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AmberJ

Following the Leader (Amber J.)

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The Choice (The Returned, #0.7) - Jason Mott For some people in this world, that's what the returned were - a longing for life as it was. For others, the returned were simply a manifestation of a life that was never intended.Even though you now from the beginning of The Choice that things probably have to end as they do, it was still an interesting read.All three prequels have been good, and choosing to get the audiobook versions was definitely the right move. Jason Mott is a great storyteller so letting the narrators tell me the story enhances the experience.Next stop: [b:The Returned|18060967|The Returned|Jason Mott|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1372684422s/18060967.jpg|21762912]
The Sparrow (The Returned, #0.6) - Jason Mott There is kind of cliffhanger - a question that is hopefully revealed in [b:The Returned|17182421|The Returned|Jason Mott|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1372089735s/17182421.jpg|21762912].
The First (The Returned) - Jason Mott I loved Edmund and Emily's love story.If this is a sign of things to come, then I know [b:The Returned|17182421|The Returned|Jason Mott|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1372089735s/17182421.jpg|21762912] will be very interesting.
Steelheart Chapter Sampler - Brandon Sanderson WHY?! Why would you release an awesome teaser and get people hooked when the novel doesn't come out until like a month later? Who does that?!I guess it's my fault for not paying attention to the release date when I downloaded this =((FYI: the audiobook version is grrreat!)This is my first [a:Brandon Sanderson|38550|Brandon Sanderson|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1201547425p2/38550.jpg] experience so now I finally see what all the hype is about.But I'm not sure what genre this falls into. The narrator is fairly young but I don't know if this is supposed to be YA/NA or just Adult Fiction. Also, there are dystopian/sci-fi/supernatural elements. There's a lot of killing and destruction, and there are superheroes, well, supervillains. It's pretty graphic - two words: vaporized baby. Yeah, that happens. I need the answers to the mysteries: Why did the diggers go mad?, and What is Calamity and where did it come from?, and What was it about David's dad and that gun that made you-know-who do you-know-what?. And does anyone know how it would even be possible for someone to have a power that allows them to have unlimited bullets in a gun?I know I'm going to be going over theories in my head for the next 17 days. 17 DAYS?! *sigh*
All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill Prediction: James and "the doctor" are the same person.(maniacal laughter)
Bully (Fall Away, #1) - Penelope Douglas The first few chapters were good, but that shower/locker room scene was the first stop on the train to Ridiculous.I might try to give [b:Until You|18260742|Until You (Fall Away, #1.5)|Penelope Douglas|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1375194121s/18260742.jpg|25720207] a shot since it's told from Jared's perspective. (And Douglas's second book will probably be better than this one).
Breathless - Brigid Kemmerer I absolutely loved this novella. I've loved all the novellas in this series so far - even more so than the actual books. I know it's not necessary to read novellas to follow the plot, but I can't imagine enjoying this series as much as I do if I didn't understand the history and therefore the motivation of specific (read: my favorite) characters, and that's what the novellas offer.I even got to see a different side of Quinn, which has made me less annoyed with her =)And I think Kemmerer did an excellent job of showing the internal struggle that someone goes through when they're hiding an essential part of themselves. The way she showed Nick constantly reminding himself to ignore his feelings and adhere to the expectations his brothers have for him was so sad and seemed very real.Because of BREATHLESS I'm definitely impatient now about the release of Nick's book =(
Fearless - Brigid Kemmerer This was the perfect follow-up to [b:Storm|10401084|Storm (Elemental, #1)|Brigid Kemmerer|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1325995724s/10401084.jpg|15305022]...and I'm not just saying that because Hunter is my favorite character in the series. I think I loved this novella more than [b:Elemental|13418864|Elemental (Elemental, #0.5)|Brigid Kemmerer|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327068494s/13418864.jpg|18769953].We get to see who Hunter was before he came to Merrick-ville lol, and we learn how and why he became the man he is now.We also get to meet Hunter's father and uncle. They are no longer figures in Hunter's recollections - they have form and (for better or worse) substance. Despite his somewhat questionable parenting methods, I still really liked Hunter's dad as a character. I also liked Uncle Jay. I am glad that even after Hunter learned the harsh lesson his father wanted him to, he still came to some of his own conclusions and formed his own opinions. However, it does make me wonder how much of his father and uncle's advice did stick, and did it cloud his relationship with Becca. (What is and isn't real?)
Storm - Brigid Kemmerer “Hey. Fag.” Then he drew back the paper clip and let it fly.The boy whipped around. His hand shot out to snatch the paper clip from the air.There was a collective gasp from every student who’d been watching— Becca included.The boy’s hand had formed a fist around the paper clip, and for a fractured moment, Becca thought he was going to take a swing.But he half rose from his seat to drop the mangled paper clip in front of Tommy.“Look, dude,” he said, his voice low and earnest. “You want to ask me out, you man up and do it proper.”Where to begin?Admittedly, it took me way too long to read this book. For most of the story it felt like the engine in Becca's old beat-up car was just revving up, and for more than half the book we don't really go anywhere except to a party...and World History class, but then at about the 70% mark the wheels really started turning. But the characters Kemmerer has created are likeable and interesting (well, except for one), so it didn't feel like the story was dragging. Although [b:Storm|10401084|Storm (Elemental, #1)|Brigid Kemmerer|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1325995724s/10401084.jpg|15305022] didn't keep me glued to my Kindle, every time I walked away there was this voice in my head telling me to go back for more (come to think of it, it was probably Nick lol).I guess there was a disconnect for me initially because I was sucked into this series by the prequel, [b:Elemental|13418864|Elemental (Elemental, #0.5)|Brigid Kemmerer|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327068494s/13418864.jpg|18769953]. So I was all about Michael Merrick, and I liked that I could actually relate to Emily, and I loved the dynamic between the two of them, and I admired how Michael looked out for his little brother, Chris. And then just like that - it was over. And now I'm in Storm, and apparently a lot of time has elapsed, or maybe a little, who knows? (We aren't told anything or given any clues in the beginning of Storm). So when Chris makes a very big revelation to Becca in the first chapter, I'm like "Whaaa?? When did this happen?" And then there's Michael, but there's no Emily and there's no explanation for why she's missing (until much later), and there's a lot of tension between him and his brothers and I'm like, "What the heck is going on?" I guess Kemmerer was trying to create/maintain a certain level of suspense, but it was just confusing right off the bat, and it's hard to recover after that.As I mentioned above, the characters are what really make this book; and Kemmerer has given us a fairly large cast to choose from. With such a diverse group of personalities in the Elemental petri dish, every reader should find at least one character they can latch onto and root for. My faves are Hunter and Nick (and Michael, too). Hunter's presence was definitely refreshing because he exuded such confidence, and seemed so secure and kind; and didn't seem to crave the approval of his peers like so many teenage guys (and girls) do. Becca said it best: "No games, just simple chivalry and kindness. Gentle strength, the way a man should come to a woman."Sidebar: The last scene between Hunter and Becca left me with a lot of unanswered questions. But, I believe Hunter's feelings for Becca were genuine, and his quest for vengeance just kinda got in the way. I really liked that there are no clear-cut "good" or "bad" guys - everyone does something shady at some point that endangers the lives of others. (Nick is the closest thing to an Angel in this book, and even he slips over to the dark side for a minute during an intense moment). And Kemmerer definitely doesn't hold back when it comes to the action - she shows how serious the Guides are about eradicating the Pures to the point of recklessness where they don't give a flying f--k if innocent human lives are lost in the battle.I also have to give Kemmerer credit for writing female MCs that don't drive me to drink - I've mentally murdered so many fictional heroines over the years. But, just as with Emily in Elemental, I liked Becca, and her story arc. These girls are definitely relatable.Becca's character evolves from a shy girl who's been forced into shame and isolation because she's in the middle of a high school scandal, and becomes a stronger more self-assured and empowered person.Sidebar: I love that Hunter (and Chris) are the ones that help her find her true self and reclaim her girl power. Since men stole it from her, it's fitting that good men give it back to her. The only difference is in their methods: Chris usually comes to her rescue, but Hunter teaches her how to protect herself (which I feel is better - "teach a man to fish", I'm just sayin')Sidebar to the Sidebar: Why does Hunter always wear long-sleeved shirts. Seriously, like in every scene - long sleeved shirt. What's up with that?Unfortunately, Quinn, Becca's BFF, is basically one-note the entire book. She is a snarky, mouthy girl when we meet her and is still a snarky, mouthy girl when it's all said and done. And her one "vulnerable" moment felt weird and out of place. So I guess Storm a guide on how-to and how-to-not write a good female character.I also liked that this book isn't one long fantasy trip, and the characters have to deal with serious issues like death, parental abandonment, fiscal responsibility, bullying, and sexual assault.Sidebar: I liked how Brigid K. gives us nuggets of information about the origin of the rumors surrounding Becca as the story progresses so that we don't find out what really happened until almost the endI guess I've saved the worst for last: Gabriel.Gabriel. Gabriel. GABRIEL. I've never been so infuriated with a fake person.I didn't like his character...at all.I know the two good deeds (if you can call them that) he does are supposed to make me see that he's not that bad and he has the potential to be a good guy...but they didn't, and I don't.Gabriel presents this idea that if you've experienced a tragedy, then that gives you the green light to walk around with an attitude and visit your wrath on whomever you choose, and there will be no repercussions or consequences for your actions. (Someone does put him in his place for half-a-second, but then he goes right back to being the same ol' Gabriel).I know firsthand what it's like to have no parents. So I know that experience makes you angry and cold, and somewhat inconsiderate of other people's feelings. Being able to empathize with someone else's sorrow is a struggle sometimes. But I suck it up, and I try to do it, and if I can't, then I keep it to myself. It is NOT okay to treat people the way Gabriel does; and the fact that he gets away with it really pissed me off.More than anything, I hated the way Gabriel treated Michael. And Gabriel's "emotional" speech toward the end only makes things worse - because if he felt that way all along, then his mistreatment of Michael throughout the entire book makes no sense - it is inexcusable and unforgivable.Other than my rage over Gabriel's character lol, I really enjoyed the Elemental experience, and this book has definitely made me a Brigid K. fan.LESSONS LEARNED: There are kind, caring, strong, hot, powerful, fun guys out there (unfortunately, they all live in this one city in Maryland.)
Elemental (Elemental, #0.5) - Brigid Kemmerer Like, I can't even...I don't even...what just happened?That can't be how it ends. I've just spent 49 of the last 50 pages going "Aww, you guys" in a squeaky voice I didn't even know I could effect, because Emily and Michael are the coolest boy-girl duo/couple I've come across in a very very long time. I luvs me some Michael Merrick, and I finally find a heroine in a book that I don't want to push down a flight of stairs - I really like Emz (yeah, we have nicknames for each other and everything lol). She's an Air Elemental - I'm an Air sign - we just clicked lol. I became emotionally invested in the lives of these two people that aren't even real; I've never felt this ooey-gooey, sticky, sweet happiness for a fictional couple before...and this is how it all unfolds?Does their story continue? Are they even in the next book? I need answers =(I definitely need the answer to these questions:How do the Elementals know that Michael is a pure Earth Elemental? Is there a test or mark or sign? Did he level his elementary school or something? Whadidhedo?He was a pure Elemental. Power spoke to him straight from the earth. The others in town had power, sure, but nothing like his. He could theoretically level half the town if he lost his temper.I do love Kemmerer's writing style - the way the third person narrative has a subtle shift in tone and gender identity when switching between POVs is nice - and the dialogue is awesome. Most supernatural YA books (at least the ones I've read) are about the MCs discovering/learning that they have special powers, so it's cool (and refreshing) that everyone involved is already aware they can do...stuff.But seriously, what do I do? I'm not really sure how I feel right now. Brigid Kemmerer, what are you doing to me?!Oh, well. I will try to read [b:Storm|10728940|Storm|Brigid Kemmerer|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1329864970s/10728940.jpg|15305022] and see what happens.LESSONS LEARNED: I will know my soulmate when I find him because our connection will be kinetic and our banter will be funny and charming, and we will challenge each other without being hostile, and he will be totally cool with the fact that I sort of, maybe, will try to kill him with a golf club.
The Devil's Garden - Jane Kindred "Boy." The word stopped him in his tracks as he stepped into the passageway. No one had called him that since he was twelve. "I need your name, to send word." Nesre's eyes held flat disinterest, dismissing any evidence of Ume Sky’s existence."It’s Cillian. Cillian Rede."Every good thing that everyone has already said about this book is absolutely true.I only have one main complaint (which I also think someone has already stated): This should have been a full-length novel. Even though there were just a few plot lines, there was enough material to fill a couple hundred pages, and the writing flowed so well that I could have read Kindred's words for hours. (Kindle Immersion Reading and a narrator with a very intriguing voice also deserve credit for this enjoyable experience)This captivating story of a time long ago in a land far away was filled with ideas that are relevant even today: fact versus myth, erosion of traditional values in a secular world, murder, corruption, betrayal, sexual fluidity and gender equality, disillusionment with government and religion. But having this all condensed into an 82-page novella, means there wasn't much room too elaborate. There was so much more I wanted to know, especially about the steampunk aspect of this society. I'm not saying I felt like I read an unfinished story, just an incomplete one (I hope that makes sense).I really really liked all of the main characters, which almost never happens. Because the third person POV follows Ume/Cillian, I was satisfied with his backstory, but I would have loved to know more about Cree and the Meer of In'La. The Meer was awesome - I do believe he was magical, but each reader must come to their own conclusion. "I create many things here. Whether art or invention, I find it more satisfying to use my hands than to merely manifest my thoughts with divine speech. I have engaged an engineer on occasion to help me bring my ideas to fruition, so that they might live on beyond the scope of my words. Power that may be harnessed by the ordinary man, such as light and locomotion."The Meer was only present in about three scenes, but that was enough for him to become my favorite character. He was so wise and kind, and I like that he looked so young even though he was already over 100 years old, because Meers (allegedly) live for centuries. I would have loved to know more about the history of the Meeric race.And I could be wrong, but that very emotional scene with the Meer toward the end seemed eerily similar to the Crucifixion: being betrayed by those who are supposed to be loyal to him; goverment/religious officials using him as the fall guy to pacify a discontented mob; knowing that his destiny is to sacrifice himself out of love for the unappreciative people that condemn him."The winds of time have brought this change. Old ways must abdicate before the new, just as convention must concede before innovation." He motioned toward the incandescent lamp. "I once spoke light into being. Now any man can invoke it with a touch.""They don’t believe," said Ume. "They don’t understand what you can do.""It doesn’t matter." He kissed her, staining her cheek with his tears. "I must rest now."I should also mention that I was very confused by the ending. Everything was just peachy until the very last page. I was like... I read it over and over but I still can't decipher what was going on there. Was Azhra really a man like Ume the whole time? Then why did he/she say she gave birth to Meer Rhyman's daughter? Or is this "Azhra" the physical embodiment of a resurrected Meer In'La? If anyone understood what the heck that end was all about, please comment. LESSONS LEARNED: Have faith in the evidence of things not seen - you might be pleasantly surprised ;)
The Devil's Garden - Jane Kindred "Boy." The word stopped him in his tracks as he stepped into the passageway. No one had called him that since he was twelve. "I need your name, to send word." Nesre's eyes held flat disinterest, dismissing any evidence of Ume Sky’s existence."It’s Cillian. Cillian Rede."Every good thing that everyone has already said about this book is absolutely true.I only have one main complaint (which I also think someone has already stated): This should have been a full-length novel. Even though there were just a few plot lines, there was enough material to fill a couple hundred pages, and the writing flowed so well that I could have read Kindred's words for hours. (Kindle Immersion Reading and a narrator with a very intriguing voice also deserve credit for this enjoyable experience)This captivating story of a time long ago in a land far away was filled with ideas that are relevant even today: fact versus myth, erosion of traditional values in a secular world, murder, corruption, betrayal, sexual fluidity and gender equality, disillusionment with government and religion. But having this all condensed into an 82-page novella, means there wasn't much room too elaborate. There was so much more I wanted to know, especially about the steampunk aspect of this society. I'm not saying I felt like I read an unfinished story, just an incomplete one (I hope that makes sense).I really really liked all of the main characters, which almost never happens. Because the third person POV follows Ume/Cillian, I was satisfied with his backstory, but I would have loved to know more about Cree and the Meer of In'La. The Meer was awesome - I do believe he was magical, but each reader must come to their own conclusion. "I create many things here. Whether art or invention, I find it more satisfying to use my hands than to merely manifest my thoughts with divine speech. I have engaged an engineer on occasion to help me bring my ideas to fruition, so that they might live on beyond the scope of my words. Power that may be harnessed by the ordinary man, such as light and locomotion."The Meer was only present in about three scenes, but that was enough for him to become my favorite character. He was so wise and kind, and I like that he looked so young even though he was already over 100 years old, because Meers (allegedly) live for centuries. I would have loved to know more about the history of the Meeric race.And I could be wrong, but that very emotional scene with the Meer toward the end seemed eerily similar to the Crucifixion: being betrayed by those who are supposed to be loyal to him; goverment/religious officials using him as the fall guy to pacify a discontented mob; knowing that his destiny is to sacrifice himself out of love for the unappreciative people that condemn him."The winds of time have brought this change. Old ways must abdicate before the new, just as convention must concede before innovation." He motioned toward the incandescent lamp. "I once spoke light into being. Now any man can invoke it with a touch.""They don’t believe," said Ume. "They don’t understand what you can do.""It doesn’t matter." He kissed her, staining her cheek with his tears. "I must rest now."I should also mention that I was very confused by the ending. Everything was just peachy until the very last page. I was like... I read it over and over but I still can't decipher what was going on there. Was Azhra really a man like Ume the whole time? Then why did he/she say she gave birth to Meer Rhyman's daughter? Or is this "Azhra" the physical embodiment of a resurrected Meer In'La? If anyone understood what the heck that end was all about, please comment. LESSONS LEARNED: Have faith in the evidence of things not seen - you might be pleasantly surprised ;)

Walking Disaster: A Novel

Walking Disaster - Jamie McGuire I can't believe I just hit the Want To Read button on this one, but the prologue and excerpts are actually really good. I'm always in awe of a female author that can write a believable male POV.This is the book she should have published instead of [b:Beautiful Disaster|11505797|Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)|Jamie McGuire|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327212014s/11505797.jpg|16441531].
Flawed - Kate Avelynn “You don’t have to change in the bathroom,” James says. When I turn around, startled, I see he’s shifted around to face his headboard. “You know I won’t peek.”I shouldn’t feel weird about changing in front of James— we’ve shared a room our whole lives, so it’s not like we haven’t seen each other before— but I can’t help it. I may hate seeing his bruises, but I worry seeing all of his failures etched into my skin would kill my brother.Okay.I loved this book.I hated this book.And, with the exception of James and Liz, in the end everybody got what they deserved.The ending actually angered me the most because even though the protag, Sarah, does make a final choice, which could (and probably should) have been the conclusion and just left us readers to debate whether or not she made the "right" choice, it seems the author herself struggled with choosing between her characters and added on extra material, which didn't feel completely inorganic to the trajectory of the story, but it definitely felt forced and unsatisfying. It felt like Avelynn went back and forth and couldn't settle on a choice so she finally decided to just duck behind the message: You should choose yourself, above all. But the way she got us there crystallized my soul, and then pushed it off a cliff, and left it in a million shattered pieces on the ground.That's not to say that the ending was predictable - I didn't "see it coming a mile away" or anything like that (although I'm pretty sure some other readers will). The question Sarah ultimately has to answer is: Would you choose to follow your heart and leave town for a promising future with the love of your (short-lived) life OR would you abide by the childhood promise you made to your brother to stay?That doesn't seem like a really hard choice to make, until you consider the fact that Sarah and her only sibling, James, have endured years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of their bitter, has-been boxer father and were ignored by their groupie-turned-druggie mother. When they were children James promised Sarah he would always protect her, as long as she promised to never leave him. So for over a decade James has taken the brunt of the beatings and the belt whippings, he's literally jumped in front of Sarah to absorb the blows meant for her, he has been Sarah's force field. He also financially supports Sarah. And, in return, Sarah gives him the love and emotional support he needs...until she falls hard for a boy.I feel the premise is somewhat misleading. We're told that "Sam Donavon has been James’ best friend — and the boy Sarah’s had a crush on — for as long as she can remember. As their forbidden relationship deepens, Sarah knows she’s in trouble. Quiet, serious Sam has decided he’s going to save her." The problem is Sam at no point in this novel acts even remotely close to what a best friend should be. Like imagine if your best friend knew your parent was abusing you for years, and did absolutely nothing about it; does that seem logical to you? James' "friends" hide behind the "I knew something was up, but James said he could handle it" excuse. Really? Yeah, of course now that he's a grown man, but could he handle it when he was 16? 13?! And the crazy thing is that Sam has someone he could have told who would have been very willing to help James and Sarah: Liz, the best fictional mom ever. It seems like all Sam is interested in is hooking up with Sarah and whisking her away to California. I wouldn't have even known that Sam and James were friends if Sarah hadn't told us over and over and over.I do like that this book explores the cycle of domestic violence. James truly embodies the belief: Hurt people, hurt. Jimmy had to abandon his bright boxing career to get a 9-to-5 at the paper mill to take care of his growing family, and he took all the anger he harbored from being robbed of living his dream out on his wife and children. James has suffered Jimmy's abuse for most of his life, and is morphing into an angry, possessive, impulsive man very much like his father. But James' has moments of clarity where he's so exposed and he realizes he's devolving into a monster, and those made me really sad because you can see that with the right assistance he doesn't have to meet the same fate as his father but all Sarah basically does is try talk him down so he's not an immediate danger, instead of seeking a lasting solution like therapy or a friend-tervention or something substantial.I feel like there's this underlying - albeit unintended - message that if you're a boy going through trauma like this, don't expect to get help. No one's coming to your rescue, so just deal with it, repeat the cycle because that's what everyone expects to to happen anyway, let the madness overtake you. People are only interested in saving the girls, so if you're a manchild just take the abuse and walk it off.And this aspect of the book that pissed me off: nobody, and I mean nobody, really gives a damn about James. Obviously, he is broken - damaged by his father's handiwork - and his sister and his "friends" know this, but none of them try to help him...well, help him in a way that actually makes sense. But when it comes to Sarah, everybody wants to come to her rescue: Sam, Liz, neanderthal Alex, and of course James.And I understand that Sarah's been through the same Hell as James and has been preyed upon by their dad, but because of Sam she undergoes a subtle spiritual growth - her internal monologue develops from a somewhat childish girl, dependent primarily on her brother, to a young woman who learns how to be strong and defend herself and envisions a future outside of Granite Falls and far away from her troubled past. So I feel by the end she's capable of being the rock that James was for her, and it's not asking too much to get him settled before she goes off to live her new life.I really have to praise Avelynn for the seamless flow of [b:Flawed|13503247|Flawed|Kate Avelynn|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1353703543s/13503247.jpg|19052067]. Although the novel takes place over a very short period - a few weeks during the summer - you still feel like you've gotten a full story and you're fully engrossed in the characters' lives and the plot has worked itself out without being rushed. Even the Sam-Sarah relationship didn't feel like insta-love. This is at least partly due to the fact that we spend A LOT of time in Sarah's head, but that was totally fine because it’s easy for me to love a novel that’s more about story (emotional arc) than plot (event progression) if it’s compelling, and this book had me hooked.I also feel the author was careful and deliberate with her words and the characterizations of this small cast. For instance, I realized the characters shared the same flaw: they needed a fix - a way to anesthetize themselves to cope with the darkness of their reality. For Jimmy it's alcohol, for Mom it's drugs, for James it's alcohol and drugs and fighting, and Sarah openly admits: "Sam’s like a drug, kissing me higher and higher until nothing and no one matters anymore". I, myself, am a purple prose fiend, and I start to get the shakes and itchies if I'm deprived of rhetoric on the darker side of violet for too long. So it was a nice surprise that Avelynn drew me in with her simple and elegant phrasing and sentence structure that was straight-to-the-point - not a single word was wasted.This book drove me nuts, dragged me thru a gamut of emotions from fury to joy, got me to be so invested in the lives of imaginary people, and weeks later it's still eating away at me - and I think that is the sign of a good book.LESSONS LEARNED: 1)Don't punish the victim 2)Not all victims are women 3)A lifetime of sacrifice is worth a few moments of reciprocationMY TWO CENTS: Sam: You are an awesome BF and the world's suckiest BFF; Sarah: You made the right choice (and if you had also chosen not to lie to you-know-who the whole time things would have ended better); Alex: Don't breed; Liz: you are filled with so much warmth and strength you remind me of my mom; Jimmy: The fires of Hell are too good for you; James: You deserved SO much more than the life you were givenNote: People will most likely compare this book to [b:Forbidden|7600924|Forbidden|Tabitha Suzuma|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1302655056s/7600924.jpg|10018976], and even though I liked that book as well, the stories are very different because in Flawed, the sister is not really a complicit partner in the incestual love drama.
Easy - Tammara Webber “Three things are necessary for an assault: an assailant, a victim, and opportunity. Remove opportunity and you take a huge leap in reducing the likelihood of the assault.”Easy is about getting it wrong the first time, in love and life, and getting a second chance to make things right. It's about choices - good ones, bad ones, the ones you don't make. It's also about mistakes, and what we learn from them. It's about learning to forgive yourself, about feeling helpless and becoming empowered. I think my main issue with this book is that I didn't really learn anything, which, for me, is the mark of a "good" book. I like when books teach me something I don't already know, and Easy didn't have much to offer...well, except "the lawnmower" lol.Unfortunately (or fortunately), I've already learned all the lessons the characters are taught along this journey. I already know it's hard to exorcise personal demons, and what it's like to have parts of your past tethered to your present. I already know what it's like to be in a scary situation, because more often than not, in real life, you have to come to your own rescue. And just about every woman has experienced heartbreak in her life and has found a way to recover from a failed relationship (and an ex you can't quite shake off lol). I've already been thru the adolescent years and college and grad school (which aren't all that different to be honest lol). Webber does accomplish something that no YA author has been able to do in a long, long time: she created a female protagonist I actually...like. By the end of just about every YA novel I've ever read, I want to choke the female MC or lock her in a closet or something (which I know is a little inappropriate to say based on the subject matter covered in this novel, but it's true, sorry), and I only tolerate her existence as a conduit to the other, more likable, characters. But I could relate to Jacqueline: I played an instrument growing up and it was nice to take a stroll down memory lane through hours of practice and participating in recitals and supporting other musicians; I know what it's like to have been in one relationship in your life, which also lasted several years and ended unceremoniously, which makes it even worse :(I like the way Jacqueline thinks (even though I didn't agree with her decision to blatantly invade someone's privacy). But most of all I like that she was real. She wasn't disgracefully weak (sup Bella Swan) and she wasn't some ass-kicking assassin (hey Penryn and Katniss) - she was just a normal young woman: brave, vulnerable, smart, foolish, generous, needy, loving, loved, and all the other beautiful and wretched things that make us human.The thing that irked me the most about this novel: Lucas. Lucas, who comes complete with the stereotypical bad-boy accoutrements: tattoos, a leather jacket, a motorcycle, etc. He definitely does prove his worth the moment we meet him (as promised by the synopsis) but after his display of awesomeness in the first chapter, he trips and falls into a vat of he's-fuckin'-perfect and then stumbles over the tortured soul/traumatic past trope along the way, all while holding down like FOUR jobs mind you lol. But it doesn't stop there (prepare to swoon ladies): he teaches martial arts (ooh), he's an artist (aah), and he has a kitty-cat (aww). Lucas gives explanations for all of these attributes, but it's still just a bit much.The only reason I made it all the way through this book is because Webber is a great storyteller - the writing is simple yet expressive, descriptive without an overabundance of details. She's designed an engaging narrator and relatable character in Jacqueline. And I absolutely love the supporting cast: Erin the BFF and Benji the classmate and even Kennedy's hilarious younger brother (who we only meet briefly). Halfway thru this novel I was so sure I would give it at least 4 stars, but then the rest of the story happened and...*sigh*
A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness, Jim Kay ...and I was hoping I would never have to read this