sometimes a duodenum.

I Crawl Through It, complete with disappearing helicopters, many mentions of organs, geniuses, and beautiful, unique, writing is a good book. It will probably leave you with an interesting taste in your mouth, and probably a confused look on your face.

I have so far enjoyed all of the A.S. King books I’ve read. Her characters and writing style are so unique and she is so good at incorporating magical realism into her stories. I recommend you read I Crawl Through It so you can decide for yourself if this book is pure genius or something else. Who knows, maybe you’ll be able to figure this book out way more then I was able too.

ARC REVIEW: It’s A Wonderful Death by Sara J. Schmitt

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It’s A Wonderful Death

Sarah J Schmitt

Expected publication: October 6th 2015 by Sky Pony Press

YA > Fantasy | Paranormal

 

 

 

4 ★★★★

 

 

Purchase links:

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Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?

But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast. Too quickly, RJ finds herself back in limbo, her time on Earth once again up for debate.

RJ is a snarky, unapologetic, almost unredeemable, very real girl. Her story is funny and moving, and teens will easily connect with her plight. Prepare to meet the Grim Reaper, who’s cuter than you’d expect; Hawaiian shirt–wearing Death Himself; Saint Peter (who likes to play Cornhole); and Al, the handler for the three-headed hound that guards the gates of Hell. This cast of characters accompanies RJ through her time in the afterlife and will do their best to gently shove her in the right direction.

 

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REVIEW:

 
 

“Don‘t discount your importance to the world. Each moment of your life has a purpose, even the ones you think don’t matter. And don’t forget to make the unexpected choice. You never know how that one moment can transform your life”

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Wow! Reading It’s a Wonderful Death is such an adventure! And adventure that I know I’ll remember forever. There’s a lot in this book that I didn’t expect but that turned out to be such a good thing. This better have a sequel because I’m so not ready to let go yet.

I’m not even gonna bother doing a recap because I admit, I cant. The blurb pretty much tell you about the gist anyway. What it didn’t tell you though is that this novel is crazy. Crazy good! Crazy brilliant! Crazy memorable. RJ is such a riot. I’m no mean girl but for some reason, I see myself in her. Maybe because I also don’t know when to shut up and I like asking ALLLL of the questions. You know what’s the best about RJ? She was not made to be LIKED (HELLO, MEAN GIRL, REMEMBER?) And yet, you can’t help but admire her. She’s funny, a little annoying and a lot real. This girl has made a gazillion mistakes but her self growth is just enormous. RJ is pretty much 50% of the teenagers nowadays. She’s the kind of character you’ll hate to love.

The plot of IAWD reminded me so much of The Catastrophic History of You and Me but with less romance. I don’t think it has any at all. At least, not the romantic kind. ANYWAY, Sarah J. Schmitt is just…. asdfghjkl, I just really want to visit her mind. I don’t even know how she came up with such wonderful and vibrant characters but they’re all winners! Everyone is fleshed out even though they only appeared for like, two pages! If there’s one thing I wish (okay there’s two) its these: a sequel and more romance. I already picked a guy for RJ. Please author, make it happen?

This novel is so meaningful. It will surprise you and make you think. Sarah Schmitt just wrote a beautiful novel that will make you laugh and will bring you to tears as well. Full of colorful and memorable characters and written in a brilliant and humorous way, I can absolutely say that… Its a wonderful book! (see what I did there?)


 

 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Website | Twitter | Facebook | 

Sarah J. Schmitt is a K-8 school librarian and Youth Service Professional for Teens at a public library who, in addition to planning a variety of events, enjoys opening up the world of books to reluctant readers. She runs a teen writing program that combines Skype visits from well-known authors and screenwriters and critique group style feedback.

Prior to immersing herself in the world of the written word, Sarah earned her Masters of Science in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs from Indiana University where she worked with first year college students as they acclimated to college life. Sarah lives outside of Indianapolis with her husband, two kidlets and a cat who might actually be a secret agent. She is an active member of SCBWI, ALA and the Indiana Library Federation and is a regular participant at the Midwest Writer’s Workshop. Her debut novel, IT’S A WONDERFUL DEATH, comes out Fall 2015 from Sky Pony Press.

 

 
   

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ARC REVIEW: Until Beth by Lisa Amowitz

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Until Beth

Lisa Amowitz

Expected publication: September 29th 2015 by Spencer Hill Press

YA > Mystery | Music

 

 

 

4 ★★★★

 

 

Purchase links:

 Amazon | B&N 

 

 

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She doesn’t just play, she kills it.

Talented rock guitarist Beth Collins has been barely holding herself together for months, ever since her boyfriend and bandmate became the latest victim in a string of suspicious disappearances. When her brother is injured an accident and she sees something dark billowing around him as he hovers close to death, she’s convinced her sanity is collapsing for good.

Then she’s accepted by a boarding school for the musically gifted. All of her new friends are bursting with talent, but they’re also keeping secrets. Can she trust Vincent, who’s so sweet that his very touch makes her fears melt away? Or Xavier, who’s trying to tell her something but is hiding even more?

And will anyone be safe when her true Talent comes out?

 

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REVIEW:

 

 

“In our world, Beth, even the most innocent thing can be deadly”

I should’ve known that me reading a Lisa Amowitz book will result to this: amazement!

Paula

I was impressed by Lisa’s past novels that’s why I JUST know I will end up loving her latest release, Until Beth. And I was right. There was some minor problems that I encountered but other than those very little things, Until Beth floored me. It was really unlike any book I read before. Lisa Amowitz never fails to bring something new in the YA table. She’s absolutely one of the most brilliant writer in this generation.

What is Until Beth? Its like a YA version of X MEN with a thrilling romance and a feisty heroine. Beth wasn’t easy to connect with at first because she was always disoriented and kind of clueless about the things that are happening around her. But by 3rd chapter, the novel quickly turned me into a maniac who is thirsty for answers. Just like Beth. Its clear that something is not what it seems and that not everyone is being honest… so who should Beth trusts? Who is the real enemy? And what is the truth when it comes to her capabilities?

All of that was answered in a very intricate way of course. Lisa kept me on my toes! The intrigue and mystery was perfection and every chapter left me wanting for more. I found myself immediately turning the page every time because I wanna know what happens next!!

The romance was not really the focus of the story but it can’t be ignored. There was a hint of a love triangle and right now I don’t want to think about it because I feel like I can’t take it. I love Beth’s love interest too much and I think they’re perfect for each other.

An absolute page turner! Until Beth is that fresh and unique that you’re looking for. Full of mystery and intrigue, it will never fail to keep you on your toes. Lisa Amowitz is still a brilliant as ever and I can’t wait for more of Beth’s adventures!


 

 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Website | Twitter | Facebook | 

Lisa Amowitz was born in Queens and raised in the wilds of Long Island, New York where she climbed trees, thought small creatures lived under rocks and studied ant hills. And drew. A lot. She is a professor of Graphic Design at her beloved Bronx Community College where she has been tormenting and cajoling students for nearly twenty years. She started writing eleven years ago because she wanted something to illustrate, but somehow, instead ended up writing YA. Probably because her mind is too dark and twisted for small children. Lisa is represented by Shannon Hassan of Marsal-Lyon Literary Agency. shannon@marsallyonliteraryagency.com

BREAKING GLASS, released in July, 2013 from Spencer Hill Press, is her first published work. VISION, the first of the Finder series was released September, 2014. FRACTURED, a novella combining the worlds of BREAKING GLASS and VISION releases as an ebook only, June 7, 2015. UNTIL BETH, the first in the Life and Beth trilogy will be released September 2015.

Lisa Amowitz is available for guest appearances, Skype visits, school visits, libraries & interviews. Please contact her for scheduling.

 

 
   

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ARC REVIEW: Em and Em by Linda Budzinski

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Em and Em/span>

Linda Budzinski

Published September 15th 2015 by Swoon Romance

YA > Realistic Fiction | Contemporary

 

 

 

3 ★★★ 1/2

 

 

Purchase links:

BAM | Chapters | Amazon | B&N | TBD |

 

 

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The last thing sixteen-year-old Emily Slovkowski wants is to move away from her home at the Jersey shore, gorgeous surfer boyfriend Zach, and her entire identity. But that’s kind of how Witness Protection works, and Em must prepare herself for an epic do-over as she starts a new life in the Midwest.

Even as she pines for sandy beaches and the night life of the shore, the newly-named Ember O’Malley finds herself making new friends, taking photos for the high school newspaper, and thinking an awful lot about the paper’s editor, an oddly cute cowboy named Charles.

When Em stumbles upon a shady beneath-the-bleachers exchange between one of the school’s football coaches and a student, she refuses to get involved. The last thing she needs is to be witness to another crime or call attention to herself. Besides, she finally has some real friends – well, real except for the fact that they don’t know a single thing about her – and she prefers to keep it that way until the trial.

But as her day in court approaches, Em begins piecing together what she saw that day beneath the bleachers. And, as her own past secrets start to catch up with her, Em needs to figure out who she really is – Em or Em.

 

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REVIEW:

 

“Be the change you seek.”

What I like most about SwoonRomance novels are that they’re usually love stories that also deals with important and serious issues. Em and Em is not an exception to that. It was amazing how Budzinski managed to insert all those important messages in one novel. But she did it. And she did it incredibly!

Em and Em is about one girl who have to change her whole identity for a very important reason. Emily and her family is under a witness protection program. Thank God I watch enough cop shows to know what it is. The officer that are assigned for their safety decided that they have to stay away for awhile because their situation is delicate and they have to think through the steps that they’re about to make. And here was where Ember was made and met different kind of people that will help her along the way. Even though making friends is not on her original plan.

The writing was so neat that’s why it was not that hard to get lost in the story. I was instantly interested to what will happen with our main lead. It was easy being in Emily’s mind, even though she did some mistakes and bad decisions throughout the story, it just made her more real. I was also impressed by how the family relationship was written because it was realistic.

The romance was cute and adorable and very much appropriate. Linda Budzinski took her time when it comes to the main leads getting together and that’s just superb. With all the insta love going around, I really needed that.

Em and Em may be short but it’s jam packed. Its about standing up for yourself, accepting the fact that you can’t do it alone and having the courage to move forward.

 

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Linda Acorn Budzinski decided in the second grade that she wanted to be a “Paperback Writer,” just like in the Beatles song. She majored in journalism in college and now works in marketing and communications. She spent 18 years at a trade association in the funeral service industry, where she discovered that funeral directors are some of the bravest and most compassionate people on earth. Linda lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, Joe, and their chihuahua, Demitria. She has two step-daughters, Eris and Sarah. THE FUNERAL SINGER is her debut novel. She is represented by Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger Inc.

THE FUNERAL SINGER is Linda Budzinski’s first novel.

 

 
   

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