Guarding the Lake by Dana Burkey

Guarding the Lake is a quick, fun read that I adored. Natalie is elated to learn that the boy she has been crushing on likes her back. Or does he? Natalie displayed a great deal of integrity, and I was relieved with the way things ended (since this is such a short book, it’s hard not to give anything away!). I found the book to read quite realistically, which is sometimes a challenge with YA books (I love YA, but it seems like a lot of times the characters have the maturity of a 20 year old, not a 16 or 17 year old). I look forward to checking out more of Dana Burkey’s work.

My only critique is that the chapters ended abruptly, which made transitioning between scenes feel a bit choppy.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The copy I reviewed was in audio book format, and the narrator, Amy Hilburn, does an excellent job.

Snowed by Maria Alexander

31559083I’ll admit, I chose this book based on the cover. Well, I received a free review copy from LibraryThing, but my request was because of the cover art. It is eerie and wonderful.

I am not a huge fantasy fan, but I could not put this book down. Charity, the main character, was someone I could relate to, even though I am not a STEM person or a skeptical. I was bullied for being different back in high school.  I am unfamiliar with Krampus, having only just learned about him last year thanks to American Dad, and I thought the way Maria Alexander retold his story, and Santa’s, was quite interesting. The ending was a disappointment. I’m all for cliff-hangers, but I think I would have preferred the author to stop at the end of the final chapter and not added an epilogue. There is a LOT of cussing, so if you’re put off by swearing, this might be hard to read. I’m not typically a fan of swearing, but it does make the characters more believable.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

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Book cover image via Amazon.com Description: Navy blue/black gradient background with a carousel lit up in the center of the picture.

It wasn’t until I was almost done with this book that I realized I was enjoying it. Starting out, it didn’t seem all that original. Sydney’s mother is similar to Macy’s mother in “The Truth About Forever,” and the major plot (superstar older brother breaking the law, yet parents in denial of it being the son’s fault) reminded me of Carolyn Mackler’s “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things.”

However, I did find myself filled with rage when it came to Sydney’s mother, and I had to remind myself that I shouldn’t throw my phone against the wall (since that’s how I was reading the book). And any book that can provoke such a strong emotion is definitely a book worth reading.

Take it as a Compliment by Maria Stoian

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Book cover courtesy Edinburgh Feminist Review. Cover has a pink background and drawings of a crowd of people in purple and gold tones. The back of one woman is shown with a man pressed against her and she is struggling, not wanting to be touched (though at first glance it looks like they’re dancing).

***Trigger warning: the stories told in this book deal with sexual harassment, assault, rape, etc

 

This book is amazing, and it should be read by anyone who will not be triggered by such a topic. I appreciate that the stories were told not just by women who have experienced rape or harassment; there were at least two stories shared by men. Most of the stories make my heart ache. The last few pages of this book include a guide of “what to do” to support the people in your life who may have been raped or harassed.

Reading Decathlon Challenge

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Close-up of pages in the center of an open book. Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures.net

Call me crazy, but I am going to participate in Epic Reads’ Reading Decathlon Challenge, which challenges readers to read 10 books in 10 days. I’ll be #ReadingForSilver (do hashtags work outside of Twitter?), which consists of 5 novels and 5 graphic novels. I’m starting the challenge tomorrow and have picked out most of my books:

Graphic Novels:
1) Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
2) Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh
3) Trashed by Derf
4) Take it as a Compliment by Maria Stoian
5) Stitches by David Small

Regular Novels:
1) Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
2) Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
3) Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman
4) Mine are Spectacular! bye Janice Kaplan & Lynn Schnurnberger
5) ???

I do have a bunch of books downloaded thanks to Audiobook Sync, so I’ll probably see what kind of mood I’m in when it comes time to read that 10th book. Be sure to comment with any book recommendations!

Good luck to my fellow readers!

Speaking in Tungs by Karla M. Jay

Wow! I did not think I would enjoy this 26142984book as much as I did. It started out slow but ended with a bang. The main character Marleigh is witty and enjoyable, a speech therapist who has left busy San Francisco and moved to rural Pennsylvania after discovering she was adopted in hopes of learning more about her birth parents. She takes a job as a traveling speech therapist, which results in stepping way outside her comfort zone.  Since this book falls into the mystery genre, it seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong, and eventually I lost interest and had to put the book down for a couple days. I’m glad I picked it back up, though, because after I made it to the halfway point, I could not get enough. While the book ends on a positive note, one key point was not answered. I am looking forward to reading the sequel and seeing what lies ahead for Marleigh.

I received a copy of this book from Book Review 22 in exchange for my honest review.

Someone I Wanted to Be by Aurelia Wills

***Trigger warning: Attempted rape scene

coverIf this book had been written 20 years ago, it probably would have been one of my favorites. Thinking back to my high school years, I would have related quite well with Leah, the book’s protagonist. Even though we do not share immediate traits, I was often the underdog during my middle and high school years. While her experiences and mine are differently, I still found her to be a believable character.

As an adult, I wanted to give Leah hugs while at the same time shake her and ask her why she let Kristy control her life. The book started out predictable: DUFF Leah trails after gorgeous and bitchy Kristy (admitting that sometimes she hated Kristy) and other friend Corinne, who is also beautiful, but nice, though Corinne also blows Leah off when Kristy demands so. We’re supposed to feel sorry for Kristy, whose mother is dying of cancer, but it’s hard to feel sympathy to someone who ranks up there with Regina George. By the end of Chapter 2, however, the plot turned into something original, though it vaguely reminded me of “Jail Bait” by Leslea Newman (very vaguely). I ended up enjoying the book immensely and wanted to give Leah high 5’s along the way. Even though the book ended neatly and hopeful, I would have loved seeing an epilogue.

I received a copy of this book from LibraryThing Early Reviewers in exchange for my honest review.