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review 2014-05-21 06:00
the kind of book with staying power!
This Morning I Woke Up Dead - Mindy Larson

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl

What if everyone on Earth was already dead? When I skimmed over the synopsis for This Morning I Woke Up Dead, I stopped at the second paragraph and knew I HAD to read this. The plot was so original and fresh sounding - I couldn't imagine how this was going to work, but I was intrigued. Needless to say, I was not disappointed!

We're introduced to Hadley and Dominic and get to know them and, through flashbacks, what their relationship had been like before Hadley's car accident. Mindy Larson has created an organic and believable relationship that made you ache for both of them to be together again. I really felt like I knew them and was right there with them. 

Once Hadley is given permission to contact Dominic, I had high hopes that he would realize he's already dead, too, so he could be with Hadley again. I worried that his intelligence would work against him, however, because he rationalized the inexplicable over and over again. Yet he also seemed open to possibilities he had never thought of before - he believed Hadley was visiting him every time he felt her icy touch. Only a quarter of the way in, I wanted him to come to the correct conclusion so he could be reunited with Hadley. 

This Morning I Woke Up Dead goes beyond Hadley and Dominic's love story. It made me think about life and death - what does it mean to be alive? Is there life after death and what is there before birth? I laughed and cried right along with the characters in trying to figure all of this out. The ending was so surprising - I never saw it coming in a million years. It was heartrending and uplifting at the same time - I don't know how Mindy Larson managed to make it both, but she did. 

I haven't been this touched by a book in such a serious way in a long time. I've been looking for a book that would make me feel the way this book has done. This is a book that once read, no matter how long it's been or how many books you've read in the meantime, you'll remember everything about it just by glancing at the title. This Morning I Woke Up Dead has that kind of staying power. I'm looking forward to the next book!

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review 2014-03-22 23:18
heart pounding thriller will leave you gasping after the end
Chemical Reaction (The Chemical Attraction Series) (Volume 2) - Christina Thompson

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl

Thompson delivers another gripping page turner once again with Chemical Reaction where the action picks up from the end of the first novel. This is what I call addictive reading - I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, desperate to find out what happens next. So much happened the first time around, and Chemical Reaction is no different. The pages are full of suspense and action with shady characters as well as characters you could trust with your life.

I know this is fiction but can't help hoping in real life the FBI is more mature than the bunch of high schoolers they act like in this series. It's only because I love Madeline so much! Even Joe has his times where I wanted to kick him. Another problem with the FBI aspect of this story is there are so many names to remember, and they're all common like Joe, Adam, and Mike (all actual character names). I either wanted less secondary characters or names that would be more memorable. Besides Tim, Joe, and Mike, the rest faded into the background for me.

There's never a dull moment in Chemical Reaction. It's amazing how much more complicated and tangled the plot becomes. It's also good the story wasn't wrapped up nice and neat with a bow at the end of the first novel - it would've undone all of the work Thompson accomplished with the plot and characters. The fact that it ended with the case unfinished allowed a smooth transition into this recent installment. I knew the characters already and was able to dive right back in to the story. 

Overall, Chemical Reaction is a heart pounding, fast paced, highly addictive thriller with romance and humor that will leave you gasping for breath after the end.

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review 2014-03-17 16:59
plenty of romance and action in this series beginner
Chemical Attraction (The Chemical Attraction Series) (Volume 1) - Christina Thompson

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl

The first chapter of Chemical Attraction was overwhelming for me with a lot of character names to remember and the things that distinguish them from one another. I worried I wasn't going to remember all of them and how they're related or know each other, but as the story progressed, I needn't have worried. The main characters soon stood out from the rest. 

Eva and Matt, Joe's "sister" and brother-in-law, have such a loving relationship, and I loved the fact that they're still so hot for each other after nine years together. They made me feel like they're going to feel that way for each other the rest of their lives. Marriages either become dysfunctional or don't make it for long at all so many times in novels, so I found this refreshing. 

The attraction between Joe and Madeline was palpable from the start. They're both intelligent and self-assured people, making them evenly matched which I really liked. They work well together, and the tantalizing prospect of them becoming a "real" couple was always just out of delicious reach, making you desperate to find out if that's in the cards for them. 

Thompson takes time building the characters and their interactions before getting to the action of the story, so when something happened, you really felt the impact. At first I felt frustrated with getting to the action, but had she rushed things, the story wouldn't have hit me as hard as it did. The way she set everything up made Chemical Attraction worth reading. I'm definitely looking forward to the sequel.

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review 2014-03-17 15:52
picture Mean Girls meets The Saddle Club
Love and muddy puddles - Cecily Anne Paterson

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review for my stop on the blog tour at Donnie Darko Girl.

LOVE AND MUDDY PUDDLES is a cute story about a teen girl named Coco who gets the bad news she and her family are moving from the city to a farm out in the country. Well, it's bad news for her while everyone else - her parents, twin sister, and older brother - are all stoked about the move. Coco has just hit the popularity lottery after a lot of hard work and doesn't want to give it up. Moving to a farm? Social suicide! 

From what I'm about to say you might think I didn't like Coco, but I actually did. Yes, she was superficial and cared way too much about what Saffron and the group thought about her, but I think it's normal behavior for her age. I understood how she felt insecure, jealous, and overlooked by everyone because her twin sister excels at everything she does. It was easy to see Coco is still quite young and has a lot of life ahead of her to experience. 

Picture the clique from Mean Girls as thirteen-year-olds, and you've got the idea of what Saffron and the group are like. I never cared much about being in the popular crowd, so I couldn't relate with her on working so hard to make it into the exclusive group. It just didn't seem worth it to me - Coco had to watch everything she said and did so carefully it was comical. Painfully comical. 

Luckily, the entire book isn't about Coco trying to say all the right things, talk to the right people, and wear the right clothes. Once she and her family move to the farm, she soon meets Cupcake - one of the horses belonging to a neighbor. The bond that forms between Coco and Cupcake is unique, and this is when Coco really starts to shine. She begins learning how she's special in her own way from her twin and that it's okay to be a girl with character rather than a girl with a great manicure. Not that there's anything wrong with having a great manicure! 

And then there was James. The initial meeting between Coco and James gets off to a rocky start when Coco thinks she's better than him and can talk down to him. She was in for a huge surprise because he speaks his mind and isn't interested in playing games. I thought he was a great person for Coco to be around - just the person who could help her see things beyond the surface. 

Love and Muddy Puddles was a terrifically cute and witty story. Coco was so clueless in the beginning, and it was a pleasure to see her transform throughout the story. The cast of characters will grow on you quickly, and while you might be able to guess the story's ending, it's still enjoyable to see how exactly it plays out.

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review 2013-12-30 01:08
nothing could have prepared me for the ending!
A Million Little Snowflakes - Logan Byrne

****I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.****

Have you ever gone to see a movie with such a shocking ending that people are completely silent and all you can hear is the rustle of their clothing as they stand up to leave? That's how I felt when I finished reading A Million Little Snowflakes. I felt shocked to the core and could not believe what had just happened. I even read the last chapter twice just to make sure I didn't misunderstand something. Anything!

I love realistic fiction and find myself reading more of it lately, being drawn to characters I can identify with. I could identify with Oliver in knowing what it feels like to be depressed. Not just "I have the blues," but clinical depression. As many people who have depression, including myself in the beginning, Oliver was in denial about it. I don't think you just blurt out, "I want to kill myself" and not mean it, which is what he said that landed him in the hospital. While he feels like his dad made a rash decision, I think his dad loves him, was scared, and did what he thought was best.

Oliver's mom is religious to the point where it's stifling him from truly living. She takes him several times to her pastor, who says Oliver has demons that need to be exorcised in order to "cure" his depression. She has set so many restrictions on his life that I think without realizing it, he felt like he had no other choice than to say, "I want to kill myself." Oliver's dad goes along with whatever his mom says, and I agree with his belief that his dad doesn't want to rock the boat. After his mom's theatrics when she came to visit him in the hospital, I don't blame his dad for wanting to appease her. Her behavior was truly appalling.

Oliver's depression doesn't come from only his mom's religious fanaticism - his best friend has moved far away, and he feels alone. He doesn't have a chance to make other friends since he's afraid to have anyone over because of his mom - he didn't even have his best friend over more than a couple of times, and they had grown up together. It also doesn't help that Oliver can't go anywhere. It's hard to make friends if you know you won't be allowed to hang out.

Oliver's dad didn't seem to be too involved in his life until he took Oliver to the hospital. His dad seemed to do a 180, and maybe this is what it took to open his eyes to everything going. He's a doctor, and I get that doctors work long hours and are busy but he should have been paying more attention. He's a father, not just a doctor, and I didn't think it was right of him to allow Oliver's mother to treat him the way she did, by making him feel like he's being taken over by demons. Oliver has a little sister, too, who's already being brainwashed by their mother, so I feel bad for her. One day she's going to end up rebelling.

When Oliver meets Lacey in the ward, it was funny because as snarky as she was, you could tell sparks were flying anyhow. There was a lot more to her than she allowed anyone to see, even Oliver, and I suspected she was suffering from sexual abuse. The pacing of their relationship was perfect and realistic. It may seem they fall in love quickly, but when you're in a setting like they were, where you're seeing that person day and night, it makes sense to me. Look at reality shows where the contestants are together constantly. Relationships are always blossoming on those shows. I really liked the two of them together. They decided to face the world together.

I truly hope this isn't a stand alone novel. I can't stop thinking about that ending and desperately want to know what happens next. Like I said in the beginning, I had to read it again to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me.

Source: donniedarkogirl.blogspot.com/2013/12/review-million-little-snowflakes-by.html
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