DJ play that Song: This Song will Save Your Life by Leila Sales Book Review

8 Comments

15777621

 

This Song Will Save Your Life

By: Leila Sales

Released: September, 2013 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (BYR)

Length: 279 Pages

Genre: YA-realistic contemporary mental illness-suicide attempt

Rating: 4 and a half stars

Acquired: Gift

 

Elise Dembowski is used to being the outcast. Bullied in High School; friends with two girls she has nothing in common with nor wants to find out if they can. After a rude encounter, she decides she can’t take it anymore. After a failed attempt, it isn’t until a friendly catcall one night on her late night walks, she discovers Start, an Indie night club that turns out to be possibly everything that she needs.

 

There weren’t many things going for Elise. She had two friends, but she didn’t have many things in common with them and often used them just for the company at lunch. Then Start comes into the picture and everything changes for her. After the DJ, DJ Char, from the Smiths’ song “This Charming Man” leaves her in the DJ booth so he can chase after their friend, Pippa, Elise discovers her true passion, garnering a new attitude on life, friends she actually trusts, and a fuller life.

Leila Sales writes a realistic novel about how hard it can be finding your voice in High School and the surprising ways we can find it. What starts off as a shaky novel with a problematic suicide scene that is more of a cry for help, Sales novel quickly develops into a fun, catchy novel about finding friendship and love in an upbeat indie club. But, the love isn’t necessarily with a boy–or a person. The music in the novel is great. The trope of Elise finding herself through music and DJing is perfect. It was nicely developed and written. There was DJ Char as a love interest, but he was more forgettable compared to the true love she felt with DJing. That was really what was home for her.

There were some little problems I had with the novel, particularly with her suicide attempt and her pseudo relationship with Char, but she remained mature and true to herself throughout the whole novel which is very difficult to do. I thought her new friends were excellent characters, particularly the bouncer Mel and her friend Vicky. They both brought life to the pages they were featured. The parents, when featured, weren’t the greatest of parents nor were the fully developed in my eyes. I did think, however, as much as I disliked Char, his characterization was spot-on.

I truly loved this book. I think because it was so heavy with music I normally listen to on a daily basis. I knew a lot of the songs that were referenced. I enjoyed the playlist at the very end of songs you would hear at similar clubs. I would highly recommend this book. It was a quick read. Something fun, and mostly read. Very engrossing and entertaining. I couldn’t get enough of it. Definitely one of my favorites for this year.

Advertisements

When the Future comes to the Present: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

Leave a comment

18373078

The Here and Now

By: Ann Brashares

Released: April 8th, 2014 by Delacorte Press

Length: 192 Pages

Genre: YA Fantasy/Dystopia

Rating: Four and a Half Stars

Acquired: Invite via netgalley

 

Prenna is like no other. She doesn’t come from our time. Doesn’t share our blood. She is here from the future, but not to protect us, but for her and her people to stop a virus from happening. She didn’t plan on becoming a savior. Or, falling in love with one of us.

Sixteen Year Old Prenna James lives a very sheltered, secluded life. Forced to wear glasses that has a surveillance system installed on them and take pills that only weaken them, Prenna’s adapting to the “past” or our present hasn’t been easy. There are rules upon rules. And, lies. Lies she begins to uncover with a boy from the present. A boy she can’t help but fall in love with, Ethan. As they search to uncover the truth about her journey and reason for being in here, and stopping a murder that will change everything, their lives become ever so complicated.

There were two paragraphs that immediately pulled me in. After the day The Rules are read, a yearly practice/celebration where all the residents gather to remember the strict rules and remember the dead/those who broke them. Prenna is in the park with fellow teens. She hits the feelings on the nail.

No one talks about what really binds us together. The gap between what we say and what we feel is so big and dark that  sometimes I think I’ll fall into it and just keep falling.

At least, I think we feel it. Does anybody else feel it? I don’t know and I won’t find out. We follow our scripts like actors in a very large, very long production. And even with no audience, none of us gives a hint that it isn’t real.

There is such alienation that is universal, at least to me/for me. I connected so much to that. Especially when you are a teenager, even if you’re not from a different time. Ann Brashares writes a novel for everyone while disguising it as something extraordinarily unfamiliar to use. But, as we pull apart the layers it’s so universal and real, it’s beautiful and real.

Ann Brashares tells a beautiful, yet complicated story of first love, fighting for individuality, and fighting to be heard. I was hooked in immediately. The story was fast-paced. The action well thought out. The characters well-developed and not too far out there that they were unbelievable. I could relate to Prenna’s  suffocating circumstances. And, Ethan’s longings, yet he never crossed any boundaries and respected Prenna’s wishes and unfamiliar background which made him ever the more likable to me. This was one of those novels I didn’t want to end. I hope there’s a sequel. I’m sure there could be.

I would highly recommend this novel. Not just because the cover is so pretty, but it is. But, because there is something about this novel that pulled me in so deeply that I think will pull you in. It doesn’t truly read like a Young Adult novel. In reality, they are doing a very adult thing by trying to stop a murder from happening while being teenagers and falling in love. I think it offers something for everyone. Brashares presents a different novel that is a success, to me. A success that should be widely read.

Love and Death go hand in hand: Undertaking Love by Kat French Book Review

5 Comments

17669183

Undertaking Love

By Kat French

Released April, 2013 by Authonomy, HarperCollins

Length: 280 Pages

Genre: Chick Lit

Rating: Four and a half stars

Acquired: via netgalley

What can go wrong when a funeral parlor opens up next to a wedding chapel? 

Undertaking Love is Kat French’s debut novel. Known as Kitty French in the erotica genre, French tries her hand at something new and succeeds brilliantly.

American Marla Jacobs moved to England ten years prior. Never a believer of love or marriage, she has owned her own Las Vegas style Wedding Chapel for the past few years. When the building next to her opens up, and her new neighbors move in, it isn’t the cupcake shop she thought was coming. Instead it is a funeral parlor ran by the new man in town Gabriel Ryan; his business threatening Marla’s and all she has built for herself in the quiet town. Too bad Gabriel Ryan is good-looking and everything Marla has wanted. Even with her protests, petitions, and newspaper boyfriend, Marla has to fight for her business and protect her heart. But, can she?

Gabriel Ryan didn’t know there was a Wedding Chapel next door. He just wanted to open up  funeral parlor in a town that didn’t have one. Was that too much to ask? Then, he meets Marla Jacobs. While she is after his head, he tries to protect himself from the woman he can’t stop thinking about. Can a funeral parlor and a wedding chapel really coexist? Will Gabriel and Marla get their act together?

This was a great read. I am not a big fan of women’s literature. I do read it from time to time, but don’t often find myself gravitating towards it. The title was too witty to pass up. Undertaking Love? Made me smile. Then, I read page one, then page fifty, and just couldn’t stop myself. I immediately got caught up in the story. Everything Gabriel Ryan did made me smile and swoon a little more. Marla Jacobs was a smart, strong, and level-minded woman. She was one of those characters I would want to be friends with. And slap her each time she made a mean comment to sexy Gabriel she didn’t mean.  And, Gabriel. My did I ever swoon? He did so many sweet things for her. Swoon worthy. And, melt did I ever? Read it and see all the things he did. Fireworks, the perfect birthday present, and so forth. If I could find a man like him.

French also wrote perhaps the best metaphor for love. Every day this woman wore a lighthouse broach wherever she went; it was a gift from her husband. Why a lighthouse? Why? Because she was her husband’s lighthouse on top of his rocks. How sweet is that? That metaphor continues through the end of the book; it was just so awe-inspiring to think of. And how it connects in the end is great. I didn’t have tears, but I was close. It was just too sweet. And, a quote I will always remember.

If you are looking for a sweet, light read, this is for you. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. Even after a week or so, I am still thinking about the book and the lighthouse. I hope you pick it up. I might just read it again and buy myself a copy. It would make a great Valentine’s Day reread.

Happy reading!

Take Me Back to Russia: The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

1 Comment

18129921

The Firebird (Slains #2)

By Susanna Kearsley, narrated by Katherine Kellgreen

Released June, 2013 by audible.com

Around 16 hours

Genre: Historical fiction, Historical mystery

Four and a half stars

 Nicola follows a young girl named Anna who leads her into the past on a quest through the glittering backdrops of the Jacobites and Russian courts, unearthing a tale of love, courage, and redemption.

Susanna Kearsley’s The Firebird isn’t your typical historical fiction novel. Taking place both in the past and present, Kearsley takes you from London, England to Scotland, all the way to Russia where the story really takes off. This story maybe considered a sequel to The Winter Sea, but this novel does not have to be read in order to follow the story line of The Firebird. I actually haven’t read The Winter Sea, and I was able to still enjoy the novel.

The story focuses around a woman called Anna Jamison (among other last names) during the time where Jacobites were fighting to reinstate King James as the rightful owner of the crown. Yet, it is how the story focuses on her that is interesting. Nicola, and her companion Rob, both have the ability to see the past; Nicola by simply touching an item, the reason of the quest in the first place when a dying woman tries to sell a family heirloom known as the firebird; Rob’s is more powerful where all he has to do is concentrate. Ultimately, you are following two great story lines. You read about Anna’s past, but not exactly through her eyes per se. There is no I felt, this happened to me etc, only with Nicola’s present story line.

This novel kept me on my toes. And for all you romantics out there, the end is a douse. I can’t tell you why, but there may have been a long awe coming from me. I truly enjoyed listening to this. So much so, I know I probably wouldn’t have been as engrossed if I read it instead of listening. The narrator, Katherine Kellgreen was truly incredible. The accents she did were fabulous. They were spot on. Her Scottish ones were great. I couldn’t help but laugh at some of them. Although I haven’t been to Scotland yet, I have a feeling they were pretty accurate.

Every part of this novel felt real and authentic. As I have been to Russia before, it was great to “revisit” the country. Honestly, it is the second book I read this year about Russia. And, I’m not complaining. Both got really high ratings from me.

I would highly recommend this book. Although it started slow, once I hit part two, I was hooked. I listened for over nine hours straight! The second and last part were both are four- five hours give or take minutes. And, I enjoyed every single minute of it. And, if you are like me and love cultural historical fiction, this is one book you don’t want to miss. If you are more of a fan of love stories, still pick up this novel. Like I said, the end is a big awe inducing moment. I enjoyed everything I learned while reading this. I definitely think I would listen to this book again. Maybe skip some of the first part, to be honest. If you stick through the first fifty or so pages, all the rest you will breeze through. Really it all picks up once Rob is introduced and they start their journey together.

If you are an audible member, make this book your monthly choice. I did, and there are no regrets. With other audio sites, I am unaware of it is the same narrator. Check first is my recommendation. Katherine Kellgreen’s narration of this novel is not to be missed.

“Hiding the person you are,’ he said, ‘won’t make you happy. I never hide who I am. What I am.” 

Travel in Retrospect

Geographers don't get lost; they merely explore.

Read Voraciously

Devouring words one page at a time.

Creative-Lee Designed

Getting through life one craft at a time.

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

The Original 24 Hour Readathon

stampingwithreneetorres

Independent Stampin' Up! Consultant

My OBT

My daily quest for One Beautiful Thing (OBT)

Attack Of The Quarterlife Crisis

Because suddenly you wake up one day and realize you're an adult

An Unconventional Librarian

Those who are clever, who have a Brain, never understand anything.

November Notebook: A YA Lit Blog

Updated Sundays & Wednesdays

Glenn Hates Books

Brutally Honest Book Reviews

Roof Beam Reader

A Place of Books and the Thoughts They Inspire

Michelle Gable, Writer

Fiction and Finance

Words And Peace

book reviews and good books for you to read

Pages And Tea

Because life is better served with a good book and a cup of tea. Book reviews and general bookish writings. I love many genres, so all manner of books may appear on my blog.

retrohipmama

vintage inspired creativity

Crafts 'n Coffee

Get your creative buzz as we craft with STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam. Brought to you by The Dow Chemical Company.