Beau and Bett Book Review

3 out of 5 stars

Summary: (Borrowed from Goodreads) After Beau LeFrancois’s mother wrecks Bett Diaz’s luxury SUV, his family faces an impossibly large bill—with no car insurance to help pay it. To pay off the debt, Beau spends his weekends working at the Diaz Ranch.

Beau’s prepared to work, but he’s definitely not prepared for the infamous temper of Bett Diaz, also known as “The Beast” at school. As Beau learns the secrets behind Bett’s tough exterior, he finds himself falling for her . . . until he catches Bett in a lie.

A contemporary twist on a classic fairy tale, Beau and Bett is a timely story of family, friendship, and the power of speaking out and standing up for yourself.

Thoughts: This is only the second retelling that I have read and it didn’t really feel like a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. The only resemblance that I found was that the students at Bett’s school referred to her as “the beast.” Something that I enjoyed in this was that it was a gender reversal and the beast was a girl this time around, but what I would have liked more is to have both Beau and Bett’s perspective included.

Something else that I had mixed feelings about was the reasoning as to why Bett was referred to as “the beast.” I wanted that plot point to be a little more fleshed out and to be a larger portion of this. It was like a silly nickname they gave her but it didn’t reflect her personality or actions at all and to be an actual retelling I feel that her attitude should’ve been harsh.

While I enjoyed the relationship that develops between Beau and Bett, I do think it happens rather quickly and without any tension in it. I wanted her to dislike him for a while rather than just be wary of him for a few minutes. I think it would’ve added more to the story if she was a little rude to him and then he found out why and the relationship changed from that point on.

You can purchase this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.

How Not to Die Alone Book Review

I’m reading this as part of The Introvert’s Book Club on Goodreads and even better is that I won a copy of the book. Reading it through this bookclub was a great experience since the whole book was broken down to 3 chapters per discussion. I loved being able to discuss this with others and to see what they thought about certain parts of this book.

Summary: Andrew works in the Public Health sector and is responsible for death investigations. During the job interview, Andrew allows his mind to wander and when asked about his children he responds that he has some. Due to his response, Andrew creates a fantasy life for himself which is now quite elaborate with two children and a wife, this story he creates is so elaborate that he has to keep track of everything through a spreadsheet. Andrew’s life is pretty bland and mundane until he meets his new co-worker, Peggy. Once Peggy is introduced into the story things begin to change for Andrew and he’s brought out of his shell a little.

Thoughts: I actually was worried that I wouldn’t like this book since I kept seeing people say that they were not fans everywhere. I decided to wait until the end of June to read this one but I wish I had picked it up sooner. Once Peggy was introduced into the story I couldn’t get myself to put it down to do anything else, not even my favorite tv show was going to take me from this book.

Something about the way this was written seemed beautiful to me. I loved how each chapter transitioned into the next and how each event really led to others. I thought that each scene was really well thought out and they seemed as planned as Andrew’s whole life is. I liked that reading the book made me feel as if I was in Andrew’s mind and there was no way to think differently.

Something else that I really enjoyed were the characters, even the undeveloped characters brought something to the story.

I enjoyed the pace of the book because while there were times that I read quickly the pace stayed the same. There was never a moment that I felt that the book picked up speed and it made for a nice read.

Dark Matter (Contagion) By Teri Terry Book Review

I got a advanced reader copy of the book at yallwest. Thanks to Charlesbridge Teen and Netgalley for the free copy in exchange for a review.

Summary: Callie has gone missing and her brother, Kai is starting to believe that he is never going to find her or know what happened to her. Just as he is about to lose hope he meets Shay who recalls a girl who fits the description of Kai’s sister. While on this search to find his sister, Shay and Kai wind up encountering an epidemic that is quickly making its way through Scotland and they are in a race against time. Will Shay and Kai be able to bypass this epidemic and find Callie or will it be too late?

Thoughts: I will read anything that has to do with contagions, epidemics, viruses, and diseases so this was no exception. I was very pleased by so many things in this book but I will say that it isn’t for everyone, as much as I want to have everyone read this book. If you’re a bit squeamish I would say you might want to pass on this book but if not then read on.

When reading books about epidemics and contagions I always enjoy a map being included in the beginning because it makes it easy for me to follow the disease, virus, parasite, or whatever else is causing people to die in large quantities. I love being able to refer back to the map anytime that a character mentions their location or what is happening to people in different parts of Scotland.

I love how the story is told in the perspective of two characters and both of them are talking in first person. I was worried it would get confusing or that they would distract from each other’s story but it was quite the opposite. I felt that hearing from both of their perspectives really adds to the story and is has more of an impact when you find out small details about both of the girls.

Something else that I enjoyed was the explanation for what this epidemic really is. It was a bit difficult for me to understand and I had to read it more than once to get it but I loved that it was different from others I have read in the past. I love that it was something completely out of the norm and something that really made you think.

If you would like to read this book you can find it on Amazon or look for it at your local library.

A Dog’s Way Home Book/Movie Comparison

Now there are a few books to movies that I really enjoy and this series of books to movies have to be some of my favorites. As soon as I see that these movies are going to come out I have to watch them. I always plan to see them during their time in the theaters but wind up watching later because I want to read the book first.

As we all know movies go a lot quicker than books do so there are only snippets of longer scenes that happen in books. What I really enjoyed about this movie though is that each person/animal that Bella encounters on her journey home is included in the movie. I found that nothing was really missing in her encounters with animals/people.

The movie really does a good job of still making it about the dog and keeps the narration. I love that the movie doesn’t change that the book was all narrated by a dog because that really adds to how the viewer feels about things. There were so many scenes that I was glad that we got to hear from Bella’s perspective because it makes it so much more enjoyable. Like imagine if you were in the head of your pet?

In the book I thought that the scene that was so impactful was the portion in which Bella is staying with a homeless man. It was such a heartfelt scene in which Bella doesn’t want to leave the man so I wished that the scene was even longer in the movie. I was hoping that the scene between them would last a bit longer so that the viewer could feel that heartbreak.

While there were so many scenes in the movie that I wanted more of I also understand that movies have a limit with time. So while I love the movie and think that if you don’t want to read the book the movie is a great alternative I still advise you to read the book. You get so much more from the book and can feel for Bella and so many of these moments break your heart.

Contagion by Erin Bowman Book Review

5 out of 5 stars

I saw that the author for this book was doing a read along on Instagram before the second one came out and just by looking at the title I had to read it. I tend to gravitate towards books that have any contagion, outbreak, virus, disease, or quarantine in it. Those topics will always be my must reads before even reading the description of the book and I am glad that I picked this one up.

Summary: A crew is sent on a rescue mission after receiving an SOS from a distant planet. When the crew arrives to this site, they find that there are no survivors and the place looks ransacked. As they are trying to piece things together they find some warning signs telling them to flee but their captain pushes on. Unfortunately some of the monsters on this planet were not quite dead and they may be trapped here forever.

Thoughts: When reading this book I followed the schedule that the author had created for the read-along which really made it easy to get through. Something that I found interesting when reading this book was that there was no chapters but instead it was written in parts.

Something else I found cool and different was the amount of perspectives that were included in this book. At first this made it very confusing but once I got the characters names and roles down the multiple perspectives added to the mystery of the book. I really liked how this book kept you guessing and wondering about who to trust in this story. As a reader you always want to trust the protagonist but in this case the further you read the more you aren’t sure if she’s the one to trust.

I really enjoyed not just reading this book but getting to participate in the read-along and talk with the author about the book. I loved getting to find out things about the stylistic choices that she makes and the plot twists that occur and why certain things were written the way they were. It really added another level to my reading experience to have others to talk with and contemplate what was going to happen next.

I recommend this book to those of you who enjoy science-fiction, thriller, or are looking to read something that makes you think.

You can purchase this book on Barnes and Noble or look for it at your local library.

What Alice Forgot Book Review

3 out of 5 stars

Summary: What Alice Forgot tells the story of a woman who is at her Friday spin class when she faints, hitting her head and losing 10 years of her memory. So many important events happened in those 10 years such as her best friend dying and the beginning of her divorce. Watch as Alice struggles to make sense of her new life when she can’t even remember changing from someone who went with the flow to someone who over plans everything.

Thoughts: This book was my local library’s book club pick for the month and because I really enjoy that group I decided I would read it since our last book was great. Now I didn’t love this book but I also didn’t dislike it, it kind of was a book that just was and sometimes those are nice to read as well. There were some aspects of the book that I liked and others that I was kind of not fond of.

First off, I liked the way that the book was written. I thought it was a great choice to include 3 different perspectives from woman who were related but also lead different lives. I liked seeing what they thought of the situation with Alice and how their relationship with her changed because of the memory loss. I thought it was interesting to see how Frannie and Elisabeth saw their lives and then look at what Alice thought of their lives.

Something else that I really enjoyed was the way that things were described. There were moments that were very vague and I was just as confused as Alice for most of the book. I liked that you figure things out as Alice is learning things and regaining snippets from her memory.

The thing that I really didn’t like was the end chapters. I think that everything was done so quickly and I wanted it to extend a little more so that you got to see more from everyone. I think that once you reach the end it seems kind of like the author just wanted to complete the book and there was not much substance left.

I don’t want to spoil so I won’t include what I didn’t like about the ending but if you’ve read the book I want to hear your thoughts about the book. What did you like? Was there anything you would have changed?

You can buy this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.

Cursed by Karol Ruth Silverstein

I got a ARC of this book at Yallwest and was so excited to read it since it was a #ownvoices book. I hardly see own voices when it comes to books about chronic illness, chronic pain, or disabilities so I love that this is one of those books.

Summary: Ricky has been recently diagnosed with a chronic illness and is pretty angry about it. Not only does she now have to deal with constant pain but her family is a mess, and the boy she likes doesn’t even know she exists. The only way she can think of to cope with this is through cursing and skipping school. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for her through her lashing out it is reveled to her parents that she has been skipping school and has a lot to make-up for if she plans on not repeating the 9th grade. Is Ricky going to make-up for lost time and is she gonna learn the importance of asking for help?

Thoughts: I will always appreciate a #ownvoices book because I don’t have to wonder if you know what the character feels like. While I know this is one person’s experience at least it is someone’s experience rather than information gathered from the internet that can sometimes be inaccurate.

I really enjoy how angry Ricky is at the world and how sometimes she even recognizes that her anger is misplaced. I know that this can sometimes throw you off as a reader but more me it made me find her relatable. She reminded me of having to go through multiple doctors and many tears before someone finally realized that the problem was asthma and that it wasn’t going away.

I love when she doesn’t want her arthritis to keep her from enjoying things and how hard she tries to keep doing things even if she’s in pain. In addition to this I love how she keeps thinking of others as brave and how this book shows her looking at other people with disabilities because I think that’s very realistic. This book does a great job at portraying the different levels in identity development when it comes to disability and it reminded me of my process through that.

Something that I loved and couldn’t get enough of was the friendship between Ricky and Oliver, and the relationship between Ricky and her public speaking teacher. Oliver and Ricky, WOW those two made me laugh, cry, and smile. I love the complexity and simpleness of their friendship and how that develops over time and becomes much more than just a friendship due to understanding pain.

Overall this book is an amazing read and I love so much about it. It was just something that made me feel less alone even if the disability is different than mine. I read it after I got too sick to enjoy a baseball game with my friend and hated myself for having to pace myself and take it slow in the heat. I told myself I should’ve known better, that it’s happened before and the doctor already warned me but I was still upset that I missed out. This book was my companion as I sat out the game and then as I had to stay in bed the next day to let my body recover, so thank you Karol Ruth Silverstein because during that time your book made me feel like I was gonna be okay and I didn’t ruin anyone’s day.

I recommend this to those of you who want to know about chronic illness and chronic pain, and for those of you who enjoy books about illnesses, here is one that doesn’t romanticize any of it.

You can purchase this on Amazon or look for it at your local library. I would love to talk to all of you about this book.

Elanor & Park Book Review

4 out of 5 Stars

Summary: This book tells the story of two teenagers who fall in love under unlikely circumstances. Elanor is a 16-year old girl who endures abuse from her step-father and then goes to school only to be bullied there as well. Park is a 16-year old Korean-American boy whose family has high expectations of him and has friends in the popular group. These two couldn’t be more different from each other but they find commonalities and find how to make things work against the odds. That is, until there is no way around the inevitable and they are taken from each other.

Thoughts: This book was part of a book club online that I decided to join and then I won a copy of it in a giveaway so I was happy to get a chance to read it. I read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell in the past so I was sure this book was something I would enjoy too. I was right, any book that can make me tear up is one that I find successful.

From the start when Park sees Elanor on that school bus you are aware that something will happen between them and you are hoping that it goes well. I think despite the things against them even you as the reader knowing that it won’t work you want to put those thoughts out of your mind.

Something I really enjoyed about this book was that it was told through both Elanor and Park’s perspectives. I think that it really made you feel for both of these characters and made it easy to get through the book. I really enjoyed hearing Park’s thoughts on everything that was happening and then hearing Elanor since at times they were thinking similar things but then other times it was completely different.

Something else that I enjoyed reading in this was getting to see not only their relationship with each other but also their relationship with their families. I liked watching how different each of their relationships was with their families and how different their parental figures responded when angry with them.

I recommend this to anyone who wants a cute love story between teenagers that defies all odds. I think anyone who has enjoyed any of Rainbow Rowell’s works will enjoy this book.

You can purchase this on Amazon or look for it at your local library.

Athena’s Choice by Adam Boostrom Book Review

I received this book from Adam and CO in exchange for an honest review.

4 out of 5 Stars

Summary: Athena is just like every other girl living in the year 2099, a year that exists without men due to a outbreak that killed off all men including Trans men and even some woman. It’s been years since men have existed in this world and many people think it’s time to bring them back. There is one problem though, someone stole the genome that was going to help with this process. Athena’s help is enlisted in finding out who stole this genome and through this process she comes to find the truth about things that lead her to a choice that can alter her future forever.

Thoughts: I love all books that deal with a virus, outbreak, disease, contagion, etc. so I expected to love this book just as much as the others. While I enjoyed this book I kind of wanted a little more about this virus in the beginning, like at least a scene to get what actually happened to these men. I like that they include a little more of it the further you get into the book but I still wanted more so that I could feel bad for the men.

The first half of the book takes a while to set everything up but what I was fascinated by was the advanced technology. I love how there’s mock Wikipedia pages included for some of the more important pieces of technology in order to explain how things work. I thought it was cool because if I lived in that time I would be searching to see what these things are, and I liked how some AI systems are described throughout the book.

Something else that I enjoyed was the changes in font that were included throughout the book. It made it so that the transitions were smooth and I was able to follow who was speaking or whose perspective you were reading. It also made it easy to see which portions came from Wikipedia, the government, or the newspaper and that added to the story.

While I really enjoyed this book and the commentary that it makes about the future and technology there was one part that I wasn’t a fan of and that is the ending. I know that the author explains himself in the closing of the book but I still longed for a more conclusive ending. I do understand though that this book was more about what do we decide to do versus what Atena is going to do.

I recommend this to those of you who enjoy Science Fiction or books that are about technology and the consequences that it can have on our lives.

You can purchase this book on Amazon or look for it at your local library.

The Sun is Also a Star Movie Review and Book Comparison

I had the chance to see The Sun is Also a Star for free as an advanced screening through Warner Brothers so I decided to give it a try since I recently read the book. I took my mom with me to see what someone else’s opinion of the movie would be without prior book knowledge and we both walked away with differing opinions. Now before I begin I want to say that this movie would have been good if I had not read the book before.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead

The love story between Natasha and Daniel is really cute and just how I imagine it would be in the book. They start off very awkward with each other and Natasha being completely closed off to the idea of love until their relationship develops and she finds herself falling in love with Daniel. So while I loved watching their dynamic change there were small aspects of the movie that were big in the book that I wasn’t too fond of.

First, the reason that they are being deported in the movie is drastically different from the book. There is one mention in the movie of their deportation being due to a random factory raid while in the book it’s due to Natasha’s dad’s carelessness while being pulled over for a DUI. I thought that the reasoning behind the deportation was a central part of the book and why Natasha had such strong and conflicting feelings towards her dad. I believe that it really added another layer to the story and really made things complex and wish that they would have kept that the same in the movie.

Second, we all now that this isn’t going to end well, you can tell from the beginning and even the trailer to this movie but there was a key reason for the deportation not being changed that wasn’t included in the book. The fact that they changed this really upset me because this was another change that made it so that Natasha wasn’t angry at someone. I wanted to see her anger as the book clearly shows it as one of the most important aspects to her story and what contributes to her feelings towards Daniel.

Third, for me I think this was one of the most important aspects that I really wanted to see and was so dissapointed that the character wasn’t included. The whole reason that Natasha and Daniel crash into each other in the book is because of a security lady who holds up the line because she so thoroughly inspects each of Natasha’s items in her bag. This woman feels so disconnected with the world and just is hoping for someone to see her and Natasha thanks this woman for her encounter with Daniel. It isn’t until the ending of the book that we meet this woman again and she thanks Natasha for that day because she was ready to commit suicide until she got that thank you. It is in that moment that Natasha and Daniel notice they are on the same plane and that is what you are left with. Not with a happy ending but with a question of what happens next? The movie isn’t like that, the movie gives you a happy ending and I just wasn’t feeling it.

Now all that to say the movie wasn’t bad it just didn’t compare well to the book. I recommend watching the movie first and then reading the book if you haven’t already read the book. I think that would be a great way to take it all in. I enjoyed the movie when I ignored the differences between the movie and the book and I hope that you all will too.

What are your thoughts on this movie?