Friday, April 15, 2016

No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista

No Love Allowed by Kate Evangelista
Available April 19, 2016
Swoon Reads
Received E-ARC from NetGalley for review

Synopsis from Goodreads- It's all fun and parties until someone falls in love in this modern fairy tale from author Kate Evangelista.

Caleb desperately needs a fake girlfriend. Either he attends a series of parties for his father’s law firm with a pretty girl on his arm, or he gets shipped off to Yale to start a future he’s not ready for and isn’t sure he wants. And sadly, the last unattached girl in his social circle has just made the grievous mistake of falling in love with him. Fortunately, Didi, recently fired waitress and aspiring painter, is open to new experiences. As the summer ticks by in a whirl of lavish parties, there’s only one rule: They must not fall in love!

I feel like I have to find something good to say about the story before I take it apart. So I'll say I liked the ending. It wasn't completely expected or surprising but for a romance it was nice. Nice to see that Caleb wasn't scared of Didi's bipolar disorder. And that he arranged for their first date to be something that was so completely her interests even if it was unbelievably over the top. The divide in status between Caleb and Didi never seems to come up or make a difference which seems hard to believe when Caleb's house is described as being like the "Versailles" of the United States. And Didi and her mother choose between filling her prescriptions and paying the light bill. Tell me which fork to use and title don't come up at the parties she goes to, right? But, if this had been just a fluff book, I would have bought into it all. I could have let all of that slide.

So, stop reading from here on if you don't want to read me rant because I've had enough and I'm going to let loose this time. I have edited and edited and read it out loud and to others and I hate if I sound mean, I don't mean to be, but I'm drawing the line today.

I'll get right to the point with this story. It missed the mark. I think from the premise it could have been really good. A light fluffy summer romance. But then the author tried to throw in some issues, very weirdly. I don't know which pissed me off more as they both hit close to home. Mental illness is a disease. If a person has cancer you don't say they are cancer, you say they HAVE cancer. You see the difference in meaning? ! So Didi IS NOT bipolar, she HAS bipolar disorder. Everyone does it, I know, but it doesn't make it right. "I'm bipolar", she says as if that explains what? She is lesser than him? Let's get this straight once and for all- I HAVE BIPOLAR DISORDER,  or I HAVE SCHIZOPHRENIA, or I HAVE ADHD. People are not a disease. Give them the decency, even in books, especially in books, to call them by their name and not their disease.

Okay lets put the label aside. There is the stereotypical behavior that she gives Didi. I bet all of you think that people with bipolar disorder are awesomely creative and can only be so if they are off their medications.  I have yet to read a YA book that has written it any other way. Kate Evangelista certainly thinks so. But the writing is so all over the place that I couldn't tell if Didi was just effervescent on her own or if she was supposed to be manic. And when I knew Didi was off her meds and supposed to be manic, it wasn't her behavior that led to a problem, yet she is put in a psychiatric ward and drugged. I also question the drugs she was given in the psych ward, most people suffering from mania are not given antidepressants but Didi says she was pumped full of antipsychotics and antidepressants. Maybe I just have way too much firsthand knowledge of this stuff, but facts should be checked, STIGMAS should be erased and stereotyping should be replaced with something more creative! And making Van Gogh her favorite artist, please, could you get any more heavy handed??? Can Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf be her favorite poet and writer?

And that leads to my second issue, the gay friend/cousin, Nathan, who is so stereotyped it's offensive! He reads as if he is a prissy girl, always fussing with his clothes and not wanting to be mussed.  He is so good at planning parties, going way over the top, that Caleb's cold hard father jokes he should have Nathan plan his parties. He is also good at planning the Gap Year trip that promises to be epic with opulent hotels and side trips, details that take hours to discuss.  Why wouldn't he be? And, of course, when there is no time for Nathan to get Didi to his stylist, Reynaldo, Nathan can suddenly cut her hair, apply makeup and dress her, all after having just met her five minutes ago. He is also in charge of doing all the shopping for Didi's clothes for the events (with no input from Didi. As far as I can tell she wasn't even there) and is an impeccable dresser himself. And he talks feelings with Caleb, big tough, don't fall in love Caleb. He's pals with Didi even when she won't talk to Caleb, in a girlfriend kind of way. He wasn't a token character, at least. He was important to the story, but did Evangelista have to make him so stereotyped?

And I haven't even gotten into the story, I know! So, the story is okay until, Didi, who is beyond needing money, gets angry at Caleb when he buys her a prepaid cell phone so he can stay in touch with her during the summer for the parties. Sounds reasonable to me. She gets irate. Throws the box at him. Leaves him after having had an awesome day! It's like a slap in the face. And it isn't because of mood swings or anything, everyone else thinks she was right to be offended. I didn't get it. Why was she so mad? She accepts a basket full of art supplies from him by way of Jordan, the next day that I'm sure cost more than the cell phone. I never could figure it out.

The book suffered from an identity crisis, it was either an issue book or a fluffy romance but it couldn't be both and it fell flat trying to do just that. I think it would have done well as a fluffy romance leaving out the mental illness or just letting Didi have a mental illness and coping well with it. There's an idea!! Did you know some people actually take their meds and are creative? Did you know there are a lot of creative people that don't have a mental health issue at all??? Imagine that!! Yes, I'm being snarky. But I'm tired of seeing people with bipolar disorder portrayed as needing to go off their medication, life saving, life time medication as there is NO CURE for bipolar disorder, that people have to go off their medication in order to be creative. It isn't true. Stop telling kids it is true! Stop making mental health issues scary so kids are afraid to get help and are afraid of people with mental health issues. DON'T YOU GET WHO IS READING YOUR BOOKS??? YOU ARE WRITING FOR YA! THEY ARE SEARCHING FOR THEMSELVES IN THESE BOOKS. WHAT ARE YOU SHOWING THEM???

Ok, that wasn't just to Kate Evangelista but to every author that decides it would be fun to just through some mental illness in their book and make them the villain. This is MY blog and MY platform to finally say what I've been holding back. Get it right. Provide resources in your book. I'm calling you out on this shit from now on. You continue to stigmatize mental illness with the way you portray it in your books and for myself, my kids, and friends with mental health issues, I'm not going to take it quietly anymore.

Oh, and just do round out all the stereotyping,  did I mention that Caleb is extremely sexist when it comes to women. Not just the one's in his past. Of course, those he treats very poorly, like play things. He has rules and if they break them, he breaks up with them. No looking back and he really doesn't care about them. At all. He treats Didi in a very sexist way, too. He's jealous of his gay cousin! He thinks about her body all the time. It's kind of like being in the mind of a teenage boy, not that I've been there, but I don't want to be  He alternately blushes and then thinks about where he wants to put his hands (everywhere) the first time he picks her up for a social function. But he calls the older women of his social circle "biddies" and "sharks" and I just wonder if he ever looked in a mirror at himself.

So this book was a fail for me. Not for one reason but for many. I started out trying to be generous, but I couldn't find my way past the negatives. I will say that this is an ARC and the final book may be a little different, but I don't plan to check it out.


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Favorite Male Characters- The Boys Next Door

****Sorry this is a repost. I didn't mean for it to show up. I'm doing some blog cleanup and some old posts are showing up when I take out some information****

Hi! Heather from Buried in Books here! Candace asked if I'd like to do a post on my favorite something and I chose My Favorite Boys Next Door. Now I know everyone won't agree with ALL my choices, but that's the great thing about this post, I'm hoping you'll share you're Favorite Boy Next Door! To enter the giveaway, that's what you have to do. So read, enter the giveaway and have a great one!

So you might wonder why I'd pick this topic as my favorite and what it means. Well I fell in love with the boy next door, so of course, I'm always going to fall for the boy next door in the book. But he isn't always the love interest. He could be the best friend. Or someone that isn't quite the boyfriend. Or just the guy next door (even if he doesn't live exactly next door). Let me explain. The guy next door has to have your back. He has to make you laugh even on your worst day. He, of course, has to give you butterflies if he is boyfriend material. I'm talking a huge flock of butterflies beating the insides of your stomach until you're sure you're going to take flight. None of this, "Well he's kinda cute." He has to have something special, one special thing that sets him apart from everyone else. And, and this is really important, he is not the football quarterback, the most popular guy, the most anything. He's just the guy next door. But to you, he's more. He makes the day that much better. I mean, he makes the character's day that much better.

My favorite first and always will be Zachary Moore from The SHADE TRILOGY by JERI SMITH-READY. (SHADE, SHIFT, SHINE)

Here is why I love Zachary and he's my favorite boy next door even if he's from Scotland. First, he's from Scotland, that accent sets him apart from the crowd right away! Second, when he first meets Aura, it's so he can pair up with her as her thesis partner but he expects her to look different as she's studying ancient astronomy. He's just been chastised by her because she thinks he thinks girls are too dumb to do that.

"Why, because girls can't be astronomers?" (Aura asks)
"Of course they can, but the girls I know who like science aren't-" He cut himself off and looked away, dragging a hand through his hair, "I just met her," he uttered to himself, "I'll no' say that."   So already he's got manners and he's flustered and don't forget the accent.

Here's another passage that shows you why I just love him-
     "Gross I'm so zombiefied." I pulled my matted hair forward to cover my puffy eyes. "Dr. Harris'll think I'm strung out or hungover. Great first impression." (This is because Logan has just died and she's been crying)
     "Amazing, though."
     Zachary started to answer, then brushed his lips with the side of his finger. "No it's stupid.".....
"What's stupid, besides your mind games?"
    "Okay, but if I start, you let me finish." He spoke to the radio instead of meeting my gaze. "The pieces of you are complete shite today, the bloated eyelids and splotchy skin and your hair all"- he waved his hand " you know, and all together you should look pure hackit, but somehow your more bonnie than ever."
     "I rewound his sentence in my head. Zachary's eyes flicked up  to meet mine, and I must've seemed pissed, because he said, "Sorry," and reached for the car door handle.
     "Wait. What's 'hackit'? What's that mean?"
     "Ugly. But 'bonnie' means-"
     "I know what 'bonnnie' means."
     Zachary held up a hand. "I'm no flirting with you, not with your boyfriend just passing. I'm only making an observation."(pp72-73 Shade).  Tell me that doesn't melt your heart. He's not really even trying to make her feel better. He never lies to her just to make her feel better even when a lie might help in later books.
So later they go in to meet Dr. Harris who says call me Eowyn and they sit down to tea. Aura just wants to get this over and done with but Eowyn is "all in good time" and "we've got nine months for this" so they have to have tea. Then she sits down identical white mugs and tells them to choose one. Then she pours the tea. Now, Zachary barely knows Aura and never met Logan but when it turns out that the tea reveals Irish symbols on them and Aura chose the one for Love here is what Zachary does-
Zachary held up a finger. "Could I trouble you for some sugar?"
     "Of course." Eowyn sprang to her feet. "Be right back." She slipped out of the office.
     "Give me that," Zachary said in a low voice. He gently pried my fingers off the Love mug and took it from me. He replaced it with his Strength. "Just breathe." (p77 Shade)
 Okay now is where he goes above and beyond and where he takes chivalry to new bounds. He and Aura are off to a farm in the night to map the stars. It's part of their project. But Aura first stops to buy something she needs to allow Logan's ghost so he can visit her every night. But she doesn't have enough money. So Zachary insists on buying it saying it's for the gas she spends on driving them to and from the farm for their project.

And then when they are in the field and Aura is cold, he gives her his leather jacket and says, when she protests, "Don't insult my rugged heritage."
I could go on...lies start to surface about how Logan died and you know how the internet is....Zachary actually gets into a fight with someone over things written on the internet about Aura. And they aren't dating, they barely even talk.

So ZACHARY MOORE  is Scottish (special) he definitely stirs the butterflies, he's thoughtful (the cup), has manners (loaning his jacket), has Aura's back (the fight), goes above and beyond (the sheets) and is just an all around nice guy (bonnie). He does make her laugh, but it's later in the book and I don't want to give much more away. I LOVE ZACHARY!

So next and very close is JAY HEATON from THE BODY FINDER  series by KIMBERLY DERTING.
Jay and Violet have been best friends forever and he knows her secret so that's all cool. It's just become very awkward for Violet because Jay has suddenly become a hunk. All the girls want to go out with him and they're fawning all over him and this is JAY. This is her best friend. But she feels the same way. Here are some of the awkward feelings and things poor Violet has to suffer through....

She was starting to feel like he was toxic to her. That, or she was seriously losing her mind, because that was the only way she could possibly explain the ridiculous butterflies she got whenever Jay was close to her. And what really irritated Violet was  that he seemed to be completely oblivious of these new, and completely insane, reactions she was having to him. Obviously whatever she had wasn't contagious.( p. 12 The Body Finder)
When Violet is feeling insecure about her place in Jay's life, like he doesn't need her anymore she finds out just how much he does. She's hiding out in the bathroom when her close to BFF comes in.
"Where have you been?" Chelsea accused in her usual blunt tone. "Jay's been looking for you everywhere."
"Well?" Chelsea asked when Violet didn't answer her. "I swear that boy can't function without you, not even at lunch."
Violet winced.....
"He'll be fine." Violet answered more glumly than she'd intended. "I'm sure someone else would be glad to sit with him."
Chelsea looked up, finished with her own face, and stared at Violet's. "Well it doesn't really matter. He's out in the hallway waiting. He asked me to come in here and look for you."
Violet just stared....When Violet didn't move, Chelsea grabbed her by the arm and stared towing her toward the door. "Come on, before he starves to death and wastes away to nothing."
"All right, all right," Violet agreed as they drifted out of the girls' room to where Jay stood in the hallway, looking relieved to see her safe and sound at last.(p. 18 The Body Finder)
Even though she's terribly aware of all the girls that have noticed his metamorphosis over the summer, he seems to not care or at least it hasn't stopped him from caring about her. Great guy next door. He still worries about her, feels protective of her because he knows what she's been through and because they are best friends.

Violet and Jay are walking through the woods by her house and all of a sudden her feet get tangled and she goes down hard on some rocks and skins her knees. Jay wants to carry her back to her house but she feels silly, even if it hurts. But when they get to her house, he puts her on the kitchen counter and tends to her wounds.
"Okay, this is probably gonna sting," he warned as he leaned over and began cleaning her wounds. It did sting, more than Violet let on, and she had to bite her lip as the tears came back all over again. .....Violet sucked in her breath when he brushed the soaked cotton ball against the angry red abrasions. Jay looked up at her but didn't stop dabbing at them. Instead he blew on her knees as he labored over them, just like her mother used ot do when Violet was a little girl. She thought it was sweet, and she swore that she was even more attracted to him than ever in that tender moment. (pp. 47-48) 
Now that is just too sweet for words. I want to hug Jay right now! And he put on these two huge bandaids and says "Good as new." It is adorable that he would blow on her knees. He takes care of her, even worries about her pain. How could she not tell he's in love with her??

And then she realizes she hasn't lost her best friend to all the girls drooling all over him. He's still that same guy that makes her giggle until she almost pees her pants. He babysits with her and watches movies with her and eats popcorn with her like always.
While she'd been locked in the grip of her own troubles, Violet had temporarily forgotten to be jealous of those other girls and had finally remembered how to just be Jay's friend again. ......Jay had been the one to keep Violet sane. He slipped candy bars into her backpack for her to find and left little notes in her locker just to let her know he was thinking about her. She leaned on him every step of the way, and he never once complained. And afterward, when she felt back to her old self again, at least mostly anyway, he was still there. (p 80)
He's got her back, she can trust him, he lifts her up when she's down and he knows her like nobody else. He's the perfect Boy Next Door.

I know, a lot of you will say, no way! But just listen to my argument for Willem. He doesn't fit the mold, but just read and see if you don't agree. Remember, we all have our own opinions.

Willem is that guy, that guy. The one that makes everything, seem like more. He makes things magic. And Ally, she needs magic with her guide book following, time keeping, tour guide rules, timetable scheduling. Ally needs magic and Willem is the guy that gives it to her.
And something inside her knows that, from the moment he hands her a flyer to their outdoor performance of Twelfth Night while she's waiting to see Hamlet performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, Ally feels his pull. She ditches Hamlet and the air becomes magic.

Accidents happen, he tosses her the coin, they meet on the train and next thing she knows she's off to Paris with a stranger named Willem.
Accidents? Maybe or maybe someone is guiding the whole thing. Either way, though he might not live next door, in one day, he changes her world. He feeds her, takes care of her wounds, entertains her, makes her laugh, he protects her, he gives her something no one else can ever give her. I can't show you all that, it would ruin the book for you, but here are a few snippets to show what he is like.

Willem's best traits, besides making the everyday seem magical, are that he is honest and direct (most of the time). Ally isn't used to that and misreads a lot that happens. When Willem goes to get them something to eat and is gone for awhile she thinks he's left her. When he finds out that she thought that he questions her.
"Did you really believe I would leave you on the train?" he asks........
"I don't know," I answer. "Maybe I was just having a minor panic because doing something impulsive like this, it's not me."
"Are you sure about that?" he asks. "You're here, after all."
"I'm here"I repeat. And I am. Here. On my way to Paris. With him. I look at him He's got that half smile, as if there's something about me that's endlessly amusing. And maybe it's that, or the rocking of the train or the fact that I'll never see him again after the one day, or maybe once you open the trapdoor of honesty, there's no going back. Or maybe it's just because I want to. But I let the robe drop to the floor. "I thought you got off the train because I was having a hard time believing you'd be on the train in the first place. With me. Without some ulterior motive." (p 40-41 Just One Day).

Willem also makes Ally question everything she believes. Alot are things she believes about herself, things she's been told. At 18, it's time to start questioning those things.
"Our parents quit while they were ahead," I say, repeating the line Mom and Dad always use when people ask if I'm an only child. We quit while we were ahead."I never understand some English sayings," Willem replies. "If you're ahead, why would you quit?"
"I think it's a gambling term."
But Willem is shaking his head. "I think it's human nature to keep going when you're ahead, no matter what. You quit while you're behind" Then he looks at me again, and as if realizing that he has maybe insulted me he hastily adds, "I'm sure with you it was different." (p. 67 Just One Day). Ally actually knows they couldn't have anymore children and that is why she is an over achiever and they've put all their hopes and dreams on her. That's why she can't let them down.

The Paris Willem shows Ally is unlike anything she would have seen on any tour. She travels by canal boat on the water. She rides a bike to the Louvre only to find it's closed, but she's not too upset. They intentionally get lost in Paris. Through it all Ally finds the one thing she needs the most, herself. In one day and night, she finds herself. Willem is the most unusual of the Boy's Next Door, for sure, but his abilities are probably the most amazing.


Will Bixby is Kylie Flores' best friend. They just get each other. They have since the first day of 7th grade when one quoted a line from a movie and the other quoted the next line back. Will is different. He's gay. But that's not what makes him different. He likes to throw it in everyone's face. He dresses in women's clothing. He dresses much better than Kylie. But he's the guy that has her back, makes her laugh and will rescue her, sort of.

Here's Will on Kylie's fashion sense-
She's wearing her daily uniform of gray jeans, white T-shirt, and that lame-ass ratty knit scark her grandmother made her, like , a million years ago. Girlfriend needs a makeover. I'm so the guy for the job, if Kylie would just give fashion a chance. But all the beautiful clothes I've given her over the years are marooned in her closet, tags on, waiting to get off the island and back into civilization.......At least she's not wearing those Uggs anymore, which look like huge sued foot tumors, as far as I'm concerned. I tossed them in the garbage last time I was at her house. Saving Kyle from herself is a full-time occupation, let me tell you. I was born for the job." (pp. 20-21). 
So he cares what she looks like and wants to help her look better. If he's got better fashion sense than her, so what? He's definitely got more money!

Kylie has just gone psycho on the squash court at Max who didn't meet her when he was supposed to. He's almost an hour late. She's marched out now and Will is following her.

"Will catches up with me outside. He loops his arm through mine. "You had me at 'Screw you, Max.' You were brilliant!"
I don't say anything. I'm too busy beating myself up. Why can't I just let go for once and kick Murphy's stupid assignment to the curb? Will can tell I'm in the middle of round five of one of my self-boxing matches. He's been ringside many times before.
"His ass isn't what it used to be. Freshman year, it was tight and sweet. He's getting soft. Doesn't bode well for middle age," Will says, trying to cheer me up.
"You know that's not true."
"I know. He's got an amazing ass, not to mention his six-pack abs and those guns-"......
....."Yeah . Whatever..." I say to Will, my insecurity creeping across my skin like a bad rash.
"Stop it. Do not let these people make you feel less than extraordinary. You are one amazing human. Don't forget it," Will insists.(pp 34-35)
Pick her up when she's down, try to make her laugh, that's what Will does because deep down he loves her.
Will is going to try to make her feel better even if she's made a complete fool of herself because that's what the boy next door does (and best friends). Makes you feel better.

And finally Will rescues her (but also relishes in her predicament). Kylie and Max find themselves stranded somewhere together without a way to get home. They need someone's help. Will to the rescue.
Kylie says-
I call Will on his cell. He pick up immediately. Just as I predicted, he's thrilled with his task, positively giddy that I seem to have found myself in my predicament. He acts like I've just won the Nobel Peace Prize. He can't stop telling me how proud he is of me. It's so Will, I have to laugh. I tell him where to find {what we need} and before I can say good-bye he's out the door and on his way....p. 137
And there you have it, my case for Will Bixby as the boy next door. Willing to do anything for you, special in his ability to quote movie lines right back at Kylie, his sense of style even if it is in women's clothing, he's willing to drop everything to go to Kylie when she needs him, he wants the best for her even if what he think is the best for her differs from what she thinks is the best for her. He's got her back. He makes her laugh.
He's her best friend.

So those are my Favorite Boys Next Door! I hope you see someone you like in them and if you haven't read their stories I hope you do and see if you agree. There are definitely a lot more Boys Next Door I could have written about

Monday, February 8, 2016

Had a little surgery...

So, Friday, I had some skin cancer surgery. I opted to go to the hospital because it was on my nose. One place had already been operated on twice before and the other was very thin. And shots in the nose, they hurt! Ummm, as you can see by the picture I am so damn glad I opted for the hospital. It was a little more invasive than originally expected. 


And second, I'm out of commission for a week or so. I can't read or comment. I can't blog. I'm doing this with one eye closed. I just didn't want you to think I was disappearing again like last year. This is a minor setback. When I can, I'll be back. Hopefully no longer than a week or so.

And, in case you're worried, my skin cancer, all ten surgeries I've had have all been benign, called basal cell carcinoma. But they are still serious. It's a painful surgery and I'm so damn tired of them. But it's my fault for baking in the sun without sunscreen, all those sunburns when I was young.

So, please, redheads and blondes with light eyes especially, but everyone wear your sunblock or at least sunscreen. Reapply. Stay out of the sun between 10 and 4. Wear a hat and a scarf. Don't tan at a tanning salon! Pale really is the new tan. It will keep you looking younger. 

I've never looked in the mirror and thought I was beautiful, but with each new surgery, I get a new scar. And my surgeries aren't over. There are more to come. I dread them. But I don't have the deadliest form of the disease, melanoma. That's what I say, every time I get a new biopsy result.

Protect yourself. I hope you don't ever have to get this kind of surgery. I hope you take this seriously. I will be fine in a few days. One more scar but I'm a survivor. Take it from me, those tans weren't worth it. Save your skin.

Take good care of yourselves!!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Not a Drop To Drink (#1) by Mindy McGinnis

NOT A DROP TO DRINK by Mindy McGinnis
(Book #1)
Available Now
Dystopian/Survival/ YA

So, this is one of those books I have been meaning to read forever. First I meant to get it forever, but it's been sitting on my shelf for two years now. Melissa at I Swim For Oceans always had this on her Top 10 List, whether it was Top 10 Dystopian, Top 10 All Around, or Top 10 Books I'd Love to See as a Film. Her love of this book really made me understand, I needed to read this book! So I finally made time to read it. I know why she liked it so much!

Sometimes you feel like you've read every dystopian out there, don't you? But not this one. This felt like life had gone back to the 1800's with the exception that Lynn and Mother would kill anyone that set foot near their pond, the only water around. And they have a truck, but they don't use it unless they absolutely have to use it. Survival is all there is, living isn't really anything but survival. Lynn doesn't know any other way, doesn't know anyone but Mother and the man that lives in the shack on the land next door. But really she only knows him by his red bandanna that he waves as a signal that everything is okay.

The story is told from Lynn's point of view, very stark and raw. Lynn is fiercely protective of her pond, of her way of life, and she learns how to let people in and become fiercely protective of them. Family, in this time, is what you make it, not who you are born to and this makes for an interesting story later on in the book. Lynn has some amazing character growth as she goes from the girl sitting by Mother's side on the top of the barn taking out anyone that wandered close to the pond to a young woman caring for others and protecting them from any harm.

The world is a glaring case of what could happen to us in the future. I hear reports about the world's drinking water supply drying up and I know that all the money in the world isn't going to fix that problem. A big house, a young face, a fancy car, none of that helps when it comes to a lack of  resources. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. I don't want to be around for the Zombie Apocalypse, the Alien Invasion or just the Apocalypse or anything that Mike Mullin dreams up!

This is a quick read and there is a sequel, In a Handful of Dust, that I have decided not to read. Although the ending to this came down pretty quickly, there is an epilogue or a follow up that shows several years into the future that leaves me in a good place with the characters. The reviews on the sequel are mediocre and I choose to leave things as they are. But it's up to you if you want to continue with the story.

This is on the darker side of dystopians so I'd say this is for the 13 and up crowd. There is violence, death, talk of prostitution, talk of rape and sex off the page. Some of the death is graphic. None gratuitous.

Find Mindy McGinnis HERE

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Are You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume

By Judy Blume
Available Now
First Published in 1970

So this book came out when I was five. But I didn't read this until much later. I don't even remember when I read it. I might have been in junior high school- what middle school is now. Maybe 7th grade. It's one of those books we hid from our parents while we read. I remember talking about it in hushed tones with my cousin on the bus.

Now that I read it, I have to remember what the climate was when it was written. I temper my criticisms with remembering how people were back then close to 50 years ago. Religion was important whereas many people identify with being spiritual these days. Mixed religion marriages and being raised in no religion is more commonplace, now. Margaret felt left out in 1970 but she'd feel at home today, I think. Every child is different, of course.

I think it's still a classic book and young girls today can extrapolate the best information in the book, that they will all mature at some point and not to worry about it. And as for the girls that mature early, it isn't easy being that girl. Assumptions are made and yet every girl wants to look like her. Puberty is so hard and I think Judy Blume's book Are You There God? It's Me Margaret is relevant today.

Find Judy Blume at Blog


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