Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Two Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman- #TheBookDrop

Happy World Book Day!

It's beautiful out here in the Dirty (You know, people call New Jersey "Dirty Jersey"... Yes? Maybe? Anyway...)

Okay everyone... You all need to read what I'm about to say...

Everyone needs to go out and buy this book.  Just stop whatever you're doing and hop in your car or on a bus, train OR the subway (even a helicopter, if need be) and go out and get this book (And if you live in Northern NJ, you'll need to find an open bookstore on Sunday. Depending on your county of residence. You all know who you are...!).

Maybe all of that was a slight exaggeration... Maybe it was not!
I do, however; recommend going out and grabbing yourself a copy of The Two Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman.
I must say that the last two books from #TheBookDrop have been *fantastic* reads! I am even more excited to see what the May book for the Jane Box will be.  The pressure is ON #TheBookDrop. Don't let me down now!

One thing is for sure though and that is this book is an EXCELLENT read! There is a reason why it has received such praise as Loigman's debut novel.

Loigman presents the complex dynamics that exist in relationships between both husband and wife and families. 

The book follows the two families of brothers, Mort and Abe.  Mort is married to Rose and has three daughters: Judith, Mimi and Dinah (and Teddy).  Abe is married to Helen and together they have four boys: Harry, Sam, George and Joe (and Natalie).  As a reader we see the interactions between Mort and Abe; and we see how the relationship between Rose and Helen becomes strained and falls apart. 

You can find Loigman's inspiration behind The Two Family House here.  Normally, I would paraphrase it but I believe that in this case, it's better to read Loigman's words directly.  

I don't want to say too much about the book because I don't want to give out any spoilers! 


There was not one thing that I didn't like about this novel. 
...The story was captivating.
...The actors were well developed and thought out. 

The story had a sense of mystery to it.  All the clues were there to solve the mystery (I thought) but Loigman was still able to provide a slight sense of suspense until those last few chapters.  Along with that sense of mystery and suspense, there was also sadness and tragedy, happiness and love.  

Aside from showing how family dynamics can differ, how relationships between the closest of people can fall apart, and how love can fade away.

The book contains Reading Group Gold, where the other issues I also feel like the the issue of postpartum depression was present in the novel, I thought you could see that Rose might have been affected by it.  That was the first thing that I thought about when we learned that her relationship changed with Helen and how she was often found in front of the window staring out or napping.

I'm giving this book five out of five coffee beans. I hope that everyone who reads it finds much as enjoyment as I did (:

~ Jillian

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti - Reshelved Books

Happy April everyone!

Spring WAS in the air here in New Jersey... It HAD been WARM- like 57 degrees warm.  Which WAS quite welcoming given the crappy weather that we've had.  The first day of April was rather chilly and the last day in March was just rain... Cold yucky rain but much needed rain at that! Then it was really nice on Sunday and Monday but then the rest of the week was meh. Like I took Baby C out in the stroller down through the downtown streets in the town where I grew up.

But alas... The warm weather is finally back it seems! Today especially!!

So to add a little something-something today, we have my review for this week! This week is a YA fiction review.  
(For those of you who might be wondering about the April 2017 #TheBookDrop Jane Box book, I am in the process of writing the review (love, love, LOVE the book!) and it will be up soon!)

Aahh.... I love YA fiction... Why? You may ask. I love YA fiction because there's a beginning, a middle and an end. There's no fuss. There is just wonderfulness.

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti is this week's review from moi. 
I hate that I'm going to write this but... I really didn't care too much for this book. I know! Crazy right?? Since I'm usually one to say I like this book or that I love that one.  This one... I sadly did not like.  We'll get to why I didn't like it later on though.  

First things first!

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett is the book that follows Hawthorn Creely, a high school student on her quest to solve the missing person's case of Lizzie Lovett; in addition to navigating herself and figuring out who she is and what her role in life is.
Lizzie Lovett is a 21 year old female who was in the same class as Rush, Hawthorn's older brother.  Lizzie goes out into the woods one night camping with boyfriend Enzo (Lorenzo) - only for her to disappear into the dark.

From the fall, when Hawthorn first heard that Lizzie Lovett disappeared until the winter time-the reader is with Hawhtorn when she finds out what happened to Lizzie and when she finds herself. We watch as Hawthorn chases her theory that Lizzie turned into a mythical creature (a werewolf to be exact) as she is accompanied by Enzo.  We also get to see Hawthorn go through a break with Emily, her best friend and how she (Hawthorn) forges new friendships with people she never thought she would associate with.  

I found an interview with Bustle, where Chelsea Sedoti stated that her inspiration from The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett came from her own feelings toward a story of a missing girl-someone she never had any interaction with.  Sedoti explains that while she never met the girl, she was obsessed with her story, even though her disappearance was "nothing overly mysterious". You can find that article here.  Sedoti goes on to explain a little about her character Hawthorn in the article as well.

I had a love-hate relationship with this book. 

I feel like the way in which Sedoti tells the story of Hawthorn is great.  She was able to express Hawthorn's emotions and thoughts beautifully in her writing.  As a writer, Sedoti was able to convince me that maybe, just maybe, Hawthorn was right when she believed that Lizzie turned into a werewolf.  To me, when a writer is able to do that, that's really impressive. You were also on this emotion roller coaster ride with Hawthorn. I felt anxious for her when Emily announced that they needed a break. I also was sad for Hawthorn after she slept with Enzo.  I was left yearning for Hawthorn to find the happiness that she deserved.  

The issues that Sedoti tackled in The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett, where issues that everyone has come across in their teenaged years. We've all had falling outs with our friends or taken breaks from our friends, like Hawthorn and Emily did.  Even falling for someone who's older than you.  The biggest issue, I think, that Sedoti addressed was finding happiness and finding yourself.

Hawthorn had this perceived notion that Lizzie was happy.  She viewed Lizzie as someone who didn't have any problems, someone who had the world at their fingertips. Lizzie's happiness is something that Hawthorn so desperately wanted.  Hawthorn had, what I would call, an obsession with Lizzie.  I use the word "obsession" because Hawthorn went on to get hired as a waitress at the Sunshine Cafe (where Lizzie worked before she "disappeared") and Hawthorn had a brief relationship with Enzo (Lizzie's boyfriend at the time of her disappearance). 
She had one conversation with Lizzie when she was a freshman and hiding in the girl's locker room.  From that moment, Hawthorn believed that she and Lizzie had a "special connection" and that they would be able to forge a friendship.  But when she found Lizzie in the hallway, Lizzie couldn't remember Hawthorn's name much less the conversation that she had with Hawthorn. It's even mention in the book that this is moment where the love/hate feeling Hawthorn has for Lizzie starts.

The aspect of the novel that I did not like was how Hawthorn acted.  I felt like she was terribly immature.  It was something that drove me over the edge on multiple occasions throughout the book.  It got to the point where I was considering not finishing it because I wanted to grab Hawthorn by her shoulders and shake her.  I was proud of Hawthorn by the end of the book though, you could see that she had grown up and starting to find her way.

I give this book 3.5 coffee beans out of 5.  Even though it wasn't my favorite book, I still believe that it's worth a recommendation.  If you liked Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, then I believe that you would like The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett.


Article that was referenced:

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The You I've Never Known By Ellen Hopkins- Reshelved Books

I almost wasn't going to review this book.  At first  when I was reading it I wasn't sure I liked it, or even sure that it was really something that I felt like reading.  Hopkins usually tackles tough subjects in her books.  Im using the word usually as an overly generalized survey of her work, as the only other book I've read by her was Crank.  However, I love the way that she uses poetic verse to tell a story that is smooth, coherent  and quick.  So, when I saw this book on my public library's shelf, I took it home to give it a chance.    

Like CrankThe You I've Never Known tackles tough subjects often considered taboo, such as sexual orientation, the act of sex itself, the idea of belonging, and domestic mental / physical abuse.  However, what really piqued my interest and made me want to write this review was the underlying story line that Hopkins hints at and has come together in the end.  In this story there are two character voices.  Ariel, the voice of a young girl written in poetic verse who lives with her father because her mother "ran off with a woman," and who herself struggles with sexual identity, and Maya a teenager who's voice is written in prose and has become a pregnant young wife to an abusive man.  As the story progresses we see how these two different character's stories slowly diverge and blend.  Is Ariel really who she thinks she is? Is Maya more than what the reader knows her to be? 

At the end Hopkins writes that inspiration for this novel came from her own personal life, when her husband (or rather ex-husband) kidnapped their child.  This opens up a whole new world of difficult subjects.  Parental child abduction.  Without meaning it to be a spoiler, had I know that this personal and tragic event in Hopkins life inspired the story I think I would have enjoyed it much more from the beginning.  

So my dear For the Love of Dewey Readers, I leave you with a rating of 3 out of 5 coffee beans.  

Happy Reading.