Author: Chelsea (Peril Please) (page 2 of 89)

BOOK REVIEW: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

BOOK REVIEW: Letters to the Lost by Brigid KemmererLetters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
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Synopsis:

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

 

So…I’m not going to lie-I read this before my daughter was even born. And, if you don’t follow me or my life (Which I’m sure I many many people do not), that happened in the middle of March. Yeah. I know. Shame on me. Because this book? It was SO SO good. It deserved all the pre-praise it could possibly get and I failed it. I got the ARC, loved it, devoured it, even, and didn’t get a chance to write this review (as my baby girl was born-oops (and YAY)). But, instead of giving it up because I read it so long ago, I’ve always known I’d come back and (eventually) write a review for it-I respected it THAT much. I’ll warn you, though-this is as far back as I’m going for reviews of books when I was too pregnant and too tired to write reviews. I cut it off here.

Anyway, onto the book. I’ll be candid here-When I received this I was not only shocked but…disappointed? I hadn’t really looked into this much and was not expecting to be granted access, and frankly I was behind on way too many reviews-I wasn’t being as picky as I should have been for as slow as my review output was. But the minute I finally picked this up…it immediately drew me in. And damn if I wasn’t shocked.

What starts out as a young girl working through her grief by writing letters to her mother’s grave becomes a heartfelt story about being heard, understood, and, ultimately, not so alone once a boy who works in the cemetery writes back to Juliet on her note. Understandably our MC is upset that someone invaded her personal privacy by writing back to her, but after responding through an angry rant, she and this mysterious person begin an online friendship (HA. SEE. I’m HOPELESS for these types of books) that makes them closer than ever through their shared grief. What they don’t know is: They literally are each other’s worst nightmare, in real life.

Total opposites, these two grow closer and closer, not realizing that the person they crave talking to most every day is one of their worst enemies. Dark, misunderstood Declan and popular, uppity, miss goody-two-shoes (so he thinks) have found the ultimate connection. But in real life, they continue to clash.

Declan takes every opportunity to push Juliet away when she tries to let him in. See, he is the dark, broody guy that everyone whispers about when he walks by, but she starts to run into him more and more (literally…ha) and tries to be nice, to let him in, but he isn’t having it…at least, not at first.

I can’t even begin to explain how wounded Declan is, how tough he tries to act, but he’s that total package guy who would do anything for you-just a completely misunderstood guy-but it’s not like he helps himself. Juliet tries to be nice to him continually, but he always ruins it by snapping at her, by judging her before understanding her, knowing her…but then he begins to see there may be more to her than meets the eye-and is there a connection between her and his dream girl he’s been chatting with day and night?

They both begin to see little similarities, never really knowing who they quite are falling in love with online, but don’t want to ruin what is blossoming between them at school, at Rev’s house-they like each other, but what if they lose their pen pal in the process?

I’m tired and not doing this review justice, but just, I really loved this, okay? Declan and Juliet were beyond cute-I was obsessed with them, especially Declan. He was dark and broody, but utterly loyal. He was tortured and lonely (Besides his one good friend, whom I ADORED) and just wanted a real connection, to be away from his asshole stepfather and to be understood for who he really is. He made mistake after mistake concerning Juliet, and he does pity himself a little too much (if I am remembering correctly) but he gets his shit together and he made me swoon like no other-not like I wasn’t before that, but that’s beside the point. And Juliet had her issues, too, like not seeing that some things aren’t what you want them to be, that reality isn’t always as pretty as the dream, but she was fun and sweet and relatable. And we need more YA heroines like her. She had ambition and I admired her for that-so pick this book up. I think its more than worth the read.

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BOOK REVIEW: Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin

BOOK REVIEW: Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan GraudinWolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1)
by Ryan Graudin
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Her story begins on a train.

The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

From the author of The Walled City comes a fast-paced and innovative novel that will leave you breathless.

 

 
You must never forget the dead.
Remember and be rended. Be rendered.
Look straight, where the danger is.
Inhale.
Exhale.
Reach the bottom of the breath
                                                                                                              And shoot.

Wolf by Wolf challenged me in ways I can’t even begin to explain. But maybe this is a good start:

There’s this hilarious moment in the Grinch with Jim Carrey (what part ISN’T hilarious with him in that movie?) when he says: ‘Kids today: So desensitized by movies and television.’

And I think that applies here. I believe with my whole heart I’ve had my blinders on. I’ve had one EXTREME soft spot since I was a child (though, I have [and always have had] MANY because I’m an extremely empathetic person), and they are of the furry, four-legged variety. But any animal, really. My point is this: I have read so many fucked up books throughout my life, but the only books that have ripped at my heart and pissed me off most have centered on animal abuse, dogs dying or being murdered, etc.. You get the picture.

And I’m not blind. I know what goes on in the world-But I’ve always turned my head in the other direction. Does that make sense? I’m one of those people who tries to see the good in everyone, who wants to believe all these bad things aren’t happening, who was always SO naïve, and still am, really, and just…I wanted to shut all the bad things in the world out. I don’t want to know about it. I don’t want to hear about it. I don’t want to cry-especially with animals.

And like I said-I’ve never not known what goes on…I just turn a blind eye or a deaf ear. And then something miraculous happened: My little girl was born. Now I am so beyond sensitive to the world and it’s issues and I CRY. ABOUT. EV-ER-Y-THING. I just can’t turn a blind eye anymore and it all kills me inside. I swear, I’m a depressed, swirling tornado of sad feels…all because of one amazing little human.

Live? In a world of fangs and lonely?
Or die. In a cage of smoke and needles.

So when I picked up this book, this book that would have just been so epic before Aubrey girl…I didn’t expect how much the graphic content would disturb me. Now, it didn’t effect my rating-you know, hearing about the concentration camps…because, honestly, it made me care, and isn’t that the point? But, I guess what I’m saying is that this book hit me hard in the gut…and I wasn’t expecting it.

Not alone. It was a cruel irony that this was the message she had been chosen to deliver. She, the loneliest of all. The girl without a people. Without a face. The girl who was no one. Who could be everyone.

This book may have been fiction, but it was so much stronger than that. And I by no means am glorifying this heinous event-in fact, it’s quite the contrary. It made me so much madder, because, frankly, it’s so easy to learn about the past and then choose to forget about it. It caused me to remember all I have learned and I understand the weight so much more now that I’m older and am choosing to process this.

Adele didn’t beg. Her eyes were ice and slit. She stared past the gun, straight at Yael. “Who are you?”
Not What do you want? or What are you doing here?
Who are you? Who? Who? Who?
Why, of all questions, this one?

But onto the story-

Yael’s mission is to assassinate Hitler. It’s her job to join the Axis Tour and win so she can attend the Victor’s Ball where she will follow through with her mission to end his reign. In this altered history, Hitler won and what we see is his glorified horrible idea of what is perfect and what happens to those he deems unworthy. Yael is a part of the resistance, she’s a survivor of one of his concentration camps and vows to end his life to save countless others-to avenge those she loved and lost before, to honor their memories.

Yael swallowed. But the tangle stayed.
Did it matter? One life. A drop in a vast, vast ocean of hundreds, thousands, millions.
Yes, pounded the hollow of her heart. Yes, cried her wolves.
It mattered. All of them mattered. All of the hundreds, thousands, millions. Vast, vast…
Would it ever end?

But during the race, she must defy the odds while battling with other hungry previous victors, all the while pretending to be someone who knows her past indiscretions, secrets, allies…and love interests.

She thought she was ready for this mission. Ready for anything.
But not this. Not relationships.
This wasn’t something she could fake.

I saw from some of my friends they weren’t huge fans of Luka, but I’m inclined to disagree. I found him to be some of my favorite moments of the story-especially near the end. His hurt is palpable, his desperation to win Yael/Adele over-it broke my heart. But, more than that, their flirtations and banter were by far one of the most lighthearted things about this novel-I absolutely loved how they interacted with one another….even though Yael is falling head over heels for a guy who doesn’t even know she exists.

“Sometimes I miss this. You. Me. Secrets. Stars.” His words curled out with the smoke—wisps of burning air that actually looked pretty. “I thought I was invincible. Before you.”

Love, lies, betrayal, and loyalties…they are all tested in this race of all races. Yael is tangled in a web of lies, deceit, and power-hungry opponents-but who can she trust among them and who will help her reach her ultimate goal? She went into the race knowing these men were monsters…but is there more to them than meets the eye? And though she thinks herself to be a monster, can she defy her internal struggles and break free of the restraints and heartbreak her whole life has been constructed around? Can she avenge all her loved ones?

This story is a good one, but being as tired as I am I can’t read it all together, so I had to read it in bits and pieces, so I really can’t say if this should have been five stars [instead of my 4] or less. I’m going with my gut and saying something was missing for this to have been perfect, but it was extremely entertaining and continually broke my heart. So that counts for something.

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BOOK REVIEW: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

BOOK REVIEW: Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans WelchLove & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure.

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and ever herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

 

Sonia met my eyes in the mirror. “You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it’s for the same two things.”
“What?”
“Love and gelato.”

I know I say this a lot, but seriously-What a pleasant surprise!! Seriously. There are few books that manage to surprise me, and it’s even rarer that I fall for a book set overseas. Don’t ask why and I won’t explain-Just know that there are really only two books that have successfully stolen my heart that take place outside of the US…and they are Anna and the French Kiss and The Fever series.

I will say this, though; I was MOMENTS away from DNF’ing this. Yup, you read that correctly: A book that turned out to be absolutely adorable almost slipped under my radar. I had been avoiding it for a while, but even when I did give it a try, I almost gave up on it. In the beginning, there was just too much of her alone, her with her sadness, her mourning her mother’s loss…now, come on, I’m not heartless-I realize she had to feel helpless and sad and lost, but I’m already finicky, so I was drowning in those pages.

But, right when I was about to give up, something happened. Something big. Something HUGE-Lorenzooo started sniffing around…and my heart couldn’t take it. I was hooked. Oh, did you think it was actually something huge? Pshh. Y’all know me better than that. Give me a good boy, a quirky little adventure, and some swoony moments and I. Am. All. In.

“Did I dress up enough?”
“What?”
I repeated my question. He slowed for a red light, then turned to look at me. “You look great. We’re wearing the same thing.”
“Yeah, but you look . . .”
“What?”
“Cooler.”
He tipped his head back so our helmets clacked. “Thanks.”

And that’s another surprising thing-I don’t much like frolicking. Like…scavenger hunts, mysteries, journal entries from anyone other than the two lovebirds. And, if I’m being honest here, I didn’t fall in love with it here, either. But I honestly truly loved how her and Ren found each other through her mother’s journal. I loved the places they saw, the things they did, the way they bonded and became closer because of the vivid picture her mother’s words painted. Where most stories find their momentum through all the romance, this story found it’s rhythm in a young girl’s grief. And, frankly, I think I respect this book for that.

Yadda yadda of COURSE I wish there had been a little more romance-sure. But it was all the more special as the romance built and built, giving us spurts of butterflies throughout the entirety of the story, all leading up to an explosion of adorable jealousy and feels that leaves you so happy you’re breathless. Or was that just me?

And, okay, I so wasn’t going to say this, but when I read L&G, I really and for true had Anna and the French Kiss type feels. Yeah. So….this book, while adorable, had a lot to live up to even from the start. And, I admit, this did put a lot of pressure on an otherwise light book that I normally wouldn’t have put so much stake on. But, back to my point: I had read reviews prior to buying this story that said it was similar to AATFK, and those are huge shoes to fill, I’m sorry. Yet…and yet.

“Thinly sliced ham. You’ll love it.” He sat down next to me and I unwrapped the sandwich and took a bite. Of course I loved it. But it was nothing compared to how I felt about Ren. And yes. I’d totally just compared the only guy I’d ever felt this way about to a ham sandwich.

In all the ways that counted, I felt like I was back to my darling Anna and St. Clair’s world, and it felt tremendous. Ren was light-hearted, cute, witty, fun…and just absolutely adorable. He was funny and he made me laugh in the most innocent ways-he was flirty without being smarmy, he DID have a girl…but I can’t say what went on. All I can say is that he didn’t cheat. But, you know, I know some people that are bothered by that fine line…spoiler alert: I AM NOT ONE OF THEM. HA. Anyway, back to Ren’s perpetual allure: He could make me smile with the smallest ‘facial expression’, making for a scene that filled my heart with joy while being so simple. And I think that’s missing in books these days, for me. I just want a simple, cute, breezy YA contemp. Is that too much to ask? Apparently it is: but this book delivered in spades [for me].

And, just like with Anna (Again with those pesky comparisons), I loved our MC. I mean to say: She didn’t annoy the shit out of me-which, honestly, is becoming an increasingly familiar trend. But not here-Lina was sweet, kind, and respectful of Ren’s ‘kind of’ girlfriend. I even liked a certain club scene (Tehe-I love these…) where the knight in shining armor didn’t save the day…but a more unlikely ally shone. I was a bit like pfft WTH! I. WANT. REN…but was immediately satisfied after. Eh. You’ll see. Whatever ha. (It’s getting late, if you can’t tell-since I can’t write reviews during the day anymore and only after little girl is asleep)

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

So…I don’t know. I don’t like making comparisons where I don’t feel comparisons are due, but I also can’t deny I had a lot of those same feels. Maybe it’s the foreign aspect? The having a significant other? A group of friends? Either way, they are each their own individual story with their own individual storylines, they just have some of the same fun things. Like, for instance, one centers solely on the sordid (though I SEVERELY disagree with that word) romance and school while L&G is after a girl’s mother passes and she gets a journal from her mother’s younger years where she was a student in Italy and how she fell in love…and made the wrong choice. It’s about a girl trying to figure out her mother’s story and finding a fast friendship with a boy who wants an adventure, as well, and them following her mother’s footsteps. I don’t know. Perhaps its as simple as Paris and Italy being places I’ve always wanted to go to and these stories transporting me there with fun journeys, vivid story-telling (whether inaccurate or not, I do not care-again, I’m side-eyeing you, Bug. Just…don’t lol), love and romance, and, of course, Gelato. I mean really…what else could a girl ask for? What else do you need? The answer is nothing.

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BOOK REVIEW: Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

BOOK REVIEW: Tell Me Three Things by Julie BuxbaumTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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Synopsis:

Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

Perfect days are for people with small, realizable dreams. Or maybe for all of us, they just happen in retrospect; they’re only now perfect because they contain something irrevocably and irretrievably lost.

 

I’m going to be frank with you all: I never had any intentions of reading this novel. Nope. None. And then…and then I got on this kick where I’m obsessed with online romance types (or even love letter/pen pal types *see Punk 57/Letters to the Lost*) where two people are completely anonymous and know each other in real life-but they don’t realize it. And it’s so funny because I didn’t even realize I was gravitating to this type of book until I had read a handful.

 
Me: So…
Scarlett: If you must know…
Me: I MUST, I MUST.
Scarlett: My hymen is intact.
Me: Surely you could have told me in a less graphic fashion.

 

So there I was, posting a review on GR and my blog for one of these types of books, then one of our followers on the blog commented on my review and said they had read this and liked it (THANK YOU, BEAUTIFUL PERSON, THANK YOU). So, naturally, I immediately switched over to GR, marked TM3T ‘to read’ and bought it immediately. And I must tell you: It was love at first page.

I don’t know. Maybe it’s my new, beautifully hectic life or maybe my mind needed a break-who knows? But finding and attaching to this trope came at the best time. And I can’t necessarily pick a favorite out of the pile of cyber/letter books I’ve read in 2017, but each one always gives me the absolute best feelings. Where Punk was hot, dirty, hate-to-love romance, TM3T was sweet, exploratory, one-sided, slow-build romance. It was fun, flirty and made me smile so many times I can’t even count. I won’t lie-even though I’m living the dream, at the moment, I still have dark or heavy times. I don’t have all good days….so this book was just-It was such a fun, beautiful, shining light of a story and I gobbled up every page of it.

 

He just nods again, like I’ve said yes. Like he asked and I answered a question. Right. Maybe not so nice after all. “But—” But what? I was looking forward to being your partner? I like your serial killer eyes?

 

I think the most amazing parts of these online romances are the secrecy. There is just something so fun about one person knowing who you are and the other being totally oblivious, but still falling in love that makes me all screechy and fangirlish. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know. I SAID don’t ask why! I just love ‘em. I do. Shh.

 

Ethan: From Merriam-Webster: Tuber: “a short, thick, round stem that is a part of certain plants (such as the potato), that grows underground, and that can produce a new plant.”
Me: Huh. Kinda makes sense. The whole feeding a new life part of the poem.
Ethan: But why are they dried?
Me: No idea.
Ethan: I like the word “tuber.” Makes a good insult.
Me: ??? Example, please.
Ethan: Gem and Crystal? Total tubers.

 

Now, it seems so odd that all these books always have one person who knows what’s going on and they lead the person they are crushing about on. I get that-but I think that’s my favorite thing. Is that weird? Whatever. Eliza knew about Wallace. Declan knew about Juliet. Misha knew about Ryen. Bailey and Porter knew about…well. They were oblivious way too long-ask my Frenchy Bug about that (SHUT UP. IF YOU DISS ON THE ONLY BOOKS I HAVE LOVED THIS YEAR I WILL END YOU [squish you like a], BUG). And, in a lot of these, there is anger. Betrayal. Hurt. Why didn’t the [secret] significant other admit they knew who the other was? Why keep up with the charade? And this proves to be an interesting plot point for me.

All the authors handle the anger/betrayal/hurt differently, and I just always seem to love how it’s handled. It adds a layer of diversity to each book that makes me all giddy and weird-but, in the end, always incredibly happy. Because A) Wouldn’t you be pissed if someone you were falling for kept their identity a secret from you? And B) A lot of times, it’s the guy who knows first and he doesn’t like the girl in real life he thought he knew so well online. I LOVE THIS. Animosity from a broody man boy anyone? No takers? I’m the only weirdo? Cool. More Misha [etc.] for moi.

But, that’s where TM3T differs-it’s clear from the beginning. The guy states he doesn’t want to be known and that he knows who she is and he just wants to help. They build a friendship, they grow closer, and they begin to fall in love….all the while she’s guessing/wishing/hoping about who it could be. See? All these books are so different…but the same. They all make me feel good and I truly think, for me, that’s what makes me feel so alive.

 

Me: Do you think college will actually be better? For real?
SN: hope so. but then again, I just read about a guy who lost a ball in a frat hazing incident.
Me: Seriously? What is wrong with people?

 

But deeper than that, I love that these characters feel ‘less than’ because, in the end, they learn they don’t have to hide who they are-they don’t have to hide or change themselves to impress anyone else. And isn’t that why most people do the online thing? Because they are ashamed of themselves and don’t want people to know who they really are? It’s not necessarily a good message up front, but it always circles back to make it clear we should be proud of who we are. Maybe that’s reaching-but I like to think that’s the overall message in these books.

But, again, this story differs in that way. This story is more about grief and getting past it-bonding over it and eventually finding out someone understands you and is there for you. It’s about friendship and healing and, finally, seeing there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Again, I’m reaching.

All in all this is a super cute, fluffy contemporary that had me biting my lip and praying that Somebody Nobody was indeed who I hoped he’d be-and I was very pleased, thank you very much. SN was the unlikeliest of people to reach out and lend a virtual lending hand to help navigate the jungle of a new school when someone needed it most, and what followed was a story that had me hooked from the start and became possibly one of my favorites of the year. I finished in record time (since that’s now becoming two weeks for every book I read!!!) and devoured every word. I laughed and swooned and my heart went into overdrive. What else can you ask for?

 

SN: you know what I think about sometimes?
Me: What?
SN: you know that piece of hair that always falls into your eyes—the not-quite-a-bang piece? I want to be able to tuck it behind your ear. I want to be able to do that. I want to meet you when I feel comfortable enough with you to do that.

 

And I am SO SICK of people saying ‘just another young adult contemporary borrowed from books before it’ and that books are ‘nothing new’ and how they’ve ‘seen this before’. SO? Don’t all ideas come from somewhere? I am so sick of hearing this. Maybe this makes me naïve-but I LIKE reading similar books to those I’ve loved before. People need to chill. I’m sorry. But they do. All books can be said to be similar-just get OVER it. Seriously. All the books I love have this label from other reviewers yet they like books IIII find cliché-so who is in the wrong here? I don’t know. But what I do know? EVERY book builds on ideas other great authors have established years ago…no idea can be wholly unique, yet book after book gets pegged for being cliché and similar to others before it. But certain books are claimed to be so new and innovative, etc….I ain’t buyin’ it. I find those stories almost MORE generic. So. Meh.

Oops. Ended my review on a rant-not my intention. But, as it were, I felt the winds of defensiveness on the tip of my tongue for my love of YA Contemporary. So take that as you will. I’ll just start yet another wonderful, not-so-new type of YA Contemp book. Come at me-because, frankly, I’ll probably love it, too. Shocker.

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BOOK REVIEW: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

BOOK REVIEW: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca ZappiaEliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
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Synopsis:

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

It makes no earthly sense how another person can do this. Not even with words, just touches. Just looks. He just looks at me and I feel simultaneously like myself and someone else, like I’m here and I’m not, like everything and nothing.

Every once in a while you come across a book that was only supposed to be a filler. You pick it up, don’t expect much, and you just want something to pass the time until a book you REALLY want comes out. And there are times when those books serve their purpose, where you’re content and don’t think anything of it after finishing because the story fulfilled the part of you it needed to. And then, sometimes, those books you could care less about become something much, much more.

I’ll be frank: I read this book right when it came out. Wasn’t that like…a month ago? I feel like it was forever ago, yet I think about it frequently. I’ll also wholly admit that I forget some things about it. Does that mean I didn’t love it as much as I had originally thought? Perhaps…but I don’t think so. I still remember things that made me smile. I still remember how sweet Wallace was, how he didn’t speak often-but when he did, it was worth every moment he didn’t. I still remember being nervous, anxious, awaiting the big reveal and inevitable blow up. And, ya know, I still remember how it made me feel.

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that I slapped a 4 star rating on Zappia’s previous novel, Made You Up, yet I don’t think it deserved it, from my standpoint. I never got wholly into it, I found it hard to completely connect to, and I didn’t LOVE IT-but I also didn’t know how to rate it. With this novel? I knew. I knew immediately. Where MYU didn’t have anything I really connected to, EAHM was like a fairy tale of nerdiness made just for moi.

rainmaker: Weird, I didn’t know you had such a thing for timid guys.
MirkerLurker: Really does it for me when a guy is paralyzed with fear on a regular basis.
rainmaker: Aw. Sad.
MirkerLurker: What’s sad?
rainmaker: That it would never work between us. I’m too courageous.

Recently I’ve found that online romances are stealing my heart-as I stated in my AA review, ‘2017, the year of the YA Romance cyber stalkers’, is my most recent obsession, and it has been my favorite type of book to read this year. There’s just something so touching to me about reaching out, taking a chance, imagining what it would be like to meet that certain someone who just GETS you…but not knowing who they are or what they look like. I mean, with each new relationship you engage in on the internet, there’s a huge risk (We’ve all seen Catfish, am I right?).

So yeah, these online stories are crazy and zany and have that touch of unbelievability…but that’s what makes it fun. And I guess what I’m saying is: I just have a major connection to this type of story and can’t help but to become all fangirlish when I pick up one of these books-they are so far and few between, and it’s an extreme happiness I feel when I finally find one-because, frankly, even though the realistic factor is low, online/meet-in-real-life-without-knowing-it books have tended to be the most heart-wrenching, soul-crushing, addicting, and unforgettable stories of the year.


Sully and Church stuff their gangly selves in the backseat of my car so Wallace can sit in the passenger seat.
“No hanky panky up there,” Sully says.
“Yeah,” Church adds. “If I see a hand cross those seats, it will get smacked.”
“Smacked?” Sully says. “If I see a hand cross those seats, I’ll chop it off and burn it.”

So, let’s do a quick look at this book and why it worked for me…it’s quite simple actually. In a lot of ways, I found our main character’s problems mirroring my own. No, I’m not an EXTREME introvert like Eliza, and NO I most likely wouldn’t have led our main man on, but I could see similarities: Her attitude, the way she handled problems, the passion she feels when in her own world, creating…there was more, but I won’t lie, I am foggy on all the details :/ One of the numerous downsides to waiting so long to write a review. But, anyway, I really liked her character even though she made a few mistakes I didn’t agree with.

And I will also go so far as to say Wallace made a huge error, as well, in the end….but I have to wonder if it would have stood out so glaringly if I hadn’t read about it in a review before I started. Sometimes we learn something, like an out of character moment, before we pick up a book, so we look for it, and I think that’s what happened here. It upsets me because I am so easily influenced, and even after I say that, here I am doing the same thing to all of you….so, sorry in advance. My point in saying all that was to point out that Wallace wasn’t without his flaws, even though I adored him 95% of the story.

I loved how they had each other’s backs. I loved that they found a connection through her writing. I loved that they became fast friends after she stood up for him. And I loved everything about the two of them. This story touched me in the weirdest way, and I just haven’t forgotten about it, even for a minute.

I will admit I am upset and mad at myself…I started this review two weeks ago. I was halfway done with it when I got interrupted, so I thought I’d finish it later. But this doesn’t work for me. I’m the type of person who has to write a review right when I am feeling it, and once I lose that flow, it’s gone. All of my spunk, all of my originality, and my whole train of thought. Add to that my bad mood I’ve had the last two weeks and here we are-I’m finally just writing the review to ‘get it over with’ and I lost my happiness while writing it-the whole reason I began writing it in the first place. Plus, I haven’t slept well for a week. SO UGH. I hate that this is the watered down review I was on the way to writing, but at least now I can post it and move on-next time I’m writing a review for an instant favorite, I will refuse to pause or just plain wait. Sometimes that same mood or perfect moment doesn’t come around again, so I have learned that lesson the hard way. I just wish it wasn’t for this particular book. But just know: this book is worth all the stars and I endorse it 100%. It’s amazing and I hope all my friends will love it. ♥

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