ARC Review: THE DARKEST CORNERS by Kara Thomas

Holy shit, guys. I don’t even think this is going to be a review, but more like a deluge of feels.

darkest corners cover.jpgTitle: THE DARKEST CORNERS
Author: Kara Thomas
Pub Date: April 19, 2016 from Penguin Random House–Delacorte
B&N: Pre-order it
Amazon: Pre-order it
Goodreads: ADD IT NOW
Launch event at Books of Wonder on April 19!!!!

For fans of Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places and Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars, The Darkest Corners is a psychological thriller about the lies little girls tell, and the deadly truths those lies become.

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them.

Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.
Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch.

But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.
Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, the closer she gets to a killer—and this time, it won’t be so easy to run away.

Thanks to Netgalley for granting me an e-arc.

Firstly, this book is some Courtney Summers level of feels. I was not prepared, nor was I expecting to fall in love with this book. I read the Prep School Confidential series, and thought it was just fine. It didn’t blow me away or anything, so I didn’t particularly have high hopes for this book. Then it got me. It just grabbed me right from the beginning.

This is a story of friendship, a broken friendship, where two girls are ripped apart by a single event and then brought back together because of that event. Tessa and Callie’s relationship is the heart of this book. The other heart is the relationship between Tessa, her sister, and mother. For a book all about violence towards women and the violence women do, this book had beautiful, fleshed out female relationships that never made the violence feel gratuitous or scintillating. This is a book about horrible things happening to women, and also about women living and breathing and making choices.

I could tell you I love Tessa and all the complexities that went into the choices she made as a kid and as a teenager. I could tell you I love how big this world was, full of all kinds of people that played major and minor roles in the mystery. I could tell you this is a story of how the world treats and values girls and women, but these would all just be massive understatements.

This would be one also: I absolutely love this book.

THE DARKEST CORNERS is a story about the people you thought you knew and all the ways you can never truly know someone. Gorgeous writing, tightly plotted, and rich characters make this a standout novel and one of my favorites.  

Cover Thoughts
secrets mouth full of colin
Does she not look like she has lots of SECRETS???

Favorite Quotes [from an ARC so check the final print version]
“The only reason they listened to our story as kids was because they needed it. No was ever really listening to us at all.”

“Nice girls are always the ones who get hurt. It’s like the universe gets some sort of perverse pleasure out of taking out the nice girls one by one, while the whole world watches and gets some perverse pleasure from mourning the loss of yet another nice girl.”

“Then the rest of the world forgot about Fayette, Pennsylvania, and all its dead girls.”

dead-from-the-feels1

Favorite Character
Tessa!!
this is insanity

ps I’ve literally just finished this book and am so far into my book hangover that I can’t do anything else but think about this book and want to yell at everyone about it.

Are you excited for THE DARKEST CORNERS?

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ARC Review: INTO THE DIM by Janet B. Taylor

Check out what I thought about INTO THE DIM, which was pitched as a YA Outlander!

into the dim coverTitle: INTO THE DIM
Author: Janet B. Taylor
Pub Date: March 1, 2016 from HMH Books for Young Readers
Amazon: Pre-order!
B&N: Pre-order!
Goodreads: Add it to your shelves

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing. Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

Brittany recommended this book to me, so I was super stoked when Edelweiss granted me an e-arc.

Let’s do this review in list form!

The Bad

ugh hook ouat once

*Ummm… the slut shaming was so painful. Cut that shit out.

Examples:
“The redneck boys where I was from preferred girls like my cheerleader cousins. Size two. Blond. Busty. Brainless.”
First of all, stop perpetuating shameful and mean myths about cheerleaders. And blonds. And people who are slim or have big boobs. And also, do size 2 girls have big boobs? Wouldn’t that cause massive back strain?

“But then again, I’m not one of those slutty St. Sebastian girls.”
Umm… Hope, you just got to Scotland. You don’t even know anyone from St. Sebastian. And even if you did, rude and unnecessary.

There was also some ageism thrown in there (“How can someone so old move like that?” “Though you look pretty good for an old gal, I must say.”). It just really made for an unpleasant reading experience whenever it would appear.

*Historical inaccuracies. Rachel, a prominent Jewish character, tells Hope that her family came to England after her people were forced out of France. I was confused by this since in my Intro to Medieval History class we learned that Jews were not expelled from France until the 1300s. Furthermore, the first country to expel Jews was England (in the 1200s) (This book takes place in 1154). I did a little poking around online and found that Philip Augustus of France did expel Jews from his properties in 1182, but that’s still 30 years in the future.

*What makes this inaccuracy more uncomfortable is that Taylor’s England is super Anti-Semitic, which was just as painful to read as the slut shaming and ageism.

Examples:
“It sickens me that our king would allow a Jew to even enter his palace, much less tend to his queen.”
“…wondered what a Jewess had between her legs.”

“Until the Godless Jews are scourged from this land, decent Christian folk are not safe.”
“It’s a Jewess.” She snarled on the last word.
“How is it that you consort with our Hebrew brethren–” his lip curled at that–

It just feels super weird to embrace the anti-semitism, but not accurately reflect the Jewish experience in terms of expulsion. Unless I missed something in my digging and by the 1150s, Jews had been forced out of France. It is true that Henry II treated the Jews better than other monarchs, so in that regard Into the Dim is correct.

*The first third of the book is so slow! I thought there was a lot of stuff that could have been cut to move the plot along faster. Basically Hope gets to the manor and does a lot of wandering around, meets a boy, learns and trains for the trip back in time, there’s a super long flashback/diary entry that I skimmed…

*Speaking of backstory, the one with Hope/Bran takes a long time until she remembers/learns about it, and I found that so annoying. There were so many places she could have pushed him for more information, and she doesn’t. It felt like it was drawn out just for plot’s sake. Later she just hears a name and has an epic flashback which is oh so convenient (which goes along with another point below about not having to work for anything). Along with Hope being slow just for plot, in the midst of a dire escape while one of the main characters is dying, she just stops for a make out session, which screamed of ridiculousness to me. Yes, I was swooning, but um STAKES. You can make out when you get home and find penicillin.

*There was nothing really special about this book that made it stand out from any other YA fantasy. Special snowflake MC who is pretty but doesn’t know it, with 2 guys who are total opposites and mad about her. Sometimes I can overlook these things if they’re done well or with a twist, or something about the writing really grabs me, but not in this case.

*The MC and her friends didn’t have to work for anything. All the historical figures/adults in 1154 are already on someone’s side because they’ve had interaction with the rival time traveling families before. It really took all the anticipation away because the ‘bad guy’ was obviously in league with the bad time travelers and vice versa. I didn’t feel any stakes since everything was pretty much handed to them.

The Good

asfdgh emma

*Bran!! Swoony, funny, adorable Bran.
*Pretty epic backstory between Bran and Hope. I really liked it.
*Doug and Phoebe were SO cute!
*So were Rachel and William!
*Gosh just all the romance in this book!
*Hope being a boss and burning iron bars.
*Calling Collum on his hypocrisy. Great to see self-aware characters!

INTO THE DIM has all the romance of Outlander, but the slut shaming and lack of stakes hurt my overall enjoyment of the novel. 

Cover Thoughts
the royals eleanor bored annoyed eh

Favorite Quote (all quotes from an ARC! Not final.)
“William was cute in a medieval boy-next-door way…”

cutie alert agent carter

Favorite Character
Bran…

oh my god josh hutcherson

ARC Review: MAP OF FATES (Conspiracy of Us #2) by Maggie Hall

Check out what I thought of the second book in the high stakes CONSPIRACY OF US series!

map of fates coverTitle: Map of Fates
Author: Maggie Hall
Pub Date: March 8, 2016 from Putnam Juvenile
Amazon: Pre-order!!
B&N: Pre-order!!
Goodreads: Add it to your shelves

Two weeks.

That’s how long it took for Avery West’s ordinary life to change forever. In two weeks, she discovered she was heiress to a powerful secret society known as the Circle, learned her mother was taken hostage by the Circle’s enemies, and fell for a boy she’s not allowed to love, just as she found out another was her unwelcome destiny.

Now Avery crosses oceans in private jets to hunt for clues that will uncover the truth about the Circle, setting her mom and herself free before it’s too late. By her side are both the boys: Jack—steady, loyal, and determined to help her even at the expense of his own duty—and Stellan, whose connection to Avery grows stronger by the day, making her question what she believes at every turn.

But at the end of a desperate hunt from the islands of Greece to the red carpet at Cannes comes a discovery that not only changes everything, but could bring the whole world to its knees. And now Avery is forced to face the truth: In the world of the Circle, no one is what they seem.

Thanks to Dahlia Adler for her epic #MapofMates ARC giveaway!

I LOVED MAP OF FATES SO MUCH! I had high expectations for it since I loved book one so much, and it did not disappoint. It was one of my most anticipated sequels, as you know, since I did a Waiting on Wednesday post for it. I’m happy to report the plot did not unfurl the way I expected it to, and that was totally fine.

Here’s some backstory for you about me. When I read The Conspiracy of Us, I was intrigued by that beautiful cover, and the comp title to Ally Carter, who basically made my middle and high school reading life. I was obsessed with Gallagher Girls and Heist Society. Those books were some of my favorites. The last Gallagher Girls book came out my freshman year of college and it was so surreal for me to have started this series pre-high school and be reading the last book as a freshman in college. Anyway! I started Conspiracy of Us, got hooked on page one, but then Avery made some questionable decisions and the plot kind of descended into cliche territory. I kept with it, hoping the magic of page 1 would return, and once Prada happened–around the 80pg mark–I was totally back on board and in it to the end.

With Map of Fates, I was in it from page 1. This book grabbed me and did not stop. Avery had such great growth and dimension to her. I loved seeing new sides to her and seeing how all the madness was affecting her.

map of fates

In Conspiracy I shipped both sides of the love triangle, leaning a little more to Jack, but still open to Stellan. The second installment brought more shipping, and I think I’ve landed firmly in Stellan-land. Oh my gosh. Stellan. He just shines in this book. So there’s one specific scene that just had me dying and someone else might be dying in it too, but I shipped it so hard even though it maybe the most unsexy scene ever. Oh, wait, but then there’s another one with a head injury… and another with alcohol and bar stools. Ah! I just love it ALL.

On the Jack front, his character develops too, but it never feels like we’re learning these things about him to make us ship Avery/Stellan. It feels organic to his character, like we’re peeling back his layers. I just love really good character development.

Luc!! Elodie!! My babies! I love them. When we see Luc for the first time in this book is one of my absolute favorite moments of any book ever. I was laughing so hard I needed to snap a picture of the scene.

Clearly I love the main characters of this series dearly, but I also love the writing. It’s so readable and evocative. All the different countries are well drawn and even the other families of the Circle come to life in their own ways. Map of Fates delves deeper into the twelve bloodlines and I never got bored reading those scenes, like I was waiting until Avery joined up with her friends. I loved meeting all the characters and their worlds.

What about stakes, you ask?? Oh, well let me tell you. The stakes get bigger. Order vs Circle is not so clearly defined anymore and the consequences are far reaching. I mean, they always have been since the Circle basically controls the world, but they feel very grounded in this book.

There was one plot point that happens towards the end that felt a tad sudden. It didn’t have the emotional impact on me it should have because I found it rushed. But it’s a minor issue to me and I suspect it will have an effect on Avery in book 3, so maybe there will be more chance for development there.

The Conspiracy of Us and Map of Fates are super fun novels that define escapism. They’re such a joy to read, packed with excitement, adventure, and scorching romance. I’m so excited for book 3, but sad it’ll be the end of such a wonderful trilogy. I can’t recommend this series more highly! This is something I’ll definitely reread. And they’d make such great movies! Where are you, Hollywood?????

ps These books look great next to cats.

map of fates cat

Cover Thoughts
Think pink!!

Favorite Quote
Look, I want to share with you all the things that made me laugh and/or swoon, but you just need to experience it yourselves. Sorry not sorry.
peter-pan-sorry-not-sorry

Favorite Character
ALL OF THEM. I WILL CUDDLE THEM ALL.
my-babies belle ouat

Best Books I Read in: January (and You Should Too)!

Sorry I left you guys waiting for this month’s list a couple extra days longer. I got distracted with snow and school and watching The Royals.

So in January I read a whooping 16 books! That must be an all-time best. I wanted to read as much as I could before the semester started–though I still read a fair amount the last two weeks of January, balanced with school work. Let’s get started!

love actually dancing

Short version here!
-WOLF BY WOLF by Ryan Graudin [asfghjkl masterpiece]
-MAP OF FATES by Maggie Hall [swoon]
-KILL THE BOY BAND by Goldy Moldavsky [this book is effed up]
-EVERY LAST WORD by Tamara Ireland Stone [cute! poetry! yay!]
-THE ANATOMY OF CURIOSITY by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff, and Tessa Gratton [yessssss]

Longer/cooler version here!

wolf by wolf

OH MY GOD THIS BOOK. I love it SO much. I read it in a day because I just could not stop. I don’t think I’ve ever really read an alternate history book, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was also wary of the subject matter since we’ve had a crop of Nazi Romance Book scandals in the last several months + last semester I took a class on Genocide, so the material was close to my heart. But this. book. was. incredible. Yael is such an amazing MC–she’s been through so much shit, but she still has so much heart, and it’s beautiful. The plot is nonstop and the writing broke me. Like, I had so many feels, it was disgusting [evidence below].

Amazon || B&N || Goodreads

map of fates cover.

The Conspiracy of Us was one of my favorite books of last year. I loved the characters and was totally hooked. I was so excited to win an ARC so I could read it and sate my fangirlsh needs! But who was I kidding, this book just made me need book 3! Again, spot on characters, humor, and sass. And swoony guys that actually made me CHANGE SHIPS. This has NEVER happened to me before. But as much as I love Jack Stellan, I’m here for Avery and her character growth and unraveling all the mysteries of this twisty tale. Okay, and Stellan. Full review coming soon!

Amazon || B&N || Goodreads

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anatomy of curiousity cover.

I’ve never really read short story collections before, but I’ve been in a writing slump recently, so I wanted to check this out since it’s a book for writers and readers. And oh man, I’m so glad I did! These stories and the writing tips/insights/notes  were incredible. The stories themselves were super interesting. I was hooked on two of them and found the other interesting but it just didn’t grab me, though the author notes were still invaluable. If you’re a fan of one or more of these authors or enjoy fantasy and richly woven stories, def check this out!

Amazon || B&N || Goodreads

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kill the boyband cover.

I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH! I don’t even know how to talk about it and I want to review it, but you see how not knowing how to talk about this book could pose a problem. Just… just… I don’t even know. This magical book is somehow real. It has messy characters, insane situations, satire, a twisty plot, and GIRLS AND THEIR POWER AND FEELS. I’ll try to be coherent about this book some other time.

Amazon || B&N || Goodreads

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.every last word cover

The poetry in this book is beautiful! I thought it was also interesting to see a different manifestation of OCD that had more to do with invasive thoughts than the more well known neurotic tendencies. Even though this book deals with a heavy subject, it was a fluffy easy read with fun characters and a cute ship.

Amazon || B&N || Goodreads

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What are the best books you’ve read recently? Have you read any of these?

 

ARC Review: REIGN OF SHADOWS by Sophie Jordan

Check out what I thought about a new YA Fantasy Retelling of Rapunzel!

reign of shadows coverTitle: REIGN OF SHADOWS
Author: Sophie Jordan
Pub Date: February 9, 2016 from HarperTeen
Amazon: Pre-order it here!
B&N: or here!
Goodreads: Add it to your shelves

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

Thanks to HarperCollins for sending me an ARC!

REIGN OF SHADOWS was an enjoyable read. I flew through it, and it had nothing to do with its slim volume. It kept me turning the pages and rooting for the main characters, Luna and Fowler. Despite my enjoyment though, there were a lot of things I disliked about the novel.

My biggest complain is that there’s no reason for it to be a 2 book series. So little actually happens in book 1 that some of the romantic tension could have been cut to add in more plot and conflict that has to do with Luna’s true identity, the secret she’s keeping, and how it affects her world. A lot of scenes are repetitive and don’t establish anything new. Luna and Fowler trek through the forest and bump into people and have sexual tension and almost kiss but then don’t and then do more walking and almost kiss again. The interesting stuff like the bounty hunters slaughtering teenage girls and the main plot line of Luna being the true heir to the throne are barely present. Sometimes I also felt Luna was kept from making decisions purely to stretch the thin plot.

ugh hook

There isn’t really an ending since it just ends on a massive cliffhanger very abruptly, after a massive plot twist is revealed. I have no problem with a cliffhanger when it feels natural, like some questions have been answered or a character arc has progressed, but this book was devoid of character arcs for me and the world building still left so many questions (a forest in a world that has no sun? what do dwellers look like/what are they/how did they even come to be? how does the city above the trees have a lake?), that the end doesn’t provide any closure while still leaving the story open. It just cuts out, like if you were in a movie theater and the screen goes black in the middle of the film.

reign of shadows

As a Rapunzel retelling, it had some interesting subversions. I liked that Luna was blind instead of her “prince.” I just don’t know if she was written as Magical Disabled Person instead of simply a normal disabled person who knows how to take care of herself and isn’t solely her disability. Luna has a lot of skills, but I don’t know how she could maneuver around foreign parts of the forest without a walking stick or anything perfectly. Maybe that’s just my ignorance.

While this is a retelling, it also reads like a romance novel. Words like “heady” and “sinew” were used multiple times, which isn’t a big deal, but it just changes the feel or aesthetic of the novel. The plot was basically made up of romantic tension and almost kisses, as mentioned. I’d also call it insta-love, though some might dispute me on that point. Also, the first “moment” they share when Fowler nearly kisses her seemed to come out of nowhere, since he was very closed off before then. Fowler and Luna both fulfilled some very common, cliche romance tropes. Fowler is the gruff alpha male closed off to love, and Luna is the bright-eyed, optimistic innocent  girl. I just wish something else was done with their characters so the trope wasn’t so pronounced.

Despite that, I still enjoyed this story! Fowler and Luna had some great sass, their POVs flowed well, and I liked the side characters of Perla and Sivo. I hope we see them again! Side note: When Luna leaves the tower and begins to run out of food Perla gave her and she had feels, that gave me feels. Loved that.

feeeeels

Some might be bothered by the pace of the novel, but I wasn’t. The lead up to the end feels vaguely episodic with stuff Happening, Dramatic Break Ups and Getting Back Together compared to how slow the previous 250 pages were. All in all, REIGN OF SHADOWS needs some fine tuning, but kept me hooked to the page. Recommended for romance and fairy tale fans, rather than someone looking for a good fantasy.

Cover Thoughts
enchanted

Favorite Quote (From an ARC, so check the final version)
“Being a little dangerous in this world was a requirement.”
ouat hook once eyebrow

Favorite Character 
Maybe Fowler…? 🙂
asfdgh emma

ARC Review + Playlist + Giveaway: THE GIRL WHO FELL by S.M. Parker

Welcome to The Girl Who Fell Blog Tour!

blog tour banner - the girl who fell

the girl who fell

 

Title:The Girl Who Fell
Author: S.M. Parker
Pub Date: March 1, 2016 from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse
Amazon: Pre-order
B&N: Pre-order 
Book Depository: Preorder here!
Kobo: Preorder here!
Goodreads: Add it to your shelves 

In this gripping debut novel, high school senior Zephyr Doyle is swept off her feet—and into an intense and volatile relationship—by the new boy in school.

His obsession.
Her fall.

Zephyr Doyle is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.

But love has a way of changing things.

Enter the new boy in school: the hockey team’s starting goaltender, Alec. He’s cute, charming, and most important, Alec doesn’t judge Zephyr. He understands her fears and insecurities—he even shares them. Soon, their relationship becomes something bigger than Zephyr, something she can’t control, something she doesn’t want to control.

Zephyr swears it must be love. Because love is powerful, and overwhelming, and…terrifying?

But love shouldn’t make you abandon your dreams, or push your friends away. And love shouldn’t make you feel guilty—or worse, ashamed.

So when Zephyr finally begins to see Alec for who he really is, she knows it’s time to take back control of her life.

If she waits any longer, it may be too late.

THE GIRL WHO FELL was one of those books that sucks you in and makes you feel everything.

The story isn’t solely within the pages, but all around you. I felt like I was in that relationship with Zephyr. I felt groggy and isolated and broken. Alec wasn’t just Zephyr’s bane but he became mine, too. I read THE GIRL WHO FELL and fell.

Okay, that last bit is dramatic. BUT, I really did feel like I was in an abusive relationship while reading. It nailed everything. It brought my back to my psych classes. It was done so well.

Don’t let that scare you because the payoff, oh the glorious payoff. It was everything I needed. It was everything Zephyr needed. It was everything girls everywhere need.

Zephyr may fall, but she rises stronger in many ways.

It’s a beautiful story to see a girl lose herself and find her way back wounded, but not a victim. Zephyr is more than her trauma. She is not defined by it.

top model feels

In some ways this book feels like a character study. Zephyr’s home, friends, and school life are all integral pieces of this book. I really appreciated seeing such a fully fleshed picture being drawn. Also, her dog automatically hated Alec and I did a fist pump!

I really loved her best friend, Lizzie. She was great and supportive and everything you want in a bestie. Zephyr’s other best friend is a guy named Gregg, who she’s been friends with for a long time, and he when he finally makes his deeper feelings known, he seriously blows it. For awhile I was kind of disappointed that Gregg had feelings for Zephyr, but I found their development done well and a counterbalance to the toxicity of Alec. Gregg is definitely not her knight in shining armor, and he doesn’t swoop in to save the day, but he and his feelings also doesn’t take away from Zephyr and her story.

Then there’s Alec. Oh man. I wanted to punch him the entire book. I wanted to grab Zephyr and tell her to run. This creep knew exactly what he was doing and how to weasel his way into every single facet of her life. He could have been Kilgrave from Jessica Jones. He wants all the control.

This story also dealt with growing up in nuanced ways. There comes a point in everyone’s life where they learn to see their parents as humans who are still making mistakes. There’s also the end of high school, the fear, and loss of safety that comes with that. This gorgeous book examined all of these.

Reading The Girl Who Fell was a painful experience, but also a beautiful one. Seeing Zephyr try to come to terms with what had happened and move forward with her friends and family at her side means so much, and I’m sure it will to readers who can identify with Zephyr more than I can. No matter what your abuser tells you, that you’re alone and unworthy of love, there will always be people who stand behind you. This isn’t just a book, but a love letter to girls everywhere. 

Cover Thoughts
hug trish jessica jones

Favorite Quotes
I fall into her arms and the deluge begins. I cry for Boston College. For the lines being blurred. For doubting Alec. For believing in Alec. For forgetting me. For believing in the new me Alec made. I hate all of me and most of me and I don’t know how to escape the skin I’m in.  

I have a lot of favorites, they’re so amazing you need to read them all when you reach them. So that’s the only one I’m going to leave here. Just a reminder this is from an ARC, so the actual line might be a little different.

Favorite Character
My sweet Lizzie! Who stood by her friend through everything and was ready to punch Alec in the face.
holland punch

Thank you Brittany for letting me be a part of this blog tour! Thank you to Edelweiss and Simon Pulse for providing an e-arc. And thanks to S.M. Parker for writing such a lovely/feelsy book and being so supportive of bloggers and readers.

As a treat a playlist inspired by this book is below! 🙂 Here’s a link to listen to it on 8tracks (it even has annotations), but there’s a Youtube mix embedded here, as well.


 

Tracklist!

PART I: girl meets boy.

  1. The Great Escape by Boys Like Girls: This song has a way of just sucking you into it and it’s all about meeting someone and escaping together. It’s all encompassing, which is how Zephyr feels about Alec.
  2. Friday I’m In Love by The Cure: Another song about meeting someone and being in love and that’s all that matters.

PART II: girl loses self. 

  1. Colors by Halsey: This is where things to take a darker turn, where “love” takes over. You lose yourself. Everything is about the other person. Even though the boy in this song leaves her alone, I felt like that wasn’t the most important part of the song (since Alec by no means leaves Zephyr). For me, Colors is about losing yourself in a relationship and even if Alec never leaves her physically, he was never there for her emotionally.

PART III: girl is lost.

  1. Hypocrates by Marina and the Diamonds: This is the beginning of the awakening.
  2. Get Home by Bastille: How do you fight? Can you go back?

PART IV: girl fights.

  1. Out of the Woods by Taylor Swift covered by For King & Country: To me, this song feels like someone running away from something awful, trying to get out of the woods, searching for peace (“are we in the clear yet”).
  2. Don’t Forget Where You Belong by One Direction: Zephyr was never alone; she has people who love her standing by.
  3. Fight Song by Rachel Platten: Speaks for itself 🙂

 


 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY 

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girl who fell graphic


ABOUT THE FABULOUS AUTHOR

shannon

Shannon Parker lives on the Atlantic coast with a house full of boys. She’s traveled to over three dozen countries and has a few dozen more to go. She works in education and can usually be found rescuing dogs, chickens, old houses and wooden boats. Shannon has a weakness for chocolate chip cookies and ridiculous laughter—ideally, at the same time. The Girl Who Fell is her first novel. Find her at www.shannonmparker.com

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


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ARC Review: OTHER BROKEN THINGS by Christa Desir

Check out what I thought about Other BRoken Things, a YA contemporary novel.

other broken things coverTitle: Other Broken Things
Author: Christa Desir
Pub Date: January 12, 2016 from Simon Pulse
Amazon: Buy it here! 
B&N: Buy it here!
Goodreads: Add it to your shelves!

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Nat’s not an alcoholic. She doesn’t have a problem. Everybody parties, everybody does stupid things, like get in their car when they can barely see. Still, with six months of court-ordered AA meetings required, her days of vodka-filled water bottles are over.

Unfortunately her old friends want the party girl or nothing. Even her up-for-anything ex seems more interested in rehashing the past than actually helping Nat.

But then a recovering alcoholic named Joe inserts himself into Nat’s life and things start looking up. Joe is funny, smart, and calls her out in a way no one ever has.

He’s also older. A lot older.

Nat’s connection to Joe is overwhelming but so are her attempts to fit back into her old world, all while battling the constant urge to crack a bottle and blur that one thing she’s been desperate to forget.

Now in order to make a different kind of life, Natalie must pull together her broken parts and learn to fight for herself.

Thanks to Edelweiss for granting me an e-arc!

I was very curious about this novel for a personal reason–my father has a drinking problem. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this story and I hadn’t really heard a lot about it until I came upon it while perusing review copies. But I was instantly hooked on the premise–again, personal connection always helps.

I read this book in one sitting. The voice was so addicting. I think it’s the kind of book you need to binge to really feel Natalie’s character arc. Plus, this is a very character driven story. There’s no flashy plot. It’s just one girl’s journey post-rehab. Natalie is doing court mandated community service and attending AA meetings as she tries to catch up with school work and get back to her life.

holland punch And Nat’s a boxer, too! 🙂

Nat’s not a perfect character. Obviously. She struggles in her recovery, in her relationship with her parents, and also in her relationship with herself. I found it so easy to relate to her, why she drank and occasionally slid backwards, and also when she was reluctant to move forward. Does that make sense? I hope it does. I think you’ll get it once you’ve read the book. But Nat is not exactly all gung-ho about AA at the start of the book. Rehab has not magically made her want to be healthy. I appreciated how Nat got to be, maybe, “unlikeable” and make bad choices or ugly choices. I loved her for it.

The relationship with Joe, the older man she meets through AA, was very well done. It was handled with such maturity. This wasn’t one of those stories that romanticizes the young girl/older man relationship. If you’re wary about the book for this reason, don’t be. I don’t think it will make you rage.

Other things (ha, get it? :D) I loved about Other Broken Things was the relationship with Nat and her mom and how that mends. It gave me all happy feels. I feel like this book might have also helped me understand my dad in new ways. There was this one quote that really spoke to me because it described him perfectly.

I think you’ll definitely gravitate to this book if you have a personal connection, and you might see a little of your experience mirrored in this book. However, OTHER BROKEN THINGS stands on its own and creates a fully drawn visceral female character. This is a book you’ll read in one sitting!

Cover Thoughts
I really love that ‘Twelve Steps’ is on top of the bottle, the cork. It gives me feels.
mind blown parks

Favorite Quote
The one I mentioned loving above, duh! Just a note this is from an ARC so it might have been changed in the final version.

“How about this one: everyone alcoholic, including you, princess, is a liar. … You are. And your attitude comes from the fact that you think everyone else is lying too. Not just the alcoholics. Everyone. And the reason you think that is because you lie all the time. That’s what alcoholics do. And once you get real with the fact that more than likely you’re the only liar in the room, you’ll save yourself a ton of grief. And you’ll start to trust people.”

Favorite Character
I really loved Nat’s mom and her insane amounts of Christmas cheer! I just feel like this somehow summarizes Nat and her mom so well…
time after time parks