Friday, June 22, 2018

Fresh Ink: An Anthology by Lamar Giles (Editor)

Fresh Ink: An AnthologyFresh Ink: An Anthology by Lamar Giles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s and Crown Books for Young Readers for the advance reader copy, Fresh Ink: An Anthology by Lamar Giles (Editor) in exchange for an honest review. This compilation of short stories by Young Adult authors is awesome, real, needed, and published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books. Fresh Ink needs to be read by all children and young adults. From diverse authors like Jason Reynolds, Nicola Yoon, Gene Luen Yang, Malinda Lo, Daniel Jose Older, Lamar Giles, Eric Gansworth, Sharon G. Flake, Melissa de la Cruz, Sara Farizan and others, these shining short stories will inspire, inform, and bring deserving diverse literature (with many universal YA themes) to all who read and enjoy this powerful collection of very worthy short stories, so sit down, grab this book, read, and oh will you enjoy!!!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Vicious (Villains #1) by V. E. Schwab

Vicious (Villains, #1)Vicious by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OMG, do I love V.E. Schwab's books---both her YA and adult and this adult series is a winner!!! Victor is a college student; he is not really likable and so far all of his roommates have not worked out until Eli Cardane. Both Eli & Victor get along, they are very smart and annoying- until senior thesis time when Eli comes up with a thesis that intrigues them both - but also literally has them experiencing near death and when resurrected- they each have Extraordinary abilities---but this is the reason they become enemies - Eli believes they are now unnatural and he must do away with them (because surely there are others) - but first Eli sends Victor to jail for 10 years and the first person Victor wants to find is Eli, I wonder why??? I could not stop turning the pages---many characters are evil but there are also the unsuspecting characters. Eli is twisted and a cold blooded killer, but I enjoyed the cold-bloodedness of Victor (I think because I really liked his sidekicks Mitch and Sydney). Schwab's writing and worldbuilding were chilling, I can't wait for #2!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Goodbye DaysGoodbye Days by Jeff Zentner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I listened to this book as part of the 2018 HUB Reading Challenge and the review of the ARC is below but I just have to say narrator, Michael Crouch was so totally awesome as tortured Carver Briggs, who has lost everything (his 3 best friends, the school community and his 3 friends families). Crouch has flawlessly presented Zenter's enthralling, tortured book - one which teens will embrace, love, talk about and cry lots and lots about too. I especially loved the Goodbye Days and his psychiatrist and Jessamyn---they all (and especially Carver) become key to helping Carver navigate his self-loathing, his aching for his friends and his many what-ifs...another great story by Jeff Zentner that will be read and enjoyed over and over again.

Thank you to NetGalley, Random Houses Children’s and Crown Books for Young Readers for the ARC, Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner. I was compelled to read The Serpent King three times and with Zentner’s 2nd book, Goodbye Days, I will certainly be reading this book multiple times. Carver Briggs loses his 3 best friends with just one text, Where are you guys, text me back. With this ripped from the headlines story, a teen loses everything he loved - his best friends known as The Sauce Crew. Teen readers will deeply feel Carver’s palpable grief, his tremendous loss, and also the anger, rage, and unforgiving nature of some of his best friend’s family members. When Nana Betsy asks Carver to help her celebrate her grandson, Blake, in a Goodbye Day, both Nana and Carver learn things they did not know about Blake. It is a deeply moving day but one that Carver needed to deal with the loss of his best friend. Even though we never “meet” Blake, Mars and Eli; Carver’s memories of how they each met, each of their goodbye days, and Carver’s celebrations of their Sauce Crew antics, made these guys real and very exceptional to me. I knew them and loved them like Carver did. Carver navigated his grief and self-hatred by leaning on strong characters: Blake’s sister, Georgia was remarkable and supportive while Jesmyn (dated Eli) was such a new, special friend along with honest psychiatrist, Dr. Mendes. Teens will be passing this book around; there is so much they will relate to with Carver’s loneliness, despair, and turmoil but he is also someone they will root for, love, and hold tight in their hearts. Highly recommended for teens and adults.

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Sparrow by Sarah Moon

SparrowSparrow by Sarah Moon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this award winner as part of the 2018 HUB Reading Challenge. Oh did I love Sparrow's journey, from a lonely child who loses one friend and never seems to make another. Sparrow spends her time becoming a bird and flying. It is when she is on the roof at school that people think she will jump, that Sparrow goes into counseling and oh what a journey she begins with Dr, K. Sparrow and her mom go through a very difficult period too, not talking to each other. It is so beautiful when Sparrow discovers music, how it heals her, energizes her and speaks to her---when Sparrow, her mom and Dr. K talk and settle on Sparrow going to a 3 week long music camp...OMG I just loved Sparrow's spirit as it soared, made friends, wrote songs, played the bass. The best book ever! Quite the debut!!!

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Scooby Apocalypse (Vol. 1) by Keith Giffen

Scooby Apocalypse, Volume 1Scooby Apocalypse, Volume 1 by Keith Giffen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this graphic novel the beginning of a series I enjoyed as part of the 2018 HUB Reading Challenge and can't wait to continue the series of this award winner. The gangs adventures continue as the world's chaos continues with ScoobyDoo!

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Devils Within by S.F. Henson

Devils WithinDevils Within by S.F. Henson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Henson's debut awesome, glad I read it for 2018 HUB Challenge! A must read for all - reminded me of Bang by Barry Lyga (with the self-hatred) and his series, I Hunt Killers (with the awful awful father). Nate's fatheris the head of the Fort, a white aryan group, but Nate has been abused, indoctrinated with hate, and terrorized by his father and the group. Luckily he had a few years of love from his mother---but Nate murders his father, spends time in juvie because his lawyers are able to prove he has PTSD, but not everyone believes him, and he is still pursued by the Fort. This story is just beginning and I could not put it down, the life that these poor people live when they get caught up in the web of the Aryan movement, is so abhorrent. I truly loved Nate and all he suffered, wanted, but his self-hatred was always there. The author based this book on actual events and the research shows, this is a book teens (and everyone else) MUST READ! This cycle must be broken;; "education and discussion are the first steps to opening hearts and changing minds (p. 390)."

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share their Personal Struggles edited by Jessica Burkhart

Life Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal StrugglesLife Inside My Mind: 31 Authors Share Their Personal Struggles by Jessica Burkhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This 2018 collection of YA authors who tell readers about their challenges with mental illness, depression, thoughts of suicide, OCDC, bi-polar when they were teens through to the present. Many of the authors tell their stories for the 1st time, in the hope of helping a teen struggling with the same kinds of mental illness. Each story is important- I truly loved Jennifer Armentrout, Ellen Hopkins and Francesca Lia Block's stories, thoughts, essays.

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