Saving June by Hannah Harrington

21 Jul

Saving June

author : hannah harrington

pages : [paperback] 336

memorable quote He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that’s what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you.

summary :

‘If she’d waited less than two weeks, she’d be June who died in June. But I guess my sister didn’t consider that.’

Harper Scott’s older sister has always been the perfect one — so when June takes her own life a week before her high school graduation, sixteen-year-old Harper is devastated. Everyone’s sorry, but no one can explain why.

When her divorcing parents decide to split her sister’s ashes into his-and-her urns, Harper takes matters into her own hands. She’ll steal the ashes and drive cross-country with her best friend, Laney, to the one place June always dreamed of going — California.

Enter Jake Tolan. He’s a boy with a bad attitude, a classic-rock obsession and nothing in common with Harper’s sister. But Jake had a connection with June, and when he insists on joining them, Harper’s just desperate enough to let him. With his alternately charming and infuriating demeanor and his belief that music can see you through anything, he might be exactly what she needs.

Except June wasn’t the only one hiding something. Jake’s keeping a secret that has the power to turn Harper’s life upside down — again.

review :

This book has some heavy material in it, though it’s dealt with through the more light-hearted feel of a roadtrip. June commits suicide before the book begins; Harper decides that the best way for her to honor her sister’s memory would be taking a roadtrip to California so that she could scatter June’s ashes. Otherwise the remains will end up split between her divorced parents, a decision which obviously disagrees with Harper.

What I really liked about this book was how it didn’t make any excuses for June and we never get a full understanding of why she decided to take her own life. Survivors often find it hard to comprehend the mindset that brings people to commit suicide and from the outside, June’s life appeared to be normal and fine. In fact, Harper continuously speaks about how much better her sister’s life was than her own. She finds it hard to understand, then, why she is the one who is “better at living”, as it’s phrased in the book.

While I wouldn’t say that this book is perfect, I will say it’s a good read that takes a terrible act and allows the characters left behind to deal with the aftermath. At times it felt like there were too many characters in the novel, leaving many of them not as fully fleshed out as they could have been. I would have really loved to have seen more flashbacks of June or stories of her told from the perspective of different characters.

Of course, there is a love interest in this YA novel. At times it felt very wrong. Why would Harper concern herself with romance when she’s busy trying to grieve and scatter her sister’s ashes? At other points it made complete sense, as I could see how Harper was running from all of her problems and trying to escape the truth of June’s death. I wish that this had been more consistent throughout the book. Another problem that I had with this: The summary set me up for some terrible secret to be revealed by Jake, though it really wasn’t as bad as I’d assumed it was. It was a little bit of a letdown.

If you’re looking for a quick read that has sad elements, quirky scenes, and a touching message behind it all, this is the book for you. It wasn’t perfect but I enjoyed reading Saving June.

3.5/5 stars

Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon Update #1

20 Jul

Hello everyone!

The Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon is going strong! Only four days left. I’ve managed to finish three books thus far:

   

Only one is a book that I thought I’d end up reading; the others were also from my TBR pile!

These are the ratings I think I’ll give these books:

Winterspell – 3.5/5 stars

Saving June – 3/5 stars

Me and Earl and the Dying girl – 4/5 stars

I just started reading:

It’s been on my TBR FOREVER and I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet. I haven’t heard much about it but it’s a short book so I think I’ll be able to get through it quickly!

What are you reading now?

Favorite Book Friday: Leah from Leah of the Pack

18 Jul

favorite book friday

Hey everyone! Welcome to the third installment of Favorite Book Friday! This week’s guest post comes from Leah of Leah of the Pack!

~  ~  ~

Another Piece of My Heart

Author: Jane Green

Summary From Author’s Website: From the New York Times bestselling author of JEMIMA J, and THE BEACH HOUSE, comes Jane Green’s most emotional and powerful novel yet:  a story that explores the complications of a woman marrying into a ready-made family, and the true meaning of motherhood.

Andi has spent much of her adult life looking for the perfect man, and at thirty-seven, she’s finally found him.  Ethan—divorced with two daughters, Emily and Sophia—is a devoted father and even better husband.  Always hoping one day she would be a mother, Andi embraces the girls like they were her own. But in Emily’s eyes, Andi is an obstacle to her father’s love, and Emily will do whatever it takes to break her down. When the dynamics between the two escalate, they threaten everything Andi believes about love, family, and motherhood—leaving both women standing at a crossroad in their lives…and in their hearts.

ANOTHER PIECE OF MY HEART is a novel that illuminates the nuances and truths about relationships and is Jane Green at her absolute best.

Leah’s Thoughts

                I’ll admit I was unsure about this book before I read it. Not because I was judging it by its cover but because my mom picked it out to read on vacation. Usually she opts for the cheesy romance, really easy to read on the beach type of book which I am not into. My mom, sisters and I all purchased a ton of books to read on our vacation (we all read very fast) and planned on swapping them through the week. I decided to read this one last. But when my mom was reading Another Piece of My Heart by the pool one day a group of girls my age noticed the book and gushed about how they had just finished reading and loved the book. I was intrigued but still worried I would not enjoy it as it seemed no book could live up to what I had just finished reading- The Fall of Giants. I started reading while at the airport and I had to pace myself to ensure that I wouldn’t finish the book before we even boarded the plane. What I liked about this book is that it was nothing that I had though it was going to be. The plot shocked me a bit which is always awesome.  I found myself siding with the character of Andi, loathing Emily and then switching how I though based on how the plot would unfold. It also had me questioning what I would do in her place. I appreciate any book that makes me think. It was nicely written and I finished it before I landed back home.

I liked how this book was written. Every chapter or so was from a different character’s perspective. It really allowed you to immerse yourself in the story and see how things would unfold from each characters point of view.

Was it my favorite book I had read in the trip, (I had read 8 total) no but it was engaging and kept me wanting to read more like any good book does. Because I read such a variety of books it stood out less but I think for anyone that reads Sarah Dessen or John Green then this book is going to be a real hit. Although it wasn’t my absolute favorite book, I do think it is a great read than many people will enjoy.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

~  ~  ~

Thanks so much Leah! I’ve never heard of this book before so I’ll need to check it out.

If you’d like to hear about more books bloggers have loved, take a look at previous FBFs!

~Tiffany from Commoner Couture

~Alaska from Alaska Renee

Torn Away by Jennifer Brown

15 Jul

Torn Away

Author : jennifer brown

pages : [hardcover] 288

memorable quote Growing up, we were taught over and over again what steps to take in case of an approaching tornado. Listen for sirens, go to your basement or cellar, or a closet in the center of your house, duck and cover, wait it out. We had drills twice a year, every year, in school. We talked about it in class. We talked about it at home. The newscasters reminded us. We went to the basement. We practiced, practiced, practiced.

But we’d never— not once— discussed what to do after.

favorite characters : marin & jersey

summary :

Jersey Cameron has always loved a good storm. Watching the clouds roll in and the wind pick up. Smelling the electricity in the air. Dancing barefoot in the rain. She lives in the Midwest, after all, where the weather is sure to keep you guessing. Jersey knows what to do when the tornado sirens sound. But she never could have prepared for this.

When her town is devastated by a tornado, Jersey loses everything. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she’s sent to live with relatives she hardly knows-family who might as well be strangers. In an unfamiliar place, can Jersey discover that even on the darkest of days, there are some things no tornado can destroy?

In this powerful and poignant novel, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown delivers a story of love, loss, hope, and survival.

review :

This story was absolutely beautiful and wonderful. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story about a tornado before and I wasn’t ready for how emotional it would make me. As soon as I started reading I was sucked into Jersey’s world and couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if a tornado affected my life in this way. Now, I live on the East Coast, where the chances of a tornado occurring are so much smaller than they are in the Midwest. But it’s too easy to picture any natural disaster taking out everything I’ve known and loved, leaving me in it’s wake. There’s nothing that can stop the forces of nature but we live our lives every day not knowing which will be our last . . or which will drastically alter our lives forever. I’m definitely going to be showing my family some extra love after reading this book.

Jersey is your typical teenage girl. Not skinny, not rich, no excitingly charming boyfriend. She’s so relatable because she’s a normal girl. It made her story that much more powerful. The book begins on the day of the tornado and Jersey has no idea what’s coming for her. She doesn’t say anything she might have said to her family if she’d known what was going to happen while she was home alone the fateful day the tornado sirens weren’t going off for a false alarm. That was one detail I loved in a bittersweet way, how Jersey heard the sirens but didn’t want them to interrupt her activities for the evening because of a false alarm. The tornado the book is based on had such a high casualty rate because people became desensitized to the sirens.

The book has a great pacing as it draws you through the aftermath and Jersey’s life after. The book says “we’d never-not once-discussed what to do after”. Half of the town is just gone. No trees are left after the tornado rips through. And Jersey is forced to move in with family she’s never met, family that never wanted to know her. I felt her pain and anger at her situation. I couldn’t wait for her to get out of it but like her was helpless to come up with a better solution.

Marin was my favorite character of this book, even though she’s mostly seen through Jersey’s memories. That little girl is absolutely adorable and was a shining light even when my eyes were blurry with tears. Torn Away made me cry so much. I have to admit that I do tend to cry over sad books but I don’t think I’ve read many that made me tear up throughout the entire novel. If you’re going to read this-and you should, because I want to recommend this to everyone-be prepared with tissues and maybe don’t read in public if you’re afraid of crying in front of others!

This is the first book I’ve read by Jennifer Brown and I’m definitely going to read more because this book was just fantastic. It’s been a very long time since I’ve loved a contemporary book so much; this is probably going to be one of my favorite books of the year! If you’re looking for a great (and fairly short!) read, pick up this book. You won’t regret it. Torn Away will leave you in awe of the devastation nature can cause and you’ll appreciate the life and love you have while it’s here with you.

5/5 stars

Digital Book Day – Free Ebooks!

14 Jul

Hello readers! Today, July 14th, you can download SO many awesome books for free! It’s Digital Book Day!

Go to the site here to check out all that they have to offer today. I’m definitely going to be browsing the young adult tab to see what books I can pick up for the rest of this summer!

Get all of these books for free, today only, so don’t delay!

Which books are you going to download? Any recommendations?

Wicked Wildfire Read-a-thon

13 Jul

Hey everyone! Just a quick post to let you know about a read-a-thon I just found out about and will be participating in: The Wicked Wildfire Read-a-Thon! You can find out more information about it here.

It runs from July 14-24. I’ll post a few updates on my progress. There’s no requirement except to read as much as you can or want to! There are going to be challenges, giveaways, and a lot of fun. Let me know if you’re going to participate, too! We can cheer each other on. ^.^

Here are a few books I’m hoping to read during the read-a-thon:

     

And we’ll see what else I get to reading!

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

12 Jul

 

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Mara Dyer #1

author : michelle hodkin

pages : [hardcover] 452

memorable quote : Thinking something does not make it true. Wanting something does not make it real.

summary :

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

review :

 I started this book not knowing much about it because that summary up above doesn’t say much about this book. Sometimes I really like not knowing what’s going to come in a book. It makes everything a surprise, especially because there are summaries out there that spoil things in books that I never would have expected otherwise.

I was very intrigued at the beginning and end of this novel. Mara’s problems and hallucinations were so interesting and I kept reading to find out more about them. Unfortunately the novel dragged in the middle. Maybe it’s because I’ve gone to private school (though nothing as snobby as what Mara needs to go through) so books based in those settings typically don’t capture my interest. There was a lot of extra stuff thrown into the middle of the book that made it much longer than it needed to be, especially because Mara only talks to two people at school and one of them is a ‘friend’ who only shows up when it’s convenient in the novel. I would have liked to have seen less of a stereotypical school setting with the stereotype of the bully, the mostly absent best friend, the love interest that overtakes the main character’s life . .

But I did enjoy reading this. For its bulk, I read it quickly. I’m going to read the next book because I hope that all of the extra things that distracted and bored me in book one will no longer be present in book two. I like Michelle Hodkin’s writing and her ideas are great so I’m hoping that the rest of this trilogy will carry out those ideas in an even better way!

I had a kind of love-hate relationship with Noah. First of all, I can never be attracted to anyone who smokes (even fictionally, and even with everything we learn about him in this book). Second, a guy who orders for you at a restaurant instead of letting you order for yourself? Nope. He did grow on me a little, as the novel went on, and I came to appreciate him as a character instead of a love interest.

Mara, of course, was much more interesting. I loved trying to figure out what was and wasn’t real or what she was hallucinating. Some of the twists were easy to see coming; others we were only getting in pieces that we put together as Mara does. Despite the fact that there were darker elements to the story, it was a fun thing to read.

Even though this first novel didn’t impress me, I still want to read more of the story to see what will happen next. I’m not sure if I would recommend this trilogy yet.

3/5 stars

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