Review: The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner

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*ARC provided by St. Martin’s in exchange for an honest review*
This was my first read by Gae and also the first book I’ve read that’s centered on the event that was 9/11.
We mostly follow Kyle, a boy who was forced to evacuate from school and sent home because of the tragic events. On his way home he stumbles upon a girl wearing white fake wings and he decides to take her home. It turns out that she had lost her memories and Kyle steps up to the plate to try and figure out who she is, where she came from. I couldn’t form any connection to the girl and I thought her story was going to go one way, but in the end it didn’t, which was a little disappointing.
Kyle was my favorite character in this story, by far. His interactions with his injured uncle were the most amazing scenes in the entire book, in my opinion. They were overflowing with love and respect from both sides that made me incredibly proud to witness. Kyle showed a maturity level not often seen in kids his age throughout the entire story. He was most definitely the rock. He has a view of life that is better than some adults and I appreciated him so much more for it. He never gave up on his uncle and that undying loyalty is something I will never forget. He has turned into a role model for me and it was a wonderful surprise. We also get to see his relationship with other members of his family evolve into something completely different due to the chaos around them and it was more than believable.
We get snippets of the girl’s POV but it took a while for me to fully embrace the format they were written in. It wasn’t really my cup of coffee although it definitely showed how jumbled her thoughts were. Another thing I had a problem wrapping my mind around was Kyle’s ‘developing’ feelings towards the girl. I didn’t really believe it at all. I have too many reasons to list and they’re mostly spoilers but I’ll just say that in order for me to believe love is in the air, I need way more proof than what I got in this story. All in all, I am definitely happy to have given this book a chance. It was out of my comfort zone a little bit but I ended up admiring the family dynamic the most.

3/5 stars.

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Review: Been Here All Along by Sandy Hall!

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*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
This was my first novel by Sandy Hall and I can honestly say that I am a fan now! This is a diverse YA book and I seriously wish I could reread it immediately.
We got 4 total POV’s in this book but the ones that really mattered (at least to me) were from Gideon and Kyle. They’ve been best friends almost their entire lives and have been next door neighbors for the same amount of time. We follow them as they are trying to get through high school with their own set of problems.
Gideon is an incredibly smart guy and is trying to figure out the sudden change of his feelings towards Kyle. Kyle is part of the varsity basketball team, has a cheerleader girlfriend, and is struggling in his classes. Both of them are huge fans of Lord of the Rings, so if you’re one too, then you will definitely enjoy this!
I absolutely loved watching these two together. I believed their loyalty and respect towards each other deep in my body. Every time one of them said something cute, I couldn’t help but grin like a lunatic. I loved them so much that whenever things weren’t as amazing as I wanted them to be, I was tearing up and demanding for an immediate solution to it all. I was completely invested and I am forever grateful to Sandy for introducing us to them. They were spectacular and will forever hold a special place in my heart.
This book was a fast read for me so I read it in one sitting. I mostly felt like this was a little bit too light of a read for a diverse book, but no matter, I enjoyed it. I also noticed that things were resolved much too easily at some points which didn’t let me give this 5 stars. I love not knowing what to expect from a rude character but I didn’t know how to feel about the one we had in this one. All I know is that I felt like the side characters weren’t really interesting, except Gideon’s brother. They all felt 2D to me and it would have impacted my rating immensely if I wasn’t already taken by Gideon and Kyle from the start.

4.5/5 stars!

ICYMI Author Spotlight: Chase Night!

Name: Chase Night

Genre: Southern Gothic, Magical Realsim, LGBT
Birthday: August 5. 
Number of Books Out: 1

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS:
-Where did your love for books/writing come from?
My first memory is getting a Teddy Ruxpin for my third birthday. I don’t know if Teddy Ruxpin is still a thing, but he was this stuffed robot bear that came with little books about his adventures. He also had cassette tapes you could put in his back and he would then read the stories about himself to you. His mouth even moved. In fact, I made Teddy read to me so often that eventually his mouth fell off and he was left with a terrifying gaping maw and I was left with a fear of robot. But even so, I still credit him with instilling in me that early love of words and stories. 
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-What is a writing quirk of yours?
I can’t write out or order. When I was editing the last draft of Chicken, I actually had to retype the entire thing in a new file in order to make the necessary changes and insert new scenes.
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-What do you do when you’re not writing? Second job maybe?
I’m the office manager for my dad’s business. For a long time, it was just something I did because there wasn’t really anything else for me to do in my small town, and I got to spend a lot of time on the job reading, but then my dad passed away last month, and suddenly I am basically in charge of a business, which is not something I was ever prepared for. It’s the kind of stuff they write literary novels about. Or maybe the stuff I’ll write a literary novel about one day. 
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-Is there an idea that has been stuck in your head that you haven’t written yet?
Ninety-five percent of the ideas I’ve ever had had are still stuck in my head!

FACTS
-Are you married? Kids? or Planning on it?
My wife and I got married in a library last year. If by kids, you mean pets, then yes we have them and yes we plan on having more of them in the future.
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-eBook or physical book? Why?
I read both. I prefer reading fiction in print, but if there’s a great deal on a Kindle book, I’ll suck it up. I really like reading non-fiction on my Kindle because it’s easy to highlight things and find them again.
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-What book/s are you reading now?
I’m reading a book called How Animals Grieve by Barbara J. King. One of the recurring themes of my work is that humans are animals too, so I’m finding it very insightful about my own experience with loss. I’m also reading one of my all-time favorite books General Red by O.A. Washburn, which I’ll talk more about in my next answer.
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-What is your most prized possession?
Right now, it’s General Red. My dad gave me this obscure biography of a bear hunting dog when I a kid. He said his best friend gave it to him when they were kids and that it was the only book he ever read all the way through without a teacher making him. Well, I fell in love with it immediately, and read it over and over again, even in college. When I moved to New York, I left it behind for safekeeping, but then my dad packed up my room to make a den and all my books wound up in a barn. I couldn’t find General Red for years, but finally a couple years ago, I did. I started reading it right away. Then one day my dad was getting ready for a reunion, chatting with old friends on Facebook, and he asked me whatever happened to that book he gave me. I told him I had it with me, and so he told the friend who had given it to him, and well, it turns out she had only meant to loan it to him. Fifty years prior. She wanted it back. He said of course I would return it. I was so furious with him. But it turned out the book was actually written by one of her relatives, so I knew I had to send it back. I was pretty heartbroken about it. Years went by, but I never stopped missing it. Then a few weeks ago, I came home one night after several days sitting in the ICU waiting room after my maternal grandmother had a heart attack, and I was feeling about the worst I’d felt since right after dad died. Well, I checked the mailbox and there was a brown envelope inside. General Red had come home.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:
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I wasn’t sure what to say here, but then I realized I was writing this on July 28, which means it is Chicken’s first birthday! So I guess I really just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported it so far and to say how much it means to me every time someone takes a chance and buys this obscure author’s weird little indie YA novel. Now what’s a subtle way to drop a hint that what Chicken really wants for its birthday is lots of good reviews???

MEDIA LINKS:

Review: Midnight Sky by Amy Braun!

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*ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
I forgot what number book this was that I’ve read by Amy but I’ve said this before and will do so again: One thing, out of the many, that I can count on to be in Amy’s books is absolute brutality. She doesn’t make her characters take the easy way out and it’s something that doesn’t fail to impress me. This book starts right in the middle of the action and the roller coaster doesn’t let up.
This is the second book in the Dark Sky series and we follow another strong heroine. It’s something Amy is no stranger to. Our heroine is trying to amend her parent’s mistakes while also trying to save herself and her sister from demise. I swear, my respect for our heroine, Claire, just keeps growing, especially in this installment. She is badass, smart, headstrong, and will go through great lengths in order to ensure her loved one’s safety.
As amazing as our main character is, I am seriously falling for our side characters too. I mean, I fell for Sawyer the minute I met him but that’s beside the point. I just really love how Gemma and Nash’s dynamic is something I can always count on. They found love, each other, and have stuck together through thick and thin. Well, mostly thick, considering the gruesome chaos Earth is in. Their relationship is the rock in the story, at least for me.
I really, really, want to talk about Sawyer and all my thoughts that went through while witnessing his actions but I can’t without giving away spoilers. So I’ll just mention that I am so proud of him for doing what he did almost at the end. AHHH!! It made me shed tears and it made me cheer out loud for him. After that, I want the third book in my hands already!!! I only ever wanted him to be happy and he needs to cut it out and listen to me- I mean Claire.
At certain points the story was slightly predictable but it was still interesting to see the plot line play out. BUT, there was a certain part of the story that I thought I had pegged from the very beginning but it turned out that yes, I was right, but I was also very wrong. And because of that, I grew to pity a character I was never a fan of. It makes my heart hurt just thinking about it.
I can’t wait to see what other situations Claire gets into and engineers her way out of. (Pun intended) Also, I NEED those short stories like yesterday!!! Especially Sawyer’s.

4/5 stars!

Review: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

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Ever since the hype behind Morgan Matson has been insane, I’ve been excited to finally get the chance to read something of hers with this book. Sadly, she didn’t meet the hype for me.
The story was cute and hilarious but Amy & Roger didn’t have the IT factor. I didn’t really believe their attraction for each each other. To me, they were better off as friends.
I wasn’t really a fan of Amy but Roger’s story was definitely more entertaining to follow.
What really got on my nerves was that every state Amy went to, there was always somebody into her. I found it really heard to believe that every male she met would be attracted to her. It was too out there and I didn’t enjoy it for one second.
What I did love more than anything, was the format. There were receipts, postcards, and much more included throughout the story. It made the road trip seem as real as possible and it had me itching to go to one of my own. All in all, I will still give Matson another chance in the future.

3/5 stars.

Review: Evanescent by Gabriella LePore

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*Copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review*
This was my first read by Gabriella and I found it to be quite entertaining. We follow three guys and our main character, Bronwen, as they try to protect each other while one of them is being hunted.
I thought Felix, one of the guys, was hilarious! His character was the one that captured my attention since page one. His personality was utterly amazing to witness and his heart was definitely something to appreciate. In my opinion, I felt like his character was more thought out than the other ones.
Bronwen was just ‘eh’ to me. I didn’t feel any connection to her and her actions grew to be a bit predictable.
Loki was adorable and Alistar just rubbed me off as a quiet guy for some reason. The bond between the guys was beautiful to be a part of but I still felt like Felix outshone all of them. I have no idea if that was Gabriella’s intention but it is what it is.
I also was NOT on board with the small ‘romance’ part of the story. It’s a sad day when I write those words but it’s the truth. It wasn’t as subtle as I would’ve loved it to have been; It came too suddenly and I couldn’t believe any of it. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t see it.
Another thing that didn’t rub me the right way was that the three guys were known to be incredibly powerful but I honestly didn’t see it. I would’ve loved to WITNESS their incredible power instead of being told about it. We got to see a little bit of it but it wasn’t enough to sway me. I just felt like it was a huge cop out.
Now for the positives:
The format in this book was outstanding! If I wasn’t so smitten with Felix, the format itself would’ve been the one making turn the pages. The one thing that had me almost giving this book 3 stars was that spectacular ending. I bow down to Gabriella for going in that direction with her story. It’s something I rarely see in the books I read and it came to a huge blow to me. It made me shed some tears and I don’t regret any of it. The twists we encountered through this story were amazing and I never saw them coming.
All in all, I will definitely be reading more by Gabriella in the future.

2.6/5 stars.

Double Review: Did I Mention I Love You and Did I Mention I Need You by Estelle Maskame!

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Ever since I read the synopsis to this book while scouring the book aisles at Target, I fell madly in love and just HAD to get it. Then I saw that the sequel was also available so I had to get it as well.
This book was my first by Estelle and I didn’t hate it but I wasn’t obsessed with it either.
We follow Eden as she moves in with her father for the summer, who she hasn’t seen or heard from for a few years. Not only are they strangers to each other, but he now has a different family, who she moves in with too. She now has a stepmother and three stepbrothers that she has to learn to be friendly for the summer.
I didn’t really like Eden in this book. She got on my nerves with her constant questioning. I really wished she had minded her own business more often. I also found her lacking a backbone and that is the most unattractive quality in a fictional character I could ever stumble upon. I did love her relationship with her mother though.
Cue in her cute (later I change my mind to sexy but that’s beside the point) and older stepbrother, Tyler. My first impression of Tyler was awful and I would’ve hated him a million times over had the author not meant for it to be that way. I wanted to smack him upside the head more than anything for the way he behaved.
This is a forbidden romance between the two of them but I felt like their ‘attraction’ wasn’t up to par with me. I wasn’t believing any of it and that is what impacted my rating the most.
I didn’t have a connection to any of the characters and it was really saddening. One thing I will say is that this plot line grew to be crazy in the drama department. Things are happening right and left and it was still fun to witness everything play out the way it did. That’s the main reason why I didn’t give up on this book once the romance wasn’t cutting it for me. It left me wanting to see what else these two would go through as soon as possible. So I picked up the second book immediately after I set this one down.

3/5 stars.

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OH. MY. GOD!!!!! This book has done it!! It has made me fall in love with this trilogy which is something that the first book was nowhere near accomplishing.
I loved how the first book takes place in LA but we get to see New York in this one. There’s nothing more entertaining than moving characters into a different setting and witnessing the differences it sparks in them.
I was really looking forward to reading what else Eden and Tyler would get into but I never in a million years thought I was going to fall hard for them. I mean him… This book proved me wrong and I couldn’t be any more appreciative.
Eden and Tyler go through a different set of hardships and it was heart-breaking to witness, especially when I was rooting for them so freaking hard after the first few pages.
Like I said in book one’s review, I wasn’t a fan of Tyler’s at all. I found it hard to see him as anything other than a brat but we get to see a completely different side of him in this book and godDAMN was it amazing. One thing that I couldn’t get enough of was whenever he spoke in Spanish. My GOD is that a weakness of mine; I melted into a puddle of goo whenever the words left his tongue. A guy that can speak my first language… I swear my room grew as hot as an inferno in there because of him. I’m melting just thinking back on it and I now want to reared it immediately. Anyway, I can’t even put into words how much I was crushing on him before I ended up falling hard. His heart was the most beautiful thing to witness and he has jumped super high on my book boyfriends list because of it. I was so invested in him that his heartbreak was my very own. His tears made me cry. His laugh and smile made me warm inside. Whenever he was in pain, all I wanted to do was reach in and console him.
Eden was still getting on my nerves on this one. That girl has her work cut out for her if she wants me to think her worthy of Tyler’s affection. I am only rooting for them because it makes him happy and I want that for him. He deserves that and so much more. Eden was still lacking a backbone but she managed to do something about it at times. Not as often as I would like her to but still an improvement from book one.
My love and appreciation for Eden’s mother only grew after reading this book. She does so much for Eden and is always there for her, no questions asked; Just like a mother should be.
I read this beauty of a book in one sitting and that was the worst mistake I’ve ever made in my life. I’ve been trying to put these books aside since I knew they were part of a trilogy. I wanted to own the 3rd book to complete the set before I started them but clearly, that didn’t go down so well since here we are…
I am beating myself SO HARD for not listening to myself that I’m my own worst enemy right now. I should have waited and prevented myself from going through such overwhelming withdrawals. Now I have to wait UNTIL DECEMBER to get the third book and I’m dying slowly inside.
I NEED TO KNOW MORE!!! I NEED MORE TYLER!!
I can’t live this way after that ending. I can’t… I won’t. I couldn’t stop crying after the last page (I’m crying right now just thinking about it) and I wanted to take it all back right then and there. I wanted to go back to when I had no idea who these characters were. I just want to hibernate until the release of the next book. The wait is making me go freaking insane. I can’t handle it. I’ve been trying to forget about this book(and Tyler) with other ones but UGH it’s not easy.

4.5/5 stars!