Heartbreaking realistic fiction.
Thanks to NetGalley, Fiction With Meaning LLC and a Goodreads giveaway for the ARC of Mean Little People by Paige Dearth.
The prologue broke my heart with the bullying of a seven-year-old boy. Tony was severely bullied by children and then he went home after being saved by a passerby and was bullied horribly by his father. The story continues on as Tony grows up, makes friends, loses friends and stands up to his father. The story jumps through Tony’s life and is somewhat choppy for a while but then finally settles and flows better. Once Tony becomes a teenager, the jumping stops and the story continues on with the tragically sad, horrifying and heartbreaking events that he’s living through. Tony sees his friend Salvatore harm someone. Vincent and Salvatore run away but Tony stays to help the injured person. A witness sees Tony by the person and tells the police that Tony was the killer when the person dies. Tony ends up in a juvenile detention center where he’s abused beyond comprehension. The only reason he was arrested is because he wouldn’t tell on Salvatore. Salvatore’s father is the mob boss but he’s cold and uncaring so he doesn’t help Tony as much or as quickly as he should. The mob eventually kills the witness and Tony is released. Now he has nowhere to go because his wretched father refuses to let him stay at home because he’s a “criminal”. He’s homeless. Tony finds a friend in a male drug addict and they share a room in an abandoned apartment building. This is the first time that he feels safe and isn’t harmed by someone he’s trusted. He also meets Donata, who owns a bakery that Tony frequently visits on the rare occasion when he has money. Donata and her granddaughter Ruth become family to Tony. His addict friend freezes to death and Tony is left on the streets alone and terrified of freezing to death too. He ends up joining the Slayers, a violent gang, just so he has a warm place to sleep. Through all of this, Salvatore begs his father to help Tony. The mob boss finally gives Tony a job, freeing him from the Slayers. He always tells Tony that he is indebted to him and the mob family and owes them, even though Salvatore continues to remind his father that he’s really indebted to Tony for saving him from the awful detention center in the first place. This story reminds me of the movie “Scarface”, with the hatred, anger and violence. I admire the author for being brutally honest with the details of the harm and violence that is predominantly portrayed throughout the book. Perseverance is strongly represented also. Tony has amazing strength and because we’re given his view of tragedies that he suffered through, his strength and perseverance become even more hard- earned and amazing because he carries on. The choppy grammar is used to make the characters real and it does work. Heartbreaking realistic fiction that’s also very eye-opening, 4 stars.
A heartwrenching and heartwarming realistic fiction story! Thanks to a Goodreads giveaway, I received Every Note Played by Lisa Genova! As the main characters and their lives are set up for the story, I’m interested and sad at the same time. You never know what life is going to bring your way and it made me remember and appreciate how good my life is. The book is difficult to read because the reader gets a bird’s eye view of what Richard is feeling, going through and ultimately losing because of ALS and his life regrets. This touching novel brings the reader into the life of someone diagnosed with ALS and includes all of the intimate details of his struggles with the disease and the relationships that have built him into the person he is. Ultimately a tale of forgiveness, Every Note Played opens our eyes to the patients, loved ones, patient care, technology and research based on ALS. The author put a lot of research and love into this novel and her notes are shared at the end of the book, along with stories of real ALS patients and the inspiration they have given to everyone they left behind, which are their legacies. ALS research continues and as Every Note Played was going to press, a new breakthrough occurred and was in a trial in Japan, giving hope and possible help to patients worldwide. 5 stars for this heart wrenching and heartwarming realistic fiction story!
I was able to read Sparks of Light by Janet B. Taylor thanks to a goodreads giveaway of a hardback book and thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for an arc! Sparks of light continues the story from Into the Dim, the first book in this series. Hope is with Phoebe and their other companions in the Scottish Highlands. Everyone is adjusting to the drastic change in Hope’s mom and the baby she now has. Hope’s boyfriend Bran has gotten away from his mother, Celia, to tell the companions about his mother’s new plan. After Bran reveals Celia’s plan, the Viators make a plan of their own – to travel back to 1895 and visit Nikola Tesla and his discovery. The trip to 1895 causes extreme circumstances for Doug and Hope when they are involuntarily taken to an asylum and treated with the new drug, heroin. Intense and interesting and on the edge-of-your-seat suspense! Hope describes the asylum and its residents in detail. She also reiterates her previous knowledge of asylum history. Morbidly fascinating and scary. As the comrades work to visit Tesla, they encounter atrocities and tragedy in this time traveling adventure worth 5 stars! I am, once again, anxiously awaiting a sequel!
I received Release by Patrick Ness through a Goodreads giveaway! Adam is plugging along until he can be on his own in one more year, when he graduates high school and can leave his small town. A strict family and a priest father with a lot of rules make him feel suffocated at times. His perfect brother, Marty, shocks Adam with the news that he got a woman pregnant and she’s not the girlfriend the family knows. Everything is changing and it seems to be happening all in the span of one day. This book contains graphic sexual content and belongs in LGBT and new adult genres, to make the reader aware. The characters are realistic with realistic problems and faults. The story comes full circle and I can see it helping readers deal with acceptance. I never truly understood the ghost part of the story other than making a point with the title. 4 stars for a well-written book with a punch.
Received an advance copy from a Goodreads giveaway and Random House Children’s Publishing and NetGalley! Antisocial by Jillian Blake- Goodreads giveaway; Anna Has social anxiety disorder and this is her tale of her school year of ups and downs. Last semester she spent all of her time with Palmer, her new boyfriend, while inadvertently ignoring her friends. Now after the breakup, she’s trying to reconcile with her friends and some of them aren’t making it easy for her. Jethro is an amazing friend to Anna and he knows what he wants. Anna’s indecisiveness hurts Jethro and I kept thinking that she was throwing a great friendship away for a second time. Trying to figure out the story took me a bit, but once I understood where it was going, I dived right into the teen angst and emotional and relationship confusion. Oh, the joys of being a teenager. The regular teen rivalry increases to hateful when someone publicizes dirty laundry of a basketball player at a basketball game and then everyone jumps on the troll wagon. People and their secrets are exposed and friendships are ruined because of photos, texts, and all social media being revealed. Not only is this book a young adult contemporary but it’s also a great mystery. The suspense builds while the community deals with the aftermath and continuing cyber bullying. The author’s writing shows the complexity of the diverse characters and I grew to care about the main characters and my heart broke along with them and I also enjoyed their happy moments. 4 stars for this realistic fiction book!
Faithful by Alice Hoffman is a surprisingly uplifting book, even though a lot of sadness and turmoil take priority as the story unfolds. I received a book through a Goodreads giveaway and an advance reader copy for a fair review, thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster!
The books by telling the tragic story of two teenage girls involved in a car accident and what happens to both of them afterwards. Helene is in a coma and miraculously heals people by the touch of her left hand. Shelby feels guilty for not being as physically damaged as Helene and continues to blame herself for the accident because she was driving. Shelby has had to deal with horrible experiences even after the accident: trying to commit suicide, being sent to a psychiatric ward, being raped by an orderly in the ward and trying to deal with everything and still live a normal life. Shelby moves in with Ben, a guy she has known for a long time and this way, she finally gets out of her parents’ home and gains a little independence. She saves neglected pets, gets a job in a pet store and builds a relationship with Ben. Shelby meets new people, makes friends and makes some mistakes along the way. Shelby finally realizes she wants to improve her relationships and be more grateful for them. She has a wonderful mother and she finally realizes that also. Shelby’s world turns completely around after the accident, and then, eventually, her world turns around again. Through her struggles and trials, Shelby finally knows what she wants in life and how to let herself enjoy life and love. I give this book 5 stars because I became so involved with the characters and grew to understand parts of my own life more clearly through reading about Shelby! Thank you, Alice Hoffman!
I won a digital copy of The Delphi Effect in a Goodreads giveaway! Thank you!
“Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.”
Thanks to NetGalley, Skyscape and Goodreads giveaways for the opportunity to read and review The Delphi Effect by Rysa Walker!
A young woman, Anna, meets Molly’s grandfather to let him know that his deceased granddaughter wants to converse with him. Molly’s grandfather, Porter, at first full of skepticism, comes to believe in Anna and her abilities. After talking to Porter for the first few times, Anna finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation, human trafficking and threats to her life. She meets and receives help from other people that have special abilities different from her own. Anna is captured while trying to rescue her friend, Deo, and she is put through experiments that test her abilities.
The first book in this trilogy, The Delphi Effect is suspenseful and unique. I really enjoyed the references to the Harry Potter series! The author’s note on factual information in this book is helpful for further research and interesting on its own. 4 stars!
Thanks to Skyscape and Goodreads for the free copy of Gateway to Fourline by Pam Brondos! Complex characters and a mysterious story line make Gateway to Fourline interesting to read. Natalie is my favorite character because she truly cares about her family and tries to be as independent as possible. She becomes part of a world she knows nothing about as she tries to help her new employers and newly found friends. I especially enjoyed the bastle herder facade when Nat pretended to have fleas! Very funny! Interesting world and characters make Gateway to Fourline the beginning of a promising fantasy trilogy!
Thanks to NetGalley and Skyscape for the arc of On the Meldon Plain by Pam Brondos! The author sums up events from Gateway to Fourline nicely. Nat still wants to help Estos and she feels guilty that Soris was harmed by a Nala. Nat trains to be a Warrior Sister and she returns to Fourline, after completion of her training, to kill the Nala that harmed Soris. To truly kill a Nala, you must behead it, and Nat only harmed it previously. She is also still learning the depths of her powers. Nat goes on a mission with Annin, Andris, Soris and a few others to find Emilia (Estos’ sister). While on this mission, Nat is determined to find a cure for everyone and anyone who has been harmed by Nala venom. Once the venom enters your body, you began to change and become part Nala or duozi. In Fourline, there is tremendous prejudice towards duozi.
On the Meldon Plain is a bit more serious than Gateway to Fourline, but it still has the same great writing and complex characters as the first book. I thoroughly enjoy the relationships and world building that Pam Brondos has done with her Fourline series.
Thanks to NetGalley and Skyscape for the arc of The Last Remnant by Pam Brondos! This book finishes the Fourline trilogy perfectly! Nat discovers what causes the Nala venom to take over and change someone into a duozi, but she hasn’t found a cure yet. So, she sends Annin to Fourline to see if Sister Ethet can use Nat’s discovery to come up with a cure. Nat keeps experimenting and finds the cure. She’s anxious to get to Fourline so she can share her findings, but has been told not to go for her own safety. Nat sneaks through the tunnel anyway and inadvertently lets her sister, Cal, slip through the tunnel also. Nat is captured and is injured and given a remnant from the Nalaide (the Nala queen). Nat is rescued and she travels with her friends and sister to a wisdom house where Nat hears about the prediction of a sister who will kill the Nalaide, ending the Nala. The prediction describes the markings on Nat’s arm. Nat continues to fight the Nalaide in her dreams and tries to keep her and her sister safe. The struggle brings stress to everyone involved and closeness between Nat and Cal. This fantasy trilogy contains some romance, battles, suspense and mystery and I highly recommend it!
I was lucky enough to be a Goodreads give-away winner of The Last Place on Earth by Carol Snow! This is a genre bending story about Henry, his family and his best friend, Daisy. Daisy is trying to find Henry. He has been missing and Daisy soon discovers that his family is missing also. Daisy is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery. I was relieved when Daisy confided in her brother Peter about her concerns and that she wasn’t looking for him alone anymore. The mystery unfolds for the first third of the book and then the aftermath is dealt with. I enjoyed Daisy’s personality and seeing how her relationships changed and grew as the story was told. The Last Place on Earth is realistic fiction and mystery wrapped up together with a dystopian edge; it’s also a clean read!