Thursday, August 17, 2017

Review: Bad Romance

Title: Bad Romance 
Series: None
Author: Heather Demetrios
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company Inc
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Source: Gifted.  Thank you!

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.
Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.
Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

Find Bad Romance online!
Wow.  Wow.  This book was . . . amazing.  It was heart-wrenching and intense and scary but so amazing and so necessary.  It honestly felt really eye opening to read.  It follows an abusive relationship between Grace and Gavin and some of the behaviors that Gavin exhibited . . . were unnervingly similar to the behaviors of a lot of fictional male characters that are very well liked in the community and have been in the past (Hello, Edward Cullen).  Also, I feel like I should warn anyone who would like to know, there are some triggering themes in this novel such as: self-harm, sexual abuse, rape, verbal and physical abuse, and suicide.  It's not a book that's read lightly but it's definitely one I'm glad to have read.

There's been a lot of talk about this book and a lot of mixed opinions, largely due to the way in which it was written.  It's an interesting POV . . . it's told in first person but the narrator, Grace, is addressing her abuser, Gavin, as "you", making it feel at times like the reader is Gavin.  (Example: "I gave you my heart on a silver f*cking platter and you ate it, piece by bloody piece." Example taken from the book.)  This writing style didn't bother me at all; in fact, I found it really compelling to read and it made the story feel more personal for me.  

Okay, so the story itself, like I said, was super intense.  It's so hard to read because the book makes you feel exactly what Grace was feeling.  When she liked Gavin, it was hard not to like him.  When she was scared of him, I was scared of him.  When she hated him, I hated him.  Demetrios just knows how to pull out emotions from her readers, and with content that is so emotionally charged already, it was hard not to get completely swept up in it.

What was the most unnerving aspect of this book (for me, at least), was how often I had seen Gavin's abusive behaviors in other young adult and even adult books.  In nearly every other book I've read, these abusive behaviors have been written about and cast in a positive and even charming light.  **Very mild spoiler ahead** The most glaring example was when Grace finds out that Gavin's been watching her sleep without her knowledge.  Sound familiar?  Yeah, Edward Cullen did that (and I'm sure other heroes I'm forgetting) and it was viewed as something sweet and romantic and not totally creepy, like it is.  It's so harmful to provide people, especially young teens, with content that glorifies these abusive behaviors and doesn't call them out for what they are.  It was so nice to see these behaviors called out in this book.   

I loved how important friendships were in this book for Grace.  Her two friends, Nat and Lys, were absolutely amazing and it was so great to see how they stuck by Grace and were always there for her, no matter what.  Reading about their friendship made me want to go hug my own friends.  They were just so awesome and it was nice to see such important female friendships highlighted in this book.  

I have much more I can say about this book but I think I'll go ahead and stop here.  Bottom line is: this book was intense and important and amazing, but also triggering.  It deals with a lot of heavy topics, so if you're going to read it, make sure you're prepared and taking care of yourself.  I'm glad I read this book and I'm happy for the impact it has made in my life. 

“When you're a stupid girl in love, it's almost impossible to see the red flags. It's so easy to pretend they're not there, to pretend everything is perfect.” 

Five out of Five Teapots

The author, Heather Demetrios, provides information on her website and in the back of this book on how to recognize the signs of abuse and how to help yourself or someone you know out of an abusive relationship.  For all the information and resources she provides, visit this page.

Phone number for the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673) 

Phone number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday #113

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine which spotlights highly anticipated upcoming releases.

Title: Jane, Unlimited 
Series: None
Author: Kristin Cashore 
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books 
Publication Date: September 19, 2017

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.
Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens.
Jane remembers her aunt telling her: "If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you'll go." With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price. 

Find Jane, Unlimited online!

Why I'm waiting on Jane, Unlimited this Wednesday: I haven't heard a whole lot about this book to be perfectly honest, but I loved Cashore's last series and I'm really looking forward to seeing how this book goes!  It sounds promising and very strange and I can't wait!

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?  Are you looking forward to this book?  Did you read and like the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore?  Let me know in the comments below! 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Top Ten Book Recommendations for Contemporary Lovers!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish in which we share out top ten lists relating to the bookish topic assigned that week.

This week's topic is...

Top Ten Book Recommendation for Contemporary Lovers!






1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Young Adult) 
2. Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven (New Adult) 
3. Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (Young Adult) 
4. Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes (Young Adult)
5. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (Young Adult) 
6. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (Young Adult) 
7. Sustained by Emma Chase (Adult)
8. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (Adult) 
9. Undecided by Julianna Keyes (New Adult) 
10. What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum (Young Adult)

What are some of your favorite contemporary reads?  I've been in the mood for some contemporaries lately so I'd love to get some recommendations!  These are some of my absolute favorites; the ones I go back to over and over again and just don't get bored with!  Share links to your posts below so I can check them out!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Books I'm Taking on My Road Trip!

This week, I'm going on a road trip and I'm super excited for it!  Not only will there surely be a lot of beautiful scenery, there will be many hours in a car.  While this normally wouldn't necessarily be a good thing, in this case it is.  I'm not tasked with driving which means I get to spend that time reading!  I'm one of the few people I know who doesn't get carsick while reading (thank goodness).  And, since I'm chugging along toward my goal of reading 20 books this summer, this will be a perfect opportunity to make it closer to achieving that goal!  

So, in preparation for the trip, I've made a short list of the books I want to take with me!

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
I'm still doing the Harry Potter read-a-thon with my friend and we're on to the fourth book!  I'm about a quarter of the way through and really enjoying it.  I love this year for Harry, Ron, and Hermione (although Harry and Ron so annoy me a bit).  

2. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I've heard so many wonderful things about this book and have admired its cover from afar for too long.  I finally caved and bought it the other day and I'm so excited to dive into it!  I'm already about 30 pages in and I'm hoping I can finish it on the drive!

3. Ruined by Amy Tintera
I actually randomly picked this one up at a used book sale without knowing anything about it but it sounds amazing!  I checked a couple of reviews my friends have written on it and they've all really enjoyed it so I'm excited to give it a shot!

4. Lucky in Love by Kasie West 
To lighten things us, I'm also bringing a nice contemporary!  I'm hoping it will be good, but I have heard some negative things about it.  

What do you think of the books I'm bringing?  I tried to pick a few different genres, just in case I get bored with one thing or another.  I'm really excited for this trip, and while there will be other things to do, I know I'm going to get a lot of reading done, which will be good.  Let me know what books you would bring if you were going on a road trip!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: Wesley James Ruined My Life

Title: Wesley James Ruined My Life
Series: None
Author: Jennifer Honeybourn
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Source: Bought

Sixteen-year-old Quinn Hardwick’s having a rough summer. Her beloved grandmother has been put into a home, her dad’s gambling addiction has flared back up and now her worst enemy is back in town: Wesley James, former childhood friend—until he ruined her life, that is.
So when Wesley is hired to work with her at Tudor Tymes, a medieval England themed restaurant, the last thing Quinn’s going to do is forgive and forget. She’s determined to remove him from her life and even the score all at once—by getting him fired.
But getting rid of Wesley isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. When Quinn finds herself falling for him, she has to decide what she wants more: to get even, or to just get over it. 

Find Wesley James Ruined My Life online!
I wanted to like this one so much.  It had all the components that I normally like in a YA contemporary; a hate-to-love romance, a cute guy, a seemingly strong heroine.  Unfortunately for me, only two of those three things were true.  Quinn, the main characters, was anything but strong in this one and she infuriated me throughout this book.  While it was still entertaining (I finished it in roughly three hours if that tells you anything), I would have enjoyed it so much more had Quinn not been so horrible.  

Okay, I'm just going to air out all my frustration toward Quinn before getting to anything else.  Quinn was exactly the type of main character that makes me want to rage.  She was so whiny and blamed everyone else for her problems.  And I hated how she manipulated and took advantage of other people without any thought for how it would affect them.  Actually, she did think about it occasionally.  She'd do something horrible and be like "I'm a bad person" but then continue to do exactly what she was doing previously.  It was so frustrating -- it felt like she just never learned.  Even at the very end of the novel, it felt like she was still exactly where she had been at the beginning -- making rash assumptions about other people and using them for her own means.  Ugh.  

Had it not been for Quinn, I would have really enjoyed this one.  Her friends were great and Wesley was so sweet -- I honestly couldn't understand how she could hate him so much.  He was never anything but nice to her, even after she was rude and cold to him for seemingly no reason.  It also didn't feel very much like a romantic relationship.  I didn't feel any chemistry between them and there was really no romantic moves made.  

I wish Quinn had been a better character -- I might have liked it more if she were.  As it is, my opinion of this book suffered due to Quinn.  Besides her, the other characters were good and the plot was entertaining enough that I read the whole book in one sitting. 

"I may not be able to do anything about Wesley going to my school or being a part of concert band or even having the same circle of friends, but there is one thing I might be able to do.
Get him fired."   

Three out of Five Teapots

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