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review 2018-09-18 20:05
A year later...
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things - Jenny Lawson

So according to BL, I started reading this December 16, 2017. That means it took me 9 months to finish this wonderful book. Since Jenny Lawson discusses her struggle with depression and anxiety disorders at length (in the best, funniest way possible) I had to take several long breaks when my anxiety and depression were not putting me in the right head space to enjoy reading it. But really, this book is hilarious and just what I needed during these past two weeks of total chaos in my life. 

 

I am not exaggerating when I say my "vacation" was surrounded with nothing but Murphy's law. Car accident, cancelled concerts, delayed flights, stomach flu, etc, etc. All unrelated to this review, but whatever, I'll do what I want. Furiously Happy does remind us to laugh at the absurdity of our lives and most of all, to remember that the lows eventually get better. 

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review 2018-08-14 22:49
Review: Miss Behave
Miss Behave - Traci Highland

If you're in the mood for a light, funny book then you should pick up Miss Behave. The inclusion of Piper's advice column from the paper really made me choke on my drink a few times from laughing so hard. Highland does a wonderful job making Piper into a totally relateable and charming character.

 

This wonderful gem has a little bit of everything for you, family craziness, overbearing mothers, naked runs in the forest.... you won't want to miss a moment of Piper and Mr. Brookes chaos. Each new development in the story makes you laugh out loud and question your own sanity. Piper has a sarcastic wit that I would adore in a friend, and Mr. Brookes is a great match for her personality. Their banter and flirting is absolutely hilarious and swoon worthy.

 

I can't wait to read the next installment of the Anderson Family series. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy fun, romantic, sarcastic lead characters.

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review 2018-08-14 22:42
New Release Review!
How to Breathe Underwater - Vicky Skinner

 

There's a lot to unravel here, so bear with me. I'm still in awe of the profound emotional roller coaster I just experienced with this heartfelt story. Skinner has a way with words that elicits your emotions and keeps you engaged page after page.  
 
Kate is a fairly average teenager, save for one big exception, she's the best swimmer in the state. With her dad as her coach constantly pushing her to do more, be better, work harder, etc. there's a lot of emotional baggage tied into her sport. When Kate's life turns upside down after her dad's affair becomes public, it's more than just a relocation. It is the first time Kate really questions whether she wants to keep swimming now that she's not striving for her father's attention.
 
I imagine switching schools after growing up with the same team is difficult in itself, then add the pressure of being "the best", any kid would have a hard time. Kate manages to navigate her new circumstances with less than stellar grace and a few bad choices to makes things more challenging. Crushing on the boy next door is adorable and sweet, but navigating through an existing girlfriend and trying to make new friends does not make it easy. 
 
Kate's struggles with her new family life are an integral part of the story. Divorce is a difficult topic to write about, but Skinner does an exceptional job keeping things just the right amount of heavy without feeling overwhelming. It was important that we see how the divorce is affecting Kate's mom and sister as well. The camaraderie of their shared heartache is a refreshingly honest look at the emotional toll divorce can have on a family. 
 
Michael and Kate's friendship is the bright light in an otherwise tumultuous world. There's one particular scene that stands out in my mind where they sit in the hallway across from each other in the middle of the night eating ice cream. That sweet moment of friendship made me wish I had a neighbor like that, especially as I suffered from insomnia in high school too. I found their story endearing and frustrating at the same time. It is a splendid story fraught with awkward moments, sweet gestures, and a fair amount of hardship. 
 
I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy a heartfelt look at what strengths lie in moving on and forgiveness. 
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review 2018-08-14 22:34
Review: Demon hunting teenagers, what could go wrong?
When Life Gives You Demons - Jennifer Honeybourn
Teenagers and exorcism, what could possibly go wrong? As if young Shelby doesn't have enough going on in her senior year of high school she is also learning to be an exorcist from  her uncle who is a priest. Learning Latin for fun sounds awesome /sarcasm.
 
As with most first jobs, Shelby is struggling with the responsibilities placed before her, especially when it requires her to miss her study sessions with her crush Spencer. Soon enough they will find out they have a lot more in common than they think, and Shelby will uncover a secret that makes her take her exorcism training much more seriously. 
 
While the story starts out light and full of teenage sarcasm, it quickly becomes an interesting exploration of demons and the power of exorcism/faith. Family ties and loyalty are an underlying theme woven into several relationships in the story. Shelby's quest to find her mother and her lackadaisical attitude towards her uncle are important throughout her journey into demon hunting.  
 
 I enjoyed every aspect of this gem of a story and would recommend this to readers who enjoy quirky young adult books. 
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review 2018-07-05 09:27
Review: Watching You
Watching You - Shannon Greenland (S. E. Green)

There is a lot to unravel about Viola's story and I hope to do it justice. We meet Viola as she is starting at a most prestigious school that she's worked tirelessly to attend. From the first interaction with Riel we know that there is a spark between them but it is quickly doused with cold water when Viola realizes Riel is her competition for the scholarship that allows her to attend the school.

 

As Viola settles in at her new school she has a strong sense of impostor syndrome. She hasn't lived the privileged life most of her classmates have and if they only knew where she came from she would never be accepted, or so she thinks. This particular piece of of the story is so important. The need to fit in, to feel like you belong, is so strong as you enter into adulthood. This is Viola's chance to change her life and she's willing to fight hard, study furiously, and try to ignore her budding feelings for a certain boy. 

 

I really loved falling in love with Riel. His character has so much depth and passion that it's impossible to ignore. Viola deserves a beautiful soul like Riel and their story was enthralling to read. Of course, as with most relationships, there are hurdles to overcome and trust to be earned, but I was rooting for them from the first meeting. 

 

My favorite part of suspense novels is trying to figure out who did it, before it's revealed in the story. I was not successful in this case, which makes me love this story even more. Viola's stalker was a mystery right up to the reveal. So hang on to your hats, cause you're in for a whirlwind. 

 

I'd recommend this book to readers who enjoy a good coming of age story with a lot of heart, and a great build of suspense. 

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