We Are Okay – By Nina LaCour

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Goodreads Synopsis: Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart. 

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We Are Okay is one of my favorite types of stories. I love books about relationships, books with beautiful writing, and books were all the emotions of the characters feel as real as my own.

The story follows Marin whose going through some hard times in life, she’s moved away from her home to go to school and she hasn’t talked to anyone she used to know.  Right away I felt like I could sympathize with her because I’ve known what it feels like to just want to run away and never look back.  As I read more I found the rest of the characters to be understandable and relatable as well. Mabel is such a great friend, and I loved how she never gives up on Marin, even when she’s hurt and angry at Marin.  The character of the grandfather was also adorable, sweet and the plot twist with him and Marin was heartbreaking.   I was sucked into the story from page 1. And even though I was able to guess some of the ending, I was never pulled out of the story by my guessing.

I throughly enjoyed reading We Are Okay.  I gave it four stars on Goodreads, and I totally recommend it to you all.

Has anyone else read We Are Okay? I’d love to discuss it in the comments! 

Weird Girl and What’s His Name – By Megan Brothers

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Goodreads Synopsis: In the tiny podunk town of Hawthorne, North Carolina, seventeen-year-old geeks Lula and Rory share everything—sci-fi and fantasy fandom, Friday night binge-watching of old X-Files episodes, and that feeling that they don’t quite fit in. Lula knows she and Rory have no secrets from each other; after all, he came out to her years ago, and she’s shared with him her “sacred texts”—the acting books her mother left behind after she walked out of Lula’s life. But then Lula discovers that Rory—her Rory, who maybe she’s secretly had feelings for—has not only tried out for the Hawthorne football team without telling her, but has also been having an affair with his middle-aged divorcee boss. With their friendship disrupted, Lula begins to question her identity and her own sexual orientation, and she runs away in the middle of the night on a journey to find her mother, who she hopes will have all the answers. Meagan Brother’s piercing prose in this fresh LGBT YA novel speaks to anyone who has ever felt unwanted and alone, and who struggles to find their place in an isolating world.

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Another LGBTQA+ read! Weird Girl and What’s His Name is an easy read. It’s 336 pages, it has quirky characters who love the X-Files and it’s about finding yourself in life.

I found myself liking the first half it more than the second half. Rory is the narrator for the first part and I really liked his character. He lives with his alcoholic mother and his main friend is the funny but selfish Lula. His character really grows over the story. You understand why he’s in the unfortunate relationship with his boss, but the book does a good job of never condoning what happened. It was wrong and he begins to see that. He also learns that he wants to be with someone who loves being with him. And that was my favorite part. Rory really begins to love himself by the end of the book.

I didn’t like Lula’s character. And thus I didn’t enjoy the last part of the book where she’s narrating. Her whole running away escapade was so selfish. And I didn’t feel like she ever took responsibility for her actions like she should have. I think if not for her I would have given this book a full four stars. Also some of the characters in this book were biphobic, and all though they apologized for it I just don’t see why it’s necessary to say biphobic things. Let’s just stop with the whole “Bi people are confused” shit. It’s 2017 people!

I did feel for Lula despite it all. She goes in search of her mother, who abandoned her as a young kid. Her mom is seriously a terrible person. And it was hard to see Lula be rejected by her mom. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the treatment of the mom.  It didn’t feel supportive of women who can’t/don’t want to be mothers.  Lula’s mother is portrayed as a huge bitch through the story, like the mom literally doesn’t care about Lula at all. And I wanted it to be more positive, some people just don’t make good parents. It’s not that they’re messed up or anything.  Still it was good for Lula to grow up and realize that she had a great life being raised by her grandparents.

The overall plot was great, now I really want to watch the X-Files and see what all the fuss is about. 😀  I gave this book 3.5 stars on Goodreads.  It’s a cute book, and if you can get over Lula you’ll enjoy the story.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I’ve Recently Added To My TBR

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I had forgotten how much fun this post could be! I would have posted it yesterday, but I didn’t even think about it till after I had already posted my movie review. Oh well.

This blog meme was started by The Broke and Bookish.  The idea for this week was to show books of the same genre that the reader has recently added to their TBR. But I don’t really add by genre? My tastes are varied and often random, as you’ll probably be able to tell in a minute. So I decided to just tell y’all about the most recent 10 books I’ve added on Goodreads.

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1) Elektra, Vol 1: Bloodlines. In the past couple years I’ve gotten into comics, Image is currently my favorite publisher generally but I’m always looking for new and interesting ideas. I’m not a huge fan of superhero comics, they tend to be less well written, but the inside of Elektra looks beautiful! And I can never say no to pretty books.

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2) My Soul To Lose.  Someone on my goodreads feed (I can’t remember who now) was reading and loving a later book in this series. So I thought why not put it on my list? It’s fantasy and those tend to be fun books.

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3) When Dimple Met Rishi. Everyone has been talking about how amazing this book is. And it honestly looks like it will be adorable.

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4) Can We Be Good Without God? This book was mentioned in The God Delusion, a book that I just finished two days ago.  It seemed interesting because it brings up a relevant question to my life right now.

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5) The Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible’s Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love. This book was also mentioned in The God Delusion.

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6) The Changing Faces of Jesus. The third and last book from The God Delusion. I’ve been doing a lot of studying lately, thus why this book interested me.

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7) Oryx and Crake. I’ve always wanted to read more books by Margaret Atwood, so this one seemed interesting. Plus the cover is really cool!

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8) Vanishing Point. A couple years back I read Wittgenstein’s Mistress by this same author. I loved that book and experimental novels are my thing. Thus this book got added to my list.

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9) This Is Not A Novel. Added for the same reason as the previous book.

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10) The You I’ve Never Known. This book was on a list of LGBTQA+ books and so obviously had to go in my list.

That’s all for now.  What books have you added recently to your list? Would you read any of the books on mine? 

 

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit – By Jaye Robin Brown

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Goodreads Synopsis: Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?

This book was both painful to read and entertaining.  Painful because there’s a lot of bigoted shit that people say and do to the main character. And entertaining because it is a well written, cute romance story.

The book starts with Jo moving to a new city with her dad and new stepmom. And despite her dad claiming earlier that he doesn’t mind that she’s gay and that he supports her, he decides to tell her spend an entire year pretending not to be gay.  This is not only rude but contradictory on the dad’s part but it made me feel for Jo.  She’s a wonderful character and I loved that she put so many people’s needs before her own.  And it was also good to see her grow as a person and start realizing that she can stand up for herself, and work to make herself happy.

All of the characters in the book have a lot of personality. Jo’s mother grew on me and grew as a character to realize how homophobic she was without meaning to be.  Jo’s best friend is really selfish and honestly quite rude to Jo at times, but Jo is loyal and works things out. I think my favorite character is the love interest Mary, she’s sweet and strong and is willing to stand up for herself and her beliefs. Jo ends up learning a lot from her. Though I do feel like if Jo just learned to communicate better half of her life problems would have gone away much faster. Still it was a lesson she had to learn and I understood that.

The characters in this book are christian, Jo is very strongly so and her dad is a sort of pastor.  Because of this I found the book a bit preachy at times and that I did not like at all. I know some people didn’t find it preachy, so I guess it’s really just up to the reader.

In the end I gave this book 4 stars.

Edelweiss Reviews

First of all a big thank you to Edelweiss for giving me ARC copies of both these books! They were both pretty good reads.

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Beneath Wandering Stars By Ashlee Cowles 

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Goodreads Synopsis: After her soldier brother is horribly wounded in Afghanistan, Gabriela must honor the vow she made: If anything ever happened to him, she would walk the Camino de Santiago through Spain, making a pilgrimage in his name. The worst part is that the promise stipulates that she must travel with her brother’s best friend–a boy she has despised all her life. Her brother is in a coma, and Gabi feels that she has no time to waste, but she is unsure. Will she hesitate too long, or risk her own happiness to keep a promise? An up-close look at the lives of the children of military families, Beneath Wandering Stars takes readers on a journey of love, danger, laughter, and friendship, against all odds.

Beneath Wandering Stars is a decent three star book.  I really enjoyed the character of Gabriela. Her background as a ”military brat” was really relatable as my family moved around a lot, and it can be hard sometimes.  Add on to that the fact that her brother is in a coma and might not come out, that was just a heartbreaker.

The story is well written for the most part. Following Gabriela through Spain was really great. The food descriptions combined with all of the little details about the villages and towns they went through made me feel like I was walking with her. The only thing that stopped me from giving this book four stars was the love interest Seth.  Seth is the best friend of her brother, and he is a huge jerk from page one.  Now part of this is a me thing as I find that guys like him are generally rude and I dislike them a lot. He’s always wants to be in charge and acts like Gabriela needs to be a solider like him.
I really hated it that he got involved in her relationship without her asking him. *Spoiler* He ends up emailing her boyfriend saying he knows that the guy is cheating and that he needs to breakup with Gabriela. All this without having actually met the guy.*End Spoiler* It was disgustingly controlling and manipulative.  She never once asked him to do this. And on top of that he never apologizes for literally ruining her relationship.  Of course she ends up falling for Seth anyway and that was really frustrating.   I’m really tired of the troupe that guys can do things like this and get away without apologizing.

So for me this book was just okay, a solid three stars.

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History Is All You Left Me By Adam Silvera

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This is one of those times that I wish I was little less picky. I really really wanted to love History Is All You Left Me, because hello it’s about a bisexual and gay male relationship, also OCD representation.

In the end I think I’m going to give it three stars.  History Is All You Left me is definitely an emotional book, and by the end of it was I worn out. So I really have to hand it to Silvera for being able to write something so raw and heart wrenching. I did like the overall idea of the story, the prose, and the way it was all put together.

I guess for me I just didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to. Griffin is a complicated guy to say the least, not that I blame him. I know how hard it is when someone you really love dies.  But Griffin was really selfish for the entire book. He breaks up with his boyfriend Theo and then gets upset when Theo moves on.
Theo ends up dying and then Griffin ends up making a lot of bad friendship decisions. Every time I wanted to connect with him, he would again do something stupid or selfish and I just couldn’t like him as much as I wanted to.

Despite this I would still say you should read History is All You Left Me. I think my opinions on it are a case of it was me not the book.

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley

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Goodreads Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.
Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But is ambition alone enough to get her in?
Enter Lisa. Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa steps into his world, along with her charming boyfriend, Clark, and soon the three form an unexpected bond. But, as Lisa learns more about Sol and he and Clark grow closer and closer, the walls they’ve built around themselves start to collapse and their friendships threaten to do the same.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon. 

I guess I’ll start off by saying this is my first 4 star book of the new year!

I decided to read this book because I saw that it had a main character who was both gay and had anxiety. Or to be more correct he has agoraphobia. And in the theme of reading more diverse books I quickly found it at my library.

Highly Illogical Behavior is a multiple point of view book, switching between Sol and Lisa. Both POV’s were written well and I actually didn’t mind the switching.

Sol’s character is really well written. His problems with agoraphobia were written well, and I really appreciated that. I only have anxiety, but I could easily imagine being in his shoes throughout the book. I also liked it that it was hard for him to work on his fears, and even by the end of the story he isn’t 100% better. But he’s simply in a good place, and he’s feels proud of what he’s done so far.

Lisa’s character was interesting. She could have easily been someone that I hated as she’s using and manipulating Sol in the beginning of the story. But as you learn more about her you understand why she’s doing what she’s doing, though you don’t condone it at all. She also learns that she’s not doing the right thing, and realization was realistic.

The friendship between the three teens is interesting. They have their quirks, and they work well as a team. Sol’s love of star trek and board games was so awesome, and basically he’s just the best character ever.  Lisa, who doesn’t really listen well, definitely makes steps towards growing. And although there were times when her boyfriend Clark felt a little underwritten, and I was never really sure why he was with Lisa, I loved how he became friends with Sol.

Overall I felt like the story was fairly well paced, I loved the characters and found that it was a fairly easy read.  I highly recommend this book.