Review: Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts

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Zac and Mia
A.J. Betts
September 2nd 2014
YA | Contemporary 
289 pages
Purchased

 

4/5 Stars

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this tough and tender young adult novel that’s a lot about love (and a little about cancer).
Winner of the 2012 Australian Text Prize
“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.” So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this tough and tender young adult novel that’s a lot about love (and a little about cancer).
Winner of the 2012 Australian Text Prize
“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.” So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.

REVIEW:

 

I hate how books are described as being “The Fault in our Stars meets Eleanor and Park”, but I think that description was pretty accurate for this book.

Zac and Mia is truly a wonderfully written novel. I cannot tell you how glad I am I didn’t give up on this book. It started off great, and then hit this very boring, slow place for 60 or so pages. I kept trying to read them but it was not happening. So, I skimmed over those pages instead of putting the book down all together…BUT the second I started reading again things were already picking up and I don’t think I missed any pivotal details as I was skimming.

The characters were so wonderfully crafted. Mia was rude and arrogant at first but her development was amazing. I loved Zac the right after his first sentence. He was such a genuinely sweet guy. Its hard for me to explain how much I loved these two and their story. I feel the need to shove this book in everyones face because it was just that perfect and I want everyone to read and love it.
SAMhbt

ARC REVIEW: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia + PH Giveaway!!

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Made You Up
Francesca Zappia
Published May 19th 2015 by Greenwillow Books
YA > Contemporary | Mental Health
arc via publisher
 
 
4 ★★★★
 
 
Purchase links:
Amazon | BN | TBD | HarperCollins
 
 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 
Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook , and Liar .
Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.
Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.
 
 [tour schedule]
 

 

 Welcome to my stop for the Made You Up PH tour! This book floored me! It was incredible. Check out my gushing and fangirling and if you’re from the Philippines, you can win a print arc copy!! Thanks to PinoyBookTours 🙂

 

REVIEW:

 

 
“Are you real?”

Paula

Right after reading this book, my feelings was all over the place. And if you don’t know, when a book does that to you it only means one thing: the book is all kinds of amazing. Made You Up is such a powerful and poignant novel. It was engrossing to the point that the book is absolutely gripped inside your heart and the desire to let go… is nonexistent.

I love how unreliable our main character is. I’m the kind of reader who always puts herself in the main character’s shoes so that I can truly experience the whole novel. And I would be lying if I say that doing that is such a challenge when you’re reading MADE YOU UP. Is it real? Or is it not? Fear is gnawing inside of me throughout the novel because there’s a possibility that a certain character or a certain event that happened may not be real. And I can’t have that because every character in this story is attached to me from the moment Francesca introduced them to me. They are real. At least to me.

Don’t you just love books that challenges you? That makes you think? That makes you understand another human being that you have different opinion about before? Don’t you just love books that makes you understand? There may be a lot of books with schizophrenic as a main character but only a few can make you sympathize or make you fully feel how that main character feels. Francesca just did all that and I am blown away.

There’s a certain boy that I fell for and I don’t know how to move on from him. Miles. How do I explain Miles to people? Miles is the 70% of reasons why I adore Francesca. There, I said it. Alex is phenomenal as a heroine and I absolutely admired Jetta and the crew, even Celia was dear to me. But Miles, Miles is golden. Not just because he makes me swoon or that he’s hated by everyone or that he has that accent that everybody is making fun of… its because Miles is layered. He’s the kind of guy you WANT to get to know slowly and deeply. Its not because of his baggage or his jerky exterior but because he is Miles. And that’s enough reason.

Made You Up is absolutely, without a doubt, one of the best book I’ve read this year. It’s gripping. It’s emotional. It’s real. A brilliant writing plus thought provoking plot and terrific characters, Francesca just made a recipe for a successful novel that is perfect for every person who can read.

 

AUTHOR:

 

Author photo

Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads 

 

YA writer represented by Louise Fury of the Bent Agency. My debut, MADE YOU UP, will be out from Greenwillow/ HarperCollins on May 19th, 2015. I like writing, reading, drawing, anime, playing way too much Pokemon, and other things.

 

 

 

 

 

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Paula

ARC REVIEW: I Heart Robot by Suzanne Van Rooyen

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I Heart Robot
Suzanne Van Rooyen
Published March 31st 2015 by Month9Books
304pages (paperback)
YA > Science fiction | Romance | Music
arc via tour host
 
 

3 ★★★1/2

 
 
Purchase links:
Chapters Indigo | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | TBD | iBooks
 
 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 
Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won’t belittle her musical aspirations.
Q-I-99 aka ‘Quinn’ lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.
Tyri and Quinn’s worlds collide when they’re accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn’s love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?
 
 
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[tour schedule]

 


 

Welcome to my stop for the I HEART ROBOT tour! I really enjoyed this story. It was fresh and creative. I hope you will enjoy it just like I did. Don’t forget that there’s a giveaway at the bottom of the post and that you can also check out the Book Trailer HERE.


 

 

REVIEW:

 

“This is your chance to show the humans that we aren’t just machines, that they gave us minds. We think, we feel, we dream, we create.”

I Heart Robot is a surprising and enjoyable read. This is my first from Suzanne Van Rooyen and I’m glad I gave this a try. Look at the cover!! It really calls out to me. Though the whole premise is not my usual read, this book made me FEEL. Feels all over! I love that it makes you think. I love that its diverse. I love that I was left wanting for more.

Tyri and Quinn has a connection through music. Tyri is a girl who wants to be a musician. Quinn is a robot who just want to be treated as a human who can feel and make music. This together isn’t a fairytale in the making. There was a lot of up and downs. There was a lot of swoony moments bud sadly, it has heartbreaking scenes as well. I love that Quinn as a robot is believable and that he’s so ADORABLE. He’s my favorite in here. Tyri can be a bit complicated. She’s such a teenager sometimes that it kind of annoys me even though I’m a teenager myself. The second characters are incredible!! Its amazing how the author made me adore them so much even though the story is not mainly about them.

Tyri and Quinn’s world is interesting. And kind of scary because it’s so close to reality! The politics, their culture… I hope it gets to be fleshed out more. I know that a second book is not confirmed yet but I am pushing it!!! Because I need a sequel so bad it hurts. And I know I’m not the only one who wants it. *evil laugh* Sorry for being evil, but I’m desperate!!

The ending kinda crushed so thank you very much. I’m torn between loving it because the way it ended is so perfect and hating it because, well, IT CRUSHED ME OKAY? There are ending that you WANT to happen and and their are endings that NEEDS to happen. I think the author did the latter and with all seriousness, I’m glad she did. With how the story flowed, it really was the right ending.

I want more from Quinn and Tyri because I’m so not ready to let it go. I do recommend this book this to EVERYONE. It has a message, it will make you think and it’ll make your heart race. A very readable and enjoyable novel that every age group will enjoy!

 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

Suzanne author photo

 

 Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Sweden and is busy making friends with the ghosts of her Viking ancestors. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When she grows up, she wants to be an elf – until then, she spends her time (when not writing) wall climbing, buying far too many books, and entertaining her shiba inu, Lego.

 

 

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

 

Five (5)  winners will receive a digital copy of I Heart Robot by Suzanne van Rooyen (INT)

 

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TOUR HOST:

CHAPTER BY CHAPTER

ARC REVIEW&GUEST POST: The Outerlands by Jared Lopatin

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The Outerlands
Jared R. Lopatin
Published March 31st 2015 by Createspace
YA > Retelling | Fantasy
152pages
arc via tour host
 
 

3 ★★★

 
 
Purchase links:
Amazon
 
 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 
Alex didn’t want to die, but he just couldn’t take it anymore. Dwight’s pills seemed to promise escape… and escape is exactly what he gets. He ends up in a world reminiscent of his childhood Wonderland, but nothing is as it was in Alice’s day. The Outerlands are a twisted version of his favorite story, with strange characters and unnatural dangers. Before he can get used to his new home, it’s threatened by an outside force.
Will Alex ever find a place where he feels safe?
 
 
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[tour schedule]
 
 

 


 Welcome to my stop on the THE OUTERLANDS tour! Alice in Wonderland retelling are all over the ya book-esphere but let me tell you something: this book will syrprise you. I really enjoyed this story and I just fell in love with out hero, Alex. Read my review and Jared’s exciting guest post about characters in THE OUTERLANDS. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom! 🙂


 

REVIEW:

 

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Since Jared has an exciting Guest Post for us, I will keep my review short. If there’s one word to describe The Outerlands, I would choose the word CREATIVE. I was lost inside of this book, and if I’d be the one to choose.. I will not go out.

I read Alice in Wonderland a long time ago. I even watched the Disney movie. But even with all of that, I admit that I forgot most of the things that happened. The Outerlands is an incredible take of Alice’s Wonderland. Like I said, it was creative. It was also magical, enthralling and written in the most impressive way. Its a bit hard to believe that this is a debut novel.

The characters are the gem of this book. They’re all well written. Insane. You can’t help but love them all. Alex is our hero, and my heart just totally feels for him. He’s a fifteen bookish boy that is being bullied by Jack and his minions. The first chapter was so hard to read since I’m not fond of bullying scenes. Though I do not agree with all of Alex’s decision, I understand the feeling of wanting to disappear. And with the help of Dwight and his pills, he got what he wanted.

The Outerlands is an interesting world to get lost into. While reading, I got the feeling of being transported to a whole new world. From every chapter, you will notice some things that will remind you of Alice’s adventures. But Jared put his own twist in every chapter and it came out impressively. I cannot wait for more from this author.

Read below to get to know the characters and the world of The Outerlands!!

 

 

 

GUEST POST:

 

Getting to know the characters and the setting of the book.

 

The charm of THE OUTERLANDS is that the world is recognizable, if only marginally so. If you know your Wonderland of Alice’s day, you know to expect the unexpected and nothing is ever what it seems to be. The main character, Alex, is a bookish young man and it is through Alex that you will get to meet all of the zany characters that make up the Outerlands. First and foremost, you should know that the Outerlands are divided into two lands – Carddesville and Chessterfield – by a long river called the Interglass. On the Carddesville side of the river, you will find Bill; Sidney March, Madeleine Hatter, and Domo; Reyna de Corazon, King, and Jack; and of course, Cat. Bill is one of the seedier Outerlanders, for he makes his living dealing suspicious substances under the nose of the reigning monarch of Carddesville, Reyna de Corazon. She, with her husband, King, commands her subjects with a firm hand and a fierce temper. She is jealously protective of her son, Jack, who simply wants to fall in love and get married. Among her subjects are the three who run the Out Inn: Sidney, Madeleine, and Domo. Sidney March is the founder of the Inn and Domo is a small boy who mans the door to help guests. Madeleine is the finest hat-maker in all of the Outerlands and a dear friend of Sidney’s. She can often be found at the Inn, relishing a cup of tea and enjoying funny stories and songs. Then, there’s Cat. Cat, who sometimes goes by the name of Pilar, is a transplant from the real world, just like Alex, though she has since become a true Outerlander. With a splotch across her face that earned her the ridicule of her peers, she escaped to the Outerlands and decided to stay. She has ever since been roaming the lands, popping up here and there to offer help, or sometimes, make mischief. On the Chessterfield side of the Outerlands, you may run into the OWL; Rose and Lily; Abe Arthur Cary; C.C., Blanche, Beau, and Dwight; or Gavin. Near the banks of the Integlass lives the Outerlander Welcoming Liaison, commonly known as the OWL.  It is he who makes sure that every Outerlander follows the right story thread. Nearby live the Flower Children, the head of which is Lily and her daughter, Rose. Beware the Flower Children, for they will entrap you with their indolent addiction. Abe is Bill’s boss, creating the substances that Bill will sell. Abe is also a favorite of the Red Queen, C.C. She is one of four monarchs on the Chessterfield side. Her brother, Beau, is married to the White Queen, Blanche. They live in an area called the Blush, where anyone and everyone can mix. Blanche’s brother, Dwight, is not easy to find, dwelling among the forests. At one time, the land was ravaged by civil war, Red against White, but with the marriage of Beau and Blanche, has settled into a comfortable peace. This leaves Gavin, the White Knight, with not much to do, unless a helpless traveler might come along. These are only a smattering of the characters to be met on your journey through either Carddesville or Chessterfield, and you should always keep your eye out for Tweeners, for they can appear anywhere!

 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

jared-lopatin

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

 

Originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jared fell in love with stories at a very young age. This love led him to major in English and Theatre, a decision that brought him many adventures, such as performing in Footloose, Cats, and West Side Story.

His first full novel, Rising Sign, was started backstage during a production of South Pacific in Indiana. Five years later, his debut novel was complete and he headed back to school for his Masters in Special Education. By the time he graduated, he had written the following two books in the trilogy, Ruling House and Returning Planet. He used his school experiences as a base for his standalone novel, Let’s Play It By Ear. His newest novels, The Outerlands and The Good Witch are slated for release in 2015.

Jared currently lives in New York City with his cats, Benedick and Beatrice. He works during the day as a high school English teacher and theatre director at a Deaf school.

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

 

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ARC REVIEW: Bones & All by Camille DeAngelis

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Bones & All
Camille DeAngelis
Published March 10th 2015 by St. Martin’s Press
YA > Horror | Fantasy
304pages (hardcover)
arc via publisher
 
 
4 ★★★★
 
 
Purchase links:
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY
 
 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 
Maren Yearly doesn’t just break hearts, she devours them.
Since she was a baby, Maren has had what you might call “an issue” with affection. Anytime someone cares for her too much, she can’t seem to stop herself from eating them. Abandoned by her mother at the age of 16, Maren goes looking for the father she has never known, but finds more than she bargained for along the way.
Faced with love, fellow eaters, and enemies for the first time in her life, Maren realizes she isn’t just looking for her father, she is looking for herself. The real question is, will she like the girl she finds?
 
 
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[tour schedule]
 
 

 

I’m so excited to host Camille on the Blog today! Bones and All might be one of the most terrifying book I read.. ever. I was honestly scared. (I’m double checking if my doors are locked from no on) But this book is also poignant and kind of heartbreaking. Do I recommend it? I really do. I admit that this book is way out of my comfort zone. But after turning the last page, there’s no regret at all.

 

 

REVIEW:

 

 


“There’s no place for us in their picture of the world, if they knew what we were, they’d think even hell would be a too good sentence for us”

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I was warned. But I still wasn’t prepared. Bones and All shocked me with its first chapter only. From there, you have two choices as a reader, be turned off and stop reading… or be intrigued and turn the next page. I AM SO GLAD I chose the latter. Because Bones & All is a magnificent novel.

I understand that this may not be for everybody because of Maren’s identity. She’s a cannibal. Whenever someone gets too close to her… she eats them. Even her mother couldn’t take it anymore and abandoned her. And with that, Maren embarks on a journey with a main goal: find her father. But her father isn’t the only one she found. There’s a certain boy, her place in the world, and why she does what she does.

Its amazing how you can sympathize with Maren consider she eats people– Bones and all. But DeAngelis just written her beautifully and so real. She acts and talks like her age. She was sad, she was lost and believe it or not, she can be really relatable as a teenage girl. A lot of characters in this book are remarkable. Even if they just showed up for like, two chapters only, you can’t help but be attached and be invested.

Don’t expect a swoony and cliche romance because, well, it doesn’t have one. The book does have a romantic element but its far from swoony. You will root for them, yes, but the turns of event will surprise you. I admit, I didn’t know if I should be horrified.. or sad. This book truly messed up with my emotions and I don’t know why but that’s why I find this book so amazing. It also helps that Bones and All is written in the best way possible. DeAngelis writing is absolutely stunning. She’s one of the authors that we have to watch out for.

A terrifying yet meaningful novel. Bones and All will surprise and shock and it will get under your skin. Read and get to know Maren because you will not regret it. Readers need to gobble this up!

 

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

317741

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Google+

 

Camille DeAngelis is the author of Bones & All (St. Martin’s, 2015), Petty Magic: Being the Memoirs and Confessions of Miss Evelyn Harbinger, Temptress and Troublemaker (Crown, 2010), and Mary Modern (Crown/Shaye Areheart, 2007), as well as a first-edition guidebook, Moon Ireland (Avalon, 2007). She is a graduate of New York University (B.A. in Fine Arts, minor in Irish Studies, 2002) and the National University of Ireland, Galway (M.A. in Writing, 2005). Her fourth novel, tentatively titled Immaculate Heart, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in 2016. She is a board member of the Writers’ Room of Boston.

A longtime vegetarian, she went vegan in April 2011, and in June 2013 became a certified vegan lifestyle coach and educator through Victoria Moran’s Main Street Vegan® Academy. She is also planning to receive her yoga teacher training in 2015.

Originally from New Jersey, Camille now lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

 

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