Book Review · Books

Rules Of Rain

Rules Of Rain is about a quirky cook loving teen, Rain, who helps watch over her Autistic twin brother, Ethan. Rain has worked out a schedule and rules of sorts for her brother to keep him happy and safe. Every day they go for a run together rain, or shine. Rain cooks unique dishes for her mom and brother to try. Life seems normal until her best friend comes over and Rain has the realization that her BFF has a crush on her brother. This wasn’t part of Ethan’s rules to keep him safe. This is out of her comfort zone, but does Ethan even realize a girl likes him? Rain gets partnered with her crush Liam in science. Will he end up being the boy of her dreams? This novel discusses the hard topics of family relationships and when to stand up for yourself. Romance is a big theme and the different ways that first love can be expressed. The other major theme is sibling relationships and how they can morph over time.

I can relate to Rain’s character because I, myself, struggle with being OCD in wanting things to be a certain way and when they aren’t I do tend to get grumpy. I’m not a cook, so I can’t relate to her cooking obsession, but I’d appreciate her unique cookies. As for Ethan, he’s a character that sort of stands off in the shadows, but then blossoms through out this book. The sibling relationship between Rain and Ethan is almost like classic older to younger sibling in how they relate to eat other since Rain is like a mother hen towards Ethan though they are twins. I can relate to Ethan in this regard because my younger sister has the dominant personality to my passive aggressive one.

If you love a book that will have you asking for more then go find a copy of this sweet, powerful book. I started it and it took a bit of time for me to get into the layout of the way the novel is laid out (Rain has her blog posts at the start of the chapters followed by Ethan’s journal entries), but once I got into the book’s rhythm I couldn’t put it down. I don’t know lots about Autism, so this novel was a nice primer on Autism. I received my ARC of Rules Of Rain by Leah Scheier from NetGalley in exchange for my review. I hope this book will be made into a movie because I want to watch it now.

Book Review · Books

The Temptation Of Adam

We all have our addictions. Adam is addicted to porn. He gets put on school suspension for something he did in. During his suspension he is required to attend Knights Of Vice, an addiction recovery group that one of his high school teachers sponsors. Adam is not keen on going, but his dad offers to go with him to his first meeting. At this first meeting he encounters fellow member, Dez Coulter, who is a beautiful mix of troubled, beautiful, sarcastic and intense. Will this support group help Adam slay his porn addiction? Will the beautiful Dez pull Adam into the world of the living instead of the digital?

When I first started this novel I wasn’t that into the storyline, but once I got a bit deeper in I was hooked to find out what happens to Adam. Porn addiction is not hugely discussed in YA, but it’s a common addiction teens need help with, heck so do a lot of adults. The Temptation Of Adam deals with this important topic with grace, humor and raw honesty. No matter what your own addiction might be, we all just might struggle like Adam does.

I was sent a free copy of The Temptation Of Adam from SkyPony Press in exchange for my honest assessment. Thank you Emma for sending me a copy. This book is heartfelt, funny, sobering and enlightening. Thank you Mr. Connis for writing about a very taboo topic and bringing it out into the light.

Book Review · Books

The Border

This stunning cover beckoned to me from the shelf at my favorite indie bookstore. I read the back blurb and knew I just had to own this title. I was not disappointed one bit.

The Border is a YA novel about three friends: Pato, Arbo, Marcos and Gladys who live in Northern Mexico where their worlds are shattered all within the same night. They are wanted for reasons they don’t understand. These friends just know they have to leave Mexico. Where will they go? When you are on the run with no time to plan your journey, what do you do? Follow these three on their journey.

If you loved Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe then The Border will become a new favorite. The author, Steve Schafer, has a similar intriguing writing style as Benjamin Alire Saenz. If you want to look deeper into the topic of immigration and see what it’s like on the other side this book will change your life.

Book Review · Books

Beautiful Scars

The cover captivated me. Kilee Brookbank was a sixteen year old high schooler home after school when choosing to light a candle changed her life. The smell in the bathroom was incredibly gross, so to ease the stank she decided to light a candle. The next thing she knows her dog is barking nonstop at her, she’s on the floor of the bathroom and not sure why. Kilee goes outside to her neighbor’s house with her dog still barking at her heels. She sensed her face was warm, but didn’t realize she was on fire. Her neighbors helped put the fire out on her, called 911 and tried to wrap her since she was cold. Beautiful Scars is Kilee’s journey through her recovery from that horrific day.

I couldn’t put this book down. If you love memoirs, survivor stories then go grab a copy ASAP. Kilee and her mom, Lori share their experiences alternately. I can’t imagine surviving that type of life altering experience. Kilee is a survivor that will inspire countless readers. I was provided a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my feedback. This lovely memoir is a keeper. Thank you for sharing your story Kilee. You are a blessing.

Book Review · Books

Almost Gone

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Mackenzie is a junior in high school when she meets a handsome man on a social dating site. He’s Muslim, respectful and enjoys chatting with her. Mackenzie is a Christian with a boyfriend at the time. This new online friendship blossoms. Once her relationship with her current boyfriend doesn’t pan out she immediately intensifies communicating with this new friend, Aadam whose from Kosovo. Mackenzie’s parents sense something is amiss when their daughter starts pulling away from the family, her Christian faith and her best friends. They have no idea Aadam exists. When Mackenzie asks her dad if she can buy a Koran her dad is floored, but figured everyone goes through their own faith walk and exploration. When Mackenzie states she’s converted her parents are stunned. Why has their daughter all of a sudden gone from social to reclusive? Why the sudden belief change? Will her parents figure out why before it’s, too late?

This book brought up some personal memories for me. In high school relationships can seem like the end all, be all. Teens want to be taken seriously. If you are eighteen you are legally an adult, but not necessarily emotionally or mature enough to be considered an adult. It’s a tightrope to use your wings to gain independence, but still know your parents do love you and want you to make safe life choices. As for faith, growing up in a Christian home myself, there aren’t many opportunities to be exposed to other faiths that differ from your own. I can see why Mackenzie would be enthralled with Islam. It’s different, unique and a person she cares about is of this faith hence why it becomes important to her.

I received an ARC of Almost Gone by Mackenzie Baldwin and John Baldwin for free from NetGalley in exchange for my thoughts on this book. I think this book explores many important topics that parents and teens face today: online dating and how to handle when your teen decides to not believe what they were raised on faith wise. If either of these topics resonates with you I’d recommend this book.

Book Review · Books

Fix Me

fdd4a838-fc50-4306-a95c-499f1e2234fd-12208-000005a1ff8aa5ac_file.jpgPenelope tells herself she’ll quit, but if she takes Fix one more time she’ll be able to see Nate, her imaginary boyfriend. She knows Nate isn’t real, but she senses he’s trying to tell her something. Fix is the popular drug at school. Her best friend Rose is her supplier and she doesn’t want to piss off Rose by quitting. Penelope has been dealing with the year from Hell. Her sister killed herself and her mom has a verbally abusive boyfriend. Fix helps her get through life. One night when Penelope goes to a party at Rose’s the night turns ugly after a bad trip on Fix. Should Penelope turn to her childhood best friend Jenelle for help?

This YA Thriller covers a multitude of important topics. Teen drug use is the major one. Mind altering antidepressant pills are popular. Relationships are another topic covered in this novel. Penelope is trying to navigate her rocky friendship with Rose and her ships in the night relationship with her mom. Then there’s Nate who seems to only come to her when she’s on Fix. Penelope did have a real boyfriend, but that’s in the past. Grief is another big topic covered. How we deal with the sudden passing of a loved one.

If you enjoy mysteries and thrillers I highly recommend Fix Me by Lisa Cronkhite. I almost read this ARC in one day. I was given this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for my review. Thank you for an awesome read.

Book Review · Books

The Grown-Up’s Guide To Teenage Humans

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I don’t have kids. Why would I pick to reciew a book about how to deal with teenagers? I’m not a parent, a teacher, a mentor, a counselor, but I am an aunt. Eventually my nephew will become a teenager and I’ll need to be ready. This book is very readable and has great suggestions on how to handle a myriad of things from sex, dating, dealing with death, anger, eating disorders, school, cell phones, etc. Josh writes with humor and candor. The author even goes over what to expect with teen’s emotions and physical changes, broken down by age category.

Reading this book brought to mind how I related back to my parents and the type of parenting they enacted. There are 4 different parental traps: comfort, approval, control and performance. I’d say my dad falls under the control and performance categories while my mom is under the comfort trap. I unfortunately relate to the approval trap. I still over think and care what others think of me. Even though I’m an adult this section of the book was very enlightening.

If you work with teens in any capacity I highly recommend this book. It has great examples for questions to ask when it comes to talking about the bird and the bees. If you want to put together a house rules document for your home so everyone clearly understands what’s expected of them Josh has a great template for it. I think having a journal to correspond between parent and teen is a wonderful idea. It gives a place to be honest without the pressure of the other person looking intently at you, waiting for an answer to a question. Plus, it gives history you can refer back to, to see how far your communication has improved. I received The Grown-Up’s Guide To Teenage Humans by Josh Shipp for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. To buy a copy click here and find out how you can get further awesome guidance from Josh here.