Fangirl

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FANGIRL is my third Rainbow Rowell book and so maybe my love of ELEANOR AND PARK and KINDRED SPIRITS should have been the clue that reading more of Rainbow’s stuff was a good idea. But if I’m being honest, I had this fear that I’d be let down. It happens sometimes. You build an author up in your head and then fall that much harder when they fail to meet such high expectations. Maybe ELANOR AND PARK was a fluke and when I read FANGIRL or any other book by Rainbow, I’d be disappointed. I couldn’t face being such a low after I’d fallen so hard for the other two books.

I wasn’t disappointed.

There are so many reasons to love FANGIRL. So many reasons to run screaming through the streets, praising this book. Beyond whatever I can say, what I love about this book is the way it stirs my heart and warms my soul. It’s like drinking a cup of something I didn’t know I was missing.

Cather is a Simon Snow fan. She’s also one of the most popular writers of Fanfiction online. Being a fan has been Cath’s whole life. It’s the one thing she’s really good at. She and her twin sister Wren have drifted apart. College has brought on some new challenges. Cath is on her own for the first time and far out of her comfort zone. Her English professor believes that fanfiction is the equivalent of plagiarism. Her roommate is moody with a charming boyfriend who is always around. Oh and the boy at the library who only wants to use her words. Does moving on mean she has to give up Simon too?

This was beautifully written. I’m liquid and in love. Watch me pretend like I wasn’t a big fan before… because yea, it’s official, I love Rainbow Rowell. Hard. I love her books so hard I want to force them down my friend’s throats until they have to like her too. That’s not weird is it?

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Ronit & Jamil

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RONIT & JAMIL by Pamela L. Laskin is a Lyrical novel in verse. It’s a fresh retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet where the star-crossed lovers are in modern-day Israel and Palestine stuck in the middle of their countries conflict.

There were a lot of reasons I picked up this book: the cover art is beautiful, the idea of a modern Romeo & Juliet, and I’m a sucker for star-crossed love – end of story. While the poetry is beautiful at times, it does come across very middle grade. I’m not sure who the audience is supposed to be, but it feels young. Truth be told, wasn’t Juliet 12? So maybe that is the intent.

I thought it was interesting that the verses almost seemed to mirror on her side and his throughout the book. They each have individual lives, on either border of Israel and Palestine, but they are so similar. Even the day to day is similar. I could be off base here, but it felt like the author was trying to convey that despite their differences, these countries are more alike than they maybe would like to admit. So for that reason, I thought it was beautiful rendition. I don’t know that the audience as a whole would appreciate the themes in this book, and for that, I’m a little sad.

 

Survivor

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This was a book I picked up on sale with Audible. Years ago I bought it but never got around to reading it. It was about time I listened to it and boy was I glad I did! Survivor by Chuck Palahnicuk’s dry humor is dark, twisted, and I couldn’t put it down. I wasn’t expecting to be quite so blown away by this book, but none the less it left me buying a new Palahniuk book. I’d read Fight Club ages ago and wasn’t left as satisfied as my friends. But Survivor was a breath of fresh dark humored air.

The book opens with Tender Branson, the last surviving member of the Creedish Death Cult, dictating his life story into Flight 2039’s black box recorder. He tells us this plane will crash in the Australian outback, but not before he has the chance to tell us his whole story starting with chapter 43. From the beginning to the very last page, I was on edge dying to know what would happen next. Where would this book take me?

If you don’t mind a dark plot, social commentary on fame, the media, and those who are spotlight drawn, then this book might just be for you. If you don’t like those things but you enjoy something that will keep you guessing, I’d recommend reading it anyway.

Scrappy Little Nobody

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By Anna Kendrick

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I’m a sucker for an autobiography. So of course, I bought Anna Kendrick’s Scrappy Little Nobody. I read it enthusiastically and loved every damn page. Sometimes Autobiographies are hit and miss. This of course, is always worth it because when it’s a hit, it’s a home run. And Anna’s book was a no-hitter! … Maybe I’m mixing up my sports terms. Yay team, go sports!

This book left me feeling like I’d just spent the afternoon with Anna and we’re close bffs. It’s effortlessly funny, witty, and relatable.

“I was never the girl to strap on a snowboard and head straight for a black diamond, but if I saw “advanced” in the corner of a Martha Stewart Living recipe, I’d think, bring it on you crazy bitch.”1*f-4kubs55q6fV5c6hn5Oyw.jpeg

I don’t often finish a book without some sort of criticism. Scrappy Little Nobody was without a doubt the best Autobiography I’ve read this year. I enjoyed the ease of her essays. Part of me hopes she takes on another book at some point, because I would read that as well. I would read them all to infinity.

 

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell is one of those rare books you stumble upon, so filled with magic, that it manages to change your world forever. I can remember having a small conversation with Rainbow Rowell on Twitter some time last year, but I’d yet to read any of her books. On a trip to the library, I’d came across a copy of Eleanor & Park and added it to my stack. Unfortunately I never got around to reading it, and had to take the book back.

When Audible had a sale on some titles, and this was E & P was one of them, I jumped at the chance to add it to my library. As my readers know, I’m an audio book fool. Especially if there’s a great narrator, and this book had two: Rebecca Lowman and Sunil Malhotra.

I feel like I could tell you what this book is about, two outcasts fall in love but are torn apart by family and circumstance. But it doesn’t begin to do it justice. Maybe I’m a softy, and that chocolate gooey center is just a sucker for a great love story. I don’t know. This story was innocent, gripping, filled with first loves, and made me ache for something I haven’t felt in years. It was like stepping into a time portal and getting to experience all of that teenage angst for the first time all over again, this time without the homework.

I did a quick google image search for “Eleanor and Park” and came up with a slew of fan art. I wanted to show some of it off. It’s rare that a book moves people to such things, and when it does, I think it’s worth sharing.  This first one, I believe is from a special release of the book, the others are from fans. Each of them are simply lovely.

It’s after reading a book like this, that I wish I was friends with the author. I want to call Rainbow up right now, and squee into the phone. I want to know where this came from, who the inspiration was, what her thoughts were. I want to know what she’s thought of doing since. Is there a film in the works. Could one ever do it justice by capturing the magic that was clear in the book. Ahhh well. Someday.

Until that day comes, please check out this book. If you’re up for young love done right, this is where you should start.

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24 more days…

In 24 days time, Veteran’s Voices will be on the shelves of book stores across the world. Many of you who read my blog know that there are only a few things I’ve ever wanted to do my entire life. I wanted to be a writer and a teacher. I’m a contributing author for this book! It feels great to know that even if I struggle selling my own novel, that I got to do this. Someday, I hope that my own novel will find as much success as VV. We’ve sold out of the first 25,000 copies already!!! That is HUGE!!! It means a second printing folks, YIPPPPYYYYYY!!!!!!

Here is a glimpse at one of the stories I wrote:

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Michael Conner Humphries is the the boy who played Forest Gump as a child in the movie Forest Gump. He was so moved by day visits on the near by military base during filming that after high school, he joined the United States Army and served in the Iraq Anbar Province. His is one of the many stories found in Veteran’s Voices: Remarkable Stories of Heroism, Sacrifice, and Honor.

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Summer Sisters

December 21, 2015

Summer Sisters by Judy BlumeReviewed by Miranda BoyerFor the last 12 years, I’ve read Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters at
 least once  a year - sometimes twice. There is something about this 
story of friendship between two girls that resonates with me to this 
day. Maybe this is in part because I grew up with sisters. Maybe it’s 
because I’m still friends with my childhood girlfriend, my own summer 
sister. For these reasons, this review won’t be as ‘typical’ as others. The
 book follows Caitlin and Vix through the many ups and downs of their 
lives from a friendship that started over summer vacation in the sixth 
grade and lasted into their thirties. We get to watch these two girls 
grow into women over the course of their summers spent together. 
Supplementary we get to read the narration through many of the books 
other characters. However, never once does Blume voice Caitlin, only 
letting us see her through Vix’s rose colored glasses. The two are the 
epitome of opposite attraction. Vix is prudent, introverted, perceptive,
 hard working, and comes from a middle class working family. Meanwhile 
Caitlin is far more irresponsible, extroverted, free-spirited, the apple
 of everyone’s eye including her upper-class family.There are 
many layers to this book and it seems that it doesn’t matter how many 
times I read it, I’m able to take something new away. I was 18 when I 
first read Summer Sisters. Back then I think I envied Caitlin a
 little, relating much more to Vix. I envied Caitlin’s ability to let 
loose, to travel freely alone, her gumption, the carefree way she viewed
 the world. As I’ve grown it’s Vix who I envy. I moved away to a small 
nowherevill town and fell in love. I was in love the the town, it’s 
people, but mostly I was in love with the person that it turned me into.
 Or as I’ve learned, the person I let myself become; stronger and more 
independent. When I left the town and moved on with my life I traveled 
the United States in my car, alone. I saw things, experienced things 
that made me a better, stronger, wiser person. I didn’t feel like Vix 
while living there. I’d let myself grow wild. But now, I crave stability
 (I always have in one way or the other), I want to buy a home, I want 
to make something of myself, I want things that feel out of my grasp but
 I’m not going to let anything stop me from achieving my goals. I feel 
thirty and much older, more experienced then the child who read Summer Sisters 12 years ago. I
 guess what I’m saying, is that this is the sort of book that someone 
can relate to repeatedly over the years, whether your sixteen or sixty. 
I’m saying that if you’ve never read this book, that you should give it a
 few hours of your life. It’s short but oh so sweet. It will leave you 
wishing for a warm beach with an old friend.
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume

Reviewed by Miranda Boyer

For the last 12 years, I’ve read Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters at least once  a year – sometimes twice. There is something about this story of friendship between two girls that resonates with me to this day. Maybe this is in part because I grew up with sisters. Maybe it’s because I’m still friends with my childhood girlfriend, my own summer sister. For these reasons, this review won’t be as ‘typical’ as others.

The book follows Caitlin and Vix through the many ups and downs of their lives from a friendship that started over summer vacation in the sixth grade and lasted into their thirties. We get to watch these two girls grow into women over the course of their summers spent together. Supplementary we get to read the narration through many of the books other characters. However, never once does Blume voice Caitlin, only letting us see her through Vix’s rose colored glasses. The two are the epitome of opposite attraction. Vix is prudent, introverted, perceptive, hard working, and comes from a middle class working family. Meanwhile Caitlin is far more irresponsible, extroverted, free-spirited, the apple of everyone’s eye including her upper-class family.

There are many layers to this book and it seems that it doesn’t matter how many times I read it, I’m able to take something new away. I was 18 when I first read Summer Sisters. Back then I think I envied Caitlin a little, relating much more to Vix. I envied Caitlin’s ability to let loose, to travel freely alone, her gumption, the carefree way she viewed the world. As I’ve grown it’s Vix who I envy. I moved away to a small nowherevill town and fell in love. I was in love the the town, it’s people, but mostly I was in love with the person that it turned me into. Or as I’ve learned, the person I let myself become; stronger and more independent. When I left the town and moved on with my life I traveled the United States in my car, alone. I saw things, experienced things that made me a better, stronger, wiser person. I didn’t feel like Vix while living there. I’d let myself grow wild. But now, I crave stability (I always have in one way or the other), I want to buy a home, I want to make something of myself, I want things that feel out of my grasp but I’m not going to let anything stop me from achieving my goals. I feel thirty and much older, more experienced then the child who read Summer Sisters 12 years ago.

I guess what I’m saying, is that this is the sort of book that someone can relate to repeatedly over the years, whether your sixteen or sixty. I’m saying that if you’ve never read this book, that you should give it a few hours of your life. It’s short but oh so sweet. It will leave you wishing for a warm beach with an old friend.