Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Turtles All the Way Down 
by John Green
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
Genres: Young Adult - Contemporary - Romance
Find it On: GoodReads - Amazon - iBooks
My Rating: 


Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. 

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

My Review:

Okay, I'm going to be really critical in this review, so to get this out of the way first: I love John Green. He is an amazing and imaginitive author. This book is *well-written.* the words are like poetry, the sentences and syntax fit together into objectively good writing, and a mediocre book by John Green is eons beyond the quality of the average book.

But man, was this not for me.

The best way I can describe this is that it felt like a shell of a book, like it was the plot outline before it was fully fleshed out. Maybe I'm nostalgic for the first time I read Paper Towns or Looking For Alaska--and mind you, I was a lot younger when that happened--but there was a certain magic that just wasn't there. 

My biggest problem was that Aza was a character of a disease. Don't get me wrong, OCD and anxiety are terrible and debilitating diseases. But it's so reductionist to assume that a disease is synonymous with a person's personality. Aside from Aza's love for her car, there is honestly no personality trait that I can use to explain Aza that isn't a textbook symptom of her mental illness. It's like John Green took his role as an educator of this illness so seriously that he forgot he was writing a fiction book. Maybe this book will help someone understand mental illness. Maybe it will make a teen with OCD feel understood. But honestly I feel like there's a real dangerous can of worms opened when you're teaching people that a person *is* their disease, and I was just not here for that kind of narrative.

The other characters were quirky, but dang, were they all supposed to be awful? Daisy was the worst. Davis was kind of boring and also kind of a jerk. (No, you don't get a sticker for loving someone who's sick!) Aza's mother was an enabler and even minor friends like Mychal were so damn rude. Can Noah be my favorite? He was pure and un-jerk-like. I nominate Noah as my favorite.

There was a plot, it was kind of cool, but for something along the lines of a mystery, there was no suspense. I liked the moral dilemma that Aza and later Davis faced regarding the importance of facing the truth, but it was so buried in everything else that the book was trying to do.

The whole "turtles all the way down" thing was a cool metaphor, but I find it hard to believe that someone in serious mental health care and years of things exposure therapy could have any new angle with which to consider her disease by her late teens. More of the same I said before: this book became so much of a mental health pamphlet that it forgot to be a novel.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Back to #Bookstagram!

Since moving, I haven't been posting on my bookstagram. My lighting isn't the same. All my "props" are packed away. Even most of my books are in storage.

But while I'm here, I didn't want to let something I loved doing so much fall by the wayside. I have a full, beautiful yard here, so I figured it was time to refresh my feed anyway. For now, all my photos are books held up with a backdrop of trees.

I'm loving the look and I'm so happy to be back to #bookstagramming!

Have a bookstagram? Comment your username below and I'll give it a follow! You can follow me @looseleafreviews

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Belated Book Release!

Happy belated book release to Bubblegum by Sari Taurez, which released on Monday!

Tiana is your typical pampered young blonde with a love for expensive shoes, hot guys, and murder.

After Tiana is cut off from her family’s riches, she takes advantage of her talents and becomes a killer for hire. It’s a lucrative business in her country, where a call to the police can amount to a lifetime of debt. 

Her first client: Julia, a lower-class IT genius, lesbian, and devout Catholic. When the orphanage Julia volunteers at is targeted by the infamous brothel-owner Bobby Nails, Tiana is excited to take the job. But when she discovers Bobby Nails has a full army of mercenaries at his disposal, Tiana wonders if she may be in over her head.

Tiana and Julia face an unexpected adventure as they seek vengeance against the elusive Nails. Along the way they are joined by Ruby, a pyromaniac ex-prostitute who catches Julia’s eye, and William, a mysterious acrobatic fugitive searching for his daughter.

In the end, will they be enough to stop Nails and the chaos he has created?

Check out my review and be sure to buy a copy for 99¢ on Amazon!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Book Review: Mick & Michelle by Nina Rossing

Mick & Michelle 
by Nina Rossing
Publication Date: October 31, 2017

Format: E-Book
Genres: Young Adult- LGBTQIA - Contemporary

Find it On: GoodReads - Amazon - B&N
My Rating: 


Fifteen-year-old Mick Mullins has a great life: his parents are sweet, his sister is tolerable, and his friendships are solid. But as summer descends on Queens, he prepares to turn his carefree existence upside down by disclosing a secret he has kept long enough. It’s time to work up the courage to reveal that he is not a boy, but a girl—and that her name is Michelle. Having always been the perfect, good boy, Michelle is terrified that the complicated truth will disappoint, hurt, or push away the people closest to her. She can’t continue hiding for much longer, though, because her body is turning into that of a man’s, and she is desperate to stop the development—desperate enough to consider self-medicating with hormones.

Most of all, Michelle fears that Grandpa, who is in a nursing home after a near fatal stroke, won’t survive the shock if he finds out that his favorite grandchild, and the only boy, is a girl. If she kills her beloved Grandpa by leaving Mick behind, she isn’t sure embracing her real identity will be worth the loss.

My Review:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

There's always a hard balance between making a book about a trans teenager "happy" while also making it "real," and I think Nina Rossing hit this balance perfectly!

Mick & Michelle is about a teenager, Mick, who is a girl with a boy's body. She has an older sister whom she envies and two loving parents that are tough-as-nails NYPD cops. She has friends, but none that she's told, and she's on the cusp of sixteen when irreversible changes are about to happen to her boy-body.

With something of a ticking clock in her head, the book follows the time where she starts coming out to those around her. Michelle is an interesting character in that she experiences the physical and emotional dysphoria of being in the wrong body, but she's a very practical thinker, and she considers things like her grandfather's health and her family's money situation before even thinking about how or what she wants to move forward with in her transition. Now when I say "practical," I don't necessarily mean "correct" thinking. Though her narration is very level-headed, I think it's absolutely heartbreaking how much she puts others' comfort above her own. Without the author ever saying it outright, I think that's the real tragedy of this book.

But Rossing did pro
mise happy, didn't she? This book felt very real to me because Michelle got such a broad range of reactions from people when she comes out. Some give unconditional support, some don't understand but are willing to try, and some bursts of support from corners she had never expected. On the flip side, some people entirely make it about them, which, to Michelle, is almost worse than total rejection.

Michelle was a great voice in this scene of literature. Her family and friends were dynamic characters and I loved the story that Rossing created. Well done!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday Post

I'm trying out a new (to me) book meme called Sunday Post!

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted @ Caffeinated Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead.

Last Week on the Blog
Next Week on the Blog
  • Monday I review Mick & Michelle
  • Top Ten Tuesday is about my Top Ten Books with Autumn Covers
  • Thursday I am writing a guest post about a topic near and dear to me. Keep posted for details!
In My Bookish Life
  • I am currently reading:
Hush, Now Forget
by Mary Gray & Cammie Larsen

  • My town had their annual book sale. 50-cent paperbacks and $1 hardcovers! I mostly filled out incomplete series, but I'm super excited for Boy, Snow, Bird.
  • I took a three day vacation, so I read a ton of books and cleaned up my blog!
  • All the Crooked Saints and Turtles All the Way Down both release Tuesday! I can't handle it!

What happened on your blog this week? I'd love to check it out!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Book Review: They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

They Both Die at the End 
by Adam Silvera
Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages
Genres: Young Adult - LGBTQIA - SciFi

Find it On: GoodReads - Amazon - B&N
My Rating: 


On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They're going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they're both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There's an app for that. It's called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

My Review:

You'd think with a book called "They Both Die at the End," I wouldn't be letting myself love the characters. But nope, I played myself. I cried like a baby at the end.

In an alternate 2017, there is a service that calls you at midnight on the day you're going to die. They don't know how or when, but sometime before the next midnight is your time. Of course because this is 2017 and America, there are plenty of companies profiting on this system, including an elaborate social media website that connects "Deckers" together and catalogues their last day.

Mateo and Rufus, the main characters, are drawn to this site because they really have no one in their life to mourn them. They eventually say "screw it" and try the site, and what they find in their "Last Friend" is each other.

This isn't a coming-of-age story necessarily, because it only takes place in 24 hours, but you start with Mateo, a socially awkward boy who barely leaves his apartment, and Rufus, a foster kid who's filled with rage, and the two of them spend their literal worst day ever together and somehow bring out the best in each other.

It isn't quite insta-love either. They're dying. They know they're dying. But their connection to each other is so genuine and addicting to read. I never thought I'd support an "I love you" dropped within a day of meeting, but damn do these boys love each other and you can't tell me otherwise.

There's a great cast of supporting characters in their friends and their misadventures throughout the day are fun to read. I could have done without the side-stories, but, to be fair, this book would have been about 200 pages without them.
I've never read Adam Silvera before, but you can bet I just ordered the rest of his books! 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Book Review: Leo Loves Aries by Anyta Sunday

Leo Loves Aries (Signs of Love #1)
by Anyta Sunday 
Publication Date: December 4, 2016

Format: E-Book, 377 Pages
Genres: New Adult - LGBTQIA - Romance

Find it On: GoodReads - Amazon
My Rating: 


A new person will enter your life in the early year, Leo. Look past any moments of frustration they might bring and laugh—this could be the start of a thriving friendship.

Theo Wallace usually laughs at the horoscopes his mom sends. Still hung up on his ex-girlfriend and practically friendless, this one begs him to reconsider. Because a friendship that stuck, that thrived…

Well, that would be a reason to leave past pains behind and look to the Bright Future.

When his sister Leone challenges him to find her the perfect date for a spring wedding, Theo uses it as a chance to make new friends. Theo’s ex economics tutor and newest roommate Mr Jamie Cooper seems to be a possible and convenient match. Real convenient. Like written in the stars, convenient.

All he has to do is make sure this Jamie is good enough. Could really be the one for her, and the friend for him.

My Review:

What this book is:

A really adorable romance. Theo lives with his blind sister, Leone, whom he adores and kind of smothers with support. When they need a roommate, Theo convinces his former TA/Tutor, Jamie, despite having done nothing but annoy Jamie for a year of lecture. As Theo and Jamie grow close,r Theo realizes that he'd make a perfect boyfriend - for his sister. 

A Slow-Burn Relationship with fun twists and turns. I'm not much of a romance reader, but Sunday seems like a master of the genre. She strikes a perfect balance of quirky and cute alongside a more serious and realistic development of their relationship. 

An awesome bunch of characters. Aside from the romance, the friendships in this were fun to watch unfold. It was one of those feel-good everyone's hanging out like an episode of Friends books.

What this book isn't:

Queerpositive. I know nothing about the author, but she's fundamentally missing something about coming out. "He had the luxury not to care. His mom, his dad, his sister, and his friends were as rainbow-supporting as they come." Yeah, my parents are accepting people, too, but um, SOCIETY is homophobic as hell. Honestly, if I told someone I was gay, and they responded with "I'm not but I'll sleep with you because I think this identity that you clearly value is NBD and gay sex sounds fun," I'd be hard-pressed to not hit them. So it turns out that Theo's - whatever - is just a plot device to make for hijinks and confusion. But he doesn't even come out by the end! Gay? Nope. Bisexual? What the hell is that word? Nah. I'm just a dude crushing on a dude. 

A book about economics students. More of a "LOL" for me, but I got a B in Intro to Microeconomics and I understand everything that a graduate-level economist was saying. Having them have a "thing" was cute, but it was adorably transparent how little the author knew of the subject.

Cute? Very. Well-written? Excellent. Kind of low-key offensive? Yeah. Too personal of a subject for me, so I don't think I'll be reading the next book, but I think this would be really enjoyable to someone who could take that with a grain of salt.