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review 2015-05-05 00:00
Press Play
Press Play - Eric Devine

Jun 03, 2014 Maggie rated it 4 of 5 stars

I received an advance review copy from NetGalley.

This is a powerful book on several levels. First, the characters are real and many readers are going to identify with at least some aspect of at least one of the varied cliques. Second, the action moves along and draws the reader in which makes this a good book for reluctant readers. And third, the content touches on so many school related social situations which makes this an easy book to recommend to teachers for choice reads. Teachers will need to be aware that the realistic characters also use realistic language.

I believe one of the strengths of this book is how the author chooses to address obesity. Greg Dunsmore, a.k.a. Dun the Ton, has struggled with his weight since middle school. Now, as a junior in high school, he is ready to do something about it. But, Greg's motivation goes beyond his health, he wants to document his weight loss and create a film that will help him achieve his ultimate goal, getting into a film school. Greg is not alone in this journey. He has a friend, Quinn, who is behind him in his efforts and goes beyond just offering words of support. Quinn uses his knowledge of exercise and diet to be Greg's personal trainer. I found this to be powerful. Quinn would text Greg what his best/healthiest school lunch choice was for that day. Quinn also designed the daily workouts for Greg and motivated him to succeed. It is this combination, exercise, diet, personal trainer support that helps Greg see his weight loss as something achievable.

In addition to the weight loss theme, there is bullying, hazing, abuse of authority and power as well as friendship and acceptance. All together, there is something in this book for each reader.
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review 2014-11-02 22:56
Review: Press Play
Press Play - Eric Devine

One thing that I enjoy about Eric Devine’s stories is that they are raw and real. He never down plays the story but really tells it how it is. Because folks, we live in a real world with cruel people. I’ve seen it many times on tv. Kids being hazed in the most ugly, crazy, and de-humanzing way. Kids being bullied and pressured to fit in. This story captures what teens go through today.

Plot: This is about a young boy who loves to video tape. He tries to captures what goes on in his high school halls ways and has stumbled upon some harsh hazing. He decided to investigate further going onto much trouble he never seen before. He also battles with his weight (which kids constantly make fun of him) and him just learning to survive. Really this story is gritty. At times I cringed but could not look away. This kids are so harsh and so mean. I’m not going to lie and say that this story angered me a lot. The plot is good. It captures the reader right away.

Hazing/bullying: This is the part that angered me the most. No matter who Greg went too, EVEN TEACHERS, no one would help him. They never believed him. How could they sit there and brushed him as nothing. This kid has evidence yet the schools used it against him saying it was against school polices. UGH! The nerve of these people. These kids suffered yet no one did anything to protect or save the kids.

Ending: At least the ending gave some redemption for what these kids went through but only because the kids took matters into their own hands. No adults wanted to stand up for them until they did it for themselves. And you know what? That’s what happens in today schools. No one wants to take responsibility and its the kids that suffer in the end.

I really enjoyed this story. It certainly stirred up many emotions and got me thinking. You want a good look at what goes on with teens today, read this book. Press Play is a gritty yet realistic story that is gripping.

Source: www.bookswithbite.net
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text 2014-05-19 01:30
Starting back at one
Press Play - Eric Devine
Zac and Mia - A.J. Betts
Six Feet Over It - Jennifer Longo
Ray Bradbury Unbound - Jonathan R. Eller
Deadly Little Sins - Kara Taylor
Jasmine Skies - Sita Brahmachari
Dirty Wings - Sarah McCarry
London Falling - Chanel Cleeton
Crossing the Line - Megan Hart

I'm having to catch up with my reading, but at the very least, I had a lot of approvals come in for recent considerations, and quite many of them I'm looking forward to reading.   So some of those approvals are above for the pretty cover browsing. =)


My first priority will be to tackle some of the books I've put on hold (it's about 30 to 40-ish, so I need to get that queue down), and also review books that have been in my review queue for a while (which I think is about 70 some books, give or take).  I honestly never expected it to get that large, so I'm playing catch-up. *winces*


I've been spending a lot of time with family and friends of family the last several days. Been back and forth on the road between multiple cities and it's worn me out, but I'm happy to have had the chance to see/talk/spend time with them. I finally got a break from the road this weekend and caught up with rest, and in a few days I'll be getting back to a normal schedule.


I miss my mom bunches.  She'd been married to my father almost 40 years, been my mother for nearly 30, and there were a lot of milestones that she reached and others she didn't quite make, but I hold on to some of the better memories and what time she was able to spend with my family and me.  I really wish she'd been able to see my sister and I turn 30, get married, have kids, graduate with another higher degree, or other things that she would've loved to do with us and my father, but I take comfort in what she was able to do in her life and that she isn't in pain anymore.


Someone actually messaged me a while back asking if I planned to do a reading of John Green's "Fault Within Our Stars" and I'd put that off forever saying I honestly had no idea when I'd do it but that I'd try, and I think I may bump that up on my reading queue.  I think regardless of how that read goes, I'll do something special with it and talk about my volunteer work within some cancer research organizations and share some memories of my mom and other people I've met who were survivors or those that departed far too soon.  If you're asking me if its too soon for me to pick up a book on the subject matter because of my mom, I'd say no.  I'm a tough cookie, I can handle it (though I probably shouldn't say that considering I bawled my eyes out with Patrick Ness's "A Monster Calls").  And reading is something that's a comfort to me so I don't really see myself staying away from it too long or straying from subjects that challenge me.


But yeah, I'm trying to get back to sorts because my mom would probably tell me that I should be putting my nose in a book anyway. (Despite the fact she spent a great deal of time trying to pry me away from reading while sitting in the middle of my childhood home's living room floor.  Usually I was supposed to be eating dinner or doing chores instead of going through stacks of books from the library or a book sale.  Go figure. Not much has really changed with that, even as I'm older. =P)


Happy reading all.  Much love.

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review 2014-03-31 18:59
Review: Dare Me
Dare Me - Eric Devine

How far would you go on a dare? How far for money? This and more is answered in this thrilling story which I’m glad I picked it. Thought provoking and realistic, this story will take you on an adventure.


Plot: The plot is simple. Teens doing dares during their senior year. One dare goes viral and the next thing you know, they are getting paid to do more dares….dangerous dares. And of course being teens, they go for it. I really liked this plot. Though it may not seem like much, this plot really brings in the emotions and thoughts of teens. The drive for money, popularity as well as going all out senior year.


Friendships: With teens and money things do go too far. Some of the dares push to the limits of a close dance with death. Luckily through the story, the teens began to realize that maybe money isn’t worth it after all. Because of the money and popularity there are a string of jealous teens and fights. Friendships are lost and others are born. Needless to say, you will not be bored reading this story.


Ending: I think the ending is fitting for this story. It didn’t end happily nor did it end badly. It ended just right giving the teens well… the consequences that happen with making bad decisions.


Overall, this is an exciting book! If you want a story that focuses on real teens emotions and social media, pick this book up. It’s takes all things that are going on today and focuses on issues that others may not want to see. Dare Me is fantastic.

Source: www.bookswithbite.net
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review 2013-08-16 00:00
Dare Me
Dare Me - Eric Devine I’ve been sitting here waffling on what rating to ultimately give this book. Because there’s some good things that Devine does here, specifically with the main trio of boys he follows for the course of the story and their motivations and reactions. However, there’s also massively glaring problems with this book that ultimately dragged it down for me, and one in particular that does not make me want to recommend this book.I like it when teenagers in books are portrayed as more average teenagers—they’re not particularly intelligent or wordy or snarky, they just are, and sometimes that includes writing dumb teens doing stupid shit. It’s probably more evident due to the rise of YouTube and social media, as how many news stories in the past few years are centered around teenagers getting caught in the midst of criminal acts because of uploading them to social media sites? And it’s the central focus for Devine here, as the author acknowledges that this is a commentary on that sort of behavior. (Although I would argue more that what Ben and his friends do are more of a product of the post-Jackass imitators rather than the recent challenges.) I liked that there’s an exploration and an acknowledgment on Ben’s part that he does get an adrenaline rush from completing the stunts and the thought of doing the next one on the list. I even buy Ricky’s whole speech about wanting lasting high school glory and leaving their mark before graduation.There’s a few big snarls with this premise, though. First, I’m kind of disappointed that there’s no real escalation or discussion on how dangerous the stunts performed actually are. The only boy who suffers a deliberating injury is John, and even though the impact of him breaking his arm is discussed and essential to his character arc, there’s no continuing escalation of the danger. Which isn’t to say that Ben gets away physically okay, as the book ends with him losing sight in one eye and his love interest impaled on a corn stalk. (I have problems with the climax, more on that below.) I wanted to see more of the bruises and cuts, but aside from the one Christmas stunt, there’s no real acknowledgment of the less serious injuries. Mainly because most of the adult characters buy the boys’ explanations of how they got injured in the first place, and it’s a detail that’s especially egregious when you take Alexia’s story into this. Secondly—and this is a huge problem that I have with this book—is the identity of the boys’ benefactor and the lack of explanation of why a wealthy businessman would even think to provide these boys with the provisions to potentially injure themselves. Mainly because there’s NO RESOLUTION TO THIS. Oh, sure, the boys get caught and all is revealed but…why. I had a dozen explanations going through my head the entire time that I was reading this, and when I got to the reveal, I wanted to scream bullshit at the book. It doesn’t make sense. (It feels like there's an epilogue that got cut out for whatever reason that deals with the fallout of Alexia's injuries, the revelation of the boys' activities, and what the hell was going on the entire time. I would have liked to have read that thanks so much.)And it’s partially because Devine decides that there needed to be a “rich versus poor” narrative in this book. There’s several ways he could have gone about this, but having O.P. being wealthy is such a hard left field reveal makes the financial aspect ridiculous and nonsensical. There’s already a strand going on with Ben and Jesse’s rivalry over Alexia, and this just feels...stupid. Which is a shame, because Ben’s family’s financial situation is one of the parts that I did like about the book. I did get why Ben was so desperate to put himself through this physical torture to get money, to make his parents happy and maybe even get their old house back. It made sense with John, as he fucked up his other source of college funds by breaking his arm. And even though Ricky’s situation wasn’t completely explored, you can see why he would have been pulled in by the ad listing he finds in the first place. It actually works well, and again, given that teenagers generally don’t make the best decisions ever, it does make sense in the thinking “Dude, we get to be legends and make a shit-ton of cash!”The other major issue I have with this book is the treatment of women. I will not completely excuse Ben’s objectification of Chantel, but I also don’t fault him for it. I will fault Devine for writing Chantel and Alexia as respectively the slut and the damsel with no other character arc or definition beyond that. Making Chantel related to O.P. is a stupid plot excuse to even try to add depth to her character, and it makes me angry that that’s the only reason she’s a supporting character. Alexia’s story makes me angry. Alexia only exists as a trophy between Jesse and Ben, with the added bonus that Jesse abuses Alexia. The only reason Alexia exists as a love interest is for Ben to rescue her, literally and wishfully. The abusive relationship makes me angrier, because it feels like a flimsy excuse for Ben to rescue Alexia and never fully explores the ramifications and realities of being in an abusive relationship. And the line that Ben has about Alexia being strong feels like a cop-out, especially given what happens to her at the end of the book. And that ending is the main reason why I won’t recommend this. The escalation between Ben and Jesse not only takes away from the main mystery and conflict between the trio and O.P., but again, it only sets up Alexia as a prop. She has no purpose in the story aside from being the trophy and for all of Ben’s talk of how much he respects her and would treat her right, I have a really hard time believing it.Also, a very special mention to Ben’s sister Ginny, who becomes Ben’s confidante and hides the fact that her brother and his friends are harming themselves because she needs data for a research paper. Given the ramifications of what Ben and his friends were doing and police involvement throughout, I’m shocked that Ginny wasn’t arrested for endangering a minor. That, and I never got that Ginny or Ben actually cared for each other. I understand that they’re not close, but nothing about Ginny’s actions suggested that she was worried for Ben’s safety.Devine had a strong idea and concept, but ultimately fails in his writing and characterization. As an exploration of male friendships and the limits one is willing to go for to achieve personal fame and glory, he does succeed, but the lack of reasons and motivations of other characters, plus Ben’s relationships with Chantel and Alexia really killed this book for me. Which is a shame, because I was really looking forward to reading this when I got it at work. Ultimately, I really can’t recommend it on that basis.
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