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review 2016-05-04 00:21
Hunger - Jackie Kessler

I just wanted to make a quick blurb about how important I think this book is. 
The story is about an anorexic teenager named Lisabeth who, on the brink of suicide, is interrupted by Death and summoned to be Famine, of Four Horsemen fame. Kessler has written an empathetic and authentic portrait of the psyche of those suffering from anorexia. She also addresses the mistakes that friends and family members can make while trying to help people like Lisabeth, and she accomplishes both of these difficult tasks without coming off as preachy or sappy. While Kessler doesn't shy away from harsh descriptions of starvation and bulimia, Lisabeth has a dark sense of humor and a witty sort of nihilism about her, which lessens the "emotional porn factor", as I call overly weepy and dramatic fiction (thanks, Russell Brand). By the time I finished, I was certain that this is a book every teenager should read.
What makes this book stand out to me is the interpretation of the Four Horsemen

(extremely original) and especially the ending (don't worry, no spoilers here). I'll admit I was at first wary of potential worn-out Christian tropes and a rushed and unrealistic ending. There was absolutely no need- the ending was excellent, and if there's any religious sort of undertone at all in this book, it is definitely Buddhist. 
Overall, a beautiful and important piece of YA fiction in the vein of It's Kind Of A Funny Story that deserves much more attention. 





From the back of the book: 

     "Thou art the Black Rider. Go thee out unto the world."
     Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?
     Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home—her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power—and the courage to fight her own inner demons?
     A wildly original approach to the issue of eating disorders, Hunger is about the struggle to find balance in a world of extremes, and uses fantastic tropes to explore a difficult topic that touches the lives of many teens.
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text 2015-10-29 05:00
Two 4 Thursday: Crown of Ice & To Bear An Iron Key



Welcome to this week’s Two for Thursday Book Blitz #T4T presented by Month9books/Tantrum Books!


Today, we will be showcasing two titles that may tickle your fancy, and we’ll share what readers have to say about these titles!

You just might find your next read!


This week, #T4T presents to you:

Crown of Ice by Vicki L. Weavil and To Bear an Iron Key by Jackie Morse Kessler

Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!



ThyraWinther's seventeen, the Snow Queen, and immortal, but if she can't reassemble a shattered enchanted mirror by her eighteenth birthday she's doomed to spend eternity as a wraith. Armed with magic granted by a ruthless wizard, Thyra schemes to survive with her mind and body intact.


Unencumbered by kindness, she kidnaps local boy Kai Thorsen, whose mathematical skills rival her own. Two logical minds, Thyra calculates, are better than one. With time rapidly melting away she needs all the help she can steal. A cruel lie ensnares Kai in her plan, but three missing mirror shards and Kai's childhood friend, Gerda, present more formidable obstacles. Thyra's willing to do anything – venture into uncharted lands, outwit sorcerers, or battle enchanted beasts - to reconstruct the mirror, yet her most dangerous adversary lies within her breast.


Touched by the warmth of a wolf pup's devotion and the fire of a young man's desire, the thawing of Thyra's frozen heart could be her ultimate undoing.


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“Crown of Ice was great young adult fantasy novel. It offers an interesting and refreshing retelling of Snow Queen fairytale, but also so much more – realistic, confident and a bit bad heroine, magic, cute animals, subtle romance, …”Dragana, The Paisley Reader


“Crown of Ice, is a luscious and fantastical retelling of the Snow Queen.”Tina,Goodreads Reviewer


“A solid YA adventure with teenagers who learn so much about themselves, and each other. Even the expected happily ever after offers believable surprises that underscore the maturity and independence they each have gained.” All Things Urban Fantasy




Vicki Weavil 11

Vicki Lemp Weavil was raised in a farming community in Virginia, where her life was shaped by a wonderful family, the culture of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an obsession with reading. Since obtaining her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the University of Virginia, she’s gone on to acquire two masters degrees, living in places as diverse as New York City and rural North Carolina. She’s currently the library director for a performing an visual arts university. Vicki loves good writing in any genre, and has been known to read seven books in as many days. She enjoys travel, gardening, and the arts. Vicki lives in North Carolina with her husband, son, and some very spoiled cats.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumbler



This richly-imagined universe from an acclaimed fixture of YA storytelling introduces a the young witch Bromwyn, a strong heroine who wields great power. Five years ago, Bromwyn refused a gift from the powerful fairy king. Tonight, on Midsummer, that decision comes back to haunt her. When her best friend Rusty picks the wrong pocket, he and Bromwyn are all that stand between their village and the rampaging fairies who have pushed through the World Door. If they cannot outwit the fairy king and queen before the World Door closes at sunrise, the friends will lose everything--their village, Bromwyn's magic, and Rusty's life.


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If you want to get lost in magic and spend some time away from this grey, dreary world of reality, then look no further.” – Nicky Peacock, Author


“This was a really strong little book--a wonderful start to a brand new series, and I think it's safe to say I'll be looking for more of Jackie Morse Kessler's work!”Kels, Literature Obsessed


“This is a great tale about the transitions in youth and of true friendship. It also depicts the emotional wounds caused from misjudgment and rejection.” – LuAnn, Rockin Book Reviews





Jackie Morse Kessler grew up in Brooklyn, NY, with a cranky cat and overflowing shelves filled with dolls and books. Now she’s in Upstate NY with another cranky cat, a loving husband, two sons, and overflowing shelves filled with dragons and books (except when her sons steal her dragons). She has a bachelor’s degree in English and American Literature, and yet she’s never read any Jane Austen (with or without zombies). She also has a master’s degree in media ecology. (The living study of technology and culture. Which is cool, but she still can’t figure out how to use Tweetdeck.)


Jackie spends a lot of time writing, reading, and getting distracted by bright and shiny new ideas. (She just came up with a new idea right now.) She has a weakness for chocolate and a tendency to let her cat take over her office chair.

Author Links: Website | Twitter| Facebook | Goodreads



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review 2014-04-08 00:00
Rage - Jackie Morse Kessler

tl;dr I decided to give this book a try considering i have had more experience with self harm than i did with the previous book's eating disorders theme. While I felt the writing had improved since the first, I still felt like the riders of the apocalypse setting was more superfluous than anything else. Again, this book and resulting review could be a trigger for self harm and suicide. 

Description (from Goodreads) Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different. That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a new kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control. A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation,Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power and refuses to be defeated by the world.

So the writing was definitely better in this book, and it ends up being a bit longer than the other one. But I'm not sure if the two are correlated, or if thats just the way this story went. 


Anyways, Missy is a self harmer. she cuts herself in order to release the building inner pressure that her emotions cause. It is the only release she knows, and whenever things overwhelm her - she cuts herself. On her stomach, upper thighs, anywhere that she can hide. She has many scars all over her body because of it. This was something I could relate to a bit more than in hunger. The overwhelming, drowning feeling that emotions can cause and needing to find a way to release them. I personally wasn't a cutter, but one of my close childhood friends was. I can remember seeing her scars and being so sad, wishing there was something I could do .


I thought Kessler did a decent job of portraying those overwhelming feelings, but it didn't see max spot on. Though, the author admits she never struggled with self harm like she did with an eating disorder. But I think she did her research well and overall encompassed the need and the feelings that cause a person to cut. 


As for the humiliating thing that happens at the party.... Oh boy. That shit is BRUTAL. I don't even think there are many adults that could overcome that treatment (especially in the same type of environment as a high school), and I think it was a little extreme. There are definitely other things Kessler could've done to Missy that would've led to the same result.... but she did what she did and no matter who you are, you'll be able to relate with the overwhelming humiliation/hurt/disappointment that the situation would cause. 


Anyways. Again with this one, the whole Kurt Cobain as death thing (I really don't feel like she nails down Cobain's personality either, but then again it does say that death is just using Cobain's looks and isn't actually the dead rock star), and the riders of the apocalypse thing wasn't done that well. Though, Missy becoming War was interesting at first and I totally would've understood had she demolished those ass holes who get off scott free. 


That reminds me, how the hell do those kids get away with the fucking prank they pulled?? Once you read it, you'll understand what I mean... but there definitely should've been some investigations and shit. Also, I hated the soccer coach's reaction to Missy cutting herself and (from my experience with my friend and playing sports with them) feel like it would've have happened. 


Anyways. Again, I feel this is an important one for teens to read and understand. Especially because they need to understand that someone who is a cutter does not necessarily mean that person is also suicidal, which no doubt most people without experience in the matter are going to think. 

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review 2013-12-26 20:20
"I am Famine' the Black Rider said. 'And I'm telling you to get your armored ass out of here before I suck you dry."
Hunger - Jackie Kessler

This was a really good book. It takes an interesting look at eating disorders. Lisa is really sick and people are staring to notice. After a bitter confrontation, she decides to end her own life, but Death has other plans. He gives her a set of scales and a black steed making her Famine. As Famine she learns just how messed up she is. The ending is very powerful. I enjoyed Lisa story.


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review 2013-10-07 00:00
Hunger (Riders of the Apocalypse)
Hunger - Jackie Kessler Meh I was hoping for better. It wasn't terrible but I had a hard time connecting to any of the characters. :/
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