Book Review–Ruthless (Pretty Little Liars #10) by Sara Shepard

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This is the 68th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Ruthless (Pretty Little Liars #10) by Sara Shepard
December 6th 2011 by HarperTeen

 

Sometimes bad things happen to bad girls. . . .

Aria’s love life is on the Fitz—ahem, fritz. Emily’s exploring her wild side. Hanna’s kissing the enemy. And someone from Spencer’s past—someone she never thought she’d see again—is back to haunt her. But none of that compares to what these pretty little liars did on their last spring break. It’s their darkest secret yet. And guess who else knows?

I haven’t forgotten, and I certainly haven’t forgiven. These pretty little liars better watch their backs because they’re about to get exactly what they deserve. . . .


 

——

 ***WARNING: This review may contain slight spoilers from the previous books. You’ve been warned. ***

Although I now believe the series would have ended better after Wanted, I enjoyed the last book quite well. This one, not so much. This is probably my least liked book out of the series.

It felt dragged out, the way the plots were woven were a bit confusing at times, and I really couldn’t stand Spencer and what she’d done. Sorry, I felt bad for Kelsey.

This book just seemed pointless. It also took another character that I previously liked, Ezra Fitch, and made him into a complete douche–he didn’t even really act like himself. There better be some explanation for THAT.

I didn’t hate it, but I kind of had to force myself to keep reading. My hopes for the next few books aren’t too high, but I want to finish the series since I’ve come this far. I sincerely hope that the next book is better.

 

 

2stars

 

 

jncname

Book Review–Me, Him, Them, & It by Caela Carter

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This is the 67th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Me, Him, Them, & It by Caela Carter
Published February 26th 2013 by Bloomsbury

 

ME is Evelyn Jones, 16, a valedictorian hopeful who’s been playing bad girl to piss off THEM, her cold, distant parents. HIM is Todd, Evelyn’s secret un-boyfriend, who she thought she was just using for sex – until she accidentally fell in love with him. But before Evelyn gets a chance to tell Todd how she feels, something much more important comes up. IT. IT is a fetus. Evelyn is pregnant – and when Todd turns his back on her, Evelyn has no idea who to turn to. Can a cheating father, a stiff, cold mother, a pissed-off BFF, and a (thankfully!) loving aunt with adopted girls of her own help Evelyn make the heart-wrenching decisions that follow?

 

——

 

At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book at all. Evie, the main character, was hard to relate to, though I found the overall story intriguing. However, as I read on, I grew to actually like and be able to relate to Evie. I loved her relationship with Mary, the woman at Planned Parenthood, as well as that with her aunts and little cousins. I felt bad for her situation with her parents and her pregnancy. I was ready to support any decision she wanted to make.

I felt this book explored teen pregnancy and the hard decisions that must be made very realistically. It was nice to see a realistic and non-biased look at all of the options. I also like how religion even played a small role.

This book really played with my emotions. My heart about broke for Evie toward the end. While I don’t believe she researched her option as well as she should have, I also know that young women like Evie make rash decisions and end up feeling much like she did toward the end.

If you want a realistic teen pregnancy book that doesn’t demonize any options (abortion, adoption, or keeping it) that also might play with your heartstrings, this book is definitely for you.

 

 

 

4halfstars

 

jncname

Book Review–Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin

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This is the 66th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin
Published August 15th 2014 by HarperCollins

 

In this compelling and compulsively readable memoir, nineteen-year-old Paige Rawl tells the story of how she was mercilessly bullied in middle school…and how she overcame the ordeal to change her world for the better.

In this astonishing memoir, Paige tells a story that is both deeply personal and completely universal—one that will resonate deeply with the thousands of children and adults whose lives have been touched by bullying.

Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth…but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. It never prevented her from entering beauty pageants or playing soccer or making the honor role.

On an unremarkable day in middle school, while attempting to console a friend, Paige disclosed her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. She was called “PAIDS,” first in whispers, then out in the open. Her soccer coach joked that she was an asset because opposing team members would be too afraid to touch her. Her guidance counselor told her to stop all the “drama,” and her principal said she couldn’t protect her. One night, desperate for escape, Paige swallowed fifteen sleeping pills—one for each year of her life to date. That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning.

The gripping first-person account of Paige’s life will pull in even the most reluctant readers of nonfiction, and her call to action to choose compassion over cruelty will stay with them long after they turn the last page.

 

 

——

I won a copy of this book from the Goodreads First Reads Giveaway program. Many thanks to the publisher/author for giving me the chance to read and review this book from the Goodreads First Reads program.

Memoirs aren’t usually my favorite kind of books, but this book has definitely made that list. I guess I just didn’t expect this book to make such an impact on me. I can’t remember the last time that I cried so much while reading a book, either.

I knew very little about HIV, or even AIDS, before reading this memoir. My heart broke when Paige’s parents discovered that they were HIV positive–along with little Paige. If that wasn’t bad enough, Paige’s best friend decides to tell the entire school about her, which results in years of bullying. Then it gets worse–the school blames Paige for her own bullying. It was incredibly mortifying.

I’m no stranger to schools with this type of behavior–my family has experienced similar instances–but this school’s reaction just took the cake. I sincerely hope that things have improved at that school and that the administration who ignored the bullying were fired.

Despite the bullying, health problems, and inner turmoil, Paige found a way to turn all that negativity into something good. She is truly an inspiration not only for fellow HIV positive people, but all children who have been bullied for who they are.

Thank you, Paige, for sharing your story. I wish you all the success in your future endeavors and activism. I highly recommend this one. I hope one day that all schools will have a no bullying policy and that kids like Paige will never feel alone.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for this review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

 

 

5stars

 

 

jncname

Book Review–Gathering Blue (The Giver Quartet #2) by Lois Lowry

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This is the 65th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Gathering Blue (The Giver Quartet #2) by Lois Lowry
Published January 1st 2000 by Laurel-Leaf Books

 

In her strongest work to date, Lois Lowry once again creates a mysterious but plausible future world. It is a society ruled by savagery and deceit that shuns and discards the weak. Left orphaned and physically flawed, young Kira faces a frightening, uncertain future. Blessed with an almost magical talent that keeps her alive, she struggles with ever broadening responsibilities in her quest for truth, discovering things that will change her life forever.

As she did in The Giver, Lowry challenges readers to imagine what our world could become, and what will be considered valuable. Every reader will be taken by Kira’s plight and will long ponder her haunting world and the hope for the future.

 

——

Gathering Blue is a companion novel to The Giver.

While the world and characters in this book are greatly different from the ones in The Giver, the themes concerning control and choices were similar. I loved the main character, Kira. I have always been fascinated by the art of fabric dyeing. I also enjoyed her funny friend, Matt.

I was a little disappointed that Jonas and Gabe from The Giver aren’t in this one, but I hear they’re in the next. I liked the “twist” at the end. The characters were well defined, the world fascinating, and the plot interesting.

 

 

5stars

 

 

jncname

Book Review–The Giver by Lois Lowry (The Giver Quartet #1)

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This is the 64th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The Giver by Lois Lowry (The Giver Quartet #1)
Published 1993 by Laurel-Leaf Books

 

Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.

 

——

When I first read this (sixth grade), I hated it. When I read it on my own, I fell in love with it.

I re-read this recently due to the movie being released. Even though the book’s target audience is more geared for middle grade, I believe readers of all ages can enjoy this story. I still love this story. It’s one of those books that have great characters and make you think.

The only thing I don’t like about this book is that it goes by so fast and that there isn’t much detail on how the world Jonas knows got to be that way–something that really interested me. However, I know there are three other books in the series so perhaps some answers will be in them.

This is a book that I can probably read in a few years again and still love–a classic. The world is interesting and scary, the characters are well-defined and make you care about them (particularly Jonas, the Giver, and Gabe for me), and has situations that make you think.

The scene with Jonas’ father and the twins always gets me every time. A truly horrifying scene.

Definitely recommended for all.

 

5stars

 

 

jncname

What I’m Working On: November 2014 Update #3: NaNoWriMo 2014

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Hey guys, NaNoWriMo has been going for two weeks now. I’ve just gone past the 20K mark so that’s always good. I also plan to write a lot this weekend since I will be surrounded by nature and no internet! I am loving my two main characters and their relationship right now. I kind of just want to gush about it, but I won’t. ;-)

 

So are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what are you writing? Also, if you want daily updates, make sure to follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter. There are buttons at the top of the main banner and off to the right for you to find and join me.

 

Best of luck, everyone!

 

 

jncname

Book Review–Twisted (Pretty Little Liars #9) by Sara Shepard

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This is the 63rd book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Twisted (Pretty Little Liars #9) by Sara Shepard
Published July 5th 2011 by HarperTeen

 

It’s been a year since the torturous notes from A stopped and the mystery of Alison DiLaurentis’s disappearance was finally put to rest. Now seniors in high school, Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily are older, but they’re not any wiser. The pretty little liars have more secrets than ever – twisted secrets that could destroy the perfect lives they’ve worked so hard to rebuild.

Aria’s jealous of her boyfriend’s new exchange student. Spencer’s getting a little too cozy with her soon-to-be-stepbrother. Hanna’s one scandalous photo away from ruining her dad’s Senate campaign. And Emily will do anything to get a swim scholarship.

Worst of all: Last spring break in Jamaica, they did something unforgivable. The girls are desperate to forget that fateful night, but they should know better than anyone that all secrets wash ashore… eventually.


——

I haven’t read any PLL books since probably last year so I worried that I would be really confused when I picked this up at the local library. And although I was somewhat confused at first (so much has happened in the last books that to be honest it all kind of runs together, along with parts from the TV show), it didn’t take me long after reading to get back on track with the general storyline.

The situations in this one made me feel really anxious for all of the girls. New characters were introduced, some surprising me more than others. I really just wanted to give all the girls a hug. The whole A storyline is a little unbelievable at this point, but it’s such a fun plot that it’s still enjoyable.

I am still reeling from what Emily went through after Jamaica, though, and wished more would have been said about that.

Can’t wait to see what happens with the girls next!

 

 

4halfstars

 

jncname

Book Review–Crossing the Line (Border Town #1) by Malin Alegria

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This is the 62nd book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

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Crossing the Line (Border Town #1) by Malin Alegria
Published May 1st 2012 by Scholastic, Inc.

 In Dos Rios, Texas, life is all about borders — and what happens when you cross the line.

Nothing is simple in a border town like Dos Rios, in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Even for high school students Fabiola Garza and her younger sister Alexis, whose parents run a local Tex-Mex restaurant, Dos Rios is full of borders — where you should go, who your friends should be, which boy you should date.

Dos Rios is also full of opportunities, but it’s a town divided, between the haves and the have-nots, the Whites and the Mexicans-Americans, the Texans and the Mexicans, the legal and illegal. But through it all, the Garza sisters have each other. Water can be crossed, but blood is the ultimate borderline — no matter what.


——

 

Fast read but the overall plot and characters didn’t hold my interest as well as I’d hoped. This would have been better if there had been more character development. There are three more books in the series, but this one didn’t perk my interest enough to make me want to read on. It was just really “okay” and had potential to be more.

 

2stars

 

 

jncname

What I’m Working On: November 2014 Update #2: NaNoWriMo 2014

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Hey guys, NaNoWriMo has been going strong for a week now. I’m almost at 15K. I had two days in which I didn’t get anything written at all, but I still feel like I’m on track. Had a little trouble once I got the first few chapters done, but now I’m at the part in the story where I’m excited to see what happens next so I think I’ll be good for a while. Having a fun time writing the story though I can already tell it’s going to need some edits.

 

So are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what are you writing? Also, if you want daily updates, make sure to follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter. There are buttons at the top of the main banner and off to the right for you to find and join me.

 

Best of luck, everyone!

 

 

jncname

Book Review–The Secret (Animorphs #9) by Katherine Applegate

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This is the 61st book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

 

 

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

Picture Source: Goodreads.com

The Secret (Animorphs #9) by Katherine Applegate
Published June 1st 1997 by Scholastic

 

There’s something pretty weird going on in the woods behind Cassie’s house. The place where Ax and Tobias call home. It seems the Yeerks have figured out one very important thing: Andalites cannot survive without a feeding ground. Visser Three knows the “Andalite bandits” don’t feed where he does, so there can only be one other place.

Now Cassie, Marco, Jake, Rachel, Tobias, and Ax have to figure out a way to stop a bogus logging camp. Because if Visser Three finds Ax in the woods, nothing will stop him from finding the Animorphs…


——

 

The plot continues to thicken in this series, and with it, the characters are also beginning to develop since we first met them in the first book. In this one, Cassie is the narrator once again.

While I didn’t find the Yeerk plot all that interesting, I loved the skunk subplot, as well as the dilemma concerning nature and life that Cassie struggles with after having to kill an animal to survive.

The last chapter ended on a humorous note, though I have mixed feelings concerning whether or not I like it. As far as the book goes, it was a fun and fast read.

 

 

3halfstars

 

jncname

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