Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Environmentally Friendly by Elias Zanbaka book thoughts


Title: Environmentally Friendly
Series: N/A
Author: Elias Zanbaka
Published Date: March 5th, 2016
Publisher: E.Z. Entertainment
Source: From Author
# of Pages: 19
Format: Ebook
Genre: Short story/Thriller
Days to Read: 1
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Would I recommend it?: Yes
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/Instagram/Twitter

Goodreads Synopsis

Out of seven billion people, one man has declared war on Mother Nature and plans to bring it to its knees.

Out of all the criminals in Los Angeles, he's the number one target being hunted by the LAPD tonight.

And out of the entire LAPD, one officer is hell-bent on helping him complete his mission.

My Thoughts

This is a very short story. I read it in about an hour, maybe less. One man, a veteran, from what I gather, has been through hell. Specifically Mother Nature has killed and injured a lot of people. He is intent on taking down mother nature, and a police officer who is willing to risk his life to see the standoff between the vet and mother nature end. Whose side is the police officer really on though? Also the veteran very obviously has PTSD. I found the story a bit unbelievable at times but I didn't find it hard to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the short action-packed story!

It's a short thrilling ride! Because it's short I don't really want to say too much or i'll spoil the whole thing. I will say it did make me think. I feel like there is a message in the story but i'm not entirely sure which message it was trying to send. I might have liked it a bit longer however maybe that's the point. Not to make you think a particular thing just to make you think in general and form your own opinion.

It's a short and thrilling story in a bite size chunk, leaving me looking for more from this author.

I was offered a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review, though I saw it is currently free on Amazon and downloaded a copy there so i'd have it handy just in case. :)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee book thoughts


Title: Star-Crossed
Series: No
Author: Barbara Dee
Published Date: March 14th, 2017
Publisher: Aladdin
Source: I bought it
# of Pages: 277
Format: Physical
Genre: Middle Grade/Contemporary/Queer
Days to Read: 3
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Would I recommend it?: Maybe
Would I read more books by this Author?: Maybe
My Social Media: Goodreads/Instagram/Twitter

Goodreads Synopsis

Mattie is chosen to play Romeo opposite her crush in the eighth grade production of Shakespeare’s most beloved play in this Romeo and Juliet inspired novel from the author of Truth or Dare.

Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British.

As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy named Elijah. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama! In this sweet and funny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to be the lead player in her own life.

My Thoughts

This is a cute light read about a middle school girl, 8th grade, getting a crush on a girl. She has had a crush on a boy before. It's made clear she still could like another boy, but right now her crush just happens to be a girl and she's trying to come to terms with that. For the most part it's a good book. It's sort of a retelling of Romeo and Juliet but there is no tragedy. No one dies. It's a middle grade book to show that being inclusive of all sexualities is a good and necessary thing, in a light fun read.

Let's get what I didn't like so much out of the way first. I am bisexual, I heard it's a book about a bisexual girl figuring out she is bisexual in 8th grade...exactly the time I did. Yes I knew I am bisexual in middle school and i'm 28 now...i'm still bisexual. I thought this could've been a book I could've really needed/used back when I was that age. I really wanted to love this book and I really tried.

Bisexual or even just Bi is never used, not once, to the point that it's awkwardly omitted. Here is one passage from the book "And if it did-not that I was saying it was a crush, just saying IF-would it mean that you were gay, or a lesbian, or whatever word you were supposed to call it, if you liked only one particular girl?" It's her first crush on a girl (and she does later admit it's a crush, she really likes her and it's written in an obvious and cute way). And later when one of her friends finally learns about her crush she says "Mattie, at theater camp I knew a bunch of kids who are gay. Like my good friend Henry, for example! You think I'm incapable of respecting privacy?" Just instances like that, especially the first one, that had me rather annoyed. It would have been so easy, a few times, to add "bi" in there (and would have actually made it less words for that matter, rather than tip toeing around the word as it were).

I know this wasn't the point of the book, that it ment to be inclusive and for middle schoolers (need I say again I knew in middle school that I am bisexual and could've really used a book back then to show me it was ok, not evil or wrong and that I didn't need to pick a side like I was constantly told?) but I felt like it was saying "it's ok to be gay, but not bisexual" again I know it wasn't trying to say that at all, but with the awkward wording at times to avoid saying the word bi I couldn't help but feel that way. I can see now it didn't mean to say that but I doubt 13 year old me, the age this book is aimed at, would have seen that. I would've just saw "Gay is ok, not bi, we don't say bi, PICK A SIDE!" I worry I would've missed that that wasn't the point due to the tip toeing on eggshells to avoid saying the word that, to me, made it sound awkward at times. Gay and lesbian were said multiple times...not a single time was bi said. So gay and lesbian are ok to say to middle schoolers but don't dare say Bi? WHY? Why does it seem authors are so scared of the word bi? I can not wrap my head around it. And I worry how 13 year old me would have re-acted to this book.

On a brighter note I enjoyed the characters and the story-line for the most part. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments. The characters are nice and believable middle schoolers. Annoying at times exactly like a real 8th grader would be, but good kids. I don't know of any middle schoolers that actually like Shakespeare or crocheting but that could just be me, everyone is different.

The crush was very cute, and the feelings were well described and relate-able. It was a rather accepting book, which is a good thing as I have heard people say "It's unrealistic to have people be so accepting of LGBT+ people in a book! It isn't right!" well for one there are plenty of accepting people out there, but yes there are jerks too. However, personally, I think stories like this that show acceptance are important too. LGBT+ people and relationships need to be normalized, and books like this can help that.

I thought the ending was a bit vague but again, that could just be me.

The parents are there and believable as well. The way Mattie feels about her parents also felt real. They are good parent relationships and Mattie does get annoyed with them just like teens do. I remember those feels.

There are plenty of good messages through-out the book. Friendships, acceptance, being yourself, the problematic aspects of Romeo and Juliet get called out by the kids, etc. There are many reasons to love this book.

From all the laughter, good feels, cute F/F crush, and nice messages I couldn't give this book a bad rating, but from being let down so much (personally) I couldn't exactly give it a high rating either. So I went with 3 stars. Maybe i'm over-reacting. Maybe it's just me. I have no idea, these are nothing more than my own thoughts and feelings. I do still believe this book is a step in the right direction. A book like this never would have been published (that I know of or at least not become well known) back 15 years ago. I hope this book does help some kid out there or to help some kids learn acceptance of people different than them.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Mean Little People by Paige Dearth book thoughts


Title: Mean Little People
Series: No
Author: Paige Dearth
Published Date: April 9th, 2017
Publisher: Fiction with Meaning, LLC
Source: Netgalley
# of Pages: 466
Format: Ebook
Genre: Realistic Horror/Child Abuse/Neglect/Bullying
Days to Read: 5
Rating: 5 stars
Would I recommend it?: Yes
Would I read more books by this Author?: Yes
My Social Media: Goodreads/Instagram/Twitter

Goodreads Synopsis

Seven year old Tony has one choice...to live or to die.

Tony Bruno just wants to fit in, but the bullies at his school are cruel and relentless. At home, he leans on his mother Teresa for strength and comfort, but she’s no match for his father, Carmen. His father, a fighter and bully himself, hates Tony. He is embarrassed by the child for not fighting back and wishes that Tony was never born.

Then as a teen, in one act of blind courage, Tony fights back shifting the balance of power with his peers. Even after Tony sets things straight with the neighborhood boys, his father continues to terrorize him.

At school, Tony is now respected by his classmates. One day he stands up for a bullied kid named, Salvatore, and the boys become friends. One night, Salvatore commits a horrific crime and Tony suffers the consequences of his friends’ actions. Tony’s punishment changes the course of his life.

All alone and nowhere to call home, Tony sets out to find the life he longs for, one filled with love and acceptance. But nothing comes easily for him, and he is forced to draw upon strength from deep within to survive.

From the dark world he lives in, Tony does unimaginable things to leave his unwanted life behind.

Mean Little People is a haunting story of one bullied child deprived of love and taunted by corrupt individuals along his journey. Tony’s story will make you question the balance between good and evil.

My Thoughts

I wanted to run away, screaming in terror from this story so many times while reading it. It is the most difficult book to get through as well as review I have ever read. Nothing could have prepared me for this story and the horrors that awaited me within it. I can't even write this review without crying.

Tony was bullied at school as well as at home by his father. At just 13 years old he paid the price for a crime he didn't commit. He went to juvenile detention, where the adults are supposed to protect and help the kids there to do better, but instead that often isn't the case at all. Adults who should know better can be the biggest monsters of all. His father threw him out on the streets at 13 and his life just keeps getting worse from there. Are there some happy moments? Sure, but don't get used to them. When you think it couldn't possibly get worse, it does. When you think it couldn't get more heart-breaking, it will.

This story is horrific...but it's entirely realistic, which just adds to the horror. Real people live with these horrors. Real people go through this crap. It's a world gone wrong. A little love and caring could have gone a long way. It's about a boy abused and neglected at every turn, just trying to survive and in order to just survive he ends up having to do horrible things. This book takes you on his journey, through all the crap life throws at him, through all his feelings and thoughts. It made me feel so much for him, to cry so many ugly tears. And even typing this they keep coming...it's been nearly a day since I finished the story before writing this up, and I can't stop crying or thinking about it. I know this story will stay with me, and I will never look at anyone the same way again. You never know what they've been through to get to where they are today.

I get why this book is written the way it is, to tear your heart to shreds. It contains a very important message on bullying and where it can lead. How it CAN stop, these horrors don't need to happen. But it won't stop unless we look these stories in the eyes and take them in. Stories like this need to be told and listened to, no matter how hard it is. Because of how hard it is. If it's this hard to read it, imagine the kids living it.

Stuff that you might worry about while reading does get challenged and tackled in the book. It tackles so many things. And stuff is obviously ment to cause horror, to not be agreed with. I can see why it was written that way, if it wasn't the impact and meaning might be lost.

Tony gets PTSD from stuff he goes through, anyone that lives the life he did would. His nightmares, the way it affects daily life things, the feelings and shame he has from it all are talked about. As someone with PTSD I related so much. I related to several things in this story actually as well seeing stuff in it that i've seen in real life. I loved the way it handled Tony's PTSD. It talked about how it affected him. Kate, who if you read you will meet in the story, helps him through it. Nothing may ever be perfect but it talks about ways to help those with PTSD in a realistic way.

Themes include everything from bullying, abuse, rape (and when do you ever see a boy getting raped talked about or cared about? In fiction or real life, it's something that needs to be mentioned), love, kindness, sexism, toxic masculinity. To not be so quick to judge others, you never know their life story. The balance between good and evil. How a little kindness and love can mean a lot and even make a world of difference.

The author has been a victim of abuse herself, and hopes that awareness through fiction can help create prevention. (Taken from her Goodreads profile, hope that's ok, please check it out Here).

There is so much more I want to say but don't know how to say it or don't want to spoil the story. It's something you just have to experience for yourself. Read it when you are in a good headspace and keep the tissues close.

TW: Bullying, Abuse, Neglect, Violence, Rape, Murder, Depression, PTSD, homophobia, fatphobia, fire

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June Book Haul #2

Physical Books

Ok, I need to work on my picture taking skills. Anyway I got A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers and The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater.







Kindle Books

All of these were FREE (except one, which was on sale). Goodreads links below. Also they are the covers that I have, except for one, which I have no cover, because netgalley, so I took the goodreads cover picture. But yeah, I have too many Ebooks....Also one is not even on Goodreads because I learned of it through a goodreads group by the author and it was on instafreebie and it does not exist as of my typing this, to my knowledge, on Goodreads.

Ayumi's Violin by Mariko Tatsumoto

The Haunting Season by Michelle Muto

The one that was on sale for $1.50, which Goodreads kindly emailed me to tell me as it was/is on my want to read shelf

Rocky Mountain Haven and Rocky Mountain Heat by Vivian Arend

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

The Last Man by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Mathilda by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

dEaDINBURGH: Vantage by Mark Wilson

Muse by Kylie Quillinan

The Big Book of Serial Killers: 150 Serial Killer Files of the World's Worst Murderers (An Encyclopedia of Serial Killers) by Jack Rosewood and Rebecca Lo

Cage of Deceit: Reign of Secrets by Jennifer Anne Davis

Vampire Encounter by Alix Adale is the one from Instafreebie that isn't on Goodreads

Mime by J.D. Brink

Twisted: The Girl Who Uncovered Rumpelstiltskin's Name by Bonnie M. Hennessy

Beyond: Volume One by Kit Rocha

I already had the first one, also free if I remember right, but I haven't read it yet...and then the fist 3 became free...and I mean, if I end up liking it, then yay. I've heard good things. So I deleted the single book because I don't need 2 and now I have this.

Dark Designs by Kyla Ross

9Tales Told in the Dark #21 by Many Authors

Zombie Farm by M.L. Crisp

The Hell Season by Ray Wallace

Vacated by Blaze Eastwood

Dream's Dark Flight: The Dimension War by Robert Chazz Chute

Beasts of Imagination by E.A. Bowen

Vampire Tale: paranormal romance by P. L Kurup

Hearts of Glory by A.J. Gallant

Why yes, this is the 3rd book in a series, and no, I do not have the first 2...it sounded so good I couldn't help myself. Now I need to buy the first 2..don't judge me :p

Deadman's Tome: Best of the Demonic by Saul Lemereond

Dracula's Lost Treasure Map D1 by V Bertolaccini

Vampire's Mate by Rebecca Abbott

Cursed by the Gods by Raye Wagner

Urban Fairytales - 1, 2 & 3 Starter Bundle by Erik Schubach

Insatiable by Daniele Lanzarotta

The Ruin of Beltany Ring: A Collection of Pagan Poems and Tales by C.S. MacCath

Temple in the Stars: Part 1 by Justin Wallace

The Hare, Raising Truth by Laurel McHargue

Wild Jack by Simon J. Townley

Nocturnal by Tim w Byrd

The Toymaker's Mansion by Scott Hamerton

Bits of Bone by Daniel Volpe

Nightfall Gardens by Allen Houston

Bad Billionaire by Julie Kriss

An Uncertain Grace by Krissy Kneen

Netgalley, the one I don't actually have a cover for.

The Goblins of Bellwater by Molly Ringle

Also Netgalley

Lustmord: Anatomy of a Serial Butcher Vol 1 by Kirk Alex

Also Netgalley

Grace Lost by M. Lauryl Lewis

From Jennifer Ashley, With Love by Jennifer Ashley and Allyson james

Forbidden Blood by R.L. Kenderson

Also Netgalley

Have you read any of these? Any appeal to you? What books have you gotten recently? :)