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Sunday, March 25, 2012

In My Mailbox #28 (Vlog #22) and an Update!

Well hello there, and welcome to another episode of In My Mailbox, which is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren- The button is brought to you by Laura from All of Everything.

There are a few announcements/updates at the end of the video, so please watch until the end. 

Books Mentioned


Where it Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
Tempest by Julie Cross 
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr

My new Facebook Page-Please go and 'Like' I'd really appreciate it! 

That's all for me. 

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Thoughts: Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser

Two families. Four teens.
A summer full of secrets.

Every summer, hidden away in a lakeside community in upstate New York, four teens leave behind their old identities…and escape from their everyday lives.

Yet back in Philadelphia during the school year, Alex cannot suppress his anger at his father (who killed himself), his mother (whom he blames for it), and the girls who give it up too easily. His younger brother, Kyle, is angry too—at his abusive brother, and at their mother who doesn’t seem to care. Meanwhile, in suburban New Jersey, Katie plays the role of Miss Perfect while trying to forget the nightmare that changed her life. But Julie, her younger sister, sees Katie only as everything she’s not. And their mother will never let Julie forget it.

Up at the lake, they can be anything, anyone. Free. But then Katie’s secret gets out, forcing each of them to face reality—before it tears them to pieces.

**Review copy received from NetGalley.**

Continuing with my current contemporary faze, I bring to you Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser. I have really been loving contemporary YA recently, so when Pieces of Us was brought to my attention I was intrigued, for several reasons, but one of them being that it takes place over the summer. I really like novels that take place over a a specific season, The Summer I Turned Pretty, The Last Summer of Skinny Dipping, all those books take place during the summer. For the most part so does Pieces of Us however this is not your average summer read. Its more than that, much more.

The story is also more than what the synopsis says it is. It is told from four different perspectives Katie's, a sixteen year old girl who has it all. She is head cheerleader and adored by many, she is her mother's dream child and has a mega hot boyfriend; Julie, Katie's fourteen year old sister. She's always played second string to Katie, never good enough. She's not super popular, she's not incredibly thin- she's just not, in comparison to Katie; Alex, Katie's summertime boyfriend. Alex is broken and angry, and his anger has turned into something dark and destructive and Kyle, Alex's younger brother who has been the victim of his brother's abuse for years. All four teens are connected to one another and play a very significant role in one another's lives.

I enjoyed Pieces of Us about as much as one could enjoy a story like this one. It was intense and disturbing. So incredibly disturbing. The story (for the most part) revolves around Katie and her experiences- it is a little more than that, however, the individual issues each character is struggling with is put into perspective with Katie's situation. I found this aspect of the story incredibly interesting, and rather creative. Gelbwasser could have stuck with the more traditional route of explaining how someone was feeling and how it affected them. However, she was able to incorporate the specific emotions into the interactions that the four characters had with one another and with others. She did an amazing job at getting the reader to fully understand the depth and the complexity of the situations.

The story itself bothered me. I think mostly because of what it surrounded. I don't want to spoil anything. But something terrible happens to Katie and she does not handle it well, and it has a sort of snowball effect on the lives of the people around her. There were times that I wanted to scream at Katie and tell her she was doing it all wrong. She was a weak character and it bothered me to see how much of a door mat she was. She let herself be taken advantage of and in the beginning I sympathized with her but after a while I wanted her to stand up for herself, to stop letting what other people thought of her affect her decisions. Alex was an abusive bastard jerk. There were times where you understood where he was coming from and why he would do the things he did, but then you remember what he did to his brother and all that goes away. It's messed up, really.

Pieces of Us is a complicated novel and I am not doing a great job of conveying what went into it and what the book essentially is. It was a brilliant novel that discussed a lot of serious issues. It was a little overwhelming at times because there were so many awful things that took place, but it was worth the read. Young adults everywhere should read this novel. I feel like it will teach them SO much about what is right and wrong, and what is acceptable behaviour.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

In My Mailybox #28 (Vlog #21)

Welcome, welcome! To another edition of In My Mailbox! In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren and the button comes to you from Laura at All of Everything. 

Books Mentioned

For Review: 

The Reckoning by Alma Katsu
Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Boy Meets Girl by Various Authors 


A Wrinkle in Time Box Set by Madeleine L'Engle 

That's it for me this week boys and girls! 

~Happy Reading! 

Monday, March 5, 2012

My Thoughts: Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen--with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price?

**Finished copy received from Raincoast Books**

The concept of Girl, Stolen by April Henry was really interesting. The idea of a sixteen year old girl being kidnapped is freaky, but a sixteen year old girl who is also blind and completely vulnerable is way unnerving.  I had high hopes for Girl, Stolen. A blind teenager completely at the mercy of her kidnapper; a teenage boy who has been the victim of abuse for the majority of his life. However, Girl, Stolen fell a little short for me.

As I mentioned before, the story itself was a good idea and it started out alright. Cheyenne getting kidnapped and her inability to see him or what was going on around her was intensely stressful. Henry did a good job at demonstrating the anxiety of the situation. She also did a good job of expressing not only Cheyenne's fear but Griffin's nerves as well. I really liked this about the writing- this was a story of high emotions and intense situations and it never became trivial.

I was a little disappointed by how quickly everything went. I felt like Henry could have gone a little deeper with the story. I felt like she could have explored the dynamics of Griffin and the relationship he had with his father. She also could have also developed the relationship between Griffin and Cheyenne. All these things were alluded to, but they only just grazed the surface.  There were numerous things that just grazed the surface.

Overall this was a fairly good read with good writing, however it had a lot of potential which was not taken advantage of.

Girl, Stolen is hits the shelves in paperback tomorrow (March 13th).

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

In My Mailbox #27 (Vlog #20)

More books! In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren, and that beautiful man badge was wonderfully created by Laura from All of Everything.

Books Mentioned

For Review:

Monument 14 by Emmy Layborne
Auracle by Gina Rosatio
Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

For Giveaway:

Across the Universe by Beth Revis


Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

That is all for me. 

~Happy Reading Everyone! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

February Wrap Up

Wha?!?!?! March 2nd already? That's crazy! I guess it's time for my February wrap up. So I'm just going to jump right in.

**For a preview of what I hope to read in March check out my March TBR video.

Books Read:

-Truth or Dare by Leigh Ellwood
-Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
-Darker than Love by Kristina Lloyd
-Girl Stolen by April Henry
-Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
-The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
-Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
-The Humming Room by Ellen Potter
-Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Book Reviewed:

-Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (My Thoughts)
-Dead to You by Lisa McMann (My Thoughts)
-The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (My Thoughts)
-The Humming Room by Ellen Potter (My Thoughts)

Random Stuff:

-I participated in The Book Chat hosted by Misty over at The Book Rat. February's topic was negative reviews and author/publisher relations. It was a touchy subject and I was glad to participate. Click here to check out that post.

Challenge overview:

-Debut Author Challenge- 4/25
-2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge- 1/25
-Completely Comtemp Challenge- 5/15
-2012 Reading Challenge- 17/80

That is all for me, enjoy.

~Happy Reading Everyone!
"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl