This Is Our Story

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Five went in. Four came out.

No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the district attorney’s office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she investigates with Stone, the aging prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot, she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own

Fun story about this – I only showed interest in this book because of the cover and that it was centered on a death caused by a hunting accident. But boy was I hooked!

Here is the intro blurb that got me hooked (It’s a little long):

A ten-point buck and a dead body make the same sound when they hit the forest floor. It’s hard to believe a person could be mistaken for an animal, but it happens more than you know.

We know these woods. We’ve spent as much time here as anywhere else. Every hill and valley, every place the deer forage for food and rest in the heat of the day, is mapped out in our heads. We know exactly where the shot comes from when we hear it. Stealth no longer necessary, we tear in form every direction, each wanting to see the kill first.

But that excitement evaporates at the sight of Grant’s body twisted in odd angles over a downed tree. The impact of the bullet knocked him completely out of his boots, which as still upright several feet away.

We gravitate to one another, standing in a tight pack several yards away from him, momentarily scared to get any closer. One by one, our guns slip through our fingers, thudding softly on the blanket of leaves covering the ground. 

And one by one we move closer to Grant.

Stunned, we stand in a circle around him, our bodies covered in camouflage, each of us blending into the next. 

No one goes near him. No one bends down to check his pulse. There is a small hole in the center of his chest and blood pours out of him and soaks into the ground and there is no question – Grant Perkins is dead.

Two of us drop to our knees, crying; another seems unable to move at all.

But one of us studies the guns piled on the ground.

“That’s not a buckshot wound. He got shot with a rifle.”

All eyes go to the Remington – the only rifle in the group.

Concern for Grant is over quickly; the sorrow turns to panic and every finger quickly points to someone else and shouts of “I didn’t do it!” ring through the air. We all handles that rifle and we know it could point back to any one of us.

The amount of booze and pot and pills still flowing through our systems will guarantee that this is seen as a crime, not just an accident.

We push each other.

We cuss each other.

We threaten each other.

We are imploding.

I watch my friends, who are more like brothers, and know this won’t end well for any of us. 

A buzzing sound on the ground beside Grant quiets everyone. His phone, set on vibrate, rattles in he dead leaves. No one moves to touch it, to answer it, to make it stop. We all just stare at Grant. 

Single file, the ants begin to claim his boy. Birds swoop into the nearby trees, waiting for a clear shot at him. We will look guilty if we wait too long to call for help. We will look guilty no matter what. We need to do something – call someone – but we’re paralyzed.

I study each person in the circle, faces tear-streaked and numb from either the shock or the alcohol or the drugs. Or maybe all three. I weigh strengths and weaknesses. 

Only one us pulled the trigger, but we all played our own part in his death. They will find marks on Grant that don’t fit with an accidental shooting. They will find marks on us that shouldn’t be there either. The last twenty-four hours will have them talking about more than what happened during this  early-morning hunt.

“So no one is is owning up to using the Remington,” one of us says, more a statement than a question.

Do any of us remember which one of us was holding that gun a few minutes ago?

Silence as loud as a freight train fills the space, and we stare at Grant to avoid looking at each other. Or looking guilty. 

“If one of us goes down for this, it’ll be as bad as all of us going down for this,” I say. “We can’t let that happen.”

All eyes are on me. One look is blank, like my words are registering, while others are nodding, ready to agree to anything that will keep them out of trouble.

There is only one way out of this, and it has to be together. We all have to agree. 

“This was just an accident. A horrible accident,” one of us mumbles. “Whoever used the Remington should just admit it. There’s no reason to drag us all through this.”

“Even if it was an accident, whoever did this could still go to prison,” another of us says.

Our actions this morning would be viewed no differently than if Grant had died while we’d been driving under the influence.

Negligent homicide.

“Look, I know we’re all scared shitless right now, but wee’ll be fine. There’s no reason for anyone to ruin his whole life over this,” I say.

There’s one person who hasn’t spoken at all, and I realize just how fragile this plan  it. We all have to agree or the whole thing will fall apart. He looks down at Grant and ten back at the rest of us and finally says, “We’re in this together. We stick together.”

I lean forward and the other three do the same. Hovering over poor, dead Grant, I say, “Okay, this is our story…”

Wow.  Like how could I not be intrigued to find out who did it?!

I really enjoyed the setting – it felt very Duck Dynasty to me because of the back woods and hunting (but I love Duck Dynasty so go figure). I loved the court aspect – I lvoe watching shows like Law & Order: SVU. Finally, I loved the writing style. The book begins from the POV of one of the River Point Boys explaining what “happened” that morning. (See above blurb). As you read on, these POV  blurbs from the same boy were at the end of each chapter. The book also weaved interview transcripts, court documents, and other evidence into the story as well. The characters felt realistic. The friendships are complex and their loyalties run deep. I love the small-town feel – my boyfriend is from a small town that neighbors the one we live it, and even with it being so close, I love that small town feeling – even if there isn’t a Target 😉

While, the story centers on the River Point  boys and the accident, they aren’t really “present”. The story is told from Kate’s point of view. Kate is the assistant to the DA on the case, so we learn all the juicy details. PLUS, the DA she works for has a degenerative eye disease, so Kate gets to do sleuthing on her own -which ultimately leads her to solving the nearly impossible case and keeps an innocent boy out of jail.

From the blurbs from the boy POV, I assumed it was each boy telling their part, but in the end we learn it is the boy who was found guilty, explaining the accident, the events during the investigation (aka threatening “the girl” aka Kate), and the final POV excerpt details the boy’s thoughts that day when he killed Grant.

It isn’t a YA novel without some sort of love interest – hello cliche love interest of Kate and one of the River Point Boys. It was a little bit of an insta-love, but still gives me the warm and fuzzies, which was a great way to get a break from the book’s suspense.

As for the killer, I definitely didn’t guess correctly until the final evidence was given. I was back and forth for most of the story.

If you’re looking for a suspenseful  read, pick this book up! Next up will be The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone. Happy reading lovelies!

 

 

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Caraval (#1)

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Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

Long time, no see my lovely readers! I currently have some lag in my busy work schedule, so it’s time for some blogger catch up! First up is the over-anticipated Caraval by Stephanie Garber! I received this book in my February Owlcrate and the theme was Run Away with the Circus! I haven’t really mentioned Owlcrate before, but I LOVE my Owlcrate subscription! I’ve received it for over a year now, and this is the first book I’ve read out of any Owlcrate box (Busy schedule and all).

Here was this wonderful box

Capture

On my Goodreads account, you will see I gave Caraval 5 stars!

LOVED the book.

It was magical, intriguing, whimsical, and a constant mystery.

However, I was not very fond of the main character, Scarlett. Her determination to play and win the game stemmed from her sisterly-love, because she needed to find her missing sister, Tella, but she constantly complained that she needed to get back to their island to get married, or that she was getting married and had no idea who her husband was or what he was like. HELLO, you’ve been writing to Master Legend, the creator of Caraval, your entire life, and as soon as you get an invite you can’t just play the game without focusing all your energy on some person you don’t know – did I mention the prize for winning Caraval was a wish, which can literally be anything, like wishing you could marry whoever your heart desired, but okay. While she wasn’t my favorite character, she did make great progress over the course of the whole book and becomes her own person.

Scarlett and Tella’s father is a giant, jerky, douchebag – excuse my language – but he is! He lays his hands on them for “misbehaving”, threatens to kill them if they try to escape, and basically sold Scarlett to the highest bidder (and wouldn’t introduce them until the day of the wedding). He literally gives me the heeby-jeebies.

Let’s talk about Julian.

Julian is Scarlett’s “unintentional” love interest and knight-in-shining-armor.

All I can say is SWOON. I love Julian – go figure he is definitely book boyfriend worthy. I thought the Julian and Scarlett together worked. His and Scarlett’s actions towards each other spoke louder than words. It made me want to fall in love for the first time all over again in a non-cheesy way.

As for the world of Caraval, things are not as they seem! Once you get to Caraval, you can choose to watch the game or participate, but you don’t get to change your decision! Of course, Scarlett chose to participate since she’s been writing to Legend her entire life. The game itself will literally drive the players mad as they scour the island for clues and the hidden item.

SPOILER ALERT

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Tell as invited to join Scarlett in Caraval too, but she got separated from Scarlett once they got to the island. Turns out, Tella is the item they are looking for in the game.

The book was full of twists and turns, and I definitely could not put it down (unless I had to do something of more importance). I thought it was movie worthy, and guess what?! Supposedly, Fox optioned for the rights for the book – back in June 2015. Hello this book wasn’t even released until January 31, 2017! Like, woah

Here are some of my favorite quotes

Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.

Even if we don’t lie to others, we often, lie to ourselves.

A wish isn’t something someone can burn. 

I loved following Scarlett and Julian through the world of Caraval and I can’t wait to go back! Next up on the blogger catch up is This is Our Story by Ashley Elston.  Happy reading lovelies!

 

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons WhyGoodreads Synopsis:

You can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Spoiler: Unpopular Opinion Alert.

Lots of rants. Lots of spoilers.

I first read this book in 2007 when it was just released. I was in 7th grade and inexperienced. Now with it’s 10th Anniversary, I decided a re-read was in order (Plus, it fits my 2017 reading challenge for a story within a story). Let me say, experience and maturity changes your view on this book.

Before you ask, no, I have never thought about or tried to commit suicide.

I know people that have.

I know people that have tried to.

I know people that wanted to and got help.

Suicide is a sensitive topic and this novel is whiny and unrealistic.

Let’s talk about Hannah.

Hannah is the center of the story. She decides to take her own life and leave behind cassette tapes for each person explaining how they are a “reason” for her death. Clay is our eyes for the story. He received the tapes, but he’s not sure but he’s not sure why. Honestly, I think it was mean to put Clay through the agony of listening to the tapes, when he never “wronged” Hannah in any way. It’s pretty heartless. He had a completely harmless crush, but Hannah felt the need to include him in the mix, so he knew why she killed herself, but that she also liked him. WHAT? Who does that? No one.

Various Spoilers Ahead & Lots of Ranting

As for her reasons, they were petty. A couple made “sense” (I say this lightly, because having mean things said to you or about you is definitely not a good enough reason to end your life). While most were just placing blame on other people. I was really upset when she said Mr. Porter was a reason. Yeah, she “went” for help, but it’s really hard to get help wen you’re not opening up and being cryptic with your responses. Hannah’s reasons weren’t powerful enough to make this a decent piece of literature on a sensitive topic.

I enjoyed the format of the book, but the plot fell flat. There was no clear line as to what Hannah’s motivation was. People were “mean” to her and instead of finding new friends and distancing herself from the so-called friends that were hurting her, she continued to be around people she hated.

Here are Hannah’s “reasons”:

  1. Justin Foley: Hannah’s first kiss who started rumors that it was more than a kiss.
  2. Alex Standall: Put out a list saying Hannah had the “Best Ass of the Freshman Class”.
  3. Jessica Davis: Was friends with Hannah and was upset she was voted “Worst Ass of the Freshman Class”. She hit Hannah (which left a scar) during an argument over the list.
  4. Tyler Down: Picture-taking, peeping Tom outside Hannah’s window.
  5. Courtney Crimson: fake friend who helped “catch” Tyler and started a rumor that Hannah had sex toys in her room and had put out for Justin Foley.
  6. Marcus Cooley: Hannah’s Valentine’s Day survey date match. “Tried” putting the moves on her while on their date. She pushed him out of the booth.
  7. Zach Dempsey: Hannah ignored him so he stole her Notes of Encouragement from her bag in their Peer Communications Class.
  8. Ryan Shaver: friend from a poetry class, until he stole her very personal poem and published in the school paper (anonymously) where English teachers used it dring poetry lessons for analysis.
  9. Clay: He’s not a reason, she just wanted him to know what happened. He then blames himself because he “had no idea what was going on”.
  10. Justin Foley (again): Allowed Bryce Walker to have sex with Jessica Davis and Hannah was hidden in the closet…
  11. Jenny Kurtz: Drove Hannah home, hit a STOP sign, didn’t report it, and a fatal accident happened later that night because there was no sign.
  12. Bryce Walker:Touched Hannah in the hot tub, and then she let him have sex with her.
  13. Mr. Porter: teacher/guidance counselor who Hannah saw because she was “suicidal” and then instead of talking, she was cryptic and uncooperative.

The whole book focuses on blaming people who were two-faced and said/did mean things. Hannah resented these people, and instead of standing up for herself, putting effort into seeking help – not just leaving anonymous notes for the teacher – she blamed them as a reason to die. Just re-reading the reasons above, I’m like, these aren’t even valid points – but then again, there is never a valid reason to kill yourself.

Justin Foley is an asshole and stereotypical jerk-jock from every movie/TV show/book ever.

Alex Standall is a stupid boy and was an immature Freshman and put out a Best and Worst list. It is not his fault that the boys of their class felt the need to fall to the stereotypical rape-culture and grab Hannah’s ass as she walks by.

Jessica Davis was one of her only friends and one little argument ended their friendship forever. If I ended every friendship I had every time we had a disagreement, I would have zero friends.

Tyler Down is an asshole with no conscious.

Courtney Crimson was a fake friend who never looked out for others – and Hannah knew that. She knew not to trust her, but she did it any way.

Marcus Cooley is a jerk who ran with the other jerks mentioned above. Hello – find new friends if you’re having such an issue with the people in this group.

Zach Dempsey acted like a jerk because Hannah turned him down. As someone who went through the public high school system, I highly doubt a guy would be such a jerk to resort to stealing because 1 girl, in a school with hundreds of people, turned him down.

Ryan Shaver, like Zach, is just a jerk. I understand Hannah was upset about the poetry thing, but no one had found out it was hers until the tapes. Her peers didn’t like the poem and found it whiny and blame-y too, but they never suggested that Hannah wrote it. Sorry, you can’t constructive criticism from peers who don’t even know you wrote it.

Clay has no reason to be on this list. It was a bitchy move to include him. Yeah, he wanted to know what happened given the fact he was working up courage to ask you on a date, but he was never inappropriate, he never did anything mean. He was the boy Hannah worked with and the boy who fell in love with her for who she was as a person and never told her.

Justin Foley allowing Bryce Walker to rape Jessica Davis is in no way a reason to kill yourself. Yes Hannah, you were hidden in the closet and were so stricken with fear that you couldn’t bring yourself to put a stop to it, but it is no way your fault. You did not rape her. You do not need to kill yourself over other people’s horrendous mistakes.

Jenny Kurtz is the reason that fatal accident occurred hours after you left the party. She was the one drunk driving and took out a stop sign. It was her fault. Just because she gave you a ride, doesn’t mean you are responsible. Jenny knew what she did. It is not your fault she was irresponsible.

Bryce Walker was an asshole the entire story. Hannah was so made up with her mind that she just let him  have sex with her. She didn’t say no. She didn’t try to stop him. She just let him. She was SOBER and knew that she was going to let him do it.

Mr. Porter was just a cheap shot for Hannah. Throwing faculty under the bus because they didn’t help you is wrong when they asked you questions when you came in and you were cryptic and uncooperative. They wanted to help, but she didn’t want any real help, so she was uncooperative, because she had already made up her mind. This was Hannah’s very weak attempt at a Hail Mary.

The whiny approach in this book was not powerful enough to evoke the emotion needed to make this an amazing story about a sensitive topic. In all honesty, I preferred the alternate ending where Hannah lived. She needed the second chance and the help, and Tony (minor character who was in charge of ensuring that the tapes were passed along) was able to give her that. Clay was able to tell the girl he loved that he was in love with her.

As those in the book community know, Netflix has created a 1 season TV show based on the book. I watched it and definitely prefer it over the book. Yes, the same people are the same reasons in the TV show, but Hollywood knows how to create a show that will make us feel the powerful emotions. They show the parents side of the story (including a never mentioned law suit) and instead of Clay listening to the tapes all in one night, he listens to them over the course of a week or so – maybe a couple of weeks. His story and those who are reasons all intertwine in a way that’s dramatic and evokes the powerful emotions. Leave it to Hollywood to save the story.

That’s it for today’s rant of over-hyped literature that falls flat. Until next time bookworms.

 

 

Me Before You: Book vs. Movie

Me Before YouGoodreads Synopsis

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex-Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair-bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

AHHH I LOVED THIS BOOK.

It made me laugh.

It made me cry.

It made me believe in true love.

I want Louisa to be my best friend. She is such a beautiful person inside and out, and absolutely hilarious. Her family is a little dysfunctional at times, but they are all really loving and caring. She is a little blindsided when it comes to her boyfriend, Patrick. He’s a complete asshole. I don’t know why she didn’t break up with him in the first place.

Will. What can I say about Will? I love him. He’s hilarious, charismatic, and had me wrapped around his finger. Granted, I did have to warm up to him a little bit, because he was very snarky and uncooperative in the beginning of the book, but it’s understandable. He was a good sport for Lou and her crazy little side trips. He went along with it because he loved Lou, and wanted to make sure she got everything she wanted for him.

In the end, it was devastating, but it was his choice. I understand there has been some controversy regarding ablism, but in the end, it’s a book about a guy who wasn’t happy with the hand he was dealt. His view on his own quality of life is what mattered the most, and in reality, there is no room for us to judge his decision, because we’ve never been dealt the hand he was. It’s sad, but deep down, he wasn’t happy, even after falling in love with Louisa.

Movie time!

I am a firm believer in the book is always better than the movie, but in this case, I loved them both! The casting was perfect.I fell more in love with the story and surprisingly, the movie was pretty true to the book, which I appreciate. I have watched this movie several times and still fall in love with the story over and over again. Side note: I hated that they casted Matthew Lewis as Louisa’s douchey boyfriend. Excuse me, that is Neville Longbottom, he is not a douchey person!

Me-Before-You-Movie-Review

See, perfect casting!

Lousia’s red dress is to die for! I want one!

If you haven’t checked out eithter the book or movie, do so! It’s a tear-jerker, but also a warm blanket of love.  I haven’t read the sequel yet, but it is in my ever-growing TBR pile.

Next up is Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Happy reading!

What Light

What LightGoodreads Synopsis:

Sierra’s family runs a Christmas tree farm in Oregon—it’s a bucolic setting for a girl to grow up in, except that every year, they pack up and move to California to set up their Christmas tree lot for the season. So Sierra lives two lives: her life in Oregon and her life at Christmas. And leaving one always means missing the other.

Until this particular Christmas, when Sierra meets Caleb, and one life eclipses the other.

By reputation, Caleb is not your perfect guy: years ago, he made an enormous mistake and has been paying for it ever since. But Sierra sees beyond Caleb’s past and becomes determined to help him find forgiveness and, maybe, redemption. As disapproval, misconceptions, and suspicions swirl around them, Caleb and Sierra discover the one thing that transcends all else: true love.

I picked up this book because I love Christmas – seriously, I DVR all of the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies every year. However, it fell a little short in areas.

I LOVED that the setting was California, but it was unclear where in California – as a California girl, I want to know where they’re at!  Main character, Sierra, reminds me of myself. She’s naive, full of puppy love, but cares about people 110%. Caleb is mysterious and romantic, but sometimes cares too much. I didn’t really care for Sierra’s friend, Heather, I felt like she was a user and didn’t really have Sierra’s best interest all the time. Devon, Heather’s boyfriend, was a completely useless character. I feel like Asher added him, because he need a subplot. Finally, Andrew, a worker on the tree lot, former friend, and in love with Sierra, is part of a useless subplot and is used to just cause drama between Sierra and her parents.

I love a Christmas time love story, but this story was definitely insta-love, which I feel is super overrated. It works for Hallmark, but didn’t work for this book because it bounced all over the place.

The book is short – I read it in a day. It’s cute, but predictable. It’s a fluffy contemporary holiday book. Besides it being centered around Christmas, I picked it up because of the author. I read Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why in middle school and again recently, but I have discovered I am not really a fan of this author – you’ll see in my review of Thirteen Reasons Why. I don’t see myself buying any of his work in the future, maybe just check them out from the library.

Next up is my Me Before You by JoJo Moyes Book vs. Movie review. Happy reading!

 

Dumplin’

DumplinGoodreads Synopsis:

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Hello bookish friends! Long time, no see. I finally have some time to catch up on my ever-needed blogging, so first up is Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. If you’ve seen my Goodreads account, you know that I gave this beauty 4 stars.

I loved this book because it is me. I know some of you have been following me for a while now, and you know from my review of 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson (see here), that I have struggled with my weight and body issues for a while now. Reading Dumplin’ made me feel those same things.

I know you’re thinking it. No, I have never competed in a Beauty Pageant because: a.) Stage fright, b.) I don’t have any talents I can perform – reading silently onstage isn’t really a talent, c.) The idea of walking around on stage showing of outfits and answering interview questions, just doesn’t sound fun to me – then again.

Willowdean is me. I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and dislike how I looked, my weight, the way my hair didn’t curl normally, etc. Even now on my current weightloss journey, it is still difficult for me to accept things sometimes. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and a hormone imbalance in February 2016, that I came to accept that losing weight was always going to be difficult for me. Any time I lose weight, I gain it back quickly. This year I’ve given up soda and fast food (very difficult for me, but going strong!), I’ve lost around 7 pounds and have been able to keep it off.

Willowdean’s story reminds me of how I wish stories like this were around when I was in middle school and high school. I think if I had an inspiring story like this, I would have had better self esteem in those years, and probably would have stood up for myself in certain situations that are still in the back of my mind.

Dumplin’ is a story for anyone who has ever felt fat, insecure, anxious, and all around not good enough. We are good enough. We are all beautiful. Other people’s opinion’s don’t determine your worth, so don’t even waste your time thinking about them.

This book is positive, funny, enlightening, and deals with realistic everyday issues besides body image, such as complex/dysfunctional families and friends in unlikely places. In the words of Willowdean, “I think maybe it’s the things we don’t want to talk about that are the things people most want to hear.”

Apparently, this is just book 1 in a series of some sort. I haven’t heard anything on a sequel, but I will definitely be checking it out when it comes out!

Next on the #BloggingCatchUp is What Light by Jay Asher.

Happy reading bookworms.

Four: A Divergent Collection

18126198Goodreads Synopsis:

Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

To begin, I am not one to read novellas, but it came in my box set, so of course I decided to read it. Plus, it was recommended by my sorority little sister!

Anywho, this book made me so happy. I love being able to learn more about Tobias. We see him transform from Tobias the “Stiff” and son of Marcus, to Four, the Divergent and future leader of the rebellion. And in all honesty, seeing this transition for Four, makes me love him so much more. I would love to see these played out in some deleted scenes of sort or a short TV movie.

HOWEVER, I am glad I read it AFTER I finished the Divergent Series, because Four/Tobias’s mysterious demeanor was not hindered by reading his backstory first. Four is meant to be mysterious, and I feel reading this book first would have ruined the series for me.

I can’t really put into words how these four short stories made me  feel. If you’ve read the entire Divergent Series, I would definitely check this out.

Here’s Theo James for your viewing pleasures:

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