Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Heartbreakers and Fakers by Cameron Lund

Hi all!

If you were awaiting for a review for a YA book, today is your day! 

Quick shout-out to Netgalley for giving me a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

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Heartbreakers and Fakers is Cameron Lund's second novel - her first novel was The Best Laid Plans. 

Heartbreakers and Fakers is very much a book I would have totally read in high school!  The storyline is classic YA and in a way, it was predictable.  A diverse novel, this was not but it didn't make it bad. 

The story starts off with the main character Penny, waking up and finding herself outside in a lawn chair the morning after a party, with no shoes but only one sock. 

As the reader, we quickly learn that Penny did something she shouldn't have the night before with Kai, who is the boyfriend of her best friend, Olivia. 

In a story that involves a few twists, we come to learn that there is more to this story than just a bad decision. 

Like A LOT MORE - a whole lot more than I would have originally thought.  

The ending really surprised me because it was nothing like I expected at all. 

This was definitely an easy read - I would say that it's a beach read or even a by-the-pool read!

- Jillian




Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Flight of the Puffin by Anne Braden

 

Happy Saturday!

I am here today to share with you my thoughts on Flight of the Puffin by Ann Braden. 

I was sent a copy of the ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

First things first, I'm going to kick off this review and admit that I totally judged this book by its cover and I wasn't sure if it was going to be something that I would want to read.  But I came to my senses and I am glad that I did. 

Braden's story takes the reader to share the experiences (and thoughts) of 4 characters.  Side note: I know that at least 3 of the characters are pre-teens, I don't know about the age of the 4th character. 

Libby knows that she doesn't want to live up the expectations that everyone in town has set for her: to be a bully just like her dad and her brother. 

Libby knows that she wants to be more.  She comes across a rock in the art closet with an inscription on it: "Create the world of your dreams".  Libby takes this inspiration and runs with it.

Braden shows that one act of kindness can cause change - influencing the mind of one person and make a change in how they view the world carries a positive impact. 

Braden also shows how misinformation can lead to unintentional and unwanted consequences. 

That being said, Braden also shows that reader how being informed can change perception.

All in all, I really did enjoy this story!

- Jillian






Friday, April 16, 2021

Starfish by Lisa Fipps

I know that posts about middle grade reads do not view so well on the blog but I'm sorry, this book is just too good to pass up!

I am working on some YA stuff to share soon!

I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of this book from one of the several School Library Journal events that I attend virtually.  What's even better is that this book was on my TBR list on my Goodreads!

Now it's time dive into this mini review!

Starfish by Lisa Fipps introduces the reader to 12 year old Ellie at the end of her summer vacation.  Her best (and only) friend, Viv is leaving Texas and moving to Indiana.  Ellis is dreading returning to school in September on her own because she's bullied about her weight.  

The theme of the story is Ellie's weight but you don't just see how she is bullied by her fellow classmates, you see how she is bullied by her mother and her brother about her weight as well.  That fact alone made Starfish different and standout to me - it tackles topics that are very real and uncomfortable to think about, let alone experience.

I also loved how there was involvement by the teacher/librarian and how the library provided itself to be a safe space for Ellie.  One of my favorite quotes from this book is about the teacher/librarian in the story: "It's unknown how many students' lives librarians have saved by welcoming loners at lunch".

What I absolutely loved about this book is how Ellie (with help) began to see her self-worth and begins to accept herself and love herself.  

Ellie is the inspiring hero that we all didn't know we needed. 

I would ABSOLUTELY recommend this book in a heartbeat!

Happy weekend, everyone! 

- Jillian




Friday, March 26, 2021

Courage Without Grace by Jeannie Zokan

 Hello, For the Love of Dewey Readers!


We were super excited when author Jeannie Zokan reached out to ask us if we would review her latest novel Courage Without Grace, which is to be released on March 30, 2021.  As you can probably tell by my lack of reviews, I haven’t been motivated to read as much as I usually am (let’s blame it on pandemic life), so I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish this novel before the 30th. However, once I started reading it I couldn’t stop.  This novel turned out to be just what I needed to get me out of my reading (and reviewing) slump. 


About the Book: Courage Without Grace is Zokan’s second novel, following The Existence of Pity (2016).  You can read our review on the Existence of Pity, here.  This novel follows the story of Josie Wales, who grew up as a missionary in Colombia, and now lives in Washington, D.C. and works as a palm reader. 


The characters in this novel are in their mid 20s, which to me makes this a piece of “new adult fiction.” 


In the novel, Josie is learning to find herself.  She’s been in a long term relationship with Tom, who lost his parents in a violent way in Colombia.  The relationship isn’t working out, and Josie knows she should move on, but she can’t because of something (or rather someone who is holding her back.)


This novel is a quick read.  It’s more than just a self discovery and a suspenseful romance with thriller-esc moments, as the novel also tackles bigger issues such as eating disorders, overcoming guilt from past mistakes, and the line between believing in something vs. forcing your beliefs and judgment on others. 


I really enjoy how Zokan blends Christian elements with spiritual elements, in this case, palm reading. It reminded me of how as a Christian (side note: I was also Deacon Jess for a while) I also believe in the spiritual world of healing crystals, palm readings, etc. I like how Zokan opens the door for balance and harmony with all things both spiritual and religious. This was also something I found with Zokan’s first novel. 


It took me a while to realize that the characters (Josie, etc.) are the same characters in The Existence of Pity, probably because it’s been a LONG time since I read Zokan’s first novel.  That being said, you don’t need to read the Existence of Pity to enjoy Courage Without Grace, but I think reading both definitely enhances the reading experience and helps to give some insight into the character’s lives- especially into the past of Tom and his brother Jack.


I give this novel a For the Love of Dewey rating of 5 out of 5 Coffee Beans.


Until the next read! 


~Jessica


Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Baby-Sitter's Club: Kristy's Great Idea by Raina Telgemeier

Helloooooo everybody,

Book cover from Amazon

I am back with a review on The Baby-Sitter's Club by Raina Telgemeier.  Telgemeier took Ann M. Martin's series The Babysitter's Club and adapted 4 titles from this series into graphic novels.  Book Riot did an article on these books, you can read that here!

Now, if you know anything about me then you know that within the last couple of months, I have taken a liking to both juvenile and young adult graphic novels!  Graphic novels have a wonderful ability to tell a story in a different way and they appeal to a reader who might feel intimidated or might not have any interest in reading a chapter book or a juvenile fiction book. 

I have to say...  I don't ever remembering reading a book from The Babysitter's Club series.  As someone who loves to work with kids, has aspirations to be a school librarian and someone who used to babysit, the series never appealed to me before.  Now here I am, at the age of 31, picking up my first Baby-Sitter's book and it's a graphic novel.

Raina Telgemeier is a very talented author and illustrator.  I read Smile for my children's literature class last Spring and I thought that way that she was able to tell the story was fantastic.  It was also something that as the reader, you found to be relatable. That can be another review for another day!

I must say that I enjoyed the graphic novel.  I liked the flow that the graphic novel gave to the story.  I thought that Telgemeier did a great job with showing Kristy's inner thoughts right after her having a dialogue.  You got the vibe of who the characters were and the actions and the thoughts of the characters were relatable - though I must say that Kristy was quite fresh. 

Unfortunately, I never read the books so I can't compare it to what Ann M. Martin originally wrote.  But I was able to get a feel for who the characters were and I felt like maybe the graphic novel gave a little something that the original books did not.  

Would I recommend this graphic novel? Absolutely!  Would I say that you should go run out and buy a copy? No way.  I think this is perfectly acceptable to borrow from your library! (Shameless plug for using your local library!)

- Jillian 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood

Another book review?

Don't mind if I do! 

Cover provided by Goodreads
This was ANOTHER ARC provided by the lovely wonderful people at Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

It Sounded Better in My Head is the debut novel by Nina Kenwood. 

First of all - let’s think about this title. How many of us have said this in reference to something? I found the title to be perfection.  I also found the book to be perfection.

The book starts off with 18 year old Natalie on Christmas Day finding out that her mother and father have decided to get a divorce (after 20 years of marriage) - I think we all agree that is a pretty crummy Christmas gift. 

Kenwood goes on to present Natalie in a way that I found to be a little different from the norm.  Natalie is presented to us in almost a raw form- we learn that she suffers from cystic acne and the anxieties that are associated with her cystic acne, and who her best friends are (Zach and Lucy).  Right off the bat, we are introduced to Alex - Zach's older brother.   

Then as the reader, we get the see the relationship between Natalie, Zach and Lucy and how Natalie once fancied the potential of her being with Zach. 

I felt that Natalie was a character that we know.  Either we have felt like Natalie or we know a girl like Natalie.  As a reader, you could feel that her challenges and her feelings are very real.  These are feelings that aren't just felt in the beginning of the book - they are felt the entire way through.  Even in the characters of Lucy and Zach, there was honesty that was felt and they were relatable in their own ways.  Nothing that Kenwood wrote about in this book was less than honest.  

Would I recommend this book? 

You betcha I would! 

A huge thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to review this title (albeit super late!)

- Jillian

Friday, March 19, 2021

You Have a Match by Emma Lord

Can I just say that I have been a terrible blogger over the last few months? 

COVID-19 is doing a doozy on my passion for reading.  And by that I mean that it has taken any enjoyment out of reading all together. 

Blah. 

Cover provided by Netgalley

This book was sent over for review back LAST JULY (Yess... That's July 2020!!) and I'm sorry to the lovely people who gave me the opportunity!  As always with ARCs, they are sent over for an honest review.

Here. We. Go!

You Have a Match is Emma Lord's second book.  Her first book was Tweet Cute - which was a title that I reviewed in January of last year.  If you're interested in reading that you can click here. 

You Have a Match is a fun contemporary YA novel to read.  The story follows Abby Day, a 16 year old who is not only about to go away to sleep away camp that will prepare her for the SATs but she's going to spend the summer getting to know her older biological sister! 

The beginning of the book starts with an at home ancestry/DNA test.   Abby, Connie and Leo all each take a test with Leo, who is hoping to discover some of his biological relatives.  Unfortunately, Leo doesn't find any matches but Abby does... little does Abby know, her match is going to change her life. 

When a teenage named Savannah reaches out to Abby, Abby is shocked to learn that she has a full-blooded sister she doesn't know about! 

Now. 

I really liked this book in the beginning, and I was going to prematurely declare it a victory but as it went on, there were a few things I found myself not liking.  I liked the idea of the book, I thought that the concept of finding a full sibling with a DNA test was fun and I liked how they were going to camp together to know each other.  But all of that got lost! 

The focus of the book would be on Savvy and Abby but as it went on, it seemed like there was a lot of other background noise.  There was mention of Abby and Leo's relationship on the side, then there was mention of Savvy's relationship with Jo and Mickey. About halfway through the book, there was mention of matching Magpie keychains but then as quickly as that was mentioned, it was gone.  Then there was a guy named Finn, who was a little short lived.

Then about halfway through (give or take), Abby is out early morning and runs into Savvy's parents and then goes running back to the camo after they ask her if she's a junior counselor, all the while Savvy is running and they almost collide and they are trying to each other that the other's parents are here. 

It was a very Parent Trap moment. 

In my opinion, it took too long to get to the point. 

I want to thank St. Martin Press & Wednesday Books for the opportunity to review You Have a Match as an arc! 

- Jillian