When two heartbeats get each other: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

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Heartbeat

By Elizabeth Scott

Released: February, 2014 by Harlequin Teen

Length: 240 Pages

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Rating: Five Stars

Acquired: Via netgalley

Everything can change in one…

That’s what happened for seventeen year old Emma. Before she went to school her mother was pregnant..and alive.  Now, angry and living with her step dad, Dan, she once loved as her biological, Emma visits her mother everyday in  the hospital as she is brain dead and struggling to keep the baby she struggled two years to conceive alive. At a loss, Emma struggles every day with the fact that her step dad chose her soon to be born brother over her brain dead mother.  Didn’t he know how scared her mom was all the time about being over forty and pregnant? These thoughts constantly run through her head as her grades drop, her anger rises, and she begins to form an unlikely friendship with a druggie and car thief from school, Caleb Harrison. But they share something Emma and her best friend don’t at the moment and won’t for a long time: grief and losing someone you love prematurely and in a bad way.

This was the first Elizabeth Scott book I have read and I absolutely loved it. I mean completely, absolutely, head over heels fan girl loved it. I read it in one sitting until 2:30 in the morning. There was something about Emma that I really related to. My mom may not be brain dead with a baby in her body, but I have lost someone. And have felt this overwhelming grief that some of  my friends haven’t in their life yet.  I see Emma in myself. And, she is wise beyond her years. She’s smart, very feisty, loyal, and beyond everything loving. I would want her by my bedside any day.

Then, there is Caleb Harrison. Oh, Caleb Harrison. Elizabeth Scott, like Sarah Dessen, knows how to craft a male love interest. He reminds me a little of Macon from Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen (has the good Macon qualities, plus the woundedness). He was a redeemable bad boy. But, not really all that bad. Doing “bad” stuff doesn’t necessarily make the person bad. He made wrong choices, but his heart was hurt and so forth.

Everything about this book was done well. The plot was heart wrenching. It really was. It pulls at you, tugs at your moral consciousness, and shows you what you are made of. I mean, how many books are out there, young adult or otherwise, have a mother on a ventilator solely to keep her baby in her belly alive? A baby that may not even make it? Add in brain dead, a devastated daughter, and a hatred/secret love for the baby and you’ve got a whirlwind of emotions called Heartbeat. There just aren’t many books that tackled this subject, in this way or that. Scott did it in a way that was raw, realistic, emotional, and authentic. I felt Emma break each time she said Hi to her mom knowing she wasn’t “there” anymore. I didn’t want to take away her pain, or take it in, I just wanted to listen. And, I did. Such an emotional, rewarding book. Again, I highly recommend it. If you love Young Adult books, or looking for a book that you think maybe your teenage daughter will like or so on, PICK THIS BOOK UP! You won’t regret it.

 

The End is Near: My first end of year literary wrap-up Part One

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A year is coming to an end. This year was an exciting year for me. In June, after my wonderful Book Expo of America adventure in June, I decided to write this very blog (thank you Shelia!). This year also marked a great year in books. And, I got to share some of them with you. How exciting!

This is my first time doing a year-end book wrap up on my blog (and, ever!).  For this first part I am going to list My 13 favorite books I read this year. Although a majority were published this year, there will be a few that were released in prior years but were a first read for me.

My 13 Favorite Books I read in 2013

  1. Every Day by David Levithan (5 Stars)

  Mr. Levithan did it again. He made me fall in love with him all over again. He reminded me why he is my favorite male YA author who can write just about everything. Even his only adult contemporary novel was great. I loved A. He was a honest character who was very mature, articulate, and wonderful for his age. There were so many quotes I loved. He talked about first loves and how they hurt. Just all of it was great; very well-written and jam packed with meanings, metaphors, and everything I love of Levithan’s. So glad I got to meet him in September at the Brooklyn Book Festival. He was so down to Earth. Read him if you haven’t. Or, if you have, pick this one up. Like Now. It will stay with you.

      2. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Powell (5 Stars)

Rainbow Powell, you had me at awesome music. I loved this book so much. It wasn’t one of those sappy High School first love stories where everything is all good, dandy, and forever. This was a realistic story I could relate to. It was a raw, hit you in the heart story that I would reread again. Rainbow Powell, I am a fan.

3. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (4 and a half Stars)

A freebie from BEA, I think I would have bought this anyway. Another realistic YA novel about first love in High School. I laughed, I cried, and I cried. Great read. It was also nice that the narrator was a guy for once. I typically don’t read ones where a guy is the speaker, so this was either refreshing or just done very well. I’ll go with both. Another book I can see as a reread.

4. Just One Day by Gayle Forman (4 Stars)

Two words: double happiness. And, another. Stain. Two great romance based metaphors I will always remember. And, massive swoon alert. I swooned pretty much throughout. I am listening to the sequel on audio and am loving it, too.

5.) Under the Light (Light, #2) by Laura Whitcomb (5 Stars)

Another must read, in my opinion. A Certain Slant of Light is one my favorite books of all time. I was so thrilled a second book was coming out after years. No way was I disappointed. I loved reading this story. It takes place both during and after the first book, if that makes sense, but through the “possessed” point of views. So, it is the boy and girl’s perspective first when they met on a different plane after leaving their bodies; then, connecting what happened, trying to remember, and coping with being back in their bodies. It was a beautiful story. I definitely swooned, but it’s a little easy for me to do.

6.) All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman (5 Stars)

I had been waiting a year to read this. I was not disappointed. I read this on a bus and could not stop laughing. Andrew Kaufman takes the ideas of what we think of superheroes and transforms the abilities to make an every day, average personality trait ad quality to be something so much more; a real superhero move to be. I read the tenth anniversary edition where he added more superheroes at the end. I was very happy with his new add on. Another book I would recommend to really anyone. It was less than 200 pages long and felt much shorter.

7. Undertaking Love by Kat French (5 Stars)

Such a funny romance novel. It was sexy in the right places. Funny in the perfect places. And entertaining everywhere in between. I couldn’t put it down. I’ve never been a huge fan of chick lit, but what French did was just great. She wrote perhaps my favorite metaphor for love this year: a rock and a lighthouse. A character in the book always wore a broach of a lighthouse. You find out it represents her husband and their love. He considered her his lighthouse that rested on his rock. It is beautiful and something I will always remember.

8. Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen (4 and a half Stars)

I have liked Edgar Allan Poe for a while. I didn’t realize he had an affair. And a great one at that. Frances Osgood was a fascinating character who I enjoyed learning about. I never heard of her prior, so it was nice learning about her. And, Poe’s crazy wife! Wow. His wife was crazy, but her mother. The apple did not fall far from the tree. Let’s just say I haven’t been that surprised by an ending in a while. I got it on netgalley; I will most likely buy it in the near future. So great.

9. The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley (4 and a half Stars)

I listened to this on audio from audible. The narrator was fantastic. I think they may be why I loved the book as much as I do. I love it when that happens. If you like historical fiction, this is for you. If you don’t, this is for you still because it takes part in the present. Two love stories in one, ladies. Can’t beat that. And, the last sentence from each period (is the same) was awe inducing.

10. Six Months Later by Natalie Richards (5 Stars)

A lot of YA novels I read are predictable, but enjoyable for the most part. This is not your traditional YA novel. I like teen romances, but this teen mystery genre, I may have to take a part in. I loved the suspense, twists and turns, and the characters. Every bit had me on the edge.

11. The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey (4 Stars)

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels of all times. A classic novel, it’s hard not to be a fan. This novel was a great adaptation of a classic novel that has struggled with vampires, poor sequels, and spin-offs. It was a great retelling, but just as great of a stand alone. I truly loved it.

12. Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill (4 Stars)

Another YA novel. This was one of those books that I felt connected to in some way. I don’t know why, to be honest. Based around sports, it is a foreign territory for me. I liked ice skating as a child, but hockey never. Yet, it wasn’t a turn-off. As much as it was about sports, it was about so much more, too. You read about the characters struggles, challenges, and grow with them.  I am happy I get to be part of the book blitz tour because it was such a good read. I think fans of Jennifer E. Smith would love this book. From dual perspectives, it was a no brainier to add this book to my top list.

13. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (5 Stars)

Oh, Sarah. How can I not include you? This wasn’t one of my favorite books of hers, but I definitely enjoyed it. She never fails to impress me with the way she crafts characters. The females are always strong, independent thinkers that I want to befriend. The love interests aren’t half bad either. Wes from The Truth about Forever is still my favorite. This book might not be a good starter book if you haven’t read her before, but if you’ve read one, I wouldn’t be discouraging if you read this next.

 

There you have it. My top 13. Reading close to sixty books this year, it was a little difficult to choose. I hope you find some books here that interest you. Some great reads, I tell ya.

 

Stay tuned for part two: My top 13 books I wish I read this year published in 2013. And, part three: My top 14 books I am looking forward to reading most this year. *spoiler, some were released in 2013.

 

Happy reading!

It’s Monday! What are you reading?: My first meme participation

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Whew, another Monday down. This Monday marks a milestone for me, my first It’s Monday! What are you reading? post. It’s Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly meme that showcases different blogs where you can find even more book reviews and recommendations sponsored by Shelia at bookjourney.wordpress.com.  

In case you missed my entry into the world of blogging last week (almost to the day!) I will go on a quick time machine ride and take you back to my first week here.  

One of the highlights of my week was my newbie experience at the giant BEA convention I attended last Saturday as a power reader. It was a great experience, where I can’t wait to attend next year! I definitely will be more prepared. The app I downloaded turned out to be of little help with a confusing map; I missed like ten booths! At least I walked away with lots of books and just as awesome tote bags!! (sorry I have no pictures, bad indie, I know). As you can imagine, attending such an event leaves one with lots of reading to do. 

 

My first post, actually, was an early review of Sarah Dessen’s new YA novel The Moon and More  The Moon and Morereleased June 4th, by Viking Juvenile. This

was a great coming of age novel about eighteen year old  Emaline’s last summer before college, finding herself, her role in her community, family, and interpersonal relationships. If you like YA, are new to Sarah Dessen, or just want to read something lighter than more contemporary fiction novels are becoming, definitely give The Moon and More a shot. The title alone is catchy, the meaning heartwarming (I won’t tell you why!). I read the book in only a day and a half, but I have always been a fan. I have read every book she ever wrote. Superfan? Maybe.

Another novel I finished that week was The Gilly Salt Sisters by Tiffany Baker.

The Gilly Salt Sisters Unfortunately, this book took me longer to read. I rated it two stars, but it may have been two and a half. It wasn’t necessarily a quick chick lit book, nor a quick contemporary read. It was a different sort of novel. Unfortunately just fell too flat for me. I can be a picky reader sometimes. We like what we like, right?

This week, look out for a review of Ronald Frame’s Havisham: A Novel review, the first book of many I got at BEA. So far, I am enjoying this book, surprisingly so since I couldn’t get pass page 100 on Great Expectations, the inspiration for this prequel like book, focusing on the life of Catherine Havisham before she appears in the aforementioned previous novel. No wedding dress!

And the cover is so pretty! Havisham: A Novel I just love me some silhouettes. So much so, thanks to Litographs and BEA, I got this poster free… how pretty is that? Can’t wait till I get it soon! If only I have room on my walls.

I am hoping to add to my reading list this week, of course. I tend to stick to just one book at a time, so not ready for my next book decision. Such a huge one it is!

Happy Monday, and happy week! 

 

Let the Summer Reading Commence with The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

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ImageYA author Sarah Dessen brings readers her eleventh novel, The Moon and More, following her successful tenth novel, What Happened to Goodbye, released two summers ago. Set in the familiar beach town of Colby, North Carolina, Sarah Dessen introduces us to a new heroine, eighteen year old Emaline. Living in Colby her whole life, Emaline tries spends her last summer before college working at her family’s realty company, Colby Realty. As well as planning on spending her remaining time with her two best friends, and her high school sweetheart, Luke. Things take an unexpected turn as Emaline’s estranged father and half-brother from New York comes back into town. And, if things could not have been stressful enough, in come NYU Film student Theo and his mentor Ivy to challenge Emaline’s small town thinking.  As Emaline starts to grow closer to her half-brother and Theo, Emaline begins to reevaluate her life and future in a small town; wondering if a big city will set her free.

Emaline’s high school love, Luke is the perfect, good, safe choice for her. They have been together since their freshmen year of High School. Both would be attending the same school, only buildings separating them. In comes Theo, offering a new perspective on life and opening Emaline’s eyes to a new her: an Emaline who steps out of her comfort zone and escorts Theo and his mentor, documentary film director Ivy, around Colby to learn about a town outside of tour guides. Like with everyone, this new summer isn’t always an easy transition. Decisions must be made. But which one and how?

Dessen is also known to bring characters back from previous novels; Dessen took it a step further this time by having Along for the Ride’s minor character, Washroom and underground café owner Clyde Conaway a power force; from small town boy to big city artist back to a recluse artist. There are still minor appearances, two from Along the Ride, and a two name dropping from The Truth about Forever. However, Clyde’s role takes precedence over minor recurring roles. He brings together reclusive and big city behavior together, stringing along the plot in a fun way. Will he actually do an interview for a documentary? Does he really want to go on tour? Emaline’s life may be changing, major choices must be made, but it is Clyde’s life choices that help push the plot through.  By seeing the life Clyde chose to live after leaving a lucrative art career in New York, then the life he may still want, Emaline grows with him.   

True to form, Dessen doesn’t bring readers a traditional summer fling YA book in time for the season of vacations and brief romances. While there are many of those aspects present: the love interests-high school love and not from here summer boy; small town eccentrics, like local artist Clyde Conaway; and, an unusual and tricky family dynamic. I loved how, to me, the book seemed a little like a sequel to Along for the Ride, another book I loved and would recommend any day. It made me smile continuously when the familiar haunt Washroom would be featured; my favorite underground spot Eli took Auden to in Along for the Ride. Even after ten books, this book is still refreshing and new, with quotes aplenty to write down and memorize. My favorite is “Maybe it was just part of growing up with someone. Once you have a rhythm and stay with it long enough, it’s hard not to find again.” (pg. 306) Overall, I give this book a full five stars, reminding me why I fell so in love with Sarah Dessen those ten books ago.

 

 

 

 

 

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