Blog Tour: Absolute Brightness by James Lecesne- Review and Giveaway

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Absolute Brightness by James Lecesne
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: May 31st 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, GLBT, Teen, Mystery, Contemporary, Coming of Age
Rating: ★★★★ 4/4 stars

Available at: Amazon/ B&N/ Book Depository


Synopsis: From Academy Award-winning writer, actor, and activist in the LGBTQ community comes a groundbreaking story about love, prejudice, and being yourself.

Phoebe’s life in Neptune, New Jersey, is somewhat unremarkable. She helps her mom out with her hair salon, she goes to school, and she envies her perfect older sister. But everything changes when Leonard arrives.

Leonard is an orphan, a cousin who Phoebe never knew she had. When he comes to live with Phoebe’s family, he upsets the delicate balance of their lives. He’s gay and confident about who he is. He inspires the people around him. He sees people not as they are, but as they hope to be.

One day, Leonard goes missing. Phoebe, her family, and her community fight to understand what happened, and to make sense of why someone might want to extinguish the beautiful absolute brightness that was Leonard Pelkey.

This novel by the cofounder of The Trevor Project inspired the critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway show The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey.


Absolute Brightness is such an important story. It deals with molestation, loss, friendship, bullying, and family. Most importantly, it delivers a message of hope and acceptance.

Leonard is an inspiration to everyone in the town of Neptune. He wasn’t afraid to be who he really was no matter how people treated him. You don’t really get a lot of background information on Leonard, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Lecesne makes you experience Leonard the same way the people of Neptune do. By doing this, he fabricates feelings of remorse, loss, and regret because we readers wish we got to know more about Leonard. This is especially brilliant because we really feel what Leonard’s friends and family felt.

Absolute Brightness is an amazing story and I recommend it to all of you.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

For over 25 years I’ve been telling stories. Whether I’m writing, acting, producing or trying to create social change, it’s usually the story that got me involved. But in the process of getting things done and trying to make the world a better place, I’ve also been telling the story of my life. This website is my best effort to provide the general gist. But my hope is that you find something here that will inspire you to live your life more fully and continue to tell your story.

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website: http://www.jameslecesne.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/754144.James_Lecesne

Twitter:https://twitter.com/JLecesne

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/754144.James_Lecesne

Twitter:https://twitter.com/JLecesne


GIVEAWAY!!! 🙂

Enter here !


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Book Review: The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks

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The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks

Hardcover, 336 pages

Published by Katherine Tegen Books

Publication Date: March 1, 2016

Rating: ★★★★ 4/5 stars

Available at: Amazon/ B&N/ Book Depository


Synopsis: Some people might say that Denver had a death wish. Why else would she have dared to sneak into a Malibu beach party where she’d be surrounded by enemies, namely including her ex-BFF Abigail?

Oh yeah. Croix. Denver never thought in a million years he’d ask her out, but who was she to question this miracle of fate? Well, that wasn’t the only surprise fate had in store.

During the party a tsunami hit the coast of California, wiping out everything in its path. Denver and a handful of others escaped death by holding onto the roof of the house and were swept out to sea. Of course, one of her fellow castaways was none other than Abigail, who could barely stand the sight of her.

Now that she’s floating in the ocean, stuck on a small boat with the most popular kids in school and waiting to be rescued, Denver wonders what might kill her first-dehydration, sunstroke, or the girl she used to think of as a sister?

A hilariously dark and twisted story that sparkles with a remarkably fresh voice, The Lifeboat Clique is Kathy Park’s irreverent yet insightful novel about how to survive in the most unthinkable circumstances.


I really really really enjoyed this book; it was so much fun to read. Is that weird to say since this book is full of tragedy and death? I just really appreciated how Parks managed to weave in comedy in a book that should have been heartbreaking.

Denver is such an excellent narrator and full of dry wit. She’s so snarky and had me laughing out loud and giggling throughout the book. She carried the story really well and had some awesome character development.

Although the teens in the novel weren’t a realistic, accurate depiction of this generation’s teenagers, I slightly enjoyed it because it added to the humor. Speaking of the comedy, The Lifeboat Clique is full of dark humor and I enjoyed every minute of it. This book was so fast paced so it was easy to fly through. I highly recommend this book. It’s super unique amongst the YA contemporary books.

 

Until next time,

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Weekly Update

Hi friends!

Here’s what I’m currently reading:

150 pages/ 44% through The Lifeboat Clique by Kathy Parks

33 pages/ 10% through Absolute Brightness by James Lecesne

36 pages/8% through Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

211 pages/53% through The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

 

Books I’ve read finished since last update:

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross and Mark Perini

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

 

I hope you enjoyed this update, and don’t forget to follow my Goodreads for more updates:) I’d love to hear what you guys are reading, leave ’em below in the comments if you’d like.

Until next time,

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Book Review: The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

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The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Hardcover, 519 pages

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 3, 2016

Rating: ★★★★ 4/4 stars

Available at: AmazonB&N / Book Depository 


Synopsis: Andie had it all planned out.

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected.

And where’s the fun in that?


The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson was unexpectedly, everything one hopes for in a summer read. Ha ha see what I did there?  This was my Morgan Matson book, and I enjoyed it. A lot of books I’ve read this year have become my all time favorites and compared to those books, this book didn’t blow me away. By itself, this book is a solid 4 stars for me.

I went back and forth listening to the audio book and reading the physical book. The story was slow during the beginning; thankfully, the audio book definitely helped to push through extra long scenes. The book picked up during the middle and from then on it was hard to put down. I listened to the audio book whilst driving, cooking, working, etc.

Something I really loved was how realistic the relationships and interactions were. The beginning stages of the characters “soon to be” friendships were awkward and funny and so real. Certain situations and scenes felt so genuine. The sympathy Matson fabricates around Andie is realistic and authentic. It doesn’t feel forced. Like Emily May states in her review, it didn’t matter to me, on the surface level, that Andie is a white, privileged narrator. I felt for her when her hard work collapsed all around her from factors outs of her control.

Overall, this book is sensitive and fun without overdoing it. The only issue I have is that it felt too long. I recommend all of you pick this up for a summer read. I thoroughly hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did, if not more, if you choose to pick this up.

 

Until next time,

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Book Review: You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross and Mark Perini

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You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross and Mark Perini

e-ARC, 400 pages

Published by Sourcebooks Fire

Expected Publication Date: August 2, 2016

Rating:  ★★★1/2 (3.5 stars)

Pre-order it: Amazon/ B&N / Book Depository


Synopsis: 

Everything she wants. Everything he needs.

The supportive friend, the reliable daughter, the doting big-sister: Finley is used to being the glue that holds everyone together. But while her sweet demeanor makes her the perfect confidant, her wholesome look isn’t landing her the high paying modeling jobs, which are what Finley needs if she is going to reopen her mother’s dance studio.

Enter Eddie. He’s intense and driven, not to mention the life of every party, and he completely charms Finley. The last thing she wants is another commitment to stand in the way of her dreams, but when she’s with Eddie, their chemistry takes over and she can let go of her responsibilities and just be. After all, what’s so wrong about putting herself first once and a while?

Except Eddie is hiding a secret. A big secret. And when it surfaces, he and Finley are going to have to choose between their love for each other and everything else…


Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with an e-ARC of this book!

Going into the book, I didn’t have high expectations because it was my first time reading Julie Cross’s and Mark Perini’s work. I’m happy to say that I really enjoyed it. It was cute and easy to read. I especially appreciated the fact that the authors didn’t push too hard on the “mystery” factor of the book. The book flowed effortlessly.

The two main characters, Finley and Eddie, had two distinct personalities. What I mean by that is, they both have their own voice and their characters compliment one another. I really liked them as a pair as well as individuals.

Finley was a really great protagonist to read about because you really see her progress and growth develop throughout the story. She becomes independent and strong. I didn’t like her in the beginning of the story because I was a bit put off on how she kept overthinking things and stressing how important her one night stand was to her desired “edgy” persona. Thankfully, it faded and her character was more well-rounded. As for Eddie, I really felt for him. His story just felt so real and relatable because of how heartfelt it was. His character struggled and you can’t help but root for him.

Although the pacing was a bit slow at times, I really enjoyed this book. I definitely recommend it to contemporary fans. It is such a unique read.

 

Until next time,

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Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Hardcover, 227 pages

Published by Delacorte Press

Publication Date: May 13, 2014

Rating: ★★★★ 4/5 stars

Available at: Amazon/ B&NBook Depository


 

Synopsis: A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.


 

WOAH. Just wow. I was not expecting that. I really liked this book.

I was hesitant to read We Were Liars because there is so many mixed reviews. I wasn’t sure how I felt about reading the book, but my friend Megan (@perfectreads on Instagram) suggested we buddy read it and I agreed.

I AM SO GLAD THAT I DID! 

We Were Liars is so beautifully written. The writing style didn’t work for a lot of people, but it did for me. I found that the writing kept me entertained, and added to the emotional toll. Although I enjoyed the writing, I admit, it was a little hard to understand sometimes. There are times that I didn’t understand what was going on because the author leaves a lot hanging in the air. I found myself rereading some lines and/or paragraphs multiple times when things weren’t registering in my head. There were also lines that I had to reread because I had no idea if it was literal or a metaphor.

Another thing, the book is definitely emotionally draining in some parts, but that’s because our M.C., Cadence, deals with some tough shit throughout the novel. She has a pretentious family, and she was raised to have the same values as her family, so I tried my best not to judge. However, I did like Lockhart’s subtle touch on racism and the upper class. I felt like it was accurate and realistic for people with that lifestyle (from personal experience).

This book is definitely not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. It definitely was not what I was expecting. It’s a mysterious, suspenseful, emotional roller coaster and I recommend you give it a shot. Keep in mind, it’s best to go into the book blind.

 

Until next time,

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Book Review: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

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Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

 

Hardcover, 336 pages

Published by Quercus US

Publication Date:April 5, 2016

Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5 stars

Available at: Amazon/B&N/Book Depository


Synopsis: Emma O’Donovan is eighteen, beautiful, and fearless. It’s the beginning of summer in a quiet Irish town and tonight she and her friends have dressed to impress. Everyone is at the big party, but all eyes are on Emma.

The next morning Emma’s parents discover her in a heap on the doorstop of their home, unconscious. She is disheveled, bleeding, and disoriented, looking as if she had been dumped there in a hurry. She remembers nothing from the party.


That day several devastating photos from the party are posted online and go viral, eventually launching a criminal investigation and sending the community into tumult. The media descends, neighbors chose sides, and people from all over the world want to talk about her story. Everyone has something to say about Emma, whose life has been changed forever by an unthinkable and all-too-common act of sexual violence, but all she wants is to disappear.


Trigger Warning *rape*

This is a story about Emma O’Donovan whom is easily recognized as the Queen Bee and the girl everyone loves and hates. She revels the attention. Her character is shallow and despicable, but she has thoughts everyone has. She makes sure guys notice her and  if a guy doesn’t like her, she wonders why. She’s jealous of her friends and seeks to be center of attention all the time.

Louise O’Neill creates an unlikable main character that experiences something awful and because you’re reading Emma’s thoughts, she proves no matter how awful someone can be, no one deserves to be raped. No one asked for it. She confronts sensitive themes that are highly important and forces you to view the ugly truth of slut shaming, victim shaming, sexism and ignorance. She answers raised questions that tend to swirl around rape where people question whether it’s justified as rape or not. What if she was drunk? What did she expect would happen in an outfit like that? She chose to dress that way so wasn’t she asking for it? What if she made the first move? O’Neill fights against these questions.

I’ve read books with similar themes such as The Way I Used To Be by Amber Smith and Exit, Pursued By a Bear by E.K. Johnston, but this book was a difficult read. I actually had to put down the book multiple times because it was hard to handle. Emma’s story is so raw and real. O’Neill didn’t make the girl innocent, she wrote a book about a girl who was petty and was raped while she was high and drunk, and then tried to defend her own attackers and deny anything happened because she’s too ashamed. The same thing happened to her “best friend”whom she told to keep quiet because no one likes a girl who makes a fuss. This book makes you frustrated as hell because Emma is raped, but yet she continues to blame herself because she thinks she’s ruining her rapists’ and parents lives. She thinks it’s her fault.

Throughout the story you feel for Emma, you want to shake some sense into her and hug her tight at the same time. You get to know her and your heart breaks because it didn’t matter how horrible Emma was and that she was under the influence because she was still raped. She didn’t give her consent. But accumulating evidence and going to trial is a slow process and Emma is closer to giving up day by day. You root for her and scream at her parents and your heart breaks to pieces.

This isn’t a heart warming story, it’s a painful raw emotional ride. O’Neill is brutally honest and doesn’t shy away from reality. She writes exactly how it is. Asking For It is such an important read that I recommend to all men and women. This book received a 5/5 stars from me.

 

Until next time,

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Weekly Update

Hi friends!

Sorry I’ve been inactive lately! I’ve been so busy with school, but I’m officially on summer break so hopefully, I’ll have much more time on my hands. I haven’t read much lately, but here’s what I’m currently reading:

20% through The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

35% through You Before Anyone Else by Julie Cross and Mark Perini

107 pages/48% through We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

35 pages/11% through Asking For It by Louise O’neill

36 pages/8% through Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

211 pages/53% through The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

Only three of these books were on my TBR, but I finished Throne of Glass (you can check out my review here) and I loved it so I had to start reading Crown of Midnight. I’ve been meaning to read Asking For It by Louise O’neill and I heard such great things so when I saw it at the library, I couldn’t resist. Lastly, I’ve had the e-ARC for You Before Anyone Else for a while now so I felt it was time to read it. *sigh* I hope you enjoyed this update, and don’t forget to follow my Goodreads for more updates 🙂 I’d love to hear what you guys are reading, leave ’em below in the comments if you’d like.

Until next time,

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Book Haulin’

 

Hi everyone!
I’ve been slowly accumulating more books since my April Wrap-Up. As some of you may know, I was a volunteer at YALLWEST 2016, so I got to get some cool books and ARCs there as well.
YALLWEST Books:
I didn’t get that many books from Yallwest since I was busy working it.
Furthermore (one of my most anticipated releases of 2016) – Tahereh Mafi

Gemina – Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff

The Lovely Reckless – Kami Garcia

The Diabolic – S.J. Kincaid

The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater

The Young Elites (Exclusive Special Edition) – Marie Lu

Lies We Tell Ourselves – Robin Talley

Miscellaneous Books:

Illuminae – Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff

Magonia – Maria Dahvana Headley

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

Drag Teen – 

Invincible – Amy Reed

A Court of Mist and  Fury- Sarah J Maas

Queen of Shadows (Signed Copy) – Sarah  J Maas

The Cellar – Natasha Preston

Percy Jackson and the Olympians Box Set (I’ve read all of them, but I didn’t own all of them and the box set is just so beautiful so I had to!) – Rick Riordan

The Hidden Oracle – Rick Riordan

Queen of Hearts – Colleen Oakes

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (B&N Classic) – Lewis Carrol

A Whole New World – Liz Braswell

The Darkest Parts of the Forest – Holly Black

Sublime- Christina Lauren

The Selection / The Elite/ The One (Paperback box set) – Kiera Cass

The Heir – Keira Cass

Happily Ever After – Keira Cass

The Crown (Target exclusive edition) – Keira Cass

Flawed – Cecilia Ahern

Ruined –  Amy Tintera

Men, Women, and Children – Chad Kultgen

The Problem With Forever- Jennifer L. Armentrout

The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson

Saint Anything – Sarah Dessen

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

That concludes my haul! I know, insane amount of books, but in my defense, I got them for a great discount! Thanks so much for checking out this post! Happy reading!

 

Until next time,

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Review: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

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The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman (Author), Chris Riddell (Illustrator)

Hardcover, 69 pages

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Publication Date: October 23, 2014

Rating: 2.5/5 stars

Available on: Amazon/Barnes & Noble/Book Depository


Synopsis: A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell – weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

Lavishly produced, packed with glorious Chris Riddell illustrations enhanced with metallic ink, this is a spectacular and magical gift


 

This was my first time reading Neil Gaiman’s work, and I am sad to say that it was mediocre for me.

The Sleeper and the Spindle is an illustrated short story that has Snow White and Sleeping Beauty inspired characters and elements. It had so much potential, but in the end I was unsatisfied. Especially because the story seemed to rely on a big twist that wasn’t all that shocking , so it ended up falling flat.

Riddell’s artwork is beautiful, and worked well with the story because it illustrated “hard to envision” scenes and characters. The illustrations were white and black with some gold here and there. Visually, the book was impressive. That’s one of the few things I liked about the story.

Since it’s a short story, the characters lack dimension and development so they ended up being meh. However, I really enjoyed the feminist aspect of the book- Prince Charming being a woman, and instead of the queen waiting for someone to solve the dilemma, she gets up and does it herself. I just wish the story was longer so there would be character development.

Overall, I really wanted to like this story, but I felt like it was missing something and just wasn’t executed well. However, please keep in mind that just because I didn’t enjoy The Sleeper and the Spindle, doesn’t mean you won’t either.

 

Until next time,

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