Review: Rebels Like Us – Liz Reinhardt

25377806Title: Rebels Like Us

Author: Liz Reinhardt (twitter)

Publisher//Release Date: Harlequin Teen// February 28th, 2017

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Source: Purchased

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Synopsis:“It’s not like I never thought about being mixed race. I guess it was just that, in Brooklyn, everyone was competing to be exotic or surprising. By comparison, I was boring, seriously. Really boring.”

Culture shock knocks city girl Agnes “Nes” Murphy-Pujols off-kilter when she’s transplanted mid–senior year from Brooklyn to a small Southern town after her mother’s relationship with a coworker self-destructs. On top of the move, Nes is nursing a broken heart and severe homesickness, so her plan is simple: keep her head down, graduate and get out. Too bad that flies out the window on day one, when she opens her smart mouth and pits herself against the school’s reigning belle and the principal.

Her rebellious streak attracts the attention of local golden boy Doyle Rahn, who teaches Nes the ropes at Ebenezer. As her friendship with Doyle sizzles into something more, Nes discovers the town she’s learning to like has an insidious undercurrent of racism. The color of her skin was never something she thought about in Brooklyn, but after a frightening traffic stop on an isolated road, Nes starts to see signs everywhere—including at her own high school where, she learns, they hold proms. Two of them. One black, one white.

Nes and Doyle band together with a ragtag team of classmates to plan an alternate prom. But when a lit cross is left burning in Nes’s yard, the alterna-prommers realize that bucking tradition comes at a price. Maybe, though, that makes taking a stand more important than anything.

Rating: 4/5

Back when I was a shiny new high school graduate, I watched a documentary on HBO called Prom Night in Mississippi, all about a high school having its first integrated prom and all the issues and backlash and ramifications that came with it. Maybe it was my upbringing, maybe it was the area live in and the make up of my high school’s student body but it completely boggled my mind that, in 2009, segregation of any kind was still happening.

Fast forward 8 years and I hear about this book and I was immediately interested just because of the premise and I needed to get my hands on it ASAP. I will say that I mentally paused at the Seventeen label slapped on the book because, I’m WAY outside their demographic – but I ended up really enjoying the book and ended up passing it on to my mom, because screw the Seventeen label, this book is adorable.

Let’s break it down:

What I Liked:

  • Story. There’s a lot of parts to this story and they fit together nicely and add a lot of depth. Nes’s physical and familial upheaval, general culture shock of being in The South and, of course, her relationship with Doyle and the bit about the prom. I actually really enjoyed the story about Nes and her mom and watching their relationship evolve over the course of the story and it might have been my favorite part of the story as a whole. The story also touches on racism and racial bias – there’s a couple of scenes that really, really stand out
  • Characters. Nes and Doyle are very compelling characters. Nes is a great narrator – we have very similar senses of humor and I found myself giggling at her little asides and pop culture references. Doyle is like kind of the ultimate cross between southern gentleman and good ole’ boy and I adored him – and his crazy family.
  • Romance. HOLY MOLY IT’S ADORABLE. They’re cute and flirty and sweet and steamy and basically all the things you want out of a teenaged romance.

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Pacing. I don’t know if pacing was off or if it was just me, but the story started strong, but kind windy in the middle. A lot of time was spent with the teens doing random things that, I am assuming, teens in the South do and kind of rehashing Nes missing her BFF in Brooklyn and her ex and her anger with her mom, etc., etc. You get the picture. It picks up toward the end but the middle
  • Secondary Characters.  Kind of minor thing, but I feel like some of the secondary characters could have used a bit of a boost, like Jasper and Ainsley. Ainsley in particular needed a bit of depth. She came off as a bit of a stereotypical mean girl and, if you’re going to be the foil to the protagonist, you should probably have a bit of depth.
  • Romance. This is probably going to sound insane, but I felt like there was too much romance. It felt like the entire first part of the book was exclusively about Nes and Doyle being flirty and cute and doing southern things like mudding and floating in rivers. It’s cute, but when the thing that attracted me most to the story doesn’t even get a mention until about halfway through, there might be a little too much on the romance. The romance is also very insta-lovey. SUPER insta-lovey actually. The entire plot takes place over a couple of months and, IMHO, they’re moving WAY too fast.

There’s one particular thing that I want to mention that happens at the end of the story that I thought was particularly realistic and well done, but it’s kind of a spoiler, and really, really minor.

tl;dr: Rebels Like Us is a cute and socially relevant story with a cute and easy to root for main couple, but one that spends a little too much time on romance for my liking.

That’s it for me this time? Have you read Rebels Like Us? What did you think?

Waiting On Wednesday: The Crown’s Fate – Evelyn Skye

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Waiting On Wednesday in a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine in which we discuss an upcoming release that you’re…well…waiting on! And this seems like the perfect excuse to have mini fangirl freakouts over the books I NEED ASAP.

This week, I’m flailing over The Crown’s Fate

27211901The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye

Published by Crown on May 16th, 2017

Synopsis: Perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone and Red Queen, The Crown’s Fate is the thrilling sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Crown’s Game, an atmospheric historical fantasy set in Imperial Russia.

Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.

Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.

For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.

With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.

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Why I’m Flailing

I enjoyed the first book in this series The Crown’s Game, when I read it last year – I wasn’t overly fond of the ending to say the least, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I really liked the rapport between the lead characters and I LOVED the setting and the world (though I wish it went a little deeper into the second – but that’s what the sequel is for, I guess). I’m super interested at where they’re going to go from here, again, given the ending and how everything turned out.  Chalk me up as interested yet wary, but flailing none the less.

Basically, I want the thing.

That’s it for me. What books are you waiting on?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’ve Read in One Sitting (or so)

 

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish.

This time we’re talking about books that you read in one sitting.

This is one of those highly touted things – this is so good I couldn’t stop reading, couldn’t put it down. To be completely honest, I’ve only done it a few times. I’ve expanded the list to include books that I read in 24 hours or less – and still couldn’t come up with that many books. Oh well.

Let’s break it down… Continue reading

What I’m Reading – 3/20/17

Hello ladies and gents, I’m back with my weekly recap of my reading life.

If this post is incoherent, it probably has to do with the fact MY OTP OF OTPS GOT ENGAGED LAST NIGHT AND I WILL NEVER BE OVER THE THING. DEAD SERIOUS, FIVE YEARS AGO I DIDN’T KNOW IF THIS WOULD EVER HAPPEN AND LOOK AROUND, LOOK AROUND, HOW LUCKY WE ARE TO BE ALIVE RIGHT NOW.

*ahem*

Books. Reading. Yes.

Let’s break it down….

What I Read
I finished Rebels Like Us by Liz Reinhardt, a book I was really looking forward to reading and ended up really enjoying.Adorable romance. Like some other people I know. I mean….look for the review later this week.

What I’m Reading
Right now I’m reading The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters. I’ve had it checked out of the library for a million years and I’m finally getting around to reading it. I’m not real sure about where it’s going but I’m in for the ride. I’m still reading City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare. I’m kind of stalled when it comes to the audiobook – work has been kinda crazy so I haven’t been making progress – but, hopefully I can start switching between the audio and the physical copy I have at home and finish faster.

What I’m Reading Next
I’m  not quite sure what I’m going to read next, but I have a ton of options. Basically, I’m going with my feelings. Feelings might tell me to bust out a sappy romance because engagement and weddings and FEEEEELS. I always have a lot of those. So who knows what I’m going to read next. We shall see.

Books I Have Acquired This Week
Bad Blood by Demetria Lunetta
Hunted by Meagan Spooner

That’s it for me this time. What about you?. Did your OTP make any milestones? What books have you been reading lately?

I’m going to melt into a puddle of feels. See you next time!

The Reader’s Confession Tag

Hello there, friends! I’m back with a new tag, this time its the Reader’s Confession Tag. I wasn’t tagged by anyone, and I’m not tagging anyone else (unless you want to be tagged, then, by all means, consider yourself tagged), but I discovered this tag from Samantha at Spines and Covers, so feel free to check her and her co-bloggers out!

Ready! Let’s break it down:

Have you ever damaged your own book?
All the time. It’s mostly minor damage – food marks on corners, little splash marks on the bottom pages from me reading in the bathtub, maybe baby rips from turning pages harshly in the heat of the moment. I abuse paperbacks without meaning to,which frustrates me to no end. I’m paranoid about the dust jackets on hardcovers. I get SUPER upset if they get lost or damaged. I tore the back of the dust jacket of my copy of Truthwitch and almost sobbed.

Have you ever damaged a borrowed book?
If it’s a friend’s book, I don’t take it out of my room. I’m super crazy about how I treat other people’s books. I will admit to being slightly more lax in the care of library books. I kind of treat them a little better than I would treat my own, especially if I get one that’s already been…well-loved, shall we say. I feel horrible about saying that now. I’m a bad person.

How long does it take you to read a book?
I can read about 85 pages an hour – which I discovered by very scientifically timing myself one saturday – so I can finish most books in about 3-5 hours. Finding 3-5 hours to sit and read is a different story. So a few days, give or take, depending on work and life and interest in the book as a whole, unless I get sucked into the book, can’t put it down and break all commitments in order to finish it which happens more often than I’m willing to admit. I feel like what actually happens is I pick up two or three books over the course of Monday through Thursday, third of the way through them, and then read like a woman possessed all weekend to finish them.

Any Books you haven’t finished?
A few here and there. The one that I’m most ashamed of is A Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I know a lot of people don’t like it, but I feel like I should at least finish the dang thing.

Hyped or Popular Books you don’t like?
The only one that I can think of off the top of my head is Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. Everyone loves this book and the farther removed I am from when I read it, the more I wonder if I actually liked it as much as I thought, or if I was just going with all the hype.

Classics you didn’t enjoy?
ANYTHING BY THOMAS HARDY. The person who created my high school’s Honors/AP English curriculum really liked their Thomas Hardy, because I had to read Tess of the D’Ubervilles and Mayor of Casterbridge and HATED both of them for reasons that are too numerous and rage-and-swear-word-inducing to list to on a public forum.

Books you bought just for the intellectual-ness of it all?
It’s actually kind of hilarious because both of my answers were purchased as much for fangirl as intellectual reasons. I bought Les Miserables by Victor Hugo with full intentions of reading it before I went to college. Never happened. I also bought Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow because I’m HamilTrash and it’s still sitting in my room, untouched. Oops.

Any books you haven’t given back?
Not a friend’s book but library books, on the other year……. I had a really bad habit when I was younger of finding library books that became new favorites….and I would “lose them at school” ….and my mom would pay for them to keep our library card current, and then I would miraculous find them in my room and we would just keep them. Yeahhhhhhhhhhh

For the record, I don’t do that anymore. Or at least since high school.

That’s all the confessions I have for now. Do you have any confessions you want to get off your chest?

See you next time! And Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Review: Dreamland Burning – Jennifer Latham

Title: Dreamland Burning

Author: Jennifer Latham (twitter) (site)

Publisher//Release Date: Little Brown Books for Young Readers// February 21st, 2017

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction

Source: Purchased

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes and Noble

Synopsis: Some bodies won’t stay buried. Some stories need to be told.

When seventeen-year-old Rowan Chase finds a skeleton on her family’s property, she has no idea that investigating the brutal century-old murder will lead to a summer of painful discoveries about the past, the present, and herself.

One hundred years earlier, a single violent encounter propels seventeen-year-old Will Tillman into a racial firestorm. In a country rife with violence against blacks and a hometown segregated by Jim Crow, Will must make hard choices on a painful journey towards self discovery and face his inner demons in order to do what’s right the night Tulsa burns.

Rating: 5/5

Again, I say: I love it when I’m not disappointed. This book popped up on my radar, piqued my interest and would not get out of my head. I hate getting interested in books where you don’t know the author or subject matter because you have nothing to ground your opinions in. You could wait and wait and wait and get so excited and be so, so disapppointed.

THIS IS NOT ONE OF THOSE BOOKS.

This book will be on my top books of the year list. There are few things that I can see topping this. This book is fan-freaking-tastic and I’m going to shout it from the rooftops.

Let’s break it down: Continue reading

Waiting On Wednesday: Before the Devil Breaks You – Libba Bray

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Waiting On Wednesday in a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine in which we discuss an upcoming release that you’re…well…waiting on! And this seems like the perfect excuse to have mini fangirl freakouts over the books I NEED ASAP.

This week, I’m flailing over  BEFORE THE DEVIL BREAKS  YOU!

What You Need to Know

25985241Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray (Diviners #3)

Published by Little, Brown and Co. on October 3rd, 2017

Synopsis: The Diviners are back in this thrilling and eerie third installment by #1 New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray.

After battling a sleeping sickness, The Diviners are up against a group of new and malevolent foes–ghosts! Out in Ward’s Island sits a mental hospital full of lost souls from people long forgotten. Ghosts who have unusual and dangerous ties to the Man in the Stovepipe Hat also known as the King of Crows.

With terrible accounts of murder and possession flooding in from all over New York City, the Diviners must band together and brave the ghosts haunting the asylums to bring down the King of Crows.

Heart-pounding action and terrifying moments will leave you breathless in the third book of the four-book Diviners series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Libba Bray.

Add to Goodreads                                              Preorder at Amazon     Barnes and Noble

Why I’m Flailing

WHY AM I FLAILING?!?  THIS IS MY MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2017!!!!  WHY SHOULDN’T  I BE FLAILING?!?! EVEN BETTER QUESTION: WHY ARE YOU NOT FLAILING?!?!?!

The Diviners is my favorite unfinished YA book series. I love it. I’m completely obsessed. It has a diverse cast of characters who are all awesome and I love them all, a BADASS historical setting – Late 20s NYC, a giant mystery/conspiracy at its center, and super creepy, bordering on terrifying, ghosts and creatures and things that go bump in the night.

Basically, this is the best thing ever and why are you not reading this series?

I have so many questions  – about the plot, about the characters, about this giant mysterious government conspiracy at the center of it all – there is, I know there is and I have a notebook full of analysis to prove it I AM NOT KIDDING I TOLD YOU I WAS OBSESSED  – and I need answers. I need answers soon. I know we’re not getting answers right away – hello book four – but I need to get back in this world and back to these characters. I need to know what’s going to happen next. I need this book in my hands.

Basically, it needs to be October before I keel over from excitement.

That’s it for me. What books are you waiting on?