Hello to Goodbye Days

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Summary:

Can a text message destroy your life?

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?


My Thoughts:

I loved Jeff’s first book Serpent King last year and was still in no way prepared for Goodbye Days.

With that said, I went into this book with HIGH expectations and absolutely was NOT let down at all!

I was tearing up within the first 3 or 4 pages, so I knew I was going to be in for a ride, much like Serpent King was a rollercoaster of emotions.

Most importantly, Goodbye Days has two very important messages in it.

First- obviously- the dangers of texting and driving. Carver’s life gets all mixed up due to sending his friends a simple text. Did he mean for something bad to happen? Absolutely not. But something happened anyways.

Second- Live everyday to the fullest. The people in Carver’s friends’ lives relied on Carver to imagine what they would have done with the deceased friends’ last days. That’s never something a person wants to imagine, but it teaches us to treat each day importantly.

Jeff has a way of creating characters that are real and easy to relate to for any reader. I may be several years older than his characters, but I find myself thinking, “man, I wish I could’ve had friends like this when I was that age.” Heck, I wish I could have friends this fun now even.

Overall, Zentner has yet again knocked it out of the park and I find myself anxious to see what he does next after loving his first two books. He has definitely earned a place as an insta-buy for me.

Goodbye Days is out NOW, so go grab a copy and always make the most of the days you have.

Love for The Hate U Give

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Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

My Thoughts:

    I don’t even know where to begin with THUG.

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I read THUG late last year, I believe in early November. I was already excited for it after hearing author, Angie Thomas, read from is at Mississippi Book Festival in August. I was sold and knew this was a book that I wanted to read.

Boy, was I….RIGHT.

I was completely blown away  by Starr and her situation. The writing was real and I could easily (I say easily lightly, because painfully is a better word.) see the story play out. I couldn’t quit reading because I had to know what was going to happen next in Starr’s world.

More importantly, sure, the book is great and  teens (EVERYONE) will love it for what it is, but it is so TIMELY and important with the message it sends out.

The biggest part is that it helped me further understand the kids that I work with everyday. I’m in a small town, yet urban setting with lots of low income families. I graduated 10 years ago from a high school about 30 minutes where I’m now a high school librarian, but 2017 in my school’s community is a whole other world from 2007 in the school and world I graduated in. It honestly helped me “get” where some of these kids are coming from and to understand some of their actions that I see on a daily basis.

That’s because of just how real the writing it. It’s also why I feel like young adult literature NEEDS more own voices books. Kids need to be able to see themselves and their communities. I didn’t intend to write this review on the day that I did, but the need for diverse and own voice books has especially hit me today because a Hispanic girl came to return a book today RAVING about how much she adored what she’d read because “It was so different. So many books are about pretty, white girls- and that’s okay too, Ms. Hays, don’t get me wrong!- but it was neat to have something different even if it wasn’t a Hispanic girl in this book.”

That kid struck a chord with me like she wouldn’t know because the importance of DIFFERENCES is one thing I try hard to push for the kids in my library so often. Sure, read the stuff that’s popular. That’s awesome, but read diverse books and see yourself, your peers, and other aspects that you don’t typically see.


This ended up going on way longer than I intended, but, honestly, I cannot speak highly enough over this book at all. I can’t wait until I’m able to order more books for my library next school year so that I’m able to share Starr with the kids in my school. They’ll love knowing that Starr was living in a neighborhood based on one not too far from where they live.

February 28…GO GET IT. You will not be disappointed in the slightest!

-M

Spotlight: The Illuminae Files- Gemina

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Quick note:

Gemina releases a week from today!

Illuminae was one of my favorite books last year, so I’ve been waiting for this one since last October.

Again, it comes out next week, but right now you can get Illuminae in ebook forms for $1.99.

Here’s more about Gemina and I’ll also link to the Illuminae kindle page to get that awesome sale price.

Gemina:

Brace yourself for GEMINA—the highly anticipated sequel to the book critics called “out-of-this-world awesome,”—featuring journal illustrations by bestselling author Marie Lu!
 
Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.
The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminaecontinues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.
Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.
When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.
But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.
Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

Illuminae:

Go here for the ebook sale and get Illuminae for $1.99.

Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

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Summary:

The Serpent King is a book you won’t be able to resist or forget. The Southern boy in me savored every syllable and the reader in me fell in love with every page.” —John Corey Whaley, National Book Award finalist and Printz Award winner

Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.

Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.


My Thoughts:

First off—I did really enjoy Serpent King!

Second—I feel like the hype got me way too excited.

Don’t get me wrong, it was great–but I don’t think it’s what I thought it was going to be.

I kept hearing people say they were sobbing and I just didn’t have that reaction at all.

Sure. There was a time or two that hurt my heart, but nothing that full on major.

However…it was still great! Don’t get me wrong there! I’m looking forward to what Zentner releases next because I do think he’ll do some great things.

This one did have the vibe of a debut novel to me. That’s hard to explain really without it sounding bad, but it does.

But the MOST IMPORTANT THING!!!

Are you ready?

These character ARE relatable. I think that’s WHY I didn’t have a “sobbing” reaction. I felt like the three characters actually could be people that I know. That completely made the book for me! Amazing characters and setting!

The only thing I wish is that Dill’s family would’ve had a more concrete resolution. I have questions about what happened next. I honestly want MORE! Again…these characters were AMAZING!

I do suggest Serpent King, especially if you’re in the mood for a contemporary.

Let me know what you think if you’ve read it!

-Melanie

Waiting on Wednesday: Smash and Grab by Amy Christene Parker

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Summary:

Ocean’s Eleven meets the star-crossed lovers of West Side Story. Grab some popcorn and get ready for an adrenaline-filled heist!

LEXI is a rich girl who loves a good rush. Whether it’s motorcycle racing or BASE jumping off a building in downtown Los Angeles, the only times she feels alive are when she and her friends are executing one of their dares. After her father’s arrest, Lexi doesn’t think twice about going undercover at his bank to steal the evidence that might clear his name. She enlists her hacker brother and her daredevil friends to plan a clever heist.

CHRISTIAN is a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The local gang has blackmailed him and his friends into robbing banks, and he is desperate for a way out. When the boss promises that one really big job will be the last he ever has to do, Christian jumps at the chance for freedom. In fact, he’s just met a girl at the bank who might even prove useful. . . .

Two heists. One score. The only thing standing in their way is each other.

Told in alternating points of view, this caper is full of romance and fast-paced fun. Hand to fans of Perfect Chemistry, The Conspiracy of Us, and Heist Society.

Why:

I absolutely LOVED Parker’s Gated books a couple years back. I still recommend it to people all the time actually. So when I hard about this one I was naturally intrigued!

This seems like it’ll have a good Romeo and Juliet vibe going to it and that is always a fun time in books. Plus, Amy is just a fun writer as it is.

I can’t wait to read this! While you wait, pick up a copy of Gated and give it a try!

-Melanie

Currently reading and update!

Before I share, can I just take a second to point out that I just realized that WINTER comes out in TWO WEEKS! My excitement for that book is ridiculous. Get on board and read Cinder ASAP if you haven’t yet!

I’m planning to take Winter with me to read on vacation over Thanksgiving break, but I know that I’ll break down and read it before then. Plus, the cover is beautiful, but that book is a MONSTER in size…I don’t want to get the kindle version for vacation just to turn around and also get the hardcover. :/

Anyways…moving on before I fangirl over the Lunar Chronicles too much…

Currently reading:

This is why I’ve been MIA for the past couple of days:

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I know. EVERYONE is reading it. I know.

I had an eARC for months that was online-only and, while I’m thankful for it, my vision didn’t quite agree with reading the wild fonts on a computer screen. So….I waited even after getting about 100 pages in.

WOW.

If you’ve been on the fence about Illuminae then I will say that it definitely lives up to the hype.

In fact, last night I hit a point in the book that blew me away and I maybe yelled at the book (no, I’m serious!) and then had to take a little mental break from the craziness.

Wanna know what’s sad? The author’s know that spot does this to people! They KNOW:

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Granted, I’ve told a few people that I don’t think it’d be their thing, but I’m still telling everyone else that it’s amazing. GET THIS BOOK! Not only that, it’s just a cool looking book. The actual book itself, not the jacket, is set up to look like a folder with notes and markings all over it to stay with the theme.

It’s awesome and I’ve had students come in the library asking me about it when they see it on the desk. It’s just that good!

I should finish Illuminae today and then I’m also reading How to Be Brave which releases NEXT WEEK! I’ll have a blog tour post with a q&a post from the author next Thursday along with a giveaway, so be on the lookout for that!

Currently Reading: Modern Romance

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Book Info:

Now a New York Times Bestseller

A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s sharpest comedic voices

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”

But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but forModern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.

In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.



So Far So Good!

I’m loving Aziz’s take on dating in today’s world. I think I initially went in expecting it to be more comical than it is. That’s not to say that it isn’t funny, but it is actually filled with GOOD information and proof that he did plenty of research.

I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Aziz’s comedy or just someone interested in reading about dating.

I hope to finish soon for a full review, but had to go ahead and share about how much I’m enjoying so far!

-M