Aug 23, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: This Witch Doesn't Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read!

Jessica's Waiting on:

Title: The Witch Doesn't Burn In This One
Author: Amanda Lovelace 
Genre: Poetry 
Publication Date: March 2018

Summary: Not Yet Released

I recently read Amanda Lovelace's first book of poetry, The Princess Saves Herself In This One, and I loved it so much. I hadn't read much poetry before that, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but I ended up really enjoying the book and even recommending it to several friends. The book was filled with so many poems about so many different topics that all led to a road of empowerment and realizing your self worth and strength, which was something I hadn't even known that I really needed at the time, but I did. So I have high hopes that this book will be no different. ♥

I'm excited for more details to release for this book, and also for the book's actual publication next year. I'm hoping for another great book of poems that will make me gasp, grip the pages tighter, and at times be overcome with such a sense of empowerment that I have to turn to my own notebook and get my thoughts out before they spilled out onto the floor. If it's Amanda Lovelace's poems, I'm very confident that I'll be doing just that.

Is it 2018 yet? Because I'm really looking forward to this one!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so I can stop back!

Aug 20, 2017

Review: The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

Title: The One That Got Away
Author: Melissa Pimentel

Publisher: Penguin
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 400 Pages
Publication Date: August 22nd, 2017 (Two days!)

Summary: Ruby and Ethan were perfect for each other. Until the day they suddenly weren't. Ten years later, Ruby's single, having spent the last decade focusing on her demanding career and hectic life in Manhattan. There's barely time for a trip to England for her little sister's wedding. And there's certainly not time to think about seeing Ethan there for the first time in years. But as the family frantically prepare for the big day, Ruby can't help but wonder if she made the right choice all those years ago? Because there's nothing like a wedding for stirring up the past...

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, and I wasn't sure to expect at first. This book is set around Ruby, a woman who has long since graduated high school and college and is now working at a fancy marketing firm in New York City, living the constantly-rushing life that is common for New York business moguls. She thinks that she has everything she could ever want, but one thing is missing -- the love that she let go so many years ago for selfish, stupid reasons. 

The reason I wasn't sure what to expect in regards to this book was the fact that Ruby was a full-fledged adult at this point in the story, so it wasn't like a typical YA book, and I never really had a good track record with adult books. I found it hard to put myself into their mindset and understand their problems, being that I am still a teenager myself. (But less than one year left!)

However, Ruby's narrative was super easy to read, and before long I got into the book easily. For the first time in a very long time, I found myself staying up and reading until my eyelids felt heavy and I had to physically stop myself because I couldn't go on any longer. I really, really missed that feeling, and I'm so glad that this book was able to give me that again. Ruby's story was really easy to follow, and I liked that the story constantly switched between present-day and the past, to give some context to Ruby and Ethan's relationship and eventual fallout, so when they met up again in England things made a lot more sense!

So, as the summary explains, Ruby and Ethan had dated a long time ago, and then they broke up (for reasons that will eventually be explained in the book, that I will not spoil for you here). And now, many years later, Ruby's sister is marrying Ethan's best friend, and they find themselves together once again at a wedding in England, doing their best to forget about and not rehash the past. 

The only problem? In the years since Ethan and Ruby had broken up, Ethan went from being a small-town bartender to one of the biggest tech moguls of the century. I'm talking cool enough to be taking pictures with Steve Jobs, people. He becomes that big. 

So yeah. Ruby tries very hard not to imagine what life would have been like if she had stayed with Ethan, but sometimes it was very difficult not to. So the book is pretty much narrating her trip to England for this disaster of a wedding while also trying to avoid Ethan to keep old feelings at bay while also trying to appear totally nonchalant and not bothered whenever she finds herself in his presence. So this book is definitely an emotional roller coaster filled with a lot of drama! 

My favorite character in this book was definitely Ethan. He was sweet all of the time, both in the flashbacks and in the current moments, even when he didn't have to be. He always seemed to be thinking of other people and putting his best foot forward, and it was clear from the very beginning that he worked very hard for his success and totally earned it, which was sometimes the reason that Ruby resented him so much. But throughout the entire story Ethan kept doing things that were so hopelessly adorable and kind towards everyone around him, and it continuously made my heart melt.

As for Ruby, I liked her a lot, but sometimes I felt that just reading about her life was stressing me out a little bit. Especially when the book is narrating her typical morning in New York, I started to feel badly for the girl and worry about her fictional health. She was so determined to prove herself and make herself worth something, especially as Ethan continued to soar with his success, and at times she was wearing herself down so much that I really began to feel bad for her. However, it was positive to see that as the book went on Ruby began to learn what was more important than work and forced herself to take a little bit of a break -- Lord knows she needed it!

(Spoilers here so please skip to the next paragraph if you haven't read this book yet!) And oh my goodness guys, the ending of this book totally made my heart stop. It was so freaking cute. I had been shipping Ethan and Ruby since the beginning of their reunion (even when it was a little rocky), so I was so glad when everything worked out, even after Ruby admitted to the horrible thing she'd done back in New York all those years ago that led to their split in the first place, even when Ethan had no idea about it. The book leaves off in a place that gives you enough context to guess what will happen, but I still wish it went just a little bit further so I could see Ruby and Ethan's relationship (and maybe even marriage???) continue to bloom!! *heart eyes*

Overall, I really enjoyed The One That Got Away. I'm so glad that I got an opportunity to review this book because I ended up liking it a lot, and I can even think of a few friends that I'll be recommending it to soon. I flew through this book because I enjoyed it so much that I didn't want to put it down, and Ruby and Ethan's story took me on an emotional rollercoaster that I won't be forgetting anytime soon. I'd definitely be open to reading more of Melissa Pimentel's work in the future, because it's safe to say that this book certainly got me hooked! 

Aug 18, 2017

Review: Ask The Passengers by A.S. King

Title: Ask The Passengers
Author: A.S. King
Publisher: Little, Brown
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Paperback, 304 Pages
Published October 2012

Summary: Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most personal questions--like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl. As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even know she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives -- and her own -- for the better.

I didn't know much about this book (or about A.S. King) before I started it, but this book was something that I had an option to read for the summer for my college English program, because A.S. King will actually be coming to my school and hosting some writing seminars in the fall! So I was super excited to read this book and also meet the author, and there are even a few blogging friends that I know that have read and loved books by A.S. King before. 

As the summary explains, Astrid Jones is a New York City girl that finds herself moving with her family to a small town in Pennsylvania, where narrow-minded thinking and concern about appearances were the main attractions. She has a mother who is obsessed with her reputation, a father who is stoned all of the time, and a sister who barely speaks to her because she's so busy trying to fit into their new life. So, with nobody else to talk to or be loved by, Astrid spends a lot of her free time on her picnic table, looking up at the sky and sending her love to the passengers flying in the planes overhead. (Speaking of which, I really enjoyed those little inserts with the brief stories of some of the passengers. They were detailed enough to be interesting and for you to get a grip on the person's character, but just vague enough that you were always left wanting more.)

And of course, living in such a small, close-minded town, Astrid was pretty sure that everyone -- including her own family -- would hate her if she told them that she was gay. She could only imagine how the whole town would react, let alone her own parents. Her mother, Claire, is one of those people who spews ridiculous nonsense such as "I can't be a homophobe because I know gay people and I don't hate the." (*cringe*) 

But then something happens, and Astrid can't control the fallout. (What it is, I won't tell you -- read the book yourself! -- but I will say that it's pretty shocking and leads to some pretty messy stuff.)

My favorite character in this book was definitely Astrid. She had moments where she was so complex and acknowledged that she didn't want to label herself right away, and that she wanted to take her own time to find out how she was really feeling. She had several moments of such clarity where she realized that she wasn't going to conform to everything that everyone else expected of her. I was rooting her on in those moments and was glad to see all of that empowerment for sure. (Even if the people around her were really crappy in how they handled it.)

As for the characters that I really didn't like in this book, they would have to be Claire, Ellis, and Kristina. Claire was so concerned with appearances (and so was Ellis) that it made me disgusted at times to see that was the first thing she was thinking about when things went bad -- her reputation -- rather than her own daughter. She was definitely a pretty crappy mom -- but perfect for that small-minded town of Unity Valley. And as for Kristina, I felt like she used Astrid a lot, and lied, and did everything she could to save her own reputation rather than being a good best friend. She was definitely a pretty crappy one.

What I really liked about this book was how, despite the crappy life Astrid sometimes felt like she had, she managed to keep a level head and not get sucked into the Unity Valley image of perfection that everyone else was so desperately seeking. She knew who she was, even when it wasn't the most popular thing to be, and she stuck to it despite all of the rumors and hate and pettiness that was thrown her way. 

Overall, I really enjoyed Ask The Passengers. I'm glad that this book was chosen to be the summer read for my school's English program, because I probably wouldn't have known about it without it being selected. This was a quick, easy read that I breezed through and liked from start to finish. I'm glad that I've been introduced to A.S. King's work, because I'll definitely be reading more of it in the future!