Monday, January 27, 2020

What To Say Next - Julie Buxbaum

Title: What To Say Next
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Format: Harcover
Rating: 1 Star

Two struggling teenagers find an unexpected connection just when they need it most.

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her.

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

I went into this book with so much hope. So, so much now misguided hope.  I left this book more disappointed than I've been with a book in a long, long time.

I thought this book would have some good direction with the autism rep featured in the novel.  I was interested that the author also included a bi-racial Indian character and drew from her experience as the wife of an Indian man and mother to two bi-racial children. The author said, in fact, that part of the reason she created Kit as a bi-racial Indian kid is because she wanted her kids to see characters in books that look like them. That is fantastic. I mean truly wonderful.  Every kid should be able to consume media featuring people who look like them!  The only thing that left a niggling feeling in my brain was that the author talks about how Kit's dad's parents are "subtly racist towards white people...."  And, well, that's not a thing?

Now, I want to be clear: There were things I liked about this book.  There really were. I really liked the dialogue between Kit and David in this book.  They had really great banter and conversations with each other. I liked that David's parents just accepted and loved all of him for exactly who he was.  They didn't look at him like there was something wrong with him, because they knew there was nothing wrong with him.  He was autistic, but he was there kid and they loved him like any other person should.

But boy were there some issues with this book.  David's sister Miney (Lauren) was an issue. She was the one who was absolutely convinced that David needed a makeover. She was the one who made him change his clothes and hair. She was the one who had an issue with the way he dressed, even though the way he dressed was comfortable for him. I had a big issue with this because A: It says that there is something wrong with the way David looks, and there's nothing wrong with the way he looks, and B: It says he shouldn't be able to dress in a way that is comfortable for him.   It also shows that perhaps Miney is not as accepting of her brother as she should be. Sure, she does a great job helping him with his notebook so that he can have an easier time navigating high school. But trying to change the dress thing and his hair and all that speaks so much more about how she views him.

Also, the bullying in this book is just off the charts - AND NOTHING GETS DONE ABOUT IT. When David was in middle school a bunch of kids shoved is  head in a shit filled toilet (yes, you read that right) and they didn't get punished - at all.  No punishment.  Yet they go to a school that claims to have a zero tolerance policy for bullying.  Then, in current time where this book is placed, two boys steal David's notebook and scan it into a computer and post it online for all the school to read.  THEN THEY ALL SEND HIM DEATH THREATS.  Like, not just one threat, and not just from one person.  Multiple people send him various messages telling him he should die, and that he should just kill himself.  And then the principal, who should be standing up for all students and fighting against bullying, has the nerve to call David and his parents to the office to tell them that David should be the one to leave school. The principal tells them that this school just isn't a good fit for David.  SO, David gets bullied, and has kids tell him to kill himself, then defends himself against these threats, and he's the one who gets in trouble - because that totally makes sense.

So, overall, this was THE WORST BOOK I've read this year so far.  It's only January, so things may change, but this book was not worth it.  Poor character development, a horrible story line, and a poorly executed story made this not even worth the paper it was printed on.

Save your time and read something else that has more positive rep in it, and actually handle bullying situations better.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Dating Profile Friday - Dolores Umbridge

Name: Dolores Umbridge
Occupation: Senior Undersecretary for the Ministry of Magic; Former Defense Against The Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry

Hobbies: Collecting plates with kittens on them, torturing students, drinking tea.

About Me: I have worked for the Ministry of Magic for many years.  I was, during a particularly dark time at Hogwarts, also the Defense against the Dark Arts Professor.  I enjoy herbal tea, collectible plates, and good conversation.  I don't like or want children, I despise forests, and I don't like singing.  I do enjoy being in charge, and would take any chance I can to get on top and be in charge. 

You can usually find me at work. If you send an owl, and I don't respond within a week - move on.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Baba Yaga - Jane Yolen

Title: Finding Baba Yaga 
Author: Jane Yolen
Format: Paperback 
Rating: 4 Stars 

A young woman discovers the power to speak up and take control of her fate—a theme that has never been more timely than it is now…

You think you know this story.
You do not.

A harsh, controlling father. A quiescent mother. A house that feels like anything but a home. Natasha gathers the strength to leave, and comes upon a little house in the wood: A house that walks about on chicken feet and is inhabited by a fairy tale witch. In finding Baba Yaga, Natasha finds her voice, her power, herself...

Finding Baba Yaga was intriguing to say the least.  While I wouldn't say this is a book that I would read again, I did enjoy the story. 

I feel like this was a good retelling of the Baba Yaga myth.  The way the author works in Natasha's life and desire to flee that life into the Baba Yaga story is wonderful.  I like the fantasy mixed in with the reality of what can sometimes be a harsh life.

This was a very short novella (just over 100 pages), but even in the short span, the author develops the characters well, and for me the story was enough that I had to finish reading because I had to find out what happened. 

The story has enough intrigue and tension between Natasha and the other girl who lives with Baba, as well as between baba and these girls.  There is anger, forgiveness, and I would say even love between these characters.

Overall, like I mentioned, I enjoyed the book a lot. It is a YA book, but I think it's a book even adults will enjoy. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

Poisoned Apples - Christina Heppermann

Title: Poisoned Apples
Author: Christina Heppermann
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5 Stars

Once upon a time...
you were a princess,
or an orphan.
A wicked witch,
fairy godmother,
prom queen,
team captain,
Big Bad Wolf,
Little Bo Peep.
But you are more than just a hero or
a villain, cursed or charmed. You are
everything in between.
You are everything.

In fifty poems Christine Heppermann places fairy tales side by side with the modern teenage girl. Powerful and provocative, deadly funny and deadly serious, this collection is one to read, to share, to treasure, and to come back to again and again.

This is going to be, possibly, my shortest review to date. It's tougher to review poetry, but here goes. 

This collection of poetry was, hands down, one of the best poetry books I've read to date.  I read a decent amount of poetry in college, and this book easily ranks as one of my favorite poetry collections now! 

The poems in this book are dark. They are a bit twisted.  They cover topics like bullying, eating disorders, and so much more. They do it in a way that is unique and that *I've* never seen before.  Heppermann writes these poems in a way that draws the reader in and makes them want to compulsively read this book, and reach out and give all the struggling teens a big hug.

Christine Heppermann manages to take fairy tales and blend them together with major issues into what is a truly fantastic collection of poems.  You wouldn't think that blending fairy tales in to the harsh reality of actual life would work, but Heppermann has found a way to do it in this book - and does it ever work!

The photographs throughout this book fit so well with the theme and with the poems.  They are stunning and work so well.

If you can handle dark, if you can handle a bit twisted, this is a poetry collection I would absolutely recommend reading.


If you've already read this book, let me know what you think down in the comments!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Bout of Books - Saturday Wrap Up

Hey reader friends - Happy last day of Bout of Books.  I can't believe it's Sunday already! 

I did a decent amount of reading yesterday - and here's my wrap up!

Books Started: 5
Books Finished: 2
Pages Read Saturday: 193
Total Pages Read: 606

Books I've Started:

Books I've Finished: 


How are things going for y'all this week?  Have you read as much as you wanted? Talk to me in the comments below!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Bout of Books Wrap Up - Thursday & Friday

Hey reader friends! Happy Saturday. Welcome to another Bout of Books Wrap-Up.

Yesterday got busy, so I didn't have a chance to do a wrap up.  So, here is my wrap-up for both Thursday and Friday!

Books Started: 5
Books Finished: 1
Pages Read Thursday and Friday: 81 (!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Total Pages Read: 413

Books I'm Currently Reading:

Books I've Finished This Week:


Are you doing Bout of Books? Do you just have tons of reading you've done so far this year? Tell me how things are going in the comments!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Bout of Books - Wednesday Wrap Up

Happy Thursday reader friends!  Welcome to another day of Bout of Books.

It's time for a good old fashioned wrap up post.

Here's how I did Wednesday

Books Started: 5
Books Finished: 1
Pages Read Wednesday: 255
Total Pages Read: 332

Books I'm Currently Reading: 

Books I Finished: 

If you're doing Bout of Books, drop me a comment down below and tell me how it's going! Happy reading.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Bout of Books 27 - Tuesday Wrap Up

Happy Wednesday Reader Friends!  Welcome to day 3 of Bout of Books

Let's jump right into my wrap up:

Books Started: 3
Books Finished: 0 (But I am close to finishing one today!)
Pages Read Tuesday: 37
Total Pages Read: 77

Books I'm Currently Reading: 


And now, friends, it's time for another challenge.  Today's Challenge:  Bookish Matchmaking.

We get to sit here and say what kind of book we're looking for, and get recommendations from other people doing Bout of Books.  FUN, RIGHT?  I think so, too!

I'm totally looking for books right now that are:

*Adult Romance (with or without the sex)
*Adult Fantasy and Sci-Fi

(I'm like 50-60% open to YA books in the same categories, but I've kind of been in the mood to switch it up more and read some more adult books.)

So, friends, if you're doing bout of books, talk to me and tell me how it's going!  What have you been reading this week? What are you hoping to read?

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Bout of Books 27 - Monday Wrap Up

Hey reader friends - Happy Tuesday! 

It's the second day of Bout of Books 27.  YEAH!

I didn't do as much reading yesterday as I would have liked, but that's okay!  It's only Tuesday.  So, here's my wrap up for yesterday.

Books Started: 2
Books Finished: 0
Pages Read: 40

I'm excited to get some more reading done today (actually already have!) 

But before I get back to the reading: It's time for a Bout of Books Challenge!

Share Your 2020 Reading Goals

My reading goals for the year are:

*Actually hit my Goodreads goal of 100 books
*Post blog posts at least 3 times per week

Also, I have some goals to get more involved in reading challenges and readathons throughout the year.  These are the challenges/readathons I want to do:

The Booket List Monthly Challenges - Every Month, one of my favorite book groups on facebook does challenges where you can try to read books that fit in with a certain theme and earn points throughout the month.  Last year I had to best laid plans to do more, and I think I tried 2.  So, this year, I am really going to challenge myself and try to get on board each month! 

Fiction Feud Society Monthly Challenges - Just like The Booket List, FFS does monthtly challenges, and I am pushing myself to try each monthly challenge this year!

Bout of Books - this is, hands down, my favorite annual readathon!  They host it 3 times each year, and it's always cool, and totally low key. 

This year, their readathons are taking place on:

Bout of Books 27 - 1/6/2020 -- 1/12/2020
Bout of Books 28 - 5/11/2020 -- 5/17/2020
Bout of Books 29 - 8/17/2020 -- 8/23/2020
Bout of Books 30 - 1/4/2021--1/10/2021

Library Love Challenge - I signed up to do this last year, and while I did technically read a lot of books from the library, I didn't record a single one through this challenge.  So THIS YEAR is my year.  I wrote a blog post here about it the other day, so stop by and check that out. 

Dewey's 24 hour Readathon - this happens 2 times a year, and I used to do it pretty regularly, then stopped. So I want to do it again this year, and actually try to read the whole 24 hours each time!  

Monday, January 6, 2020

Bout of Books 27 - What am I Reading?

Hi reader friends - today is the FIRST DAY of Bout of Books 27!  It's also the beginning of a new year, and because I am feeling very, very ambitious with my reading goals this year, I have 20 (YES TWENTY!) books on my TBR right now.  

Am I out of my mind? Maybe.

Am I excited? Absolutely!

Will I finish all these books by the end of this readathon? Probably no, but that won't stop me from trying! 

So, without further ado: MY BOOKS:

1. Les Mis: Victor Hugo (Buddy Read with The Booket List FB Group) 
2. Siege and Storm: Leigh Bardugo
3. Ruin and Rising: Leigh Bardugo

4. The Hazel Wood: Melissa Albert
5. Girls of Paper and Fire: Natasha Ngan
6. Tell Me How you Really Feel: Aminah Mae Safi

7. The Diviners: Libba Bray
8. Lair of Dreams: Libba Bray
9. Seraphina: Rachel Hartman

10: Meet Cute: Helena Hunting (Re-Read)
11. After Anna: Lisa Scottoline (For Book Club)
12. House of Furies: Madeleine Roux

13. Red, White, & Royal Blue: Casey McQuiston (ReRead/Buddy read with the Fiction Feud Society FB Group)
14. Girls with Sharp Sticks: Suzanne Young
15. Watch Us Rise: Renee Watson and Ellen Hagan

16. The Spaces Between Us: Stacia Tolman
17. Middle Game: Seanan McGuire
18. The Bookwanderers: Anna James

19. Pulp: Robin Tulley
20. Me, Myself, & Him: Chris Tebbetts

Your turn, reader friends?  Are you doing Bout of Books? Are you creating a TBR for some other readathon? Do you have a TBR just for yourself? Tell me what you're reading right now in the comments!