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review 2016-03-07 23:13
Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler
Bittersweet - Sarah Ockler

So sweet!
I love this story. I love that it surrounds a girl who hangs with the hockey team. I love that she makes cupcakes. I love how it's a budding romance in the making.
So many great elements to this story, and while I loved The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, this story was completely different. This author has an ease with her writing that has you reading and finding yourself lost in the story.
Hudson is a great character, even if flawed. That's what I loved most about her though, she was as screwed up as the rest of us and yet was a great girl with a massive heart. She needed to deal with some stuff that she didn't really want to face. It was nice to see how she worked it out.
Teens and moms alike will really dig into this one.

 

Source: www.fredasvoice.com/2016/03/bittersweet-by-sarah-ockler-24.html
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text 2016-01-26 00:03
Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Reads of 2015
The Start of Me and You - Emery Lord
The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen
Dare Me - Megan Abbott
Black Iris - Leah Raeder
Invisibility - Andrea Cremer,David Levithan
Glass - Ellen Hopkins
Faking Normal - Courtney C. Stevens
All the Rage - Courtney Summers
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids - Sarah Ockler
Golden Son - Pierce Brown

Hi all, Rose here with another Top Ten Tuesday entry.  This theme is brought to you by the Broke and the Bookish, and this week was a freebie entry, so I thought I'd do my top ten reads of 2015.  I'm still going to do a year end post, but it's still not compiled yet and I have a bit of catching up to do on my bookish profiles (I honestly didn't realize how far behind I was in keeping track of what I was reading last year.  Thankfully, I'm already doing a better job of that this year.)

 

So these aren't in any particular order and they aren't limited by publication year (as I'll do in my Best of 2015 entry).  These are all books I read in 2015 and ended up loving for what they offered.  All I ended up rating 4 stars or higher when I read them, with some books pending full reviews.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

 

In no particular order:

 

The Start of Me and You - Emery Lord  

 

1. "The Start of Me and You" by Emery Lord - this was the first read I've ever had from Emery Lord, and I adored every moment of it, from the writing to the character relationships built and explored in the narrative.  Paige and Ryan's characters really leap off the page with their respective situations of grief and coming to terms, and I absolutely loved the realistic feel of Paige's circle of friends.

 

The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen 

 

2. "The Truth About Forever" by Sarah Dessen. Many people had begged me to pick up this book by Dessen since I was doing a binge reading of her books in 2015, and I wasn't disappointed in the least.  Loved the relationships of the characters, really identified with Macy's grief as she copes not only with the loss of her father, but also a broken relationship and trying to find her own identity.  Pretty updated cover as well.

 

Dare Me - Megan Abbott 

 

3. "Dare Me" by Megan Abbott - "Dare Me" completely blew me away as one of my earlier reads in the year.  I loved how it managed to immerse me in the overarching mystery surrounding the novel as well as how dark and layered its characters were showcased.  It's definitely one of my new favorite books, and the writing is absolutely fantastic.

 

Black Iris - Leah Raeder 

 

4. "Black Iris" by Leah Raeder - I keep thinking back to some of my favorite reads of 2015 in the New Adult category, and my mind keeps coming back to this.  Dark, lyrical writing, complex (and complicated) characters, deep sensuality that pops off the page, and just an overarching engaging read.  I did have some issues with how it marched toward the end, but the journey was so good that I would gladly pick up this novel again (and I ended up ordering a copy from Amazon even though I had gotten it from NetGalley as a galley.  Goes to show you that I do buy books based on how well they engage me even if I have a digital galley copy.

 

Invisibility - Andrea Cremer,David Levithan 

 

5. "Invisibility" by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan: Dude, I stayed away from this book for far too long because of the mixed reviews surrounding, and ended up loving it for the journey it offered.  I picked it up as an audio read from the library and loved the premise of a boy who's lived his whole life invisibie and the horrific curse that surrounds and threatens him.  I loved how wonderfully tense and palpable the scenes came across in this book, plus - magical realism?  Totally here for that.  I would still love to see a sequel of this if the authors could collaborate again. *crosses fingers*

 

Glass - Ellen Hopkins 

 

6. "Glass" by Ellen Hopkins.  This book broke my heart. As problematic and flawed as the protagonist in this novel is, it's a potent example of the cycle of addiction.  I also liked how it was formatted in a poetic style - which is one of my first loves in writing, but for anyone who may be deterred from it because of that - the audiobook does a wonderful job of pacing and enunciating the emotion behind it.

 

Faking Normal - Courtney C. Stevens 

 

7. "Faking Normal" by Courtney C. Stevens - a wonderfully potent book about a young woman living in the aftermath of her rape.  I actually rated "Blue-Haired Boy" (a companion novella to this story) a full five stars, but in considering it, I'd likely rate both of them among my favorite reads of 2015.  I'm definitely looking forward to reading more from Courtney C. Stevens in the future.

 

All the Rage - Courtney Summers 

 

8. "All the Rage" by Courtney Summers - I think I'll end up loving mostly anything Courtney Summers writes because of how intimate she is with her characterizations and the topics she expounds upon.  This was an emotional read in more ways than one on the topic of rape as well.  And it features a character of color (Leon) who was absolutely wonderful in his portrayal.

 

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids - Sarah Ockler 

 

9. "The Summer of Chasing Mermaids" by Sarah Ockler.  I squee with joy over this book, and continuously think it's underrated because not only does it feature an POC leading character, but it's just a wonderful coming of age summer story in general.  I feel like any review I write won't do it nearly enough justice, but I'm hoping to pen a review for it soon.  Indubitably one of my favorite reads of 2015, and I love Sarah Ockler's writing.

 

and last but not least *drumroll*....

 

Golden Son - Pierce Brown 

 

10. "Golden Son" by Pierce Brown: Yet another book I have yet to review in full, but I loved it just as much as its predecessor, if not a bit more.  And I'm eagerly anticipating the final book in the trilogy which releases this year.

 

 

That's all for now.  Until next entry,

Rose

 

 

 

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review 2016-01-17 06:39
You'd make this book part of your world
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids - Sarah Ockler

Sarah Ockler promises a dreamy and romantic version of "The Little Mermaid," loosely retold in a way that's more Disney than Andersen (mostly because: spoiler, it doesn't end in a horrifically depressing mess). Eylse is from Tobago, recovering in the Northwest Coast's Artagatis Cove after a sailing accident robbed her of her voice. There she is taken under the wing of her Aunt Ursula, a hippie witch who is not the type to sing "Poor Unfortunate Souls" so much as let Elyse cope with the trauma by silently observing the cove's summer flings and politics.

 

 

Of course that doesn't mean she doesn't get sucked up into the goings on anyway. When two of the powerful men, Mayor Katzenberg and Mr. Kane, strike up a bet over selling the land to real estate developers, Eylse finds out that she might have to help notorious playboy Christian Kane win the pirate regatta in order to keep her Aunt Ursula's home from being destroyed.

 

That may be the instigating plot but the novel's true focus comes in the interpersonal relationships as she is thrust into this bet. And since this is a romance, the primary one is between Elyse and Christian. At first blush, I wanted to roll my eyes at the typical playboy with a secret heart of gold they were setting up Christian to be, but he quickly shed the player status, and I was grateful for it. While he has the typical earmarks of YA love interests, Ockler keeps him from feeling too rote. Yes, he doesn't want to follow in his father's ambitious footsteps, but instead of making him a dreamy artistic type he's mostly just a privileged kid who has no ideas what to do except "not that."

 

The secondary characters also provide the most heart for the novel (ironic, since it's a romance). Christian's little brother, Sebastian, is a mermaid aficionado who secretly believes Eylse is a mermaid herself, and provides the major emotional moments for both Christian and Eylse to let their guard down. Sometimes he could feel like a plot device with how his desires perfectly synced up with where the story needed to go, like, for example: the scene where he insisted on a sea wedding between Christian and Eylse to get them their first kiss. But overall giving him his own struggles about wanting to be in the girls-only mermaid parade and small details made him endearing instead of exposition-y.

 

Eylse herself is a big draw to the story. She's already steeped in this romantic surrealism with her culture and her past, being the youngest of six sisters and born in the ocean, but the tone is consistent and her bitterness and trauma ring true. I doubt anyone expecting completely grounded narration would want to pick up a little mermaid retelling, so I found the poetic nature of her thoughts and writing to be well characterized, and I love having a narrator who came from another culture, one steeped in mysticism and music, having to find her legs again, so to speak.Readers can believe in a character who thinks in symbolism and makes pacts with the sea in this context.

 

Also? This book is one of the sexy ones, meaning there's talk of sex and sex positive portrayals. My personal tastes found it the perfect balance of letting it color the narrative without making it the finish line to the Eylse/Christian relationship. There's no extensive "slot A into tab B" play-by-play, but people wanting a clean read are going to be flustered from the multiple oblique references. Including the magical unicorn references of female masturbation presented as a natural matter of course with no shaming or issues whatsoever.

 

Awww yeah. Body language...

 

Ockler's story veers for muddled resolutions instead of clear-cut, and circuitous motivations instead of straightforward good and evil. It's very much the kind of summer read you bask in instead of devouring at a breakneck pace. Readers who look at the sea and imagine something underneath the surface will be the ones most rewarded with a tender and mystical retelling that's really more about rediscovering yourself through great loss than steamy hormonal flings. Although the ones reading it for steamy hormonal flings won't be disappointed either.

 

 

Worth chasing down a copy.

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review 2015-08-31 16:30
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids - Sarah Ockler

What a story!
I'm still swooning at the knees. Christian and Elyse couldn't be more perfect for each other. He brings her out of her shell, and she shows him to stand up for himself. Both actions are what count in the story.
Sebastian, the little sweetie pie, steals the scenes for me though. What Elyse helps him do is inspiring, especially with the world the way it is today. Elyse goes through a lot in this story. You, as a reader, go through it with her. In the end, she finds her true voice. Let me tell you, nothing sounds sweeter either.
If you haven't read this story, do so. So many of you will love it like I did. I'm left hoping for more. What happens after the cove? Yup, I wanna know. I bet, you would wanna know too, so get reading!

 

Source: www.fredasvoice.com/2015/08/67-summer-of-chasing-mermaids-by-sarah.html
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review 2015-08-04 15:08
we're so much more than our voices
The Summer of Chasing Mermaids - Sarah Ockler

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. My stop on the blog tour organized by Diverse Book Tours can be found at Donnie Darko Girl.

I'm a bit ashamed to admit this is my first Sarah Ockler book. I own Twenty Boy Summer but just haven't had a chance to read it yet. I would have written that book off as a fluffy romance had I not read glowing reviews from other bloggers. And I'm so glad found those reviews because if I hadn't, then most likely I would have missed out on The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, and that would have been a travesty.

The cover as well as the author drew me to checking out the synopsis. That cover is so beautiful and fits with the story and atmosphere of the book. Ockler's writing is tremendous and gorgeous and just lyrical. I felt like I was reading a poem at times.

I fell in love with Elyse's character right away. Though she can't speak, she stands out the most in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids. Until meeting Elyse, I never would have thought about how much we allow our voices to define who we are. Though she sees herself as broken having lost her ability to speak, she was able to find out, albeit under tragic circumstances, that she's so much more than her voice. Her voice was just one part of her identity. It's sad when you realize something like that after you've lost something that was precious to you.

But I didn't look at Elyse with pity - I looked at her with pure admiration. So far from home in a world so different from what she's used to, she does her best to survive day to day. She misses home terribly but also needed to get away from there at the same time. And Elyse is another character I'm drawn to because her mother died, too. She never got to know her, but I know the emptiness left behind from the loss all too well.

I also must admit I had some trepidation about Christian because he's described as a "notorious playboy." I worried his character would end up being stereotypical, but he really surprised me in the best of ways, from the moment he said so calmly, "There's a girl writing on my boat." As if that's an everyday occurrence for him! It was then I knew I was going to like him.

Elyse's "cousin" Kirby and "aunt" Lemon were good for Elyse to be around. I liked both of them, and though Kirby is the opposite of Elyse, I think it was good for Elyse to be around someone so positive and bouncy.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is a YA contemporary you can't afford to miss. Perfect to read during summer (or any time of year!), if you've been shying away from contemporary novels, you really should read this one. This novel will change your mind about whether or not to read the genre. Definitely a game-changer. An emotional and often humorous read you'll remember for a long, long time.

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