Review: Soulstruck

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Title: Soulstruck
Author: Natasha Sinel
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Source: hardcopy from book distributor (Thomas Allen and Son)
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Rachel Ferguson is trying to get struck by lightning. Hopefully it will lead to finding her soul mate, like it did for her mother. And then maybe her mom will be as devoted to her as she is to her lightning strike survivors group.

When Rachel discovers a journal written by her mother’s soul mate – the man she thought was her father – she begins to question everything she’s always believed, including soul mates, fate, and even her mother. No longer sure of its power, she decides to quit chasing lightning.

Rachel feels abandoned and alone. Her best friend has ditched her, her boyfriend has dumped her, and a confrontation with her mom only made things worse. At least she still has her friend Jay. In fact, their growing attraction to each other seems to be the only good thing happening.

But when her relationship with Jay starts to unravel, too, the impulse to get struck by lightning resurfaces.

And there’s a thunderstorm coming.

Set in a small Cape Cod beach town in the off-season, Soulstruck is about the search for love and the risk of losing it while waiting for destiny to happen.

Review:

Before reading this book, I had no idea what an impact getting struck by lightning has on a person. Of course, I know it could kill a person, but I didn’t realize that it causes lifelong health problems and that you need to constantly get checked for symptoms for the rest of your life. There are even support groups like the one in this book, which I had never thought about before. I learned a lot in this book.

I loved Rachel. She was very real. She had ups and downs, like a real person. I could feel her pain, both when dealing with her mom and her boyfriends. I even had tears in my eyes at the end. It was emotional but powerful.

I liked how not all of the information was given right at the beginning of the book. It takes a while to learn about Rachel’s past, including what her injury was that caused the scars on her legs. Since this information was held back, it made me want to keep reading.

One thing that was a little confusing was that the first few chapters alternated between the present and the past, during Rachel’s relationship with Reed. It would have been helpful if there was a signal at the beginning of the chapters to show that it was flashing back in time or returning to the present. Once the flashbacks caught up to the present, it continues in the present, so that was only for a few chapters at the beginning.

I loved this book! I’ll be recommending it for a while. Have you read it? What did you think?

Author Event: Victoria Aveyard

About a month ago I went to an Indigo event with Victoria Aveyard! We stood on the balcony of the Yorkdale Indigo store so we would have a better view of the interview, because it was packed downstairs. I loved hearing her speak about her writing process. She’s a very talented writer. And she’s so young too! She is a huge inspiration to me.

I didn’t meet her and get a book signed there, because I preordered a signed copy of the book from Indigo. This was my first Indigo Book Box, which was amazing! It had a signed copy of the book along with a note from Victoria and a little candle. I loved it! I hope they make more of these.

This was a great event, and I can’t wait to read the book!

Have you met any authors recently?

Review: Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max

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Title: Lumberjanes, Vol. 2: Friendship to the Max
Author: Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: BOOM! Box
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Release Date: October 13, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

What a mystery!

Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are not your average campers and Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types is not your average summer camp. Between the river monsters, magic, and the art of friendship bracelets, this summer is only just beginning. Join the Lumberjanes as they take on raptors and a sibling rivalry that only myths are made of.

This New York Times bestseller and Eisner Award-nominated series is written by awesome all-star Noelle Stevenson and brilliant newcomer Grace Ellis, and illustrated by the tremendously talented Brooke Allen.

Review:

This is another great Lumberjanes story!

The story arc that was started in the first volume was completed in this one. It was unpredictable. You never now what’s going to happen at Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types.

My favourite part was the introduction of Greek mythology. I suspected it when Diana appeared, but I was so excited to see more of the myths explored. I was surprised at who Apollo was too! It was a great conclusion to this chapter of the story.

Have you read this book or other Lumberjanes books? What did you think?

TBR Thursday – June 14

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TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

This has been on my TBR for so long! I really need to read it soon!

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: Tell Me No Lies

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Title: Tell Me No Lies
Author: Adele Griffin
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Source: paperback copy from book distributor (Thomas Allen and Son)
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A riveting novel about secrecy, complicated friendships, and heartbreak, set against the iconic backdrop of the late 1980s.

Lizzy Swift is a senior in high school, emerging from her nerd chrysalis to become a social butterfly. She starts dating popular Matt Ashley, whom she’s been pining for since freshman year. She’s delighted when rebellious new girl Claire Reynolds introduces her to Center City Philadelphia—clubs, street life, and the eye-opening art scene. As Lizzy begins to question her own long-held dreams, the changes in her life mirror the upheaval of a decade marked by a drug epidemic and the AIDS crisis. She’s no longer sure of her Ivy League ambition. While she has a special connection with Matt, something’s missing. And Claire carries around a mysterious sadness and talks about a breakup so bad she changed schools—but she won’t tell the whole story. Lizzy wants Claire to confide in her, even as she keeps her own embarrassing secrets.

Before too long, the heady thrill of her new life starts to crumble under insecurities and deceptions.  When the truth emerges from the wreckage, will it be too late for Lizzy, Claire, and Matt to save their love and friendships?

Tell Me No Lies, a companion to the acclaimed Be True to Me, is a novel of unflinching emotional honesty about secrecy, lies, love, and identity.

Review:

This is a great story about the struggles of growing up.

Everyone in this story has secrets. Some are more obvious than others, but they all lie about them. They don’t want to have difficult conversations, so they lie about their problems, but that just makes them worse.

Lizzy’s secret was that she is an epileptic. She didn’t like to talk about it and never said the word epilepsy, but the girls at school knew about it because she had had a seizure at school years ago. The other characters’ secrets were harder to figure out, and I was wrong in my predictions. I was suspicious of Claire and Matt, probably because they were hiding things, but my guesses of what their secrets were was wrong.

One thing that threw me off in this story was that it was set in 1988/1989. I read online that it was set in ’89, but I forgot until I got to a part in the book about using a pay phone! I think it should have been stated right at the beginning to avoid any confusion (I thought Claire was just being retro when she listened to cassette tapes). However, this may be different in the finished book, since I was reading an ARC.

Though this book is set nearly 20 years ago, the issues they face, especially in regards to mental health and identity, are still very relevant today.

Have you read this book? What did you think?

‘Waiting on’ Wednesday – June 13

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

America is in the grip of a deadly flu. When Frank gets sick, his girlfriend Polly will do whatever it takes to save him. She agrees to a radical plan—time travel has been invented in the future to thwart the virus. If she signs up for a one-way-trip into the future to work as a bonded labourer, the company will pay for the life-saving treatment Frank needs. Polly promises to meet Frank again in Galveston, Texas, where she will arrive in twelve years.

But when Polly is re-routed an extra five years into the future, Frank is nowhere to be found. Alone in a changed and divided America, with no status and no money, Polly must navigate a new life and find a way to locate Frank, to discover if he is alive, and if their love has endured.

What book are you waiting on this week?

Review: A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns

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Title: A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns
Author: Archie Bongiovanni, Tristan Jimerson
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: Limerence Press
Source: Paperback from Publisher
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Archie, a snarky genderqueer artist, is tired of people not understanding gender neutral pronouns. Tristan, a cisgender dude, is looking for an easy way to introduce gender neutral pronouns to his increasingly diverse workplace. The longtime best friends team up in this short and fun comic guide that explains what pronouns are, why they matter, and how to use them. They also include what to do if you make a mistake, and some tips-and-tricks for those who identify outside of the binary to keep themselves safe in this binary-centric world. A quick and easy resource for people who use they/them pronouns, and people who want to learn more!

Review:

This is a great guide to gender pronouns.

I learned a lot from this book. I recently read a book with a non binary character, and it was hard to get used to the use of “they” to refer to a single person. I was always taught that you shouldn’t use “they” to refer to one person in your writing if you don’t know the gender, or you want it to be universal, and instead you should use “one” or “a person.” This book shows how the pronouns “they/them” and others should be used today.

The book also gives examples of how to handle situations where you are unsure of or use the incorrect pronoun. For instance, it is better to try and use the correct pronoun, rather than just ignoring the person’s wishes. You shouldn’t ask someone what pronoun they “prefer” because their gender identity isn’t a preference. Gender identity is who they are, so they can’t change it. Instead you should ask what pronoun they use. These kinds of sensitivities are important in the modern world of multiple different gender identities.

This is a great guide to pronouns, in an accessible graphic novel format. It is short and informative, with some humour in the illustrations.

Have you read this guide? What did you think of it?