Recommendation Friday

RecommendationFriday

This week I’ll be recommending one of my favorite non-fiction books. A book will rarely make me laugh out loud but this book had me laughing pretty hard at times. It has an amazing narrative that offers an honest, much needed voice in literature.

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One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul

For readers of Mindy Kaling, Jenny Lawson and Roxane Gay, a debut collection of fierce and funny essays about growing up the daughter of Indian immigrants in Canada, “a land of ice and casual racism,” by the irreverent, hilarious cultural observer and incomparable rising star, Scaachi Koul.

In One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter, Scaachi deploys her razor-sharp humour to share her fears, outrages and mortifying experiences as an outsider growing up in Canada. Her subjects range from shaving her knuckles in grade school, to a shopping trip gone horribly awry, to dealing with internet trolls, to feeling out of place at an Indian wedding (as an Indian woman), to parsing the trajectory of fears and anxieties that pressed upon her immigrant parents and bled down a generation. Alongside these personal stories are pointed observations about life as a woman of colour, where every aspect of her appearance is open for critique, derision or outright scorn. Where strict gender rules bind in both Western and Indian cultures, forcing her to confront questions about gender dynamics, racial tensions, ethnic stereotypes and her father’s creeping mortality–all as she tries to find her feet in the world.

With a clear eye and biting wit, Scaachi Koul explores the absurdity of a life steeped in misery. And through these intimate, wise and laugh-out-loud funny dispatches, a portrait of a bright new literary voice emerges.

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I don’t read a lot of non-fiction but this is one of the best non-fiction books I’ve ever read. I loved it from the very first page and I never wanted to put it down. I thought it was incredibly funny and a few of the stories Scaachi told had me laughing out loud.
There was also a good deal of serious stories about Scaachi’s experiences as an Indian women with immigrant parents. I really appreciate the opportunity to read about Scaachi’s perspective and for her voice to be heard.
One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter is very unique and sincere. It’s one of the best books I’ve read and I absolutely loved it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to pick up a non-fiction read.

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Recommendation Friday

RecommendationFriday

This week I’ll be recommending a newfound favorite of mine.

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Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast where we discover that there is little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

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Making Faces has all the feels. I laughed, I cried, I had every emotion possible. This book has left a permanent imprint on my life.

The characters in this book are complex, well written, and each of them will teach you something.
Fern has bright red hair and was never highly favored in high school. She wasn’t outwardly pretty and she didn’t have a lot of friends besides her cousin, Bailey. Fern had some amazing character development even though it was subtle. She was an amazing character from the moment she was introduced so for her to have character development and become even better, I thought that was outstanding. Fern loves to read and write romance and there one poem she wrote towards the beginning of the book that has really stuck with me. It resonated with me very deeply and I’ve been thinking about it a lot.
Bailey is Fern’s cousin and best friend. He has muscle dystrophy, which is a disease that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle. For most of the book, Bailey is in a wheelchair and Fern cares of him and helps him a lot. There’s some flash back chapters so we get the chance to see how Bailey’s disease has affected his life and how it’s changed him as a person. Bailey is a one of a kind character. He’s extremely witty, caring, and is fully aware of his future. His voice in this novel is unique and I promise you’ll love him if you read this book.
Ambrose is a star athlete and he’s friends with Fern and Bailey. Ambrose doesn’t take a lot of notice of Fern and he’s caught up in his wrestling. His mother is near the towers during 9/11 and it’s not long after that he and his four best friends decide to enlist in the military. As the synopsis says, “five young men go off to war, and only one comes back”. Making Faces deals a lot with Ambrose’s PTSD, guilt, and pain. I felt like representation of Ambrose’s condition was very well done and much needed.

This book is nothing short of perfect. It’s complex, has outstanding characters, and diverse. Amy Harmon is such an incredible writer and even though I’ve only read two of her books, I’m so glad I have discovered her books. Both books that I’ve read have made a massive impact on my life and I’ll never forget them. Making Faces is a book that comes along once in a life time and I’m so glad I read it. I highly recommend reading Making Faces.

 

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Recommendation Friday

RecommendationFriday

This week I’m recommending the newest release from on of my favorite authors.

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By Your Side by Kasie West

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

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I’m a massive fan of Kasie West’s books so I had no doubts that I wouldn’t love this book. I have yet to read one of Kasie’s contemporaries and not fall in love with it. And By Your Side was extra special to me.
I loved the writing, the plot was super cute and fun, I really liked the characters (Jeff was so dumb though), but what I loved most about this book was the representation of anxiety disorder in the main character. I wasn’t expecting that aspect of diversity in this book and I was really thrilled to see such a common mental illness being represented in a main stream YA novel. I really related to Autumn because of that. I really loved how the plot didn’t focus on her anxiety but it was definitely part of Autumn’s life. It showed how she managed her anxiety and how it affected her life. It felt really authentic. I felt like Kasie normalized anxiety disorder in By Your Side. I also loved how supportive Autumn’s family was (her mom even encouraged her to take time off from school) and how Dax always tried to help instead of freaking out about it.

Overall, I loved By Your Side. It was a cute, fluffy YA with a great representation of anxiety disorder. I definitely recommend this book.

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Recommendation Friday

RecommendationFriday

This week I’m recommending one of my favorite books that I’ve read this year, a book that completely blew me away.

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Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.

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I haven’t read a book this amazing in a long time.
I wasn’t sure how I would like this book when I started it. I was sent an unsolicited copy from the publisher and it didn’t really sound like a book I would pick up for myself. But let me tell you, I owe KT Books big time for sending me this book. It’s so outstanding. It blew my mind. I couldn’t put this book down.
Allegedly is so incredibly well written and has such diverse and complex characters. I couldn’t relate to Mary but I felt like I could connect to her in a weird way. I’ve never been through any of the things that she has but I felt connected to her. I think it was the fantastic writing that made an unrelatable character seem like she could be the reader’s best friend.
This book had me in tears one chapter and screeching at the top of my lungs the next. It was such a roller coaster of emotions the entire book and I loved every second of it.
Overall, this book is well worth the read and I highly recommend it. I loved every second of this book and Tiffany D. Jackson has quickly become one of my favorite authors.

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Recommendation Friday

RecommendationFriday

Today I’m recommending one of my favorite books of 2016. I really loved this book and I’m currently reading it sequel and I’m loving it just as much.

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Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.

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Everything about this book was perfect to me.
The writing was so amazing. I read Alex’s other book, The Darkest Minds, last year so I had a pretty good idea of her writing style but I felt like Passenger was a million times better than The Darkest Minds. I thought the main characters, Etta and Nicholas, were so well written and beautiful. I absolutely fell in love with Nicholas. He such an amazing character and I thought him and Etta made such a great team.
I’m so insanely excited to see the growth and development of these two in the next book.
I loved the concept of Passenger. I don’t read a lot of books with time travel but Passenger is easily the best time travel book I’ve read.

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Recommendation Friday

RecommendationFriday

 

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

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Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for… again.

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The Immortal Rules is the best vampire book I’ve ever read. It’s dark, twisted, and incredibly well written. The characters are diverse and fantastic. With a well thought out plot and outstanding world building, Julie creates an amazing reading experience. The Immortal Rules is everything I could want in a book and more.

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Recommendation Friday

RecommendationFriday

 

A Time to Die by Nadine Brandes

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How would you live if you knew the day you’d die?

Parvin Blackwater has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside.

In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the crooked justice system. But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall — her people’s death sentence.

What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.

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I loved everything about this book. The writing was really great, the characters were awesome, and the concept was so incredible. I thought the idea of having a little clock that counted down to the exact second you would die was so incredibly imaginative. This book is just so interesting and entertaining. I read it in just a couple of days because I didn’t want to put it down. I actually read this book while brushing my teeth. That’s how intense the plot had become. I definitely recommend A Time to Die if you’re looking for an original, well written read.

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Recommendation Friday

RecommendationFriday

This week I’ll be recommending one of the most unique and delightfully strange books that I’ve ever read.

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Gabriel and the Swallows by Esther Dalseno

Orvieto, 1957: Gabriel, a peasant boy with a disabled mother, constructs elaborate fantasy worlds to comfort when life becomes unbearable. The monotonous days of poverty and merciless bullying are interrupted when Gabriel unintentionally attracts the attention of a mysterious creature, a girl with swallow’s wings.

Navigating life with fellow outsider, the foreigner
Orlando Khan, Gabriel abandons his small town for the grandeurs of Rome.

But Gabriel is now a man and must choose where he
belongs: the imperfect reality, or the dream world that grows stronger and more seductive with each day…

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I had no idea what to expect from this book but holy crap.
Esther Dalseno’s writing style is incredible. It’s poetic and beautiful and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I loved the concept and the characters so much. Honestly, I couldn’t put this book down. The first chapter was so strange and weird, I had to know what was going to happen. This whole book was just a bunch of beautifully written strangeness but I loved every second of it.

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Recommendation Friday

RecommendationFriday

This week I’ll be recommending my favorite dystopia book.

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New World: Rising by Jennifer Wilson

Since witnessing her parents’ murders at the age of eleven, Phoenix’s only purpose in life has been to uphold her mother’s dying words- to be strong and survive. But surviving outside of The Walls- outside of The Sanctuary- is more like a drawn-out death sentence. A cruel and ruthless city, Tartarus is run by the Tribes whose motto is simple, “Join or die.”

Refusing to join and determined to live, Phoenix fights to survive in this savage world. But who can she trust, when no one can be trusted? Not even herself.

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New World: Rising is definitely the best dystopia reads that I’ve come across in a long time. It was fast paced and interesting. I loved the writing and the characters were awesome. The world building was pretty great. There was some info dumping in the beginning but that didn’t really matter because the world that Jennifer Wilson created was so interesting. Phoenix is a really cool main character. She’s independent, self aware, and really smart. I read this book in just a couple of sittings because it was so fact paced and I really enjoyed it. If you love dystopian books, please pick this book up because it’s one of the best out there.

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Recommendation Friday

RecommendationFriday

This week I’ll be recommending one of my favorite books of 2016. Even though I read this book in May, I still think about it a lot more often than I probably should.

Fortune by Tia Giacalone

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A painter, a poet, a publicist, and a punk-rock princess… the boys of High Road Divide have no idea that this tour will change everything.

Tommy Fortune hadn’t realized he was looking for something different until he meets Cassandra Ryan. Soon their connection blurs the line between fame and reality, and it doesn’t take long for Cassandra to follow her inspiration into his world, where paint-stained hands and guitar strings become the basis of their future. But nothing is as perfect as it looks from the outside, and even the most exposed still have secrets to keep. When tour life gets complicated, loyalties will be tested on the road, and they’ll both learn that some harsh realities can’t be painted over.

What happens when an artist stuck in black and white falls for a musician who only lives in color?

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I read this book during a really busy couple of days and I had barely any time to read. But every spare second I had, I was reading Fortune. Whenever I had to put this book down, I was so upset because I just wanted to keep reading.

This book was so amazing. I knew that I would love it and I was super excited to read it but somehow this book was even better than I was expecting. This book blew me away.
I loved the characters so much. They’re so well written and developed. I loved how Tommy didn’t droned on and on about Cassandra’s looks. He cared about her as a person and he always put more value on her personality. He appreciated Cassandra no matter how she looked. And the same was for Cassandra. She didn’t go on about how hot Tommy was. Their relationship was so healthy and realistic. The banter and dialogue between the characters was perfect and I normally don’t really notice those things but I did with Fortune and I think that really shows how well written this book is.
I’m so picky with New Adult books because the plots usually suck and the characters and relationships are so problematic. But Fortune, and Tia’s other two books, are perfect examples of the New Adult genre. They showcase everything that this genre is supposed to be about. Every NA author, every author who wants to create incredible characters, should look to Tia’s books as examples because she has done everything right with her characters. I don’t think it gets any better than Tia’s books.

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