Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: May 16, 2017

When Daryn claimed she was seeing visions during her sophomore year of high school, no one believed the truth. She wasn t losing her mind, she was gaining the Sight the ability to see the future. If she just paid attention to the visions, they d provide her with clues and show her how she could help people. Really help them. Daryn embraced her role as a Seeker. The work she did was important. She saved lives.

Until Sebastian.

Sebastian was her first and worst mistake.

Since the moment she inadvertently sealed him in a dark dimension with Samrael the last surviving demon in the Kindred guilt has plagued her. Daryn knows Sebastian is alive and waiting for help. It s up to her to rescue him. But now that she needs the Sight more than ever to guide her, the visions have stopped.

Daryn must rely on her instincts, her intelligence, and on blind faith to lead the riders who are counting on her in search of Sebastian. As they delve into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems and where Samrael is steadily amassing power, Daryn faces the ultimate test. Will she have to become evil to destroy evil? The very fate of humankind rests in the answer.

Book Review: Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot


The story of a teen girl’s struggle with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and how love helps her on the road to recovery.

Sixteen-year-old Pea looks normal, but she has a secret: she has Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). It is like having a monster inside of her, one that not only dictates what she can eat, but also causes anxiety, depression, and thoughts that she doesn’t want to have. When she falls crazy-mad in love with Ben, she hides her disorder from him, pretending that she’s fine. At first, everything really does feel like it’s getting better with him around, so she stops taking her anxiety and depression medication. And that’s when the monster really takes over her life. Just as everything seems lost and hopeless, Pea finds in her family, and in Ben, the support and strength she needs to learn that her eating disorder doesn’t have to control her.

Release Date: February 28, 2017

A couple disclaimers before I get started. Jessica originally agreed to write an honest review of this book in exchange for an advanced copy. As someone in recovery for ED, she jumped on the chance to review a new book with positive representation, especially about a relatively unknown ED. However, before she received the book she read this anonymous review by another ED survivor. We talked about it and decided it might be too triggering for her to read it, so we had the book sent to me instead. Full disclosure, I do not have an eating disorder but I am familiar with Jess’s story and one of my best friends from high school almost died because of her struggle with her ED.

Okay, so I slept on it before writing this review and I’m still angry but I’ll try to keep the yelling out. First things first, I am not a fan of second person narration. While overall it was a quick read, it was irritating trying to get through it. Second, Pea spends this entire book putting down other girls, and even gets this idea reinforced from her boyfriend who says, “Maybe that’s what I expect girls to do, pick girlie colors, but you’re different,” and, later on, the quintessential quote, “You’re not like other girls.” Excuse me while I go scream for eternity that THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH OTHER GIRLS.

And that’s just what I thought was disappointing about this book. But Sad Perfect is more than just disappointing, it’s damaging on so many levels. When Pea first gets her diagnosis of ARFID she immediately starts one on one and group sessions of therapy. There’s not much focus on either of these things as part of her recovery. The things we do see of group therapy are her continued thoughts of otherness. She repeatedly mentions that her ED is different than the other girls (only girls, because obviously only white girls can have ED) and therefore somehow worse. This opinion does not change by the end of the book.

While she does continue therapy throughout the book, it seems that the only real help she gets is from her boyfriend whom she met in the very first chapter. She decides that he helps her so much that she stops taking her anti-depressants. So when they get into a fight, she starts self harming with a safety pin (way to glorify that by putting it on the cover of the book, btw). While self-harm can coexist with ED and other mental illnesses, her self-harm was literally a plot device to get her admitted to a hospital on suicide watch, where Elliot vilifies almost all hospital staff and makes gross stereotypes of the people that “need” to be there.

Pea’s stay in the hospital was her catalyst for wanting to get better and taking responsibility for her “monster.” She talks at length about how she created this monster and that really the monster is her and that her ED is her fault. She then goes on to say that she doesn’t deserve to be in the hospital when she has her family and Ben (who she has known for approximately 10 seconds) who love her. But these stereotypically low-income people need to be in the hospital because they don’t have anyone who loves them. There were multiple times that I wanted to throw this book, but during her whole hospital stay I had to physically restrain myself from actually doing so.

At the end of the book, we’re left with the message that Pea is still different from everyone else and that the power of a boy loving you will make you want to get better. I understand that Elliot’s daughter suffers from ARFID and she wanted to shed light on what her daughter and her family went through. However, it’s glaringly obvious that she has no knowledge whatsoever about any other ED and doesn’t care to.

For a better look at ED, check out Jessica’s review of Elena, Vanishing. And for more information about eating disorders and treatment visit the National Eating Disorder Association.

If I could give this zero bards, I would, but I guess I’ll settle for one.

Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

This book has been hyped, hyped, and hyped again by the publishing community and is heralded as the newest fantasy star in young adult literature.  With the genre being inundated with more and more fantasies, it is starting to get harder for authors to find a wholly unique storyline.

Dennard has created something beautiful.  She states in her acknowledgements at the end of the novel, she set out to show that “Friendships can be as epic as romances.”  I think that she did this well.  Sure there will be those readers that try to ship Iseult and Safiya together as a couple, but I honestly didn’t get that vibe from either character.  I love them as dedicated best friends who would do anything for one another.  C’mon, you know you all have that one friend who is your lifeline and who you would do anything for.  I just love how strong the friendship is between these two characters.

Now that I’ve harped on that for a bit, let me talk a little bit about the world and the plot.  I can say that I was extremely confused within the first chapter or two concerning the world that Truthwitch takes place in, but mostly because Dennard kind of drops you in the middle of the action rather than give a boring “this is this” type of beginning.  This type of start has its drawbacks (i.e. a bit of reader confusion), but I think that it works extremely well because it establishes the characters right off the bat and introduces one of the main antagonists immediately.  Get ready for a quick ride once you get past those first few chapters because Dennard does not allow this narrative to drag at all.  It went by quickly and now we have to wait a whole year for the next installment.

I will say that if you are looking for a book with traditional witches a la the Casters in Beautiful Creatures or something akin to Sabrina the Teenage Witch, then beware that these are nothing like those witches.  These characters have very specific magic, rather than the ability to manipulate all things or have the ability to cast any type of spell.  It’s possible that the characters’ ability will expand over the course of the subsequent installments, but we will have to wait and see!

4.5 Bards

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Blog Tour: The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

Today is Midsummer’s stop on the blog tour for The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore! Check out our information on the novel, the author, read an excerpt, and enter to win a copy from St. Martin’s!

theweightoffeathersThe Night Circus meets Romeo and Juliet in this stunning young adult novel about two teens who fall in love despite the almost impossible odds against them.

The Palomas and the Corbeaus have long been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation.

Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows-the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family’s show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she’s been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it’s a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace’s life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

About the Author: 

annamarieAnna-Marie McLemore was born in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains and grew up in a Mexican-American family. She attended University of Southern California on a Trustee Scholarship. A Lambda Literary Fellow, she has had work featured by the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, CRATE Literary Magazine’s cratelit, Camera Obscura’s Bridge the Gap Series, and The Portland Review. The Weight of Feathers is her first novel.

 

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Excerpt: 

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
Copyright © 2015 by the author and reprinted by permission of Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Griffin.

 

Giveaway: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Sway by Kat Spears

19286535High school senior Jesse Alderman, or Sway as he’s known, could sell hell to a bishop.  He also specializes in getting things people want—term papers, a date with the prom queen, fake IDs.  It’s all business with Jesse.  He has few close friends and he never lets emotions get in the way.

But when Ken, captain of the football team, leading candidate for homecoming king, and all around jerk, hires Jesse to help him win the heart of the angelic Bridget Smalley, Jesse finds himself feeling all sorts of things.  While following Bridget and learning the intimate details of her life, he falls helplessly in love for the very first time. He also finds himself in an accidental friendship with Bridget’s younger brother who’s belligerent and self-pitying after spending a lifetime dealing with cerebral palsy.  Suddenly Jesse is visiting old folks at a nursing home in order to run into Bridget, and offering his time to help the less fortunate, all the while developing a bond with this young man who idolizes him.  The tinman really does have a heart after all.

 

 

This is one of those books that teachers give to high school students and expect them to learn from it.  It is marketed as a modern day Cyrano De Bergerac with a twist and that description is dead on.  I normally hate books like this, but, wait for it, I loved this book.  Kat Spears does an incredible job writing the story of Jesse Alderman, that I immediately got sucked into the story.

I loved Jesse’s personality and his sense of humor.  He is the kind of guy in high school I would have crushed hard over, but never acted on it.  Jesse has seen some horrible stuff in his short life span and handle’s it the way most teenagers would, by going into complete denial.  And by trying to control everything around him, including his emotions.  They way that Kat Spears weaves his personality and life made me feel like I knew him, that we were best friends.  It was an awesome experience.

I think the best part of the book for me involved Jesse and Pete’s friendship.  Jesse doesn’t treat Pete differently because he has cerebral palsy, he doesn’t make up allowances for him or allow him to be an ass.  That was what Pete needed, for someone to treat him like a normal kid.  I also loved the stories Jesse made up to explain who Pete is and why he acts slightly off.  They were clever and funny and really added some levity to the plot.  I love that you can tell the mutual love and respect those two had for each other (the bromance if you will).

While the plot centers around the love story between Bridget and Jesse, there was so much other plot points and general things going on that the love story takes a back seat.  Don’t get me wrong, the romance is there and it is good, but it is just a small part of the book for me.  I loved reading about Jesse’s struggles to keep his emotions in tact, and the little things he does to help the underdog, and his interactions with Pete and the other misfits he runs with.  Those parts of the book make it a must read for me.  I have to take a 1/2 a point away for the adult content in the book, there was a lot of foul language and mentions of drugs and underage drinking.  Other than that the book was great.

4.5 Bards

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