Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

the-hate-u-giveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Published by: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Date of Publication: January 28th 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Own Voices, Diverse

Pages: 464

Format: eGalley (Edelweiss)

Rating:★★★★★ 5 Stars

*Thank you Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, Netgalley, and Angie Thomas for the eGalley of The Hate U Give in exchange for an honest review.

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Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

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Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement, The Hate U Give tells the story of Starr who witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best-friend. Starr is introduced as a 16 year old living in a very poor & high in crime neighborhood. Her parents placed her in a school in the suburbs away from the neighborhood they live in & commute every day to provide Starr & her two siblings a safer environment to study as well as a better education. Starr pretty much lives two very different lives and prefers to keep them separate from each other. She has friends and a caucasian boyfriend who don’t really know much about her. Starr isn’t comfortable being herself around them, often changing how she speaks and adopting her friends likes/dislikes. This all changed the night that she attended a party with her friend and bumped into her childhood best friend Khalil. A friendship she had let go once she started going to a school outside of the neighborhood & carries some guilt for doing so. Khalil & Starr grew up together and he’s very protective of her. When the party turns violent it is Khalil who thinks fast to get Starr away from danger. It would be the last act of love he would carry out for Starr. The Hate U Give revolves around Khalil’s unjust death & serves as the catalyst for Starr. Along with the main plot line of Khalil’s death we get subplots that serve to present a better understanding of the fear, anger, frustration, sadness, helplessness, and yes the hate felt by people of color. Experiences in Starr’s neighborhood will leave her feeling shaken to her core. Her neighborhood is filled with tension after Khalil’s shooting by a Caucassian Police officer. The media digs deep & portrays Khalil in a negative light, focusing on the life they believe he led as a gang banger selling drugs. In the neighborhood, we see the control these gangs have over the residents. The saying “snitches get stitches” is more a code to live by for fear of retribution.

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Angie Thomas has given us in The Hate U Give some of the most fleshed out characters you’ll ever come across on the page. To say that I was invested in all of the characters is an understatement…they live within me & I will carry them in my heart for as long as time permits. Starting with Starr who although we see her struggling to keep her two worlds/identities apart, still stays true to herself in little ways. Starr has a passion for basketball & fresh kicks aka sneakers, and her family. She is someone who has experienced loss at a young age to the injustices of the world. We see her strength at a young age get her through what lies ahead. Starr’s parents have now joined my Parentals Hall Of Fame alongside the Weasley’s. They are firm and strict all the while loving & teaching their kids the ways of the world. I loved seeing mom & dad interact with Starr & her siblings as well as themselves. This couple has a ton of history, not all great but it’s history nonetheless. Mom & dad’s relationship has had its highs & lows like any other marriage, it’s far from perfect and I enjoyed how authentic their relationship played out on the pages. The sibling relationships were pretty special & their interactions often left me smiling. Starr has two brothers who she is very close with and I loved seeing them look out for each other. We also get introduced to Starr’s uncle who plays the role of a positive father figure & also happens to be a police officer. Starr’s uncle is also affected by the events of the night Khalil was shot & it was interesting to see him handle certain situations (1 of my fave characters). The Hate U Give has a ton of supporting characters giving us the readers many different perspectives. Ultimately they come together to form a narrative we’ve now become familiar with through real life media/news coverage.

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The dialogue in The Hate U Give has such an authentic feel to it which pulls you in and doesn’t let go until the very last page. At 464 pages, this never felt like a dense read even if the subject matter itself was profound. This book will lift the veil from your eyes if there is one there, it most certainly will make you feel uncomfortable as it should. We can’t learn if we are stuck in comfort. Many times while reading I felt my heart & mind heavy with thoughts of our future. After all, this book is heavily influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement & is a story that we have unfortunately seen play out in the media in real life too many times. I believe this book to be relevant to our current day & one that should be read by all. I connected with this book on a more personal level & for that I will forever be thankful for Angie Thomas. See, I am married to an African American man and we have two beautiful children. Our son is brown skinned like his dad & our daughter is white skinned like myself. I remember being pregnant with my son, watching the news and fearing for my unborn child. Young African American teens were losing their lives in senseless shootings by police officers across the nation. The conversations I had with my husband on how we would raise our son always left me deep in thought afterwards. Is this really the world/life I’ve brought my son into? he is now two going on three & the shootings have continued with little to no justice for these young souls. It is my hope (like any other mothers) that his future is a somewhat better place for people of color. The Hate U Give at its core attempts to give the reader some insight on how it feels to be targeted over the color of your skin, the powerlessness that converts into hate, and the motivation behind activism & protests. A poignant read, The Hate U Give will impact many lives by the time the very last word is read.

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15049422Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, was acquired by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in a 13-house auction and will be published in spring 2017. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg set to star.

December Book Haul & Wrap-Up

Here’s to hoping that 2017 will see me post these Wrap-Ups & Bookhauls in a more timely fashion *cheers* (said no one ever Baha!). I’m hoping everyone had a wonderful holiday, it feels good to be back in the mix of things. Slowly but surely I’m seeing more of my bookish peeps coming back & it’s been pretty awesome seeing all of your Christmas hauls and holiday posts. I honestly didn’t think I’d be hauling much of anything in the month of December because I did NOT ask for books this Christmas *gasps*…don’t get me wrong I totally wanted to, I’ve just been trying to read a lot of what I own & keep up with arc reviews. Now, ignore EVERYTHING you just read *covers eyes* on to my Wrap-up & shameful haul LOL..

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Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick ★★★★ 1/2 (4.5)

Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel ★★★★ 1/2 (4.5)

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones ★★★ 1/2 (3.5)

Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano ★★★★★ (5)

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera ★★★★★ ALL The Stars In The Galaxy…no # could do this one justice!

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Orange: The Complete Collection, Volume 1 (Bookoutlet)

Orange: The Complete Collection, Volume 2 (Bookoutlet)

All American Boys  (Bookoutlet)

Of Fire And Stars (Owlcrate)

Jane Steele (Bookoutlet)

Small Great Things (Bookdepository)

Here Comes The Sun (B&N)

Swimming Lessons (Book Of The Month)

All The Ugly And Wonderful Things (Book Of The Month)

Mr. Mercedes (Bill Hodges Trilogy #1) Gift from my Book Twin Bestie Gretchen @ChicNerdReads

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Ok…I admit that I am HOOKED on Amazon Kindle Deals SMH…yea…*silently shakes head*

Chillin on that instant purchase button in January, fo’ sho! 😉

December was a busy month for most, I also happened to celebrate my birthday on New Years Eve which I chose to keep low key. I had a mini staycation, 5 days of spending time with my 2 tiny humans & hubby…and on the 5th day I had a ME day *whoop whoop* I did manage to squeeze in one movie & that was Pixar’s Sing with my 5 year old & hubs. Sing was so much fun, usually hubs falls asleep during animated movies (I know smh, he can’t hang) but he actually stayed awake for this one so that says something there BAHA! lastly I blogged a little & decided to set some reading/blogging goals for 2017 as well as sign up for my very 1st challenge (see here). It was after my goals post went up though, that I came across Naz @ReadDiverseBooks who is hosting his own challenge ReadDiverse2017. I of course signed up immediately since one of my goals for 2017 after all is to support diverse & own voices reads. It’s also nice of him to include badges & prizes along the way so check him out my bookish peeps, his blog is one of my top favorites ❤ ❤ ❤

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What are some of your bookish goals for 2017? see any good movies in December? hauled any good books/bookish swag? drop your links down below & i’ll swing by for a peep 😉

December Owlcrate & Book Of The Month Unboxing

Wowserz! December came & is already almost gone *eeeeK* my Owlcrate & Book Of The Month arrived very early this month since the subscription services were attempting to beat the holiday rush that is inevitable with snail mail. I held off on posting it since I know some prefer to be surprised. I honestly haven’t been surprised lately with the exception of Vassa In The Night, which had me diggin’ for clues LOL. I’m not sure why but I quite enjoy figuring out what they’re going to send each month. Yes, I already have a 99% positive educated guess on what the January selection will be *winks* Book Of The Month recently started the option of “ship now for free” whenever you add a past months selection to your current box. I added All the Ugly and Wonderful Things since i’ve had it on my mind ever since hearing the synopsis read aloud by a favorite Booktuber of mine. I struggled a bit this month with selecting my BOTM book & hope that I don’t regret going with Swimming Lessons. I know now that the option to skip is available but still holding out hope for my pick, it also happens to be an advanced reader copy (finished) since it isn’t set to hit shelves til’ February 2017 😉


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  • Of Fire and Satrs by Audrey Coulthurst (GR Synopsis also below)
  • Harry Potter Funko Mystery Mini Figure
  • The Lord of the Rings Pin
  • Dark Horse Game of Thrones Coasters (hands down favorite items in the entire box!)
  • A Darker Shade of Magic Sticker (this was missing in my box. 1st time an item was left out)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Mini Cardgoodreads-synopsis-2

Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.


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Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.

All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible “adult” around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father’s thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.

What are your thoughts on December’s Owlcrate? Do you prefer to be surprised each month or go full on Nancy Drew? For my fellow BOTM subscribers, what were your selections for December? 

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday Weekend XOXO!!!

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

*All covers will take you to their Goodreads page*

 

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Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel

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Currently reading this short story collection and honestly taking my time with it because of the heavy subject matter. The author was nice enough to send me a eGalley a couple of weeks ago after seeing me express interest in her book. The writing is poignant & thought provoking. I’m currently on story 4 out of 5 and think I already have a favorite unless the last one dethrones my current favorite. My heart strings have been pulled while reading Manipulated Lives, making me think of my own personal experience with a manipulative friendship. My husband says that he’s never seen me take such copious notes lol, I just don’t want to forget anything with my terrible memory. I should be done reading Manipulated Lives by tomorrow & then a full review will follow 😉

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Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

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I recently read & reviewed Scrappy Little Nobody (review here) by Anna Kendrick, I listened to the audiobook which I tend to do with all comedienne autobiographies/memoirs. I gave this one 4.5 stars, Kendrick delivered tons of laughs & an inside look to her childhood and come-up. Never once did she sound braggy of her fame, instead we get a humble down to earth Anna who is still in awe of just how far she’s come. If you’re a fan of her movies and find her funny, Scrappy Little Nobody is worth a read.

Lost Girls by Merrie Desetefano 

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Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano was HANDS DOWN a 5 star read for me (review here) for the plot, characters, writing, and yes even world building…a dark & seedy one. This is a Young Adult Thriller/Mystery yet I honestly got a more mature vibe to Destefano’s characters & found that to be refreshing. The Goodreads synopsis describes this as Black Swan meets Fight Club, and a more accurate description there is not! If you’re interested in characters that are morally gray, stories with awesome family dynamics, and adrenaline infused reads then this is the book for you 😉

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Roseblood by A.G. Howard

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Goodreads Synopsis

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

A Phantom Of The Opera re-telling? I couldn’t resist picking this one up at NYC Comic Con/BookCon. I’ve always admired this authors book covers from afar & even have her Splintered series on my TBR. I’m hoping this one is a hit & if it is then 2017 will be the year I binge this authors books.

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

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Goodreads Synopsis

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course.

To make things worse, the only person who truly understands his heartache is Jackson. But no matter how much they open up to each other, Griffin’s downward spiral continues. He’s losing himself in his obsessive compulsions and destructive choices, and the secrets he’s been keeping are tearing him apart.

If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history, every last heartbreaking piece in the puzzle of his life.

Thankful to have an eGalley from Soho Teen/Adam Silvera. After reading More Happy Than Not last year I started following Adam Silvera on social media & relaized how cool & down to earth this author is with his fanbase. Once I read the synopsis to History Is All You Left me I immediately knew that it was going to put me through it but I am SO READY! super excited to read this one & I know Adam will not fail me 🙂

November Owlcrate & Book Of The Month

November was an exciting month for subscription boxes, I know I received exactly what I DID NOT predict lol..every month I go about guessing the book, yeah I know that it defeats the purpose but tell that to my curiosity *hides face*  November’s theme is Wonderland & it was the 1st month that the obvious new release was staring me in the face yet It was the last book to come to mind HAHA! they got me good lol. I recently read, reviewed, and loved Heartless by Marisa Meyer (review here). This was a nice surprise & again I must tip my hat off to Owlcrate for their AMAZING thoughtful curation, each month they surprise me with the items they include in their boxes. I also nabbed myself a 3 month subscription to Book Of The Month from Groupon (Sale still going) and my November selection was The Trespasser (Dublin Murder Squad #6) by Tana French. I have been meaning to get to this series since January when I picked up Into The Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) while on a trip to Miami. From what I’ve read in reviews, the good thing about this series is that you don’t necessarily need to read them back to back since each book has a new set of characters and plot line. However, the characters in each new book are introduced in the previous book (if that makes any sense).

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Goodreads Synopsis: 

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Book Of The Month 

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The Trespasser by Tana French

Goodreads Synopsis:

A brilliant new novel from the New York Times bestselling author, whom Gillian Flynn calls “mesmerizing” and Stephen King calls “incandescent.”

Being on the Murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point.

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blond, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her—except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before.

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?

Do any of you subscribe to Book Of The Month? if so, which book did you go with this month? thoughts on the Owlcrate exclusive cover? yay or nay?

 

 

Standalone Sunday

Happy Sunday Bookies!!! this is my 1st time participating in Megan@BookSlayerReads Standalone Sunday, a feature where you select a book (not part of a series) that you loved & would recommend to others. Super excited to be participating in Megan’s feature since i’ve been eyeing it for weeks & racking my brain for a good standalone I could post. It seems like lately series are the norm but I would love to get some more standalone’s read & this seems like a great source for motivation. On to this Sunday’s pick…

 

 

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Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

 

Publisher: Vintage

Publication Date: October 24th 2000

Page Count: 311

Genre: Fiction/Mystery-Crime

 

 

 

 

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lionel Essrog is Brooklyn’s very own self-appointed Human Freakshow, an orphan whose Tourettic impulses drive him to bark, count, and rip apart our language in startling and original ways. Together with three veterans of the St. Vincent’s Home for Boys, he works for small-time mobster Frank Minna’s limo service cum detective agency. Life without Frank Minna, the charismatic King of Brooklyn, would be unimaginable, so who cares if the tasks he sets them are, well, not exactly legal. But when Frank is fatally stabbed, one of Lionel’s colleagues lands in jail, the other two vie for his position, and the victim’s widow skips town. Lionel’s world is suddenly topsy-turvy, and this outcast who has trouble even conversing attempts to untangle the threads of the case while trying to keep the words straight in his head. Motherless Brooklyn is a brilliantly original homage to the classic detective novel by one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation.

This week I chose Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem, a book that I read in college as part of my required reading. I didn’t know it then but this would go on to become one of my most favorite detective tales that has since stayed with me. I am hazy on many of the smaller details but I loved the narrator Lionel Essrog an orphan with Tourettes Syndrome & OCD. Lionel ends up working for Frank Minna (mobster) as muscle up until Frank is murdered. The book is narrated by Lionel & therefore you’ll get random bursts of his Tourettes as well as his need to count things as he sets out to solve the mystery of Frank’s murder. I fell in love with Lionel’s character & felt this need to see him be ok on his own. There are many heartfelt moments as well as humorous ones…straight out laugh out loud moments. I loved seeing Lionel navigate Brooklyn (my home sweet home lol), the borough isn’t portrayed in a positive light but I believe people have forgotten Brooklyn’s past before gentrification. I’d recommend Motherless Brooklyn to anyone who enjoys a good detective novel & wouldn’t mind being inside the mind of a person with Tourettes & OCD since it is narrated by the character with these mental disorders.

Quotes

“Tourette’s is just one big lifetime of tag, really. The world (or my brain—same thing) appoints me it, again and again. So I tag back. Can it do otherwise? If you’ve ever been it you know the answer.” 
― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“Guilt wants to cover all the bases, be everywhere at once, reach into the past to tweak, neaten and repair. Guilt like Tourettic utterance flows uselessly, inelegantly from one helpless human to another, contemptuous of perimeters, doomed to be mistaken or refused on delivery.” 

― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

“Prince’s music calmed me as much as masturbation or a cheeseburger.”

― Jonathan Lethem, Motherless Brooklyn

Review: Fractured by Catherine McKenzie

29477965Fractured by Catherine McKenzie

Publisher: Lake Union

Publication Date: October 4th 2016

Format: eGalley (Netgalley)

Genre: Suspense/Mystery

Page Count: 360 pgs

Rating: ★★★★ (3.75)

Goodreads Synopsis:

Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to the idyllic Mount Adams district of Cincinnati, hoping to evade the stalker who’s been terrorizing them ever since the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. Since Julie doesn’t know anyone in her new town, when she meets her neighbor John Dunbar, their instant connection brings measured hope for a new beginning. But she never imagines that a simple, benign conversation with him could set her life spinning so far off course.

After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of increasingly unsettling harassment. Has Julie’s stalker found her, or are her neighbors out to get her, too? As tension in the neighborhood rises, new friends turn into enemies, and the results are deadly.

*I’d like to thank Lake Union for approving me to receive an eGalley of Fractured by Catherine Mckenzie via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

PLOT

Fractured is the 2nd mystery/suspense novel I’ve read this year in which I was unsure whether one of the main protagonists was a unreliable narrator or not. This novel kept me in the dark for almost the entirety of the book with incredible build up. Formatted in past & present tense, Fractured is narrated by Julie Prentice who is the newly moved in neighbor & John Dunbar who has resided in the close-knit neighborhood all his life. This book gave me such Stepford/Desperate Housewives feels & I wasn’t complaining since I loved the movie & tv show. I will say that any time I read or watch anything that takes place in a suburban community, I am always left feeling creeped out and thankful for my city and the neighbors who couldn’t be bothered to watch my coming’s & going’s HAHA! So, Julie Prentice who is looking to start a new life far away from her stalker decides to move to Cincinnati with her husband and twins. Julie has had much success from her debut thriller The Murder Game based loosely on old law school games she used to play with her law school buddies. “The Book” as Julie refers to it, runs parallel to her own life with many similarities between her and The Book’s protagonist Meredith. In “The Book”, someone is murdered and it just so happens that within Julie’s circle of real life law school buddies, someone was murdered while they were all at a frat-like party many years ago. Now a well known debut author with rising fame, Julie is used to all of the rumors swirling around The Murder Game aka “The Book” except that her stalker isn’t just some random Jane. Julie’s stalker actually attended the same law school & claims to know the truth. Julie struggles with depression & is a recovering alcoholic. Her transition into the new neighborhood is awkward from the very beginning & unfortunately only takes a downward spiral after a series of encounters with some of the neighbors (cue The Stepford Wives jeje). John Dunbar is the first to befriend Julie over a mutual love for morning runs. They develop a friendship since he’s a work-from-home dad & she an author with a deadline for book 2. In a community where every move is watched & reported, a friendship like theirs is sure to stir up some talk. However, it is the decisions they make that put into effect a series of life changing events. Since this is a Mystery/Suspense novel I don’t want to go to in depth. I went in blind like I do with most mystery/suspense novels & I think it works best with Fractured.
 

CHARACTERS

Since this book is told by Julie & John both in past and present tense, we get to see a mixture of old and new friends for each of these characters. Their family set-up is almost identical except for that Julie’s twins are I believe around 5 or 6 years of age and John has two teens. They are both married and their spouses work coincide with one another. Everyone is connected one way or another and everything is treated as public knowledge with very little room for privacy. We get introduced to some of the neighbors who under the leadership of one of the residents, have formed a committee. The leader of the committee throughout the book sends out these memos updating & revising (more like adding) the policies (rules) for the neighborhood and monthly block party which served to insert some humor into this book. I found myself thinking how it could be possible for all of the neighbors to follow these rules without protest but chucked it off to group thinking. The neighborhood as a whole down to some of the teens were pretty intense and very quick to pass judgment on Julie. The giph below perfectly describes how I pictured the women of Mount Adams would look at Julie every time there was a so called “incident” on their street. Most of the time I disliked the way the other women were towards Julie but there were some occasions that made me raise a brow. John I wasn’t too fond of at all, he came across as weird in a gross way and cowardly. Catherine McKenzie gave us two very complex protagonists & for that I am thankful since I like my characters roughly shaped LOL. 
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THOUGHTS

I read Fractured in a fairly short amount of time which usually means that I enjoyed what I was reading, and I did. I was desperately trying to figure out what exactly happened and didn’t see that ending coming at all. I especially enjoyed the formatting of the chapters in past & present tense counting down to the final present hour. It all felt like flashbacks and you the reader get the full picture of how exactly the cookie came to crumble. There were certain things that played key roles in Julie’s life that I wish weren’t so easily tucked away (won’t say what due to spoilers) & some questions from her past that lingered in my mind. Overall though, this was an enjoyable read. What I loved most about reading Fractured had to be Catherine McKenzie’s writing style, which means I will definitely be looking into her other books. If you’re looking for the next suspense filled mystery novel this one is sure to hold you in it’s grasp till the very last page 😉

 

P.S. It aint a block party if the punch aint spiked! BAHAHAHA! 

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On a World of Words and to participate all you have to do is answer the three W’s listed below. Once you’ve posted your WWW, drop a link to your post in Sam’s comments <3’s!

The questions are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

 

www-wednesdays

CURRENTLY READING

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

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Goodreads

Started Heartless yesterday as part of a buddy read with my book twin Gretchen @Chicnerdreads & enjoying it immensely! honestly Marrisa Meyer is the Queen of Fairy Tale re-tellings. You’re immediately thrust into the kingdom of Hearts & the Wonderland feel is ever present. I am very interested in Catherine’s aka The Queen Of Hearts story before she becomes who we all know & fear for her mood swings lol. I love that Catherine is a baker…I think I love any book in which there is baking especially when the author does a great job of making me want a pastry straight off the page.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

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Goodreads

Also started this one yesterday in audiobook format BECAUSE it’s none other than uncle Gaiman come to tell a story & I can’t get enough of his narrating voice lol. After listening &  adoring the hell out of Stardust, I knew that I would be a fan of Gaiman for life. This is now my 2nd book & i’m only 12% in and i’m hooked. The Graveyard Book is rich with characters from page 1 and I find myself smiling like a little girl every time I listen to these characters (he even does the voices & does them WELL!) dialogue. I love little Nobody Owens & want to protect him for as long as possible…I have a feeling this will lead to me buying uncle Gaiman’s (not really my uncle lol) books for my shelves.

What did you recently finish reading?

Gemina by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Goodreads

I recently read & reviewed Gemina (review here) by Amie Kaufman & jay Kristoff, this was a 5 star read for me and an EPIC addition to the Illuminae files. Inside & out, this book was stunning!!! with illustrations by Marie Lu the author of The Young Elites trilogy to enhance the reading experience. Gemina offered up tons of laughs & a whole new set of characters to LOVE & care for.

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

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Goodreads

This was a 3.5 star read for me (review here), I listened to the audiobook & have a new found respect for Amy. Although the 1st half of this book was a bit hard to get into due to a bit of Amy’s own awkwardness & what comes off as dicomfort…the 2nd half really saw her coming into her own & owning her words. Schumer hits on some really tough subjects in this her collection of essays. Not every moment will be a laugh out loud moment but it will be raw & she makes no apologies for that, which is why I am now a fan 😉

What do you think you’ll read next?

Fractured by Catherine Mckenzie

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Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

Julie Prentice and her family move across the country to the idyllic Mount Adams district of Cincinnati, hoping to evade the stalker who’s been terrorizing them ever since the publication of her bestselling novel, The Murder Game. Since Julie doesn’t know anyone in her new town, when she meets her neighbor John Dunbar, their instant connection brings measured hope for a new beginning. But she never imagines that a simple, benign conversation with him could set her life spinning so far off course.

After a series of misunderstandings, Julie and her family become the target of increasingly unsettling harassment. Has Julie’s stalker found her, or are her neighbors out to get her, too? As tension in the neighborhood rises, new friends turn into enemies, and the results are deadly.

After seeing so many rave reviews from bloggers I follow, I requested and was approved for this eGalley on Netgalley. This author has been on my radar for another one of her books titled Smoke and if I enjoy Fractured, will be probably be boosting Smoke up the more immediate TBR list.

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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Goodreads

I will be buddy reading the 2nd book in the Six Of Crows duology with Jill @rantandraveaboutbooks, Melissa @Booknerdmomo, & Megan @Bookslayerreads starting November 17th. A bit bittersweet feeling since I am not ready to let go of this world & my babies! but it’s time, I can’t continue dodging Crooked Kingdom spoiler bombs on Twitter (quite stressful lol). Looking forward to jumping back into this world 😉

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

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Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

“Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable–something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

Another book that comes highly recommended by some pretty awesome book bloggers I follow & love. Also, while waiting in line to get my book signed by V.E. Schwab I over heard her say that she LOVED this book & that it was simply just SO GOOD! I mean, if that isn’t enough motivation to finally start this one I don’t know what is. Such an interesting premise, i’m looking forward to finding out what is happening to Jason.

Did any of you participate in WWW Wednesday? if so, drop that link & i’ll swing by your blog for a peek. October was a blur of activity & i’m hoping for a much more mellow November but who am I kidding? LOL! 

October Owlcrate & BOTM

 

October is already coming to an end but with it came my monthly subscription boxes…yup, that’s a plural I used there cuz I added a book subscription box to my life smh *covers eyes* in my defense, this other box is justified…kind of… sort of LOL! On to my boxes…

Owlcrate

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& if you’d like, follow me @Lair_Of_books 

Theme: Once Upon A Dream

  • Vassa In The Night by Sarah Porter (hardcover)
  • Passport (Oz inspired) from The Unemployed philosopher’s Guild
  • Bangle Charm Bracelet (Rumples spinning wheel) from The Geeky Cauldron
  • Beanie (Peter Pan inspired) from whositswhatsits
  • Button Bookmark by Myheartmytribe

I actually met Sarah Porter earlier in the month at New York Comic Con/Bookcon & received a signed finished hard cover copy of Vassa In The Night. Sarah seemed very lovely & wonderfully eccentric in full costume for the book event. Since I now have 2 finished copies of Vassa In The Night, I will be doing a giveaway soon since my 6 month blogoversary is coming up 😉

Book Of The Month

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@Lair_of_books

Book Of the Month is a monthly subscription service offering 5 selections each month ranging in genre. BOTM does a pretty awesome job at scouting reads that are great conversation starters & are truly thought provoking. The simplicity of the box also places all of the focus on the books themselves which is refreshing in a world full of subscription boxes with an array of themes. I subscribed to BOTM in hopes that it would get done what I haven’t been able to do in a while which is get back to reading Fiction. I LOVE Fantasy & Sci-Fi but I can’t say that I don’t miss the genre that got me into reading in the first place. In order to bring some FIC back into my life I subbed to BOTM. It also didn’t hurt that I received a $5 coupon for my first month 😉 I am really looking forward to reading The Mothers by Brit Bennett (hopefully in November) & trying out BOTM.

***Book came with box of mints, bookmark, and a letter from the BOTM judge who selected this book for the month of October.

Has anyone else subscribed to any of these boxes? if so, are you enjoying them? any BOTM subscribers out there? which book did you select for October? 🙂

 

 

Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Published by: Pamela Dorman Books

Publication Date: August 23rd 2016

Pages- 320 pages

Format- eGalley (Netgalley)

Rating: ★★★ (3.75)

How well do you know the couple next door? Or your husband? Or even—yourself?  

People are capable of almost anything. . .
Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco  soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

 

I’d like to thank Pamela Dorman Books for approving me to receive an eGalley of The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Couple Next Door is the first thriller I have read in 2016 & I am very glad that it was a good one. I love my thrillers filled with plot twists & dark complex characters. The Goodreads synopsis gives you a brief description (as it should) about the life Anne & Marco Conti lived with their infant daughter. I gave this read 3.75 stars, I only docked it a bit because towards the end it started to get a bit too twisty & even though these are fictional characters, the deception started to feel like over kill. I still enjoyed this book until the very last page, it definitely would make a great movie or 2 hour episode on Law & Order.

I won’t give away too much of the details since this is a thriller/suspense that will be released this coming Tuesday the 23rd but I’ll give you the basics. Anna has a passion for a art & up until the birth of her baby, she used to work in galleries. She comes from a very wealthy family. Marco has his own start-up business & quite the opposite family background, born to hard-working Italian parents. He fell in love with Anne & her passion for everything Art, he thought she was sexy, beautiful, interesting.

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Everything changed once baby Cora arrived…

Every new couple experiences challenges when bringing home their new baby, Anne suffered from mild Postpartum depression & also another more vague mental disorder. She became a stay-at-home mom dedicated to her new baby while Marco worked on his start-up. Their lives changed the night they decided to attend the next door neighbor’s dinner party. They thought if they took the baby monitor & checked up on baby Cora every 30 minutes, that all would be well…until it wasn’t.

This book was for the most part plot driven (as are most thrillers) but we do get background history for Anne. We’re also taken into Anne & Marco’s marriage which when we meet them, is tearing at the seams. The house is not filled with the happiness & cheer that usually accompanies new babies. Anne walks around stoic, trying to keep it together when motherhood is pretty much kickin’ her butt. Her husband is aware of her depression but doesn’t really know how to be around her, she instead is treated like glass by everyone. Everyone except her neighbor Cynthia who is an attractive, confident, and flirtatious woman that used to be close to Anne before she had the baby. Cynthia continuously gets on Anne by saying things like “what happened to you Anne?” & “you used to be interesting”. It was these types of comments that led Anne to accepting the dinner invitation. These interactions were also the most frustrating for me but that’s simply because I know how friends that don’t have children of their own, drop like flies when you enter parenthood. Anne had a mental disorder prior to baby Cora & things only escalated post baby. I wasn’t very content with the way Anne as a character was handled even though I also understood the others reasons for having certain thoughts.

We are also introduced to detective Rasbach who I would have liked to get to know a bit better. He is in charged of investigating the kidnapping of baby Cora & since the story is told in third person, we get to hear his thoughts all throughout the investigation. That being said, I enjoy a good character profile on detectives because they for the most part are very interesting. Rasbach seems to be desensitized after years in his career seeing the the worse cases. He firmly believes that everyone has their limit, that given the right circumstance anyone is capable of anything. This plays into the investigation & no one is safe from suspicion, especially not Anne & Marco.

Overall, The Couple Next Door was a page turner & it delivered with EPIC plot twists. Now if you are expecting for everything to be wrapped up & squared away at the end…then this may not be the thriller for you lol. I however, was satisfied with that ending because Anne will most likely stay with me for a very long time. I seriously felt the need to protect her as did the characters surrounding her. I do feel that this story also carries a strong message in that mental illness is something to be taken seriously. Red flags went up the minute that Anne’s therapist went on vacation & she didn’t follow advice to see the other therapist in the office until then. I think that 75% into the book, I just wanted her to be OK but couldn’t shake the feeling that it would never be OK the more she expressed her wish aloud to see her regular therapist. If I had to sum The Couple Next Door up in one word it would be TRAGIC. I definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for a thriller/suspense dealing with mental illness, tragedy, and not-so-happy endings.