Review of Love Spell by Mia Kerick

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Love Spell was a fun, quick read about a high school student named Chance who lives in a small, New Hampshire town. Chance doesn’t have many friends and his parents are pretty absent in his life. That part was sad because  being lonely isn’t fun. He manages to have a good outlook on life and is usually confident in himself.
The book focuses on his senior year of high school, which consists of school, work, trying to decide which college to apply to, looking for love, and trying to ignore the fact that he’s not entirely sure which gender box he fits into. I love his relationship with his best friend! Parts of it remind me of  my best friend and I, especially the making up our own words part.
I thought the ending was sweet and it made me smile. I would recommend this to high school kids, especially those who identify as lgbtqia+.
I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

Review of The Misfits by James Howe

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This book is one that I found at the thrift shop and I chose it based off of the description and author. I’ve read Howe’s Bunnicula books, but I didn’t know that he wrote young adult books as well. This one might technically be considered “middle grade fiction” since the characters are 12 and in middle school.
The book is written from the perspective of Bobby Goodspeed and it’s about him reflecting on the time in seventh grade when him and his friends (Addie, Joe and Skeezie) ran for student council as the No Name Party. I honestly feel that their platform (name calling hurts) and slogan (“Sticks and stones may break out bones, but names will break our spirit.”) is really good. The book talks about each character and what their home life is like. Our narrator, is an overweight kid working in a tie store to try to help his dad out after his mom passed away from cancer, Addie is an over achiever, Skeezie is sloppy kid with divorced parents and Joe is gay and artsy.
I think the character were well rounded and the story was well written. I like the bit at the end that tells the reader what each character became when they grew up. I would recommend this to middle and high school students.

Review of Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent by Anthony Rapp

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Without You is a very emotional book. It covers some of the happiest times in Anthony Rapp’s life (being in the musical Rent) and the saddest moments (watching his mother fight cancer). I felt bad for him because I can’t imagine how hard it is to watch anyone, let alone your mother, waste away.

I liked learning more about Anthony’s start in show business and I loved the parts about Rent. It’s one of my favorite musicals. You can tell how much he loves singing and performing. His joy radiates off the pages. It was great to learn more about the other people in the cast and the director too.

The parts about his mother and what it was like seeing her so sick were really sad. There are also some unresolved issues between them. He’s really hard on himself for expressing any kind of emotion and that often leads him to fits of rage or to snap at people. I’m happy that he found someone to talk to about that. It’s just not healthy for anyone.

Ultimately, the book is a celebration of his time in the play and of his Mom’s life. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Anthony Rapp, Rent or biographies.

Point of Departure by Emily O’Beirne

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Point of Departure is about five girls (Kit, her two best friends Olivia and Liza, her other friend Mai and Kit’s cousin Tam) who are spending the summer traveling to different countries (Portugal, Italy, Slovenia, England and Thailand) before going to law school together. Unfortunately, Kit has to drop out of the trip when she finds herself in debt and the other girls go without her.

The book is told in third person from the view points of four of the characters. We don’t get to see Mai’s point of view. Along the way, the girls have doubts about going, become closer friends, find love and have some neat experiences. I loved the descriptions of each city and the hotel or hostel that they’re staying in. I could picture each place.

If you like books about friendships, travel, family, and love, I’d recommend this one. This is the second book I’ve read by this author and I wasn’t disappointed.

I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Review of Blood Moon by M.J. O’Shea

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Blood Moon is about two friends, Noah and Zack, who grew up together after meeting at Harper’s lake where Zack’s family stays in the summer. When the book starts, Zack’s family is heading back to the lake and it will be his last trip before he goes off to college. He’s not really able to enjoy himself because he’s sad that he hasn’t talked to Noah since last year when they shared a kiss. The day after Noah said they couldn’t be friends or anything else. Then they reconnect and get back together, but Noah is hiding something.

I enjoyed the relationship between Zack and Noah and I think it was sweet, even if their reunion was a bit too easy. *shrug* I thought I had Noah’s secret figured out before it was revealed, but I only had part of it right. I thought both of their characters were really well written and Zack is pretty funny.

The story mostly takes place in New York City and I was able to picture all of the places that Zack and Noah visited from the nightclubs and bars to their friends’ house. Their friends are an interesting bunch and it was great that they were so accepting of the boys’ relationship. Of course there were some characters that weren’t.

A lot of things happened in this book and it was all entertaining and well written. Unfortunately, I can’t go into much detail without spoiling things. I want to read the other two books in the series. The only thing that took away from the story for me is that most of the chapters had some kid of sex scene and they are explicit, which makes this a “new adult” book instead of a “young adult” one. It’s not suitable for younger teens.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review of The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

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I really enjoyed this book. The characters (even the bullies) and situations are well written and believable. I liked learning about Leo and David, seeing their friendship grow and watching them become who they’re supposed to be. I am so happy they had each other for support. Their families (David’s more than Leo’s) are pretty great too.

Some parts were a little predictable, but that was fine with me. I liked seeing how they got to where I thought they’d be. I realize that’s pretty vague, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

I think this book will be great for transgender teens, their families and allies. It might help people understand what it’s like dealing with what these teens (and adults) go through.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Heart of the Pack by Jenny Frame

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Heart of the Pack is a paranormal lesbian romance book with werewolves in it.  Some common themes such as a mate being chosen at birth and having to hide their identity from humans are used, but some new things are introduced.

I love the setting of this book. Wolfgang County sounds like a nice, welcoming place. Everyone cares about each other and they’re like a big family. They own businesses, have families and just happen to all be werewolves. These wolves are a little different because they can shift, or partially shift, whenever they want to. No full moon required.

The book is told from three different points of view, but it’s all written in third person. The first pov is the main character, Caden’s. She’s second in command of the pack and she’s a “lone wolf.” The second point of view belongs to Selena, an anxious newcomer who’s trying to escape her horrible family, and the third is the antagonist Leroux’s. She’s the leader of a pack of bad werewolves. The characters are well written and they each have their own distinct voice. It worked pretty well, but I wish Leroux was a little more fleshed out.

There are a lot of side characters and most of them (the main character’ mates, Selena’s family) are well written with the exception of the “elite wolves” (soldiers).  I honestly didn’t know what gender half of them were.

I like that the couples were a mix of gay and straight and that they used the terms “mater” (for the submissive wolves) and “pater” (for dominant wolves) regardless of gender. The way mating worked was a bit odd, but also different than what I’ve read in other werewolf stories.

The only things I didn’t like were the sex scenes and the fact that not much was done about the bad wolves. I get why the sex scenes were included, but they were awkward and creepy. “Fill up my belly!” weirded me out every time.

I gave this 3 out of 5 stars. I’d read a sequel if there was one. I recommend it to people who like werewolf romance stories. I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

If you’re interested in purchasing this book, you can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Wolfgang-County-Jenny-Frame/dp/1626395667?ie=UTF8&keywords=heart%20of%20the%20pack&qid=1463453615&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1