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Search tags: coming-of-age
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review 2017-05-27 00:17
Review: Gem and Dixie by Sara Zarr
Gem & Dixie - Sara Zarr

Quick review for a quick read. Another emotional and engaging read from Sara Zarr. "Gem and Dixie" is a story of sisters as well as knowing when to let go and grow. I enjoyed the journey, though the story had more compelling points in certain turns than others. It got a little muddled in the middle trying to march itself towards the ending, but still pulled at my heartstrings for showcasing the relationship between the characters.

Gem is four years older than Dixie and has been tasked as the responsible figure in a complicated household. Gem and Dixie's father is often absent from their lives, and usually when he returns, it's never for good reasons. Their mother can barely keep food on the table and while she's present in their lives keeps her own distance from taking on responsibility due to a number of vices. Gem has always tried to help and protect her younger sister, but even as they've grown older, their relationship has become more distant, with Dixie wanting to hold on to memories they used to have while Gem is ready for something more, something better.

The two have a rather unique opportunity to get away when their father returns to their lives, leaving a questionable amount of money of undetermined source under the bed. Gem asks Dixie to get away for a short time - just to "let loose". But their journey from that point is a series of encounters that have the girls meeting mishaps and discovering each other in a way they hadn't had opportunities to do before. I think the first half of the novel had me in its compelling portrait of the girls' broken home, while the latter part had some moments of emotional connectivity, but the pacing and grip loosened a bit up until closer to the end when the girls have to face the reality of their situation and Gem has to make a decision for herself rather than for the inclusion of her and her sister. In the end, it's a solid read - probably not my personal favorite from the author, but well included among her potent stories in contemporary YA and dealing with difficult issues. Wonderful audio narration by Julia Whelan as well.

Overall score: 4/5 stars.

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review 2017-05-26 06:02
Review: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares
The Whole Thing Together - Ann Brashares

Quick review for a somewhat quick read for me, though it felt like I had to push myself through this novel several times. "The Whole Thing Together" has many issues, but I would echo concerns that much of this novel suffers from rampant cliches, insensitive references in the measure of racial attribution (considering it uses a racial slur casually and struggles constantly to accurately and sensitively portray the multiracial character who struggles with her identity) and sexism (slut shaming and odd fixations on physical details of the characters). In addition to those issues, I think the biggest downfall of this novel really came in that I just couldn't find a space to connect with the characters. Not as much as I wanted to, because there were parts of the narrative that had the potential to go interesting places, but never quite reached that point and abruptly halted in places where the development could've provided more intimacy than the narration allowed.

At its heart, "The Whole Thing Together" is a family drama, showcasing teens as well as young adults in a separate sections of the same family struggling through multiple phases and revelations in their lives. Think "Parenthood" or "Brothers and Sisters" in terms of TV dramas, only I think the characters in this novel were far less fleshed out. As ambitious as this narrative sought to be, it tried to take on far too much in a narrow scope, to the point where nothing really worked well. The narrative voices blended far too much for me to truly connect to them (I don't mind third-person omniscient POV, I read it quite often in many genres). I would hesitate to call this YA, it feels more like it straddles the line between YA and New Adult (at least if you think about certain themes tackled in this book).

The surprise revelation towards the ending was emotional, but I honestly think that it could've had more impact if the character constructions were stronger. In the end, it's a narrative with strong intentions, but the execution leaves an unmemorable and sometimes offputting portrayal that doesn't showcase the best of what Brashares can do, and as someone who liked the Sisterhood series, this left me greatly disappointed.

Overall score: 1.5/5 stars.

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher.

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review 2017-05-25 03:29
Review: Burned (Burned #1) by Ellen Hopkins
Burned - Ellen Hopkins

Quick review for a quick read that I picked up from my library's audio collection. Powerful and really wonderful character exploration, which is typical of Ellen Hopkins's books. Pattyn is a young woman living in a tightly knit religious community and abusive household. She strongly laments her inability to grow as a young woman - in relationships, in asserting herself among other things - as well as watching her mother being subjected to her father's fists. After a series of incidents in which she acts out, she's sent to live with her aunt and begins to know what it means to have a better life for herself, including being valued in a romantic relationship with her S.O. (Ethan). In the end, she's not prepared to return to the household that cast her out, yet she never really wanted to leave completely behind, and things only turn for the worst after that point. I'll admit it hit me like a punch to a gut and I couldn't shake the emotional upheaval it left within me long after turning the final page.

"Burned", like the other books of Hopkins I've read, went down so smoothly and quick for the overarching read - I really enjoyed the audio narration of the novel as well as the poetic form she uses to tell Pattyn's story. She captures Pattyn's thoughts, questions, fears, uncertainty, and emotion to the teeth, and I liked being able to follow her throughout. I thought her fears and concerns were front and center, making me feel her struggle, but I think there were opportunities of depth and debate (particularly around the religious community concerns, since Pattyn lives in a Mormon household) that were missed. I definitely look forward to reading the next novel in this series, though the cliffhanger ending makes me all the more anxious to get to it as soon as possible.

Overall score: 4/5 stars.

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review 2017-05-23 14:08
rather enjoyed this!
Rain (A Stranger in the Woods, #1) - India R. Adams
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian, I was gifted my copy of this book. Those of you who follow my reviews will have picked up my teeny tiny dislike of first person AND present tense AND multi point of view. That is the worst way, for me, for a book to be written. I make no bones about my dislike, and I WILL NOT apologise for dumping a book once I discover a book is written such a way. I KNEW this book was first person/present tense going in. It came highly recommended by someone whose opinion I hold in high regard. I did not know it was multi person as well. HOWEVER!! I rather enjoyed this!! It takes time for things to become clear, and being kept on my toes is always good. That waiting for it all to come together is what kept me reading. Because I did finish this, and I DO want to read book two, River, when it comes out. Rose meets the stranger in the woods, who saves her life. Gunner is her best friend. But Gunner is more like Ryder, the stranger, than he knows. When danger comes for Rose, both males have to pull it together and keep her, and others, safe. I don't usually care for younger main characters, but Rose has a wise head on her turning 20 in the book shoulders. Dealing with her father's death and her mother's illness, and that of the others in town, takes a toll on a teenager. Ryder and Gunner, once they realise what's at stake, are great together. Ryder for all his proper-ness and Gunner for all his human-ness. Without giving too much away, I did like this, really I did. I didn't LOVE it though, but I am still left wanting to read book two when it comes out later in the year. Because there is much unfinished, undone, and now.....that....has happened, things will come to a head soon. Oh, and Ms Adams?? You made me cry. When Rose says 'I'm gonna be a mama, and I need my mama' or words to that effect. Bawled my bloody eyes out, thank you very much!! Because, no matter how old you are, you always need your mama, more so, when she isn't here any more. I didn't like the Vikes dialogue. I had to sound out loud every word that wasn't immediately obvious. I looked silly on the bus! So, a solid... 4 stars **same worded review will appear elsewhere**

 

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text 2017-05-17 21:56
Covetous Indulgence (Katie Holmes Series #2) by Erotic Storm & N.G. Venaglia
Covetous Indulgence: (Coming of Age, Older Man Younger Woman, Billionaire Heiress, Submission and Master) (The Katie Holmes Series Book 2) - EroticStorm,N.G. Venaglia,Sasha Monroe
Description
 
Adult Content Strictly 18+ 

For those who like older-younger this series is for you. It’s not only age related, but an experienced man educating a naive, inexperienced woman, as James takes Katie down the path of submission and BDSM. 

This book “Covetous Indulgence” is the second in a series of books called “The Katie Holmes Series.” It follows on from the first book in this series “Carnal Submission.” The series will follow the adventures of this naive eighteen year old through her summer holidays. Katie’s the billionaire heir to her grandparents fortune and is the only child of an independently wealthy couple from North Carolina. 

In the first book of this series, she loses her virginity to James. This is just the start of her education and as the series develops, Katie will learn more and more about her own sexuality. This is just the first of many lessons that James will give her. In this book, she comes to learn why her parents hired him as her tutor for the six-week summer break. 

It’s not your normal sex education, however, her parents had their own reasons. This is something that will become obvious as the series unfolds. 

This book follows on from ‘Carnal Submission,’ contains graphic and very descriptive sex scenes, and includes older man-younger woman, cock-sucking, blow-job, spanking, 69, oral, anal, double penetration, nudity, first time. This is just the beginning of her education. 

I’m writing this series of books in the first person and from a females P.O.V. 
 
My Review
 
 
Again this second book to the series is even more amazing...I love the characters James & Katie even more then the first...This book gets more indepth with the BDSM Lifestyle...And again more very descriptive...I will definitely be back to read more by these 2 wonderful Authors...a special thank you again to the Authors Erotic Storm & N.G. Venaglia on such an amazing read :)

My Rating

*****5 SEXY STARS*****
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