Monthly Archives:: February 2014

Friday, February 28, 2014

Review: #16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler

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Review: #16thingsithoughtweretrue by Janet Gurtler
16 Things I Thought Were True
Janet Gurtler
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: March 4th 2014
by Sourcebooks Fire

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Heart attacks happen to other people #thingsIthoughtweretrue

When Morgan's mom gets sick, it's hard not to panic. Without her mother, she would have no one—until she finds out the dad who walked out on her as a baby isn't as far away as she thought...

Adam is a stuck-up, uptight jerk #thingsIthoughtweretrue

Now that they have a summer job together, Morgan's getting to know the real Adam, and he's actually pretty sweet...in a nerdy-hot kind of way. He even offers to go with her to find her dad. Road trip, anyone?

5000 Twitter followers are all the friends I need #thingsIthoughtweretrue

With Adam in the back seat, a hyper chatterbox named Amy behind the wheel, and plenty of Cheetos to fuel their trip, Morgan feels ready for anything. She's not expecting a flat tire, a missed ferry, a fake girlfriend...and that these two people she barely knew before the summer started will become the people she can't imagine living without.
-A copy was provided by Raincoast Books for review-

As a Canadian I am always quick to jump behind any Canadian authors that I can find.  Sometimes hastily getting a book based on those grounds has bitten me in the butt but I have come to know that getting a Janet Gurtler book (who is not only a Canadian, but a fellow Albertan) is always a safe bet. #16thingsithoughtweretrue did not disappoint.  While it wasn’t a perfect novel, it managed to bring out all the feels from me and had me ugly crying for the last few chapters.

Morgan doesn’t come across as the most likeable character in the beginning of the novel. She is very standoffish and likes to get lost in a virtual world on her phone rather than have one on one contact with real people. It becomes apparent early on that she was at one time a much more personable person but was wronged by her best friend Lexie when she put a video of Morgan dancing in men’s underwear to LMFAO’s Sexy and I Know It online.  The video quickly went viral and had people laughing at Morgan wherever she went in the town of Tadita.  I liked reading a novel about how a viral video had affected someone, it’s a very important issue these days with everything that is on the news about high school and the forms of bullying that go on online.  I think the person Morgan had become in the aftermath of that was very realistic.  She had this hard shell that she had put up to protect herself from the taunting and from possibly being hurt again but we are never left to believe that she is that cold on the inside because her emotions are palpable throughout the novel.

Helping bring this light side of Morgan to light is everything that is going on in her family life.  Right at the beginning of the novel her mother is admitted to the hospital with heart trouble and it rocks Morgan’s world.  Not only is she worried about her mother, but her mom (who doesn’t think she is going to make it) tells her her father’s name which is shocking because Morgan had believed he was dead.  This sets into motion the plot at the heart of the novel which is Morgan going on a road trip to Canada to meet her biological father. Of course a young girl can’t go on a trip like this alone so by luck of the draw she happens to find two people from work who are willing to go with her and one of them even has a car.  Amy and Adam (her companions on the trip) where important characters in their own right.  I really fell for these two, they had me laughing just as much as they had me feeling bad for what was going on in their lives.  The secondary characters here are expertly developed which served to immerse me in the story even more because I came to care about so many people.

My only complaints about the novel are that a few of the revelations that come about in the story just seemed really unnecessary.  It seemed like Morgan had a knack for meeting people who lie to her right off the bat and keep it going for as long as they can.  The lies that she’s faced with were just silly and didn’t really serve a purpose in the story in my opinion.  They felt like cheap ways to attempt to keep the story interesting but that wasn’t necessary at all because the pacing was spot on and the story would have definitely held its own.  Maybe there was supposed to be a deeper meaning enforced by these people’s need to lie to her, but I just didn’t feel that it was effective at all.  I was also a little bothered but the use of the term wi-fi (getting nitpicky here, I know) but it really bugged me.  While on the highway Morgan kept referring to how she was in a dead zone and didn’t have wi-fi, well duh you are on a highway! I’m not sure if Gurtler was meaning to say that she just didn’t have service, or if there are actually highways out there that have wi-fi but I just couldn’t figure out why Morgan would ever think she would have a chance at having wi-fi on a highway.

Those two small issues definitely didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the novel all that much and I think that this is a definite read for any contemporary fans out there.  Filled with great characters and a story that grabs you and doesn’t let go this is one you should definitely grab when it hits shelves.

4 Stars
4 Hot Espressos

Review: Nil by Lynne Matson

Review: Nil by Lynne Matson

Posted by on 02/27/2014 • 30 Comments

Survivor meets Lost (pre epic fail) in this exciting survivalist story set on a bizarre island filled with monstrous beasts and only one way out, and if you miss your chance to leave, you die. Imagine walking to the store when this heat wave comes, and suddenly you find yourself naked and having to rough it out in this unnatural wild with countless death traps and no supplies or food other than what you can find on the island. Luckily, Charley found others in the same predicament. I found it rather ingenious, the way these kids built a kind of society where everyone does what they can, pulling their own weight to survive this alternate dimension of sorts they were all unfortunate to land into. As a result, the book…

Review: The Cellar by Natasha Preston

Review: The Cellar by Natasha Preston

Posted by on 02/26/2014 • 26 Comments

The beautiful, yet haunting cover for The Cellar is what initially drew me to want to read the novel.  Once I read more about it and saw that it was about girls who were kidnapped and kept in a cellar for months, possibly years, I had to read it because uncomfortable topics like that always draw me to stories (I’m weird, I know this.)  In the end this was an interesting story that kept me engaged the whole way through but unfortunately it failed to really affect me in any way or draw out any emotion.

I can’t really pin point why I felt so disconnected to The Cellar, but I think a very large part of it was due to the overuse of flashbacks while also using multiple POVs. …

2014 Debuts We’re Excited For!

2014 Debuts We’re Excited For!

Posted by on 02/25/2014 • 31 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where we list top bookish things. Note that Giselle and Jenni often decide to split it and each do a Top 5.

All of the Debut Excitement! Jenni

Something Real by Heather Demitrios: I know this one might be out already but I haven’t gotten the chance to get it in my grubby hands yet.  The love I have been seeing for this book on my Goodreads is immense! I have been a long time (closet) reality show fan so I think this one would really interest me! The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu: A few months ago Bekka of Great Imaginations recommended Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams to…

Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Posted by on 02/24/2014 • 36 Comments

Rape books are numerous, at least I’ve read my fair share. They come in all shapes and sizes, giving us tragic stories of broken lives and emotionally crippled victims. Faking Normal may be one of the bunch, but it’s one that stands out in its importance in showing one of the worst faces of rape: the one that goes wrongfully blamed, the one with circumstances that make the victim think it’s excusable. He was hurt, he said. Lonely, he said. Since she didn’t straight up say no, does it make it okay? Did Alexi “let it happen”, making it her fault? Even though she obviously was not saying yes? For months, now, Alexi has been punishing herself, justifying the abuse that has been haunting her ever since. Haunting her to…

Giselle’s Stacking the Shelves [Feb 23]

Giselle’s Stacking the Shelves [Feb 23]

Posted by on 02/23/2014 • 34 Comments

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews featuring the books we got this week, and I also mention blog news/happenings of the past week. Woot only a few more weeks until the beginning of spring and I don’t know about you but I am ready for this winter to be over! We got about 40cm of snow just this past week and now it’s raining! What a mess! I took a picture of my view from my car in the driveway here O_O Yeppers! So on the blog this week Jenni and I talked about why we loved being bloggers and readers – you can check that out here. And there’s also time to enter the Birthday Cover Madness giveaway here! I got some birthday bookish gifts…

Fresh Batch (New Releases February 23rd – March 1st)

Fresh Batch (New Releases February 23rd – March 1st)

Posted by on 02/22/2014 • 12 Comments

Fresh Batch, posted weekly, keeps you up to date on the hottest releases of the upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

Faking Normal Courtney C. Stevens Publication date: February 25th 2014 by HarperTeen

Goodreads Purchase

An edgy, realistic, and utterly captivating novel from an exciting new voice in teen fiction.

Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in “the Kool-Aid Kid,” who has secrets of his own. As they lean on…

Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Posted by on 02/21/2014 • 35 Comments

I was quite nervous going into The Winner’s Curse.  It was one that I was quick to request solely on that gorgeous cover, but upon getting it and looking into what it was about I didn’t think it would be for me.  I am happy to report that it worked incredibly well for me and ended up being a book that I was actually angry at for ending.  Fantasy is most definitely not my thing, especially when you mix that with a historical-like society, but this book was AWESOME.

The world of The Winner’s Curse isn’t the most upbeat of worlds.  There is a war that is leading to the Valorian people taking over most of the world.  Where we meet our MC Kestral is in the land that once…