April 25, 2016

FAMILY in Ya

Why. Why does everyone have to have a tragic past and dead parents and divorced parents and parents having an affair. Almost every ARC I’ve read this year has characters who’s parents and/or siblings are dead. Then, if they aren’t dead one of the parents had an affair, and its this huge secret that doesnt come out until mid book or the parents are divorced when the story opens. I’m honestly so tired of it. Most of the time it doesnt contribute to the story at all, and at this point its becoming trite and cliche. Next book I pick

The Hamilton Book Tag

First, I would like to thank Kaitlin at Next Page Please for tagging me in this AWESOME tag.

ARC Review: Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake

Suffer Love
by Ashley Herring Blake
Expected publication: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Hadley St. Clair's life changed the day she came home to a front door covered in slips of paper, each of them revealing the ugly truth about her father. Now as her family falls apart in the wake of his year-long affair, Hadley wants everyone-her dad most of all-to leave her alone.

Then she meets Sam Bennett, a cute new boy who inexplicably "feels like home" to Hadley. Hadley and Sam's connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret about his family that could ruin everything.

Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.

I found Suffer Love quite hard to get into at first. I tried starting to read the ARC I had as soon as I got it but I just wasn't feeling it. Eventually, I forced myself to sit down and read it. I thought the beginning was a little slow, which is one of my major book pet peeves, it starts me off on a bad note, you know? I know that we need exposition and background, but dragging immediately turns me off to the story. Anyways, even though Suffer Love did improve as it went on, I certainly wasn't that big of a fan. 

While reading, I went over to Goodreads to read some reviews, I was so confused. Almost everyone who had already reviewed it gave the book 4 or 5 stars and was saying stuff along the lines of  “Get out your tissues this one's a tearjerker” or “I cried throughout the whole book”, and at first I thought I just wasn’t far enough in the book yet, but once I was almost at the end I realized it just wasn’t getting to me as it did to others. I'm not really an easy book crier, so that could have been it? I don't know though. I just found it weird the reviews painted this picture of a hard hitting story when I didn't even sympathize with the main character. Maybe someone more sensitive would be more emotionally affected by Suffer Love?? I don't know. Someone who's read this needs to discuss with me lol.

The two main characters are Hadley and Sam. Hadley’s dad had an affair and her family has been fractured ever since, but her parents are trying to make things work again. (Even though it really doesn't seem like they are trying with each other.) Hadley is an only child and her relationship with her parents is kind of tense at the moment...until things start to get really cliche at the end. Sam was very forgettable and unrealistic to me. Like, he was a really nice guy, don't get me wrong, but I'm having trouble recalling anything else about him. (Yikes!!) 

Something I really enjoyed about Suffer Love was the writing style. It’s probably what stood out most to me while reading, and definitely redeemed some of the book for me. There is a good balance between humor, cute lovey-dovey moments, mixed in with very emotionally charged scenes. All spectacularly written. I can say I honestly laughed out loud at some parts! Overall, I thought it was a nice story but it wasn’t anything that special or outstanding for me.


April 12, 2016

Review: The Art of Not Breathing

The Art of Not Breathing
by Sarah Alexander
Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: April 26th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Since her twin brother, Eddie, drowned five years ago, sixteen-year-old Elsie Main has tried to remember what really happened that fateful day on the beach. One minute Eddie was there, and the next he was gone. Seventeen-year-old Tay McKenzie is a cute and mysterious boy that Elsie meets in her favorite boathouse hangout. When Tay introduces Elsie to the world of freediving, she vows to find the answers she seeks at the bottom of the sea. 
3/5 Stars



The Art of Not Breathing is about a girl named Elsie whose twin brother drowned 5 years ago. Elsie is still coping with this loss, and even five years later her has no closure and her family is still terribly fractured because of her brothers death. Elsie is overweight, has no friends, hallucinates her dead brother, and is filed with self loathing. I immediately didn’t like her. Not to mention she literally watched her brother and his girlfriend have sex...like uh...that's like, uber weird. Elsie also is such a passive narrator. There are these scenes that seem like they should be so emotionally charged but just aren't. The book follows Elsie trying to remember what happened when her brother died , but for some strange reason Elsie can only remember when she passes out? I'm sorry but HUH?!?! Is this an actual thing? If you pass out you'll magically remember stuff that happened 5 years ago?! I was not falling for that at all. 

My other issue with this book was the character of Tay. All of the sudden he comes along and he's different from other guys and he's super hot but he's also described as "ADHD" and "socially awkward" but that never comes across from his actions or dialogue. At one point Elsie is trying to figure out if he's autistic and I was honestly appalled at the ignorance of our main character. I work with autistic kids all over the spectrum and Elsie was seriously considering Tay being autistic when not a single thing he did or said demonstrated any type of autistic characteristic. I just really couldn't get over that.  Like, I know autism can manifest itself in many different ways, but there was absolutely no sign that Tay was autistic or had anything wrong with him. None of his dialogue or actions gave me any "socially awkward" vibes. The other thing was that something was wrong with Elsie's twin, it seemed like it was cerebral palsy, but it was never given a name, and even as a 16 year old Elsie was unable to put the pieces together and figure out what it was? It was just another thing that didn't sit well with me.

Now to some positives. I was very invested in finding out what really happened to Elsie's brother. Wholistically, this book reminded me a little of We Were Liars because it has the ocean and the beach involved and everything is shrouded in a sense of mystery. As soon as we got the first real info about what really happened I liked the book a lot more because the pace picked up, as in the beginning it was moving very slowly and I was very bored. I also loved the incorporation of free diving, which is diving really deep with no air source. I've never seen that in a YA before and I thought it was super cool and I want to try it now. (Except I would totally suck at it since I can only hold my breath for about 10 seconds lol).

Overall, I was not the biggest fan of this book and found it dragging at parts but I think the mystery/thriller aspect partially redeemed it for me. The ending felt forced to me and Elsie's narration was very flat.