Tag: Family

Review: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Posted June 17, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

Title: Hopeless

Author: Colleen Hoover

Publisher: Atria Books

Publication Date: December 2012

Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.
NetGalley review.

Review:

Sky meets Dean Holder, a boy with a reputation and a lot of baggage. But don’t let that fool you. Because there’s more to Holder than Sky ever thought. And he is the only person who can unlock Sky, making her feel, making her love, making her remember things she didn’t know she had forgotten…

I can’t give away anything.

Because then you won’t be able to experience Hopeless the way it was meant to be experienced- shocked, amazed, really emotional.

I will say that it is intense. It is heartbreaking. Heart shattering. Hopeful.

It is love and warmth and evil and cruelty. It is beautifully written, well executed and brings the readers through such a mix of emotions, it’s hard to stop thinking about this book. You think you know what it’s about. You think you know what will happen. But so much happens, there are so many twists, so much you see coming and unexpected reactions and stories. The journey is overwhelming and I could not put it down.

Sky is a wonderfully strong and complex character. Holder is everything the love interest should be. Patient, kind, complicated. Their affection, relationship is organic, not perfect, and not quick. They grow together, they experience sadness, joy, love and evil.

Love. Love. Love.
Go read.

Rating: 10 One of The Best

Posted June 17, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 1 Comment


Giveaway, Author Interview and Review: Bruised by Sarah Skilton

Posted May 9, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews, Contests, Interviews / 13 Comments

Title: Bruised

Author: Sarah Skilton

Publisher: Amulet Books

Publication Date: March 2013

Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.
NetGalley review.

Review:
Imogen freezes during a hold up and blames herself for the gunman’s death. She should have been able to do something, right? She is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Guilt, blame and aggression, as well as a drive to prove herself once again, leads Imogent through a journey of self discovery and forgiveness.

I couldn’t put this book down.

Imogen is strong, physically and mentally. So when she finds herself frozen during a hold up, of course she blames herself. She has prepared her whole life for situations like this, so why does she find herself totally at a loss when it actually happens?

I loved Imogen’s journey. Her complex emotions were so real and rich, I felt like I knew her and could sympathize with her struggles. The anger she keeps hidden under the surface and her quest for normality are bittersweet as she grapples with who she was before the incident and who she wants to be from now on. She makes mistakes, she judges people harshly. I liked all these things because it made her a real person.
The story line involving her and her family added a depth to Imogen and her back story.

And Ricky is just sweet. Thank you Sarah Skilton for writing a boy who is supportive, sweet, friendly and still swoon worthy. I liked how their relationship developed, organically.  Nothing is rushed or forced and it is obvious why these two characters are drawn to each other.

Overall, a strong debut with an emotional story.





Interview with Sarah Skilton!
Thanks so much for having me here at the Windy Pages, Kimberly! I really appreciate it!

What inspired you to become a writer?
When I was around 9, I wrote a letter to James Howe (Bunnicula) and he wrote back! He had a form letter for fans, but he also included a personalized letter. In the form letter, he said that as an author, you can look at your story and characters and know, “This exists because I made it exist.” That’s stuck with me for years.

What was the last book you read?
Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward, a tag-team novel in which real-life exes write alternate chapters of a murder mystery (and disagree about the book’s direction in emails to one another, which we’re privy to). It was lots of fun. This week I finally started 11/22/63 by Stephen King, which is terrific so far.

What sparked the idea of your book?
I love X-Men and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I wanted to write about a girl who had the “real world” equivalent of superpowers, which I viewed as martial arts, and then I wanted to show how she’d cope if the one thing that defined her was taken away. 


Imogen is an experienced Tae Kwon Do fighter. What research did you do in order to write about Tae Kwon Do and her fighting?
I’m a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Hap Ki Do, though I haven’t studied in years. Luckily, I kept all my old notebooks, binders, calendars, and handouts, so I was able to refer to them a lot while writing.

What are your favorite things about Imogen?
She’s funny, she’s tough, she’s true to her values, and she expects a lot from herself.

Imogen is a complex character, and her relationships with her parents, brother and friends are complicated. What was the biggest challenge you faced while writing the relationships in your novel?
From the opening page, we know she’s annoyed with her brother and her former friend, Shelly, and then we also learn pretty early on that she’s upset about her dad’s diabetes, too. I personally think her anger and frustration make sense, but of course I would say that; I wrote her ;) I ended up toning down some of her narration, which I believe was the right move, but I didn’t want to gloss over her anger too much, so it was a balancing act.
I think the story shows her at a crisis point, and then, having to deal with the diner robbery amidst her relationship issues makes everything more difficult for her (and more difficult for the people in her life, too!)

How do you like your potato?
Baked, with either cheese and salsa or plain with butter. Mmm.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Wildlife photographer or psychotherapist. Kind of a leap, eh?

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Hang out with my husband and our son, who is 15 months old. I also watch old movies, go on walks, and grab dinner with friends.

What is one thing you would tell aspiring writers?
Write the book you would most love to read.

What are you working on now?
I just turned in my line edits for HIGH AND DRY, my next YA book for Abrams/Amulet. It comes out Spring 2014 and it’s a mystery involving a teenage soccer player. Like with BRUISED, there is action and some romance. This time my narrator’s a boy, though, which has been really cool to write.


Giveaway!

Come friends and join the giveaway! You could win a SIGNED copy of Bruised.
Fill out the rafflecopter form below.
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted May 9, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews, Contests, Interviews / 13 Comments


Review: Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge

Posted May 9, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Title: Love Water Memory

Author: Jennie Shortridge

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: April 2013

Genre: Adult Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.
NetGalley review.

Review:

Sweet and sad. Lucie Walker wakes up wading in the San Francisco Bay, with no memory, no ID and no cell phone. She has been missing for days, and cannot remember her whereabouts. Her fiance comes to collect her, a stranger she doesn’t remember. And there begins a journey of finding who she is, who she was and who she wants to be.

Beautifully written, I love this story. The writing flows elegantly, opening the heart sometimes and slowly breaking it other times. Lucie is torn, her struggles real and sad between being the person everyone expects her t be and the person she feels like she truly is. Grady is a beautiful character filled with insecurities, love and confusion. Really, the characters made this book for me. They leap off the page with love, warmth and struggle.


As Lucie uncovers her past, meets new friends and tries to reform a relationship with Grady, Grady does everything he can to remember that his old Lucie is gone and that there is a new Lucie in front of him. Who is she? And who can they be to each other?

I really enjoyed this beautiful story about identity, loss and memory. And how love weaves its way through it all.

Rating 8 Cookie Worthy

Posted May 9, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 0 Comments


Review: Lover At Last by J.R. Ward

Posted April 1, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

Title: Lover At Last

Author: J.R. Ward

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: March 2013

Genre: Adult Paranormal Romance

Series or Stand Alone: Series, Book 11

Synopsis can be found here.
I purchased this book

Review
:

It’s about friggin’ time, People!

Blay and Quinn have been best friends for years. Years. As Blay grew up in a healthy, warm home, Quinn was a constant disappointment to his elitist parents. As Blay explored his sexuality and came to terms with who he is and who he loves, Quinn used sex as a tool, a defense mechanism, an escape. And these best friends have been best friends through their changes, through the brotherhood, through everything. Until a few books ago when all that went to hell.

So now we’re back with Blay and Quinn’s story and I’m SO HAPPY to say that yes, dear reader. Yes. It does live up to your expectations. Go get it now.

The two boys have a long road ahead of them, filled with painful rejections and bitter memories. Quinn has a journey of self discovery and self realization to go through, and Blay is too fed up with his former best friend to be along for the ride.
That is until you throw in some misunderstandings, some Band of Bastards, a new leader from the Omega and oh, this guy Assail who is… we’ll get to him later.

In any event, stuff happens in this book and the Ward moves the plot along quickly, never letting the reader get boggled down or losing sight of whose story this is really about: Blay and Quinn. Whew! In past books, there was little romance, little conflict, too much plot. I’m happy to say that this book is back to the earlier ones. Yes, stuff is happening. We see a few of our favorite old friends But make no mistake, this is Blay and Quinn all the way.

Ward balances out Layla’s storyline and introduces a couple new romances that are simmering for books to come. I cannot wait for one of them, which left off at a great cliffhanger ending. Oh, and his name is Assail.
Hot steamy homosexual sex. Heartbreaking fights. Tears. Redemption. It has it all.

So what are you waiting for?
Rating 9 Ridiculously Awesome like Cookies and Ice Cream

Posted April 1, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 1 Comment


Review: If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

Posted March 23, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 4 Comments

Title: If You Find Me

Author: Emily Murdoch

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Publication Date: March 2013

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone


Synopsis can be found here.
NetGalley review.


Review:

Carey and her little sister Jenessa wait patiently for their mother to come back. Days, weeks go by. And so they wait, in their little wooden shack deep in the woods, until a man comes. A man who knows their name, and takes them back to civilization. Their father.

Now Carey and Jenessa have to cope with being found, with a new family, a new life. And come to terms with what happened in the woods for all those years.

This book was remarkable in many ways. Carey is so strong, likeable and vulnerable. She is a complicated young girl who has gone through so much, you can’t help be rooting for her and her self sacrifice. Her voice is clear and solid, which makes her story even more heartbreaking and haunting. She loves her sister more than anything in the world and as the tale unfolds about her and Janessa’s past, it kept me on the edge of my seat.

The writing is so emotional. Both settings, the woods and their new home, come to life through Murdoch’s writing, giving the reader a clear picture of these two very different places. Carey’s bravery shines and Jenessa’s inner strength is revealed in subtle and lovely ways. Murdoch doesn’t need to spell everything out, but her perfect word choice in those uncomfortable moments are enough to make anyone’s imagination run wild.

Overall, heartbreaking and sad, but filled with hope and tomorrows.

Rating 8 Cookie Worthy

Posted March 23, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 4 Comments


Review: Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt

Posted March 7, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 3 Comments

Title: Going Vintage

Author: Lindsey Leavitt

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Publication Date: March 2013

Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.
NetGalley review.

Review:

Mallory finds her boyfriend of over a year Jeremy is cheating on her with an online girlfriend and does what any awesome teenager would do. She swears off modern technology. After finding a list her grandmother made when she was a teenager, Mallory swears to live vintage, without cell phone, computer, Internet and texts. She sets out to complete her grandmother’s list, and finds things she never thought she would along the way.

I am a huge fan of Leavitt’s first book Sean Griswold’s Head, so I jumped at the chance to review this book. And it did not disappoint.

Mallory is a great character. She’s smart but heartbroken and is just another teenager trying to navigate her world. I especially loved her relationship to her sister, who is completing the list with her. The family moments were full of love and laughter between them, a nice contradiction between Mallory’s relationship with her mother. I have to say it- I do not like Mallory’s mom. I’m sorry. I know she means well, I know she’s a complicated woman. Leavitt does a fantastic job making Mallory’s mom both loving and suffocating. I wanted to slap the woman numerous times, which can only tell you how Mallory must have been feeling during these scenes. A well rounded and realistic depiction of a loving and realistic family.

In fact, Leavitt excels at that. She takes characters and make you love them, hate them and love them some more. All of her characters are carefully constructed and flawed, allowing you to picture them outside the book. They’re your best friend, your sister, your cheating boyfriend. Even Jeremy is more than the cheating boyfriend cookie cutout.

I liked the organic nature of Oliver and Mallory’s friendship, slowly turning into something more. And the secondary story of Grandma is heartwarming and sweet. I can’t begin to imagine going vintage, but I was sucked in and enjoyed Mallory’s ride.

Not to be missed guys. And if you haven’t read Sean Grisowld’s Head, I suggest you do. I can’t wait till Leavitt writes more.


Rating 8 Cookie Worthy

Posted March 7, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews / 3 Comments


Author Interview & Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Posted February 28, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews, Interviews / 6 Comments

Title: Eleanor & Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publication Date: March 2013

Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis can be found here.
NetGalley review.

Review:

Eleanor & Park meet on the school bus. She’s an outcast, the new girl, flaming red hair and friendless. He’s quiet, keeps to himself, and reluctantly scoots over for her to sit down. And the rest is history.

Beautifully written, Eleanor & Park is filled with rich and gooey sentences I want to read again and again. Rowell does a fantastic job describing Park’s loving but far from perfect family as well as Eleanor’s harsh and dangerous home life. These two character’s backgrounds are portrayed beautifully, creating a delicate backdrop to this young adult realistic love.

Eleanor is picked on, she’s bullied, but she hasn’t lost hope. She hasn’t lost herself. Park doesn’t fit in. He’s half Korean which both defines him and is the way others see him, but this subject is handled playfully, with care.

Complicated yet pure first love stands against the setting of dark and sometimes dangerous times makes Eleanor & Park not unique. But Rowell does such a wonderful job writing about them, it is as if you’ve never read a story of star crossed lovers. As if you’ve never read a story about first love. As if you are falling in love for the first time. All over again.

And that may be what allows this novel to stand out from the others out there. The beautiful writing, the sharp and witty dialogue, the flawed characters.

I see Eleanor on the bus. And Park sitting next to her. Driving away.

Can’t recommend it enough.

Rating 10 One of The Best

Author Interview! with Rainbow Rowell
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!

What inspired you to become a writer?
Probably READING inspired me to be a writer. I’ve always been a heavy reader. (Is “heavy” the right word? Maybe “problematic”?) And then, in school, my teachers encouraged me to write. I decided pretty early on that it was my thing. 

 
What is the last book you read?
Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary. With my kids.
The last adult book I read was Maurice by E.M. Forster. 

 
This is a beautiful story of first love. What made you set this story in 1986?
Thank you! I chose 1986 for a number of reasons:
First, it’s a year I really remember. I remember what the world looked and smelled like in 1986.
And second, it was a time when culture – pop culture and alternative culture – were shifting. All of these underground ideas were finally making their way into Middle America, and I remember how exciting that was. The first time I heard the Smiths, the first time I read a Neil Gaiman comic … It made me feel like there were Things Happening. Like the world was more interesting than I’d ever guessed. I wanted to give Eleanor that feeling. 

 
I love the tapes Park makes Eleanor so she can explore music. Did you have certain playlists or bands you listened to while you wrote this book?
I did! I always build playlists while I write a book. (It’s serious business.) I use specific songs to help me focus the mood in a given scene; sometimes it can take days to write one scene, and it’s hard to keep your head in the same place. I’ll use a song as an emotional anchor, to keep me there.
For Eleanor & Park, I made mixed tape-themed playlists, one tape with two sides for each character. You can listen to them on my Spotify profile.
Also, I’ve blogged about the playlists on my website.

Eleanor and Park are such unique characters with very different voices. Did you love to write in one character’s POV more?
Thank you! This is a really interesting question; I haven’t thought about this before. I might give Park the slight edge, just because his life is happier. Eleanor was fun to write because she’s funny, and because she has a very sharp take on the world — but sometimes her head was a sad place to be. 

 
How do you like your potato?
Mashed. At Thanksgiving.


Do you have a favorite literary character?
If I had to boil it down to one character, I might go with Adrian Mole. He’s a British teenager in a very funny book called The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. I also love James Fraser in the Outlander series. (Best romantic hero.) And Hermione Granger. 

 
When is your favorite time to write?
At night! My brain clicks on about 4 p.m. and doesn’t turn off until midnight. Unfortunately, that’s a really inconvenient time for a mom to write. 

 
I saw that you read comic books, like Park! What comic books series are your favorites?
I used to be really, really caught up in the X-Men. I’d read anything with an X in it. But that got kind of unmanageable … Now I stick to my favorite writers. I love EVERYTHING by Brian K. Vaughan. (Right now I’m reading Saga.) And Peter David (X-Factor). And I also love Bill Willingham’s Fables. 

 
What are you working on now?
My second YA book, Fangirl, comes out in September. The official summary is: “A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.”
And I’m revising my fourth book, which is for adults. (Though I’m not sure how important that designation is, considering how many adults read YA and vice versa.)


Thank you for the interview Rainbow!

You can find Rainbow’s website here, or follow her on twitter @Rainbowrowell

Posted February 28, 2013 by Kimberly in Book Reviews, Interviews / 6 Comments