The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi

17586458The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Pages: 352 (Paperback)

good good

Lexi has a secret…

Ever since her mom found out she was in love with a girl, seventeen-year-old Lexi’s afraid that what’s left of her family is going to fall apart for good.

You are on the road to truth. Help is on the way.

The road signs leading to New Horizons summer camp promise a new life for Lexi—she swears she can change. She can learn to like boys. But denying her feelings is harder than she thinks. And when she falls heads over heels for one of her fellow campers, Lexi will have to risk her mother’s approval for the one person who might love her no matter what.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Wow. What a fucking ride this book is!

Upon starting, I thought I was getting just a bunch of insta-love and maybe some “Okay. I okay with myself yay!” kind of stuff. But what I got is something different. A lot different. Okay, so I did get the insta-love (mutual by the way. Ugh) and the romance did take over some times but all in all, it’s great. I loved how Verdi teaches the lesson between right and wrong. Like how some people believe that being gay is wrong and is a sin but know that abuse of any sort is certainly wrong for everyone.

The worst part of this novel has to be the romance. It’s just so infuriating. I didn’t want to read about how much Lexi wanted to kiss Carolyn when she’s supposed to be focusing on herself and what she really wants. From the very first day, there’s romance and it really takes away from the story. I also felt that the characters for the most part were choppy. This is evident because the only time anything is told about the characters is at the very beginning and that’s it. There’s not much of a back story except then. The activities that the characters do are all right, but are quite confusing because they’re either too simple or too silly.

The Summer I Wasn’t Me is still a fairly beautiful story about acceptance. Lexi is a strong character, especially by the end of the story and I loved the way she accepted herself and her friends. Beautiful! The best thing about the camp is the cult-like feel it has, the exorcism that goes on is really well described and intense. I was shocked and enraged by it. It’s pretty awesome in a very sadistic way.

I was really skeptical when I first read this simply because many authors have tried this (not in YA) and have failed miserably. However, Verdi does a good job and had me at the edge of my seat more than once. Lexi’s story is pretty typical and so is the romance, but the execution is lovely and I felt connected to her. I recommend this to anyone who’s curious to see what it might look like inside of a “de-gaying” Christian camp.

3 Clouds
3 Clouds

Favourite Book Quotes of the Week#52

favourite

A list of my favourite quotes from books I’ve read in the past week. Leave a comment/link telling me what your favourite quotes are! I’ll be sure to check your post out too!

The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

18048731Favourite quotes:

1. There are things you cannot share with friends. Even best ones. Some secrets that are kinder just to keep.

2.That’s real life. Things don’t always work out the way you think they will. They’re not so neat and tidy. But people come into your life with a purpose–I see that now. Claire likes to say that people cross your paths for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Astor was a reason. Hayley, though? Hayley is a lifetime.

3. “You needed the secret kept for you more than I needed the truth to come out.”

4. I understand, now, that your own identity, your past, has nothing to do with the way others see you. Being a hero isn’t about someone else’s definition. Not Abigail’s and not Constance’s. Not the Post’s. Not even Claire’s. Being a hero is about one thing: the way you see yourself.

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

18053148Favourite quotes:

1. Sometimes love is so intense that it turns into this gray area that borders on hate. That’s what happens when the people you love have that type of power of you.

2. I’d heard people say that being pregnant during the summer was miserable, but that shit had nothing on cancer.

Cold Calls by  Charles Benoit 

cold callsFavourite quote: Say something cheesy now and that was it, you were the class suck-up, say something clever and you were the smart-ass, say something stupid and you were forever stupid.

The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi

17586458Favourite quotes:

1. The truth was, I had never felt sad about being gay. It was just another part of who I was, no different from my size seven feet or 20/20 vision. The part I hated was the hiding; the pretending to be someone I wasn’t; the steady, tormenting harassment that came in the form of Bible scripture and church sermons, the constant fear that if people found out, they would hate me, ridicule me, possibly even hurt me. That stuff sucked.

2. If New Horizons is, like Kaylee said, the tool God gave me to create a better life, I’m pretty sure I’m using it wrong.

3. See, that’s the problem with getting hit by lightning. You get burned.

Skin and Bones by  Sherry Shahan

18378832Favourite quote: “It’s hard to watch our kids make mistakes and not want to fix them,” Dr. Chu said

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

17934493Favourite quotes:

1. The thing is, when you’re with someone like Poppu– Someone who sees straight through your battered façade and loves every bit of you, someone who makes you laugh until you pee your pants, someone who grabs you in a hug exactly when you need it– you don’t crave any kind of approval from strangers. You don’t need to ‘matter’ in the world, because you already matter to the only person who counts.

2. Wishes were stupid and pointless. They were self-inflicted injuries–open wounds that you had to tend for the rest of your life just to contain them, to keep them from festering and consuming you.

Album Review: Math Major by Art Contest

a4208721938_2Math Major by Art Contest 

Record Label: Independent

Genre: Indie Rock

Release Date: January 17, 2014

Songs: 13
good good

With its mischievous chords and rhythmic horseplay, it’s almost too easy to call Greenville, SC’s Art Contest a math rock band. There’s something about Math Major, their first full-length, that resists this limiting label—something that’s difficult to pin-point.

Maybe it’s the album’s endearing lo-fi quality, which seems to muffle the Cole Monroe’s wiggling guitars on songs like “Banana Boat” and subdue drummer Garrett Burke’s more frenetic rhythms, including those on “Misty Flip” and “Riff Raff”. In effect, Math Major feels more like a jazz record than an emo one, though they’re more likely to be lumped into the latter.

First of all, I would like to thank the publicist, Colin Czerwinski for giving me a copy of this album to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

Maybe it’s that the band sometimes decides to slow down. Songs like “Jungle Book” thrum softly, blooming in soft bursts at the end of each phrase. Others, like “Bed Time”, sway slowly, but swell into looming landscapes; during its chorus, Aaron Burke’s bass rolls back and forth in the background, adding depth as Monroe’s bright guitar, sticky with reverb, shimmers beneath his soaring voice. Or maybe it’s that Math Major expresses energy without succumbing to aggression or arrogance. Whatever it is, Art Contest reaches well-beyond the boundaries of math rock—and emo, and jazz—to realms were few bands have the ability to tread.

opinion

Art Contest are an odd group. They mix together crash thimbles with fast tempos and somehow make it work for the most part. Their talents aren’t in creating memorable lyrics, it’s in creating memorable guitar riffs and drumming combinations that defy the term music in the twenty first century. Surprisingly, they do it well and with excitement that’s pretty contagious.

I’m a person that’s all about words, I mean, I do own a blog. Anyway, even though Art Contest’s strong points are their instrumentals, it would have been nice if they switched up the lyrics instead of it consistently being the same words repeated over and over again in every song. What makes this even worse is the fact that the vocalist has an amazing voice that’s really strong which is shown in Bedtime, Shish Kebab and Sugar Bay. Nonetheless, there are songs that I really didn’t enjoy like the last two on the record, Bassnectar and Sonic Level 4. The problem with Bassnectar is that it sounds like the band was out of ideas and decided to let a toddler go wild since the key banging is done on the high side in an annoying way. Sonic Level 4 is just as annoying with the vocals choppy and odd, like a caveman trying to speak. Word. After. Word. After. Word. Until somewhere in the middle where it’s smoother but at that point, I didn’t care.

You know when you’re a pretty shitty mood and you just want to scream, punch, or throw something? Math Major is that kind of album. Their sound is all quick tempos, and harsh banging that shows off their intimidating power. They seem to encourage these outbursts by having random outbursts of their own throughout their songs. The Intros are great, they really will reel listeners in with their unique sound like in Bedtime, Tripp Pants, and WAV.  Washing Machine and Jungle Book are quite smooth in the beginning and then randomly start to bang and clash. Without even having seen a music video by Art Contest I could literally hear them, ‘jamming out’ to their songs.  Sugar Baby is probably their most poetic song on this album, although it’s still with their fast pacing, the drums and guitar start and stop in sync with the vocals and give off that smooth feeling.

Math Major isn’t an album I would usually listen to. I like, for the most part, smooth bands that have smooth build-ups and a relaxed overall feel to them. However Art Contest is a band that’s unusual and have taken me by surprise. Their energy is contagious and even though my favourite songs off this album are Jungle Book, Bedtime, and Sugar Bay, this album as a whole is something that’ll force listeners to want to jam out and get loud and crazy.

3.5 Treble Clefs
3.5 Treble Clefs

Songs on the Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)

1. Banana Boat-3:26

2. Washing Machine-3:55

3. Jungle Book-4:21

4. Bedtime-3:46

5. WAV-3:26

6. Misty Flip-0:49

7. Shish Kebab-3:54

8. Riff Raff-1:12

9. Tripp Pants-2:19

10. Sugar Bay-3:23

11. Mean Note-2:44

12. Bassnectar-1:10

13. Sonic Level 4-3:43

Book Review: The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

18048731The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: March 18, 2014

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

good good

Growing up in privileged, Manhattan social circles, Caggie’s life should be perfect, and it almost was until the day that her younger sister drowned when Caggie was supposed to be watching her. Stricken by grief, Caggie pulls away from her friends and family, only to have everyone misinterpret a crucial moment when she supposedly saves a fellow classmate from suicide. Now she’s famous for something she didn’t do and everyone lauds her as a hero. But inside she still blames herself for the death of her sister and continues to pull away from everything in her life, best friend and perfect boyfriend included. Then Caggie meets Astor, the new boy at school, about whom rumours are swirling and known facts are few. In Astor she finds someone who just might understand her pain, because he has an inner pain of his own. But the more Caggie pulls away from her former life to be with Astor, the more she realises that his pain might be darker, and deeper, than anything she’s ever felt. His pain might be enough to end his life…and Caggie’s as well.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Simon Pulse for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

In all fairness I made it to roughly 40% before I started skimming and then at 70%  I went straight to the penultimate chapter.

I love books about teens with depression and who face suicide. I could never get bored with this trend, I really don’t think I could, yet so far this year, the ones with these topics are just bad. They’re unrealistic and boring. And I don’t mean boring as in their story is terrible or not exciting enough. I mean boring as in they’re just words. No emotion, no connection whatsoever between the protagonist and the love interest, no explanation, nothing. It’s just words being told like a fucking monologue and it’s horrendous.

Caggie’s story of struggle and forgiveness should be full of heartache and connection because everyone wishes they could go back in time to change something, whatever it may be. It shouldn’t be a fucking snoozfest where the love triangle is with a sweet guy who’s pretty one-sided and the other one  so forcefully funny and it’s disgusting and seems to have no fucking care in the world yet can tell she’s hoarding some dark secrets. What the fuck is this bullshit, Serle? I’m very fucking disappointed with this.

Luckily, the only thing I didn’t completely hate is the best friend, Claire. Solely because she’s punk and does whatever she wants to and doesn’t seem to care. But even this, to a point, got ridiculous, there is a flimsy relationship between her and Caggie.

The Edge of Falling should be a book that has its readers at the edge of their seats. Not trying their best to stay awake. If I wanted to read an essay on the life of a teenage girl I would ask my English teacher. I wanted a novel that I could connect with and what I got was nothing close to it. I am beyond disappointed and I don’t recommend this to anyone.  Save yourself the trouble and frustration and stay far away from this one.

1 Lonely Cloud
1 Lonely Cloud

Book Review: Elusion by Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

12369550Elusion by  Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Genre: Dystopian and Young Adult

Release Date: March 18, 2014

Pages: 400 (Hardcover)

good good

Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.

A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or consequences—of real life.

Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality.

Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion—accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous— Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Katherine Tegen Books for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

It boggles my mind just how stupid some people can be over someone they find extremely attractive. People are willing to give up precious secrets for the sake of being ‘cool’ with someone hot. They don’t care about the people they’ve grown up with nor do they care that this whole ‘relationship’ could be a fucking trap and you could get fucking killed for the sake of some fucking hot guy fucking looking at you for two fucking seconds like you’re his everything. Is the risk of death  worth it though?

Regan seems to fucking think so!

The characters are annoying, especially Regan who just met this super hot guy and trusts him with a secret that her dad told her not to tell anyone! This is a typical insta-love and this was the first strike for me.  Just because he tells her something, which could be a lie. Also, she second guesses her best friend because the bad boy tells her some questioning info about him. I’ll admit that Patrick does some sketchy stuff but this doesn’t mean she should outright distrust him without speaking to him about it. She tries to, pathetically near the end of the novel but at that point, I couldn’t care. When writing a dystopian novel, the world should be explained perfectly yet in Elusion the world is so half-assed. The adventurous destinations are flimsy at best and certainly didn’t draw me in.

Although I hated just about everything about this story, I did love staring at the cover! It’s absolutely beautiful and what initially  drew me in.

Elusion goes through what a lot of YA books are currently going through. It’s not sure if it wants to be romance since the romance takes over the plot more than once, it’s not sure if it wants to be a dystopian because of the cool gadgets and world. I wouldn’t recommend this one to anyone because of how horrible the characters are, the sloppily done world, and the predictable ending. After I finishing Elusion, I feel like I should just stop reading Dystopian novels all together.

1 Lonely Cloud
1 Lonely Cloud

Book Review: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

18053148Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: March 18, 2014

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

good good

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Balzer + Bray for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Honestly, I’m not sure about this one. It’s not bad but it’s certainty not good. The character got on my nerves but I felt bad for them at least once. I hated most things but liked a few. I felt very conflicted and it’s safe to say that Side Effects May Vary could have been well executed and a fun read. The idea of getting a second chance at life hasn’t been done before in YA novels or at least not done enough.

My biggest problem with Side Effects May Vary are the main characters and just….Annoying they both are. Alice is a bitch who treats the only person who loves her like crap. I understand that she’s scared and all but come on, at least be a woman about it and tell him that you’re scared. Harvey albeit sweeter than sweet is such a pushover. Love can make people do some really weird things yet Harvey allowed Alice to get away with everything. It was extremely annoying to read about and I could barely tolerate the romance of it all.

Have you ever wanted a second chance to fix all the shit that you messed up? I know I do and Alice actually gets the chance to. I loved reading Julie Murphy’s writing style, although at times I felt bored, for the most part it’s lovely and I didn’t mind it.

However, Julie Murphy has a few things to learn, especially about writing from a male’s perspective because many times, I didn’t believe that Harvey’s actually a guy. I don’t know if I would recommend this to anyone. On one hand, I loved the idea of this book. On the other, I hated the characters and the romance for how one-sided it is.

2 Clouds
2 Clouds

Favourite Book Quotes of the Week#51

favourite

A list of my favourite quotes from books I’ve read in the past week. Leave a comment/link telling me what your favourite quotes are! I’ll be sure to check your post out too!

Don’t Even Think About it by Sarah Mlynowski

17560541Favourite quote: That’s our story.

How we became a we.

And that’s what we are these day. A we.

When you’re a group that can hear each other’s thoughts, the line between and We gets kind of blurry.

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic_HC_JKT_des4.inddFavourite quote: The Bravery was in moving forward, no matter what. Someday, she might be called on to jump again. And she would do it. She knew, now, that there was always light–beyond the dark, and the dear, out of the depths; there was sun to reach for, and air and space and freedom.

There was always a way up, and out, and no need to be afraid.