“Sea Change”—A Book Review

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Sea Change by Aimee Friedman is an enchanting summer tale. If you like mermaids, islands, and romance, this quick beach read is not to be missed!

Having just split with her boyfriend, and fought with her best friend, Miranda is totally fine with leaving New York for the summer. Her summer destination: Selkie Island, near the Georgia coast, to help her mother clean out and organize her late grandmother’s estate home known as The Mariner.

On the ferry ride over to the island, she hears a lot of gossip about Selkie Island, and many people warn her to beware of the mist that surrounds the isle. Upon arriving, Miranda quickly hears gossip of mermaids who can emerge from the ocean and walk on the shore.

And of course, a cute guy is involved. Miranda soon meets Leo, a mysterious islander with emerald green eyes and (naturally) she falls for him and begins meeting him on the beach, amongst the mist.

“Leo kissed languidly, a kiss like he had all the time n the world, a kiss as hot and slow as the summer itself. I understood why people sometimes went crazy, risked everything for a kiss.”

Then, as Miranda stumbles across books on selkies, mermaids, and mermen among her grandmother’s possessions, she can’t help her roaming imagination as she wonders about Leo’s amazing ocean-swimming abilities and the fact that he seems to just “appear” out of the water.

“I wanted to tell Leo that I’d imagined him as a merman so he could laugh with me too. But the mere word was too absurd to even say out loud. Merman.”

While the characters are only surface deep, this magical story gets a three out of five stars from me. If you’re looking for a light beach reach, Sea Change is the book for you!

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“Unbreak my Heart”—A Book Review

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Unbreak my Heart by Melissa Walker was a fast, but thoughtful summer read.

Clementine is going to be stuck on a sail boat all summer with her parents and older-than-her years little sister, Olive. Normally the thought of losing an entire summer away from civilization (and internet) would make Clem squirm and possibly pitch a total bitch fit. But not this summer—this summer she can’t wait to get away.

At the end of Clementine’s sophomore year, she has no friends. She is in exile. She is a horrible person. She deserves to be completely miserable. Or so she thinks, anyway.

Throughout the progression of this coming-of-age novel, Clementine is battling some serious internal turmoil and self-deprecation. As the novel starts, all you know is that Clem somehow screwed up and now her best friend (since forever) hates her. When they first embark on their month-long sailing trip, Clem constantly locks herself in her small bedroom cabin, crying, listening to sad playlists, writing in her journal, basically just wallowing in self-loathing.

“Just because the tears have mostly dried up, it doesn’t mean I’m better.”

Clementine refuses to tell her family what happened during the school year, keeping her misery completely to herself, and only allowing readers glimpses of what unfolded during her sophomore year.

But as the summer sails on (pun intended), Clementine meets a happy-go-lucky redheaded guy, named James, who is embarking on the same sailing loop with his father. James and Clem end running into each other at almost every dock, and she can’t help but notice how happy James always is…it literally just radiates out of him.

After spending more and more time with James and learning about his not-so-easy past, Clem realizes that life is what you decide to make of it. Yes, sometimes it sucks, but bottling everything up and dwelling on it only makes it worse and makes you and everyone around you miserable. Sometimes you just have to let your feelings out and talk things through…often keeping things in and ruminating over the past make a situation seem a heck of a lot worse than it may actually be.

I give this quick summer read three out of five stars. It’s the perfect book for a lazy day and definitely has some thought provoking moments 🙂

“Gameboard of the Gods”—A Book Review

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I have to say, I was super excited for Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead to come out, seeing as I am obsessed with her teen Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series. But sadly, the start of her new adult “Age of X” series just didn’t do it for me, and I can’t help but feel disappointed. I pretty much had to make myself finish this book 😦

Set in the future the RUNA is basically the only government sanctioned area, which resides in the Vancouver area. All throughout the United States lays “provinces,” which are basically areas that the government keeps tabs on, but doesn’t necessarily reside in.

Justin March used to be a servitor (government official who goes around making sure religious organizations have a license for their establishment and are abiding by the government’s rules for religious practice). Justin was exiled four years ago for mentioning “the supernatural” in an incident report and was exiled to Panama City. You see, the government is big on trying to quell out any “nonsense” of supernatural happenings and trying to get people to stop believing in any kind of religious entity.

The thing is…Justin has been target by a god that is trying to get him to follow him.

“The truth is, when you banish the gods from the world, they eventually come back—with a vengeance. Humans can’t stay away from gods, and gods can’t stay away from humans. It’s the natural order of things. Our country’s treatment of the divine was too harsh after the Decline. Our people have pushed the gods away for too long, and now the divine is pushing back. That’s why these forces are stirring around us. There’s a vacuum here, and entities we haven’t seen for a very long time are rushing in, seeking followers. Belief is what powers the gods, and they’re picking out their elect to conduct their earthly business.”

Mae is a praetorian—basically a supped up solider for the aid of the government. All praetorians receive an implant when they sign on with the military that amps up their body’s natural defenses (insane amounts of adrenaline kick in during a fight, they no longer need to sleep, the implant quickly recognizes and dissolves any kind of poisonous toxins that enter the body—alcohol included).

Well, Mae got into a fight at the funeral of her deceased lover and ended up hospitalizing another praetorian. Her punishment: Justin March’s new bodyguard.

A string of unexplained murders have been going on in the provinces. A security camera from one of the victims shows a smoke/shadow intruder killing the victim and no forced entry is apparent. Thus, the government calls upon the aid of Justin March (seeing as he kicked ass at his job and seems to believe in supernatural weirdness). The government believes some kind of unorganized religious zealot is responsible for the string of murders, and wants Justin to find the unsanctioned organization, find the murderer, and have the religion stopped.

And so, Mae is to follow Justin around to make sure he doesn’t die while raiding sketchy “underground religious groups”, shutting them down in hopes of drawing out the one that may be responsible for the bizarre murders.

Oh yeah, and Mae has some “dark” goddess following her around, trying to get her to swear fealty. BUT, Mae can’t see it, even though she feels it sometimes when she gets in fights. Justin on the other hand knows that a god is after him because he has two ravens in his head that converse with him, telling him when he is being an idiot, and try their damndest to get him to give in and swear full devotion to their god. And yes, these ravens have names: Horatio and Magnus.

“Gods consolidate their power in places and people. Breaking belief is the biggest way to hurt one. You do that by disbanding their followers. Gods need people to believe in them. Could be as simple as someone like you revoking a license. Or it may take more drastic means. Destroy their place of worship. Take out some of their leaders. Once the followers start to stray, the god weakens. It’s why their all scrambling right now to build their power—and followers.”

So that’s basically the sum of the book. Justin and may going to different places of worship, checking for licenses and looking for the “mysterious murderer” while a whole lot of sexual tension hangs out (because naturally there are reasons Justin and Mae can’t be together).

I kind of felt like this book tried too much to be political and send “a message.” I found it really boring and it took forever for them to actually find out anything useful. I didn’t even find the “futuristic” world remotely intriguing.

Sadly, I can only give this book two out of five stars 😥 I will not be reading the sequel.

 

I do want to add that regardless of how let down I felt by this book, I am very eagerly awaiting the next installment in the Bloodlines series, The Fiery Heart, which is scheduled to hit bookshelves this November!

“Second Chance Summer”—A Book Review

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Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson is one of those summer reads that sticks with you for many years to come.

Taylor has never felt “extraordinary,” growing up with a brilliant, scholarly older brother and an adorable younger sister who excels at dance. The one thing Taylor is good at? Running away when the world becomes too difficult to handle.

But this summer, she can’t escape.

Receiving the terrible news that her dad only has a few months left to live, her parents decide to spend one last summer together as a family in the lake house they haven’t been to since Taylor was twelve. That was the year her friendship with Lucy dissolved and she made a mess of things with a boy, Henry Crosby.

Stuck in close quarters with her family, having her childhood best friend live just across the lake, and having Henry live next door, Taylor has nowhere to run. She has no other option but to put on her big girl panties and confront life head on. Most importantly, she finally has to face the fact that her father is sick, and each breath he takes only takes him that much closer to leaving her behind.

“The thing is that people only get hurt—really hurt—when they’re trying to play it safe. That’s when people get injured, when they pull back at the last second because they’re scared. They hurt themselves and other people.”

I highly recommend this heartbreakingly beautiful coming-of-age novel that reminds us about love, hope, and the importance of family and second chances.

Five out of Five stars!

“Sleepaway Girls”—A Book Review

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Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita is an adorable and fun summer read!

Sam’s best friend has a boyfriend this summer, and Sam refuses to hang around all summer being the third wheel. So she decides to sign up to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines summer camp in the New York Catskills.

Of course, what summer camp experience would be complete without the camp counselor “queen bee” who likes to give Sam hell, and a super hot crush she just can’t help but flirt with? Sam also makes friends with a group of counselor-in-training girls who label themselves “The Sleepaway Girls.” The girls have a blast all summer sneaking off and documenting their summer experiences to remember for a lifetime.

And then add to the summer experience, Cole: the playful guy who Sam becomes fast friends with.

This book was pretty much your typical mindless summer read, complete with a totally predictable plot, but it was still entertaining. I give it three out of five stars!

“The Symptoms of My Insanity”—A Book Review

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The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf…to be perfectly honest, I’m not totally sure what I thought about it.

This book starts out in the fashion of the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison. Thus, I began this novel with the mindset that it was going to be hilarious and have me laughing the whole way through. For example, when the story begins, the main character, Izzy, is in a fitting room at a lingerie store getting fitted for new bras, having already outgrown the ones she got at the start of the school year:

“Mom’s always saying how I look just like dad’s mom, Grandma Rose, when she was sixteen. She dug up and showed me an old picture of her and, she’s right, I do. Which wouldn’t be so bad except that now Grandma Rose is a four-foot-ten-inch-tall, eighty-three-year-old woman with gargantuan breasts that take over her entire bra-less body. Really, I should just bolt out of Lola’s Lingerie right now. What’s the point of spending money on bras when I’m going to end up a short, eighty-three-year-old woman with dangle boobs?”

Funny, right? And you get the impression right away that Izzy’s mom is one of those Stepford Moms that won’t be caught dead without her lip gloss applied and her hair perfect, expecting every girl in school to be perfect models of “young ladies.” So of course, she’s horrified when a rumor goes around school about a girl giving head in one of the bathroom stalls. To which Izzy (as follows with the humor at the start of the book) replies:

“Yes Mom, it’s true. All the girls at school pleasure boys in the bathroom stalls. How else are we supposed to get them to like us?”

But the thing is, I guess I felt like I was mislead into reading this novel. The “funny” wears off quickly and the book takes a dramatic turn. You soon find out that Izzy’s mom has a rare stomach cancer and because of this (and her mom not actually talking to her about her illness), Izzy is a bit of a hypochondriac. Anytime she feels even a little “off,” she automatically jumps to the conclusion that something is horribly wrong with her and that she has one of the diseases that she’s read about on the internet. Izzy’s hypochondria is so bad that several times she mistakes a simple panic attack for some life threatening illness.

“Why am I so dizzy? Why can’t I get in a good breath? I shuffle through what I know. Hypoglycemia? Lyme? Or no—oh, no. Breast lumps metastasizing? If I feel this sick, it has to be in advanced stages. Okay no, just relax, breathe. You can breathe.

Like I said, it stopped being funny pretty early on. There is a lot of school drama and some good heartfelt coming-of-age stuff, but because I felt falsely lead in to reading a comedy that isn’t really a comedy, I found myself not really wanting to read it anymore. I kind of had to make myself finish it.

All in all, I give this book 3 stars. It was a pretty decent book, I was just looking for something that this book was not.