Mean Little People by Paige Dearth

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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 Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the opportunity to read and review A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard. Steffi is a selective mute. Rhys is a new student that’s deaf and the two of them use sign language to speak to one another. They become friends because of the sign language commonality and their relationship eventually becomes more. This coming of age story contains quirkiness, humor, families that do the best they can and all the insecurities of growing up and being a little different. Young adult content shows the reality of sex and all the awkwardness that can go along with it. 5 stars for the lovable, complex characters!

The Darkest of Dreams by Emigh Cannaday

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The Darkest of Dreams by Emigh Cannaday opens with the realization that Finn has been murdered by Talvi, his own brother. After Finn’s death, the Marinossian family is distraught and in turmoil because of the loss of Finn and Talvi’s murderous act. Talvi ends up in Bleakmoor Island Prison until his trial, while Annika is sent away from the Elven world for several reasons: her safety, secrecy and to help the Marinossian family heal. An enormous turn of events changes everything and the story unfolds while continuing to build character development and the world of the Marinossians. The beloved personalities return in this sequel and the character spectrum grows larger. Another Annika Brisby story full of suspense, danger, romance and magic. 5 stars!

Saving Brad by Siobhan Davis

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Saving Brad by Siobhan Davis is the fifth book in the Kennedy Boys series. The author brings the reader up to speed with perfection and the complex storyline continues with the characters returning to their sophomore year at Harvard. Rachel and Brad deal with their tumultuous relationship among both of their families’ problems. They realize that they’re becoming friends after they both finally let their guard down. Suspense filled storyline and dynamic characters are Siobhan Davis’ mark and make this book another highly recommended new adult read. 5 stars!

I voluntarily reviewed an advance complimentary copy of this book.

The Irish Getaway by Siobhan Davis

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The newest addition to the Kennedy Boys series by Siobhan Davis, The Irish getaway throws us right back into the never dull, sometimes chaotic lives of the Kennedy family. The cheese factor is high with Ky and Faye and everyone calls them out on it, humorously. The interestingly complex parts of the story involve a mystery dealing with Rach, the conflict between Kal and Lana, the group fight, the sisterly contention between Faye and Whitney and the odd, but funny conflict triangle with James, Adam and Alex. I also enjoyed the bonus reads about Ky, Faye, Brad, Kalvin and Lana that are included with the arc. Thanks Siobhan, for the extra reading material! 5 stars for this quick read addition to the Kennedy Boys series.

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

Trust by Kylie Scott

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Trust by Kylie Scott opens when Edie is unknowingly caught in a convenience store during a robbery gone bad. John happens to be there also and he saves their lives because he happens to know the shooter, who is a friend of John’s older brother Dillon. The shooter is a drug addict with erratic behavior and ends up shooting the store clerk and Isaac, a young man who was with John. Edie feels extreme gratitude for John’s actions and lets the police know what he did. Edie changes schools after the robbery and enrolls in John’s school without realizing it. She’s surprised to see him in English class and he’s just as surprised to see her. Edie learns about his background but she isn’t deterred from being grateful to him. John and Edie become friends and rely on each other to cope with their experiences at the convenience store. Edie is cute and keeps to herself and John becomes protective of her. He’s also turning his life around. They are funny together and they made me laugh several times throughout the book. Realistic fiction with some new adult content, Trust is a great story that I couldn’t put down and I want to visit the characters again-5 stars.

Loving Kalvin by Siobhan Davis

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Loving Kalvin by Siobhan Davis- Kalvin was accused of raping his girlfriend, Lana, and is scheduled for court. Eleven months later they are both attending the same college and run into each other by accident. Lana is hiding something from Kalvin and she’s reluctant to tell him about it. The story contains graphic language and graphic sexual content and fits in the new adult genre. The characters are more vulgar and arrogant than in the Kyler Kennedy books. Lana was a contradiction of confidence and lack of self esteem, so I questioned her sincerity at times. She also wavered between mature decisions and immature actions. 4 stars for this addition to the Kennedy Boys series.
I read a complimentary advance copy of this book which I have voluntarily reviewed.

Release by Patrick Ness

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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.

Off the Ice by Julie Cross

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Actually, 4.5 stars!
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Off the Ice by Julie Cross. This first book in her Juniper Falls series is told by Tate and Claire through alternating points of view beginning in the prologue. The story picks up one year later in Chapter One. Claire is two years older than Tate and she has taken a semester off of college because her dad has an inoperable brain tumor and she wants to be with him and help him and her mother. Tate is a high school junior and a varsity hockey player. The two have known each other since they were children and now their friendship is growing into something more. Tate feels like he has to live with his father overshadowing everything he does and it’s suffocating him. Tate and Claire each have their own problems to deal with while trying to figure out their relationship and their future plans. A mature and realistic story line shows that being a young adult isn’t always easy and the people around you are either helpful or harmful. 4.5 stars for a young adult story with the gritty situations that make it feel real!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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I have finally gotten around to reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This book is monumental and legendary in how it faces life head on. The story contains everything from adolescence that defines us – teen angst, popularity or lack thereof, family struggles, dysfunctional families and the relationships that we form during this impressionable time that will help shape our futures. Empowering and overwhelming, this contemporary classic bears its soul for the world to see, learn from and to grow with- 5 stars!