Review: Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker 

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

29773957Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker 
Release date: May 9th, 2017
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Fiction, historical fiction, romance
Format: eBook

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“Reader, she married me.”

For one hundred seventy years, Edward Fairfax Rochester has stood as one of literature’s most romantic, most complex, and most mysterious heroes. Sometimes haughty, sometimes tender-professing his love for Jane Eyre in one breath and denying it in the next-Mr. Rochester has for generations mesmerized, beguiled, and, yes, baffled fans of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece. But his own story has never been told.

Now, out of Sarah Shoemaker’s rich and vibrant imagination, springs Edward: a vulnerable, brilliant, complicated man whom we first meet as a motherless, lonely little boy roaming the corridors and stable yards of Thornfield Hall. On the morning of Edward’s eighth birthday, his father issues a decree: He is to be sent away to get an education, exiled from Thornfield and all he ever loved. As the determined young Edward begins his journey across England, making friends and enemies along the way, a series of eccentric mentors teach him more than he might have wished about the ways of the men-and women-who will someday be his peers.

But much as he longs to be accepted-and to return to the home where he was born-his father has made clear that Thornfield is reserved for his older brother, Rowland, and that Edward’s inheritance lies instead on the warm, languid shores of faraway Jamaica. That island, however, holds secrets of its own, and not long after his arrival, Edward finds himself entangled in morally dubious business dealings and a passionate, whirlwind love affair with the town’s ravishing heiress, Antoinetta Bertha Mason.

Eventually, after a devastating betrayal, Edward must return to England with his increasingly unstable wife to take over as master of Thornfield. And it is there, on a twilight ride, that he meets the stubborn, plain, young governess who will teach him how to love again.

Jane Eyre has always been one of my favourite books. There’s a darkness to it that I find intriguing. I can’t help but be drawn to the gloomy English moors, the candle lit Thornfield Hall and the raw emotions of the characters. Jane’s resilience and intelligence has also always endeared her to me. I don’t think I have or will ever find another book such as this one. So, being a huge fan of Jane Eyre, I couldn’t wait to read Sarah Shoemaker’s novel Mr. Rochester. It provides readers with Edward Rochester’s backstory, basically what turned him into the jaded, grumpy and changeful character readers find at the start of Jane Eyre.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. I swept aside all of my fears and reservations about it because sometimes it’s really difficult to let go of something you hold so dear. But in the end, this book was not what I was expecting at all. It sadly ended up being a long, drawn-out examination of a life that didn’t reveal anything new.

My main issue with this book was how Mr. Rochester was portrayed. The character here is sentimental, bland…a nice guy who has some rotten luck. THIS ISN’T THE ROCHESTER I KNOW AND LOVE!!!!! In Jane Eyre, Rochester was never, ever bland. He was intense, dark and unknown. A complete mystery to the reader and after finishing this book, I think it would have been better if it was left that way. Sometimes you just shouldn’t mess with something that was already perfect on its own.

I also couldn’t identify with the characters and made no connection with the events that happened in the story. Everything felt distant, like the writing didn’t allow me to fully become consumed with the story. I was reading it, understanding it but in the end there really wasn’t anything that kept me holding on, wanting to turn the page. It felt long, like a lot of work. For me, reading shouldn’t be like that. It should be an escape or at least something that challenges your thoughts and beliefs. This book did neither and that disappointed me.

So, do I recommend this book? Hmmm…go read the classic first. If you did enjoy Jane Eyre then I would give this one a chance. You never know, you may actually find the pacing, descriptions and characterizations to your liking. That’s the things about reviews, everyone has a different opinion. If you have read Mr. Rochester I would really like to know your thoughts!

Mini Reviews: It Started with Goodbye & Complicating Factors

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

27830287It Started with Goodbye by Christina June
Release date: May 9th, 2017
Publisher: Blink/HarperCollins
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Format: eBook

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Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

This book was such a wonderful surprise! I was expecting a cute romanic story but it was so much more than that. Actually, the romance wasn’t the main focus at all, family and inner strength were. I think that’s what made me fall in love with it! Plus, it’s a modern version of Cinderella, a fairytale I absolutely love.

The book is about a girl (Tatum) who is falsely accused of committing a crime. This sends her life in a direction she wasn’t prepared for and strains her relationship with her family who claim that they can’t trust her anymore. So, when not completing her community service, she works on her covert graphic design business which she uses to raise money to pay off her fine.

I loved Tatum! She’s what I love seeing in female characters. Tatum’s strong, independent and willing to work hard. My heart went out to her from the very first chapter. She’s blamed for committing a crime her best friend was participated in! How she dealt with it was both realistic, honest, funny and at times heartbreaking. I particularly enjoyed how the incident changed her relationships with those around her. Like in Cinderella, she wasn’t close with her step-mother or step-sister. But how things developed added a nice twist to the traditional story and one that I smiled a lot at while reading.

I cannot recommend this enough! If you have enjoyed books by Kasie West or Jennifer E. Smith then this story is definitely for you!


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.33360347

Complicating Factors by Max Gladstone 
Release date: February 15th, 2017
Publisher: Serial Box Publishing
Genre: Fiction, fantasy
Format: eBook

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New assignments send the players down fresh paths as Josh looks for Prague’s organized crime scene while Tanya and Gabe seek out the new Flame bigwig. At Bar Vodnář, Jordan has a curious encounter.

Welcome to Prague, 1970: the epicenter in a Cold War of spies and sorcerers. The streets are a deadly chessboard on which the CIA and KGB make their moves, little dreaming that a deeper game is being played between the Consortium of Ice and the Acolytes of Flame, ancient factions of sorcery.

I have been a huge fan of this series since I stumbled upon it last year. And for good reason, it just keeps on getting better and better! Complicating Factors is the second story in the the “second season” of the The Witch Who Came in from the Cold series. It’s set in Prague during the Cold War but is focused on a secret battle between two magical factions called the Consortium of Ice and the Acolytes of Flame. Yes, it sounds a bit odd but it all works so perfectly together. History, magic, spy games…it’s all so, so good!

I can’t really say too much about the story because I would spoil everything! It’s so terribly hard to review stories that are in a series, especially one like Complicating Factors. What I will say is that the it’s non-stop action, full of intrigue and plot developments that have me wanting to read more and more. The three chapters featured in this short story just weren’t enough. Luckily for I have the next story already open on my Kindle waiting for me to devour it.

So, if you haven’t read this series yet, DO IT! Go, go, go! You won’t regret it. I promise! (Psst…it’s $1.94 on Amazon!)

Review: The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

I received this book for free from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

32890474The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember
Release date: May 4th, 2017
Publisher: Interlude Press
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Format: eBook

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Having long-wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, nineteen-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the mermen’s glacier. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from Loki. But such deals are never as one expects, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

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I’ve been a huge fan of Julia Ember’s ever since I read Unicorn Tracks last year. The story was a perfect blend of romance, mythical creatures and hard-hitting topics. The only problem? It was way, and I mean way, too short! So, I was out of my mind excited when The Seafarer’s Kiss kiss was announced. A full-length story featuring mermaids and Norse gods?!?! HELL YES!!

I went into this book with such high expectations. Now usually I end up being disappointed but not here. I fell in love with everything — the characters, the world, the beyond adorable belugas — while only a few pages into the story. It’s been promoted as a retelling of The Little Mermaid but don’t let that label fool you. Ember has created a fantastic fantasy world all of her own. And what’s even more impressive? It’s all done in around 230 pages! Her writing just flows. It’s action packed and non-stop, just how I like my books. I couldn’t stop reading and read through it quickly. I definitely see a re-read in the near future!

What really stood out to me were the characters. I’m all about books that are character driven and demonstrate great growth and progress and there’s tons of that here. All of the characters are deeply flawed and that’s what makes them so darn relatable. They all grow in some kind of way but what I appreciated the most was that by the end the characters still weren’t perfect. Nobody is and that’s alright. My favourite characters were Ragna (a kickass shield maiden out for revenge) and the trickster god Loki (they caused so much drama…LOVED THEM!). I do want to point out that this book is truly diverse and like with her previous work, Ember integrates it all so well into the story. It never feels forced or added to attack a particular audience. There are plenty of books like that but not this one! The book features a bisexual main character, female/female romance, an amputee and a gender-fluid character with they/them pronouns.

I can’t recommend this book enough! The way Ember writes left me on the edge of my seat. There are so many twists and turns, none of which I saw coming. I thought the book was going one way and boom! it went somewhere else completely. It’s a fascinating examination of how nothing is truly black or white, good or evil. Humans (or merfolk) make mistakes. Sometimes our choices are driven by greed or jealously but that doesn’t always mean that that person isn’t good. This book really drove home the message that everyone will make mistakes and sometimes you can’t fix them, but what you can do is learn and do better next time.

So…while I loved every bit of this book, I just wished that it was a tiny bit longer. Yup, it’s an issue I have with Ember’s books. The ending wrapped stuff up nicely but I could have used more scenes between Ersel and Ragna. Can I have sequel is please?


about

julia2-e1455421316346-300x300Julia Ember is a polyamorous, bisexual writer and native of Chicago who now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Seafarer’s Kiss is her second novel and was influenced by her postgraduate work in medieval literature at The University of St. Andrews. Her first novel, Unicorn Tracks, was published by Harmony Ink Press.

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Mini Reviews: Letters to the Lost & Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

30038855Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Release date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, romance
Format: eBook

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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.

I really liked the idea behind this book but the execution left a lot to be desired. Or perhaps I just went into it expecting more? My book slump didn’t help the matter. I read it because I needed to write a review for it. My NetGalley queue has been stressing me out. Whatever the reason, Letters to the Lost ended up being an alright book, but it wasn’t the standout I was hoping it would be.

A lot of my high hopes for it came from Goodreads. The dozens of 4 or 5 star reviews really excited me. But really it wasn’t very original or different from other books I’ve read before. It was actually quite predicable from the beginning…the main characters would figure out their real identities, fall in love and blah blah blah. The character themselves were not that likeable. They were more cliche than anything! I just didn’t care what happened to them. And I’ve said this a million times before, a book without characters I can connect to just doesn’t work for me. I NEED A CONNECTION!!! What saved the book for me was the writing style. I really enjoyed the way things were worded and flowed but without an interesting plot I really felt like the author’s talent was wasted.

Of course, this is just my opinion. It’s an opinion influenced by my struggles to get “into” a book and stay interested. At the time I requested it the story sounded perfect but I think at this time it really wasn’t. Sometimes that’s just how it is. *shrugs*


I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

34078564Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook
Release date: April 11th, 2017
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: Poetry
Format: eBook

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A poet, journalist, and activist, Alicia Cook offers a soundtrack of survival.

Structured like an old-school mix-tape, Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately is Alicia Cook’s lyric message to anyone who has dealt with addiction. “Side A” touches on all aspects of the human condition: life, death, love, trauma, and growth. “Side B” contains haunting black-out remixes of those poems.

Oh, this is a must read book of poetry! It was completely unique and spoke directly to many of my own thoughts and feelings. It was unlike any poetry book I’ve read before with the author’s original poems paired with songs and then “remixed” as blackout poems.

The collection touches on a variety of topics: grief, loss, identity, and love. There’s definitely something for everyone and even not, the author’s words just hold so much power that you can’t help but feel moved. I honestly felt like some poems were written just for me and that’s why I loved this book so much! It cracked my heart open and made it bleed with emotion. Beautiful, beautiful stuff!

I now want to purchase a physical copy of this book because there’s nothing better than being able to hold it to your heart. Plus, the blackout poetry was difficult to read at times. I enjoyed it even though I had to squint and zoom in, but I think my experience would have been better if that wasn’t the case. Then again, this was a PDF review copy so I can’t complain.

I can’t recommend this gorgeous collection enough! Poetry lover or not, this is a book that people from all walks of life would enjoy. I know for sure it’s one that I’ll come back to again and again.

Mini Reviews: True North & Death and Night

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I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

29939097True North by L.E. Sterling
Release date: April 4th, 2017
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Genre: Young adult, science fiction
Format: eBook

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Abandoned by her family in Plague-ridden Dominion City, eighteen-year-old Lucy Fox has no choice but to rely upon the kindness of the True Borns, a renegade group of genetically enhanced humans, to save her twin sister, Margot. But Nolan Storm, their mysterious leader, has his own agenda. When Storm backtracks on his promise to rescue Margot, Lucy takes her fate into her own hands and sets off for Russia with her True Born bodyguard and maybe-something-more, the lethal yet beautiful Jared Price. In Russia, there’s been whispered rumors of Plague Cure.

While Lucy fights her magnetic attraction to Jared, anxious that his loyalty to Storm will hurt her chances of finding her sister, they quickly discover that not all is as it appears…and discovering the secrets contained in the Fox sisters’ blood before they wind up dead is just the beginning?

As they say in Dominion, sometimes it’s not you…it’s your DNA.

True North is the second book in a series based in an apocalyptic world where much of the earth’s population has been killed off by a devastating plague. Society is divided into three distinct groups: the Lasters, the Splicers and the True Born. You definitely don’t want to be a Laster since you will for sure die of the plague, the Splicers have tons of money and use it to replace diseased DNA and the True Borns are immune to the plague and have evolved into what I can best describe as mutants.

The story picks up where the first book, True Born, left off. The main character Lucy is abandoned by her family and taken in by Nolan Storm and his group of militant True Borns. Storm has promised to help Lucy find her twin sister Margot, who she shares a special connection with. However, he isn’t as forthcoming as she would like and this sets her off on a dangerous journey to Russia.

I was a huge fan of the first book. It was non-stop and totally engrossing. I honestly hadn’t read anything like it! So, as you can imagine, I was very much looking forward to reading True North. I had so many questions that needed to be answered! The book was good but it lacked the special something that its predecessor had. I wasn’t as eager to turn the pages or engaged with Lucy’s struggle. Truth be told, the first quarter of the book featured very little action. There was a lot of time spent explaining key events from the first novel. I understand why authors need to do it but it was all a bit too much for my liking. I was starting to feel kind of put-off but thank goodness I held on because at around the 40% mark things really began to pick up!

As much as I loved Lucy is the first book, I have to say she was different in this one. Her character wasn’t as consistent, almost as if the author wasn’t sure what to do with her. She’s shallow and flighty one moment, then confident and empathetic the next. The characters that really shone were the True Borns. I’m glad we got to learn more about Jared and Storm, two characters who were prominent in True Born, but not really explored. I actually really wish we could have had chapters from their POVs. Now that would have really added some action!

So, while I did enjoy True North, it was ultimately unable to recapture what made its predecessor so amazing. The plot and storylines were drawn out and the characters uneven. This trilogy could perhaps have been made into a duology? I don’t know, but this book has left me with enough questions to want to read the series final.



33965619Death and Night by Roshani Chokshi 

Release date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, novella
Format: eBook

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He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Death and Night is a prequel to the gorgeous novel The Star-Touched Queen. If you haven’t read it yet then get on it! Seriously, the descriptions are beyond beautiful!

Anyway, this novella explores the relationship between Maya and Amar. One of my issues with them in The Star-Touched Queen was just how quickly they fell in love. It’s explained why in the novel but I won’t go into detail about it here. I don’t want to give anything away and spoil the book. It was just too insta-lovey-dovey for me, so thank goodness for this short story because it was PERFECT! I LOVED EVERY BIT OF IT!!! Maya and Amar are just so…so…I don’t even have the words to say how romantic and beautiful their love for each was. Oh, and their banter was spot on. I smiled and sighed A LOT. And it’s all in a novella! *jaw drop* I know right?!  It’s really a credit to just how talented Roshani Chokshi is.

I highly recommend this novella to those who have already read and enjoyed The Star-Touched Queen. It’s a wonderful prequel and has definitely made me move the companion novel, A Crown of Wishes, further up my TBR list.

 

ARC Review | Cold Summer by Gwen Cole

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

25092254Cold Summer by Gwen Cole
Release date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Young adult, historical fiction, science fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Edelweiss

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Today, he’s a high school dropout with no future.
Tomorrow, he’s a soldier in World War II.

Kale Jackson has spent years trying to control his time-traveling ability but hasn’t had much luck. One day he lives in 1945, fighting in the war as a sharpshooter and helplessly watching soldiers—friends—die. Then the next day, he’s back in the present, where WWII has bled into his modern life in the form of PTSD, straining his relationship with his father and the few friends he has left. Every day it becomes harder to hide his battle wounds, both physical and mental, from the past.

When the ex-girl-next-door, Harper, moves back to town, thoughts of what could be if only he had a normal life begin to haunt him. Harper reminds him of the person he was before the PTSD, which helps anchor him to the present. With practice, maybe Kale could remain in the present permanently and never step foot on a battlefield again. Maybe he can have the normal life he craves.

But then Harper finds Kale’s name in a historical article—and he’s listed as a casualty of the war. Kale knows now that he must learn to control his time-traveling ability to save himself and his chance at a life with Harper. Otherwise, he’ll be killed in a time where he doesn’t belong by a bullet that was never meant for him.

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“I don’t want to go, but I also don’t want to stay. Two worlds I don’t want to be a part of. Two worlds I don’t belong in. And the worst part is I don’t have a choice. I stand and take a step off the porch, my foot landing on snow instead of grass. Everything changing in an instant. I don’t have to open my eyes to know I’m here.”

As soon as I stumbled upon this book on Goodreads I knew that I NEEDED to read it! So, I added it to my TBR and low and behold it was on Edelweiss. Now, Edelweiss and I aren’t really good friends. I never get approved for anything on the site but the book gods were working in my favour! I quickly downloaded Cold Summer and started it a few minutes later. It was AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL and HEARTBREAKING and ROMANTIC all at the same time. The book was everything I wanted and more! It’s just…so difficult to describe how much I enjoyed reading it.

The book is told through two alternating points of view, which I liked because it really allowed me to get to know the characters and fall madly in love with both of them. The story revolves around Kale who can travel in time to the past. Now, normally I would be super jealous. I studied history in university and am absolutely fascinated by World War II (my main area of study), however, Kale’s journey to the past is completely devastating. He cannot control where and when he travels. One minute he’s trying to keep his life together in the present and then poof…he’s traveled back in time. He’s essentially struggling to live the life of a normal teenager in the present and trying to stay alive as a soldier in the past. Unlike other stories that I have read about time travel, Cold Summer doesn’t romanticize it. It dives into the impact it has on the person’s emotional, mental and physical state. My heart ached for Kale. The scenes set during the winter of 1944-45 were heartbreaking — the blood, the loss of life and the tough choices that had to made to survive.

The story’s other main character, Harper, was very likeable. She’s a gammer, kind of shy and fearful of opening up, all characteristics that I could identify with. Harper was such an essential part of the story as her POV offered another layer to the impact time travel has on those around Kale. Yes, he’s the one who is doing the actual traveling but those left behind are also emotionally scarred. Harper does her best to support him but she can’t help being frightened and anxious about his safety. He leaves and her life is basically put on hold, halted with worry and fear.

This book was so addictive. I read through it incredibly fast! I was totally swept up in the story and with short chapters, I just kept on reading and reading. I also found myself fangirling over all of the Doctor Who and Firefly references made throughout the book. My little nerd heart loved it! My only tiny nitpick would be how the end dragged out a bit longer than needed. For being a fast paced novel, the final three or four chapters slowed everything down to a crawl. It could have been wrapped up earlier without losing any of the emotional impact.

Cold Summer is a book that you NEED to read!! It’s not just for fans of history, romance or time travel. It has a little bit of everything but is so much more. It’s been days since I read it and I’m still thinking about it. *sigh*


about

1080169Gwen Cole writes Young Adult books and her debut novel, COLD SUMMER, will be released in the spring of 2017 with Sky Pony Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing.

She grew up in upstate New York, moved to Virginia where she did not graduate college, and worked a various number of jobs including pharmacy technician, meat clerk, ranch hand, and a receiving specialist at Target. She may or may not have written a number of books while working at certain jobs.

At the age of eighteen, Gwen played bass in a hardcore band and later married the lead guitarist. She can also play piano, guitar, and wishes she could play the cello. Her favorite place to vacation is Wyoming, where she gets to wear a cowboy hat and pretend she actually is one.

Gwen now lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, daughter, and very large dog, where she longs to live in the country again.

Website | Twitter | GoodreadsFacebook

ARC Review | Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

31447601Noteworthy by Riley Redgate
Release date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Format: eBook

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It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

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I loved this book so, so much! If I didn’t have a huge pile of ARCs waiting for me I would seriously read it again and again. It was so much more than I thought it would. Just looking at the cover and reading the synopsis gave me the impression that it would be a light, laugh out loud kind of story. Like, common, it’s about a cappella, something I automatically associate with Glee, cheesy dance moves and sappy love songs. Instead, Noteworthy offered a very honest glimpse into the struggles of coming of age, gender, sexuality, and disability. I did laugh (because there are a lot of funny moments), but I also teared up and found myself nodding or shaking my head a lot. This is totally a must read!

Reasons Why I Loved It:

  • It features a Chinese American MC written by a Chinese American author. So it’s an #ownvoices book, which we need more and more of.
  • The MC is also bisexual, although I wish the author would have gone into more detail. It wasn’t the focus on the book.
  • It has a diverse cast of characters! The MCs father is a parapledgic and members of the a cappella include a boy with a learning disability and a Sikh who is also gay.
  • The boys in this book have well developed and emotionally healthy relationships with one another. It isn’t all hormones and back slapping. This was pretty refreshing.
  • There are some very funny moments! Sarcasm for the win!
  • It honestly talks about menstruation. For example, in one scene the MC’s period starts unexpectedly and she’s forced to make a pad out of toilet paper. She’s then worried about it leaking through. Oh, and the parts detailing period cramps…yeah I could totally identify with it. THANK YOU!! Why do so many books avoid talking about this?
  • There was a slow burning romance that didn’t take away from character development or social commentary. I LOVED THIS! It was wonderful to see the MC move on from a previous relationship that had a hold on every aspect of her life to moving on and realizing what she wanted. And her love interest was just so accepting and encouraging. AHHHH yes!
  • A book about crossing dressing is super tricky because how far do you go when there are trans people who have to deal with so much prejudice each day? I thought the book handled this balance really well. There was one scene where the MC was researching how to bind her breasts and she realizes that she was taking tips from a website that helped trans people. This made her feel guilty and I appreciated her commentary about the struggles trans people go through on a daily basis.

Noteworthy is adorable, important and a book that you NEED to pick up as soon as it’s released. Pre-order it, request it from your library, whatever! YOU NEED TO READ IT.

* Also, for fun, the author has posted her recordings of three songs featured in the book. She has a fantastic voice!


about
14053196Riley Redgate speaks exclusively in third person, so this works nicely. She loves horror films, apocalyptic thunderstorms, and the Atonement soundtrack. When writing author bios, she feels as if she is crafting some weirdly formal Tinder profile.

She plans someday to start a melodramatically epic rock band named Millennial Filth. Until then, she writes acoustic singer-songwriter stuff, also novels.

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