ARC Review: We Own the Night by Ashley Poston

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Title: We Own the Night
By: Ashley Poston
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Publisher:Bloomsbury Spark/ Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley

About We Own the Night:

“Happy midnight, my fellow Niteowls…”

As a candy store employee by day, and mysterious deejay “Niteowl” by night, eighteen-year-old Ingrid North is stuck between rock ‘n roll and a hard place. She can’t wait to get out of her tiny hometown of Steadfast, Nebraska (population three hundred and forty-seven) to chase her dreams, but small-town troubles keep getting in the way. She can’t abandon her grandmother with Alzheimer’s, or her best friend Micah–who she may or may not be in love with.

But for one hour each Saturday, she escapes all of that. On air, she isn’t timid, ugly-sweater-wearing Ingrid North. She’s the funny and daring Niteowl. Every boy’s manic pixie dream girl. Fearless. And there is one caller in particular– Dark and Brooding–whose raspy laugh and snarky humor is just sexy enough to take her mind off Micah. Not that she’s in love with Micah or anything. Cause she’s not.

As her grandmother slips further away and Micah begins dating a Mean-Girls-worthy nightmare, Ingrid runs to the mysterious Dark and Brooding as a disembodied voice to lean on, only to fall down a rabbit hole of punk rockstars, tabloid headlines, and kisses that taste like bubble tea. But the man behind the voice could be surprising in all the right, and wrong, ways.

And she just might find that her real life begins when Niteowl goes off the air.

LINKS: Goodreads | Kindle: Amazon | Nook: B&N 


MY RANTS AND RAVES OF WE OWN THE NIGHT

WOW! WOW! WOW! We Own the Night is the perfect summery read. It is definitely an attention-grabbing and fast-paced novel (I read it in less than 5 hours, maybe 4), with heart-pounding moments, and a main character worth rooting for. From the first page, we are introduced to a young radio deejay named NiteOwl, who is going through the many motions of crushes, teenage life dilemmas, and graduating high school. NiteOwl turns out to be the main character, Ingrid North, a small town Nebraska native who adores music, is on the mends with her three best friends, and at the same time she has to care for her grandmother who has Alzheimer’s. 

I really loved Ingrid as a character. Even though she is cautious, she can also be fearless, and definitely sarcastic and snarky. She has spent months not hanging out or communicating with her friends, because she has been taking care of her grandmother, and to top off her senior year, she has a major crush on her childhood friend, best friend in fact, Micah. But it turns out Micah is in love with someone else, and that’s when hearts start crumbling in this story.

But Ingrid does not let her heartache outweigh her strength to make it through summer. Ingrid hosts her own Saturday midnight radio show, and this outlet allows her to be her true self, which is a smart, spunky, sassy, and determined young woman. I, in turn, loved how gritty and brave Ingrid truly is, especially when she is communicating with one of her notable callers, who she has dubbed “Dark and Brooding.” Ahhh…their banter is sexy, wildly angsty, and romantic all at the same time. *swoons* These two characters bounce off each other so well, that you will be praying for a chance for them to meet in real life.

Ingrid not only exchanges “laugh out loud” banter with strangers on the radio, but she also exchanges sarcastic comments and hilarious repartee with her best friends and her own grandmother. This banter is often used as a comedic relief in all the craziness and sadness that Ingrid and her friends have to face. Additionally, I loved that throughout the book we not only get fun banter, but there is the awesome littering of The Princess Bride and The Office references, just to name a few popular culture allusions. 

This whole story is a mesh of fighting bullies, experiencing both heartbreak and/or heart-pounding confessions of love, and truly understanding the good and the bad moments that life throws at people.  We Own the Night is an all-around, feel good story sprinkled with love and infinite snapshots of a female protagonist enduring change. Friendships are tested. Punches are thrown. Relationships blossom. Gumballs are spilled. Dreams are dared. Life lessons are learned. And in the end, we get a truly remarkable book about maturing, falling in love, adventuring out of your comfort zone, and accepting the contingent events of life.  

4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

NOTE: Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Spark/ Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books for providing me an e-galley/e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Book Review: Compulsion by Martina Boone

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Title: Compulsion
By: Martina Boone
Release Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy, Gothic, Souther Gothic, Paranormal
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

About Compulsion:

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead—a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N |  The Book Depository


My Rants and Raves of Compulsion

Compulsion by Martina Boone is a book that I never thought I would read. I just didn’t feel like the premise appealed to me. But during a recent book club meeting, it was voted as our reading book of the month. I didn’t go into this book with high expectations, but let me tell you, I came out loving Compulsion and I look forward to the rest of the series.

Barrie, the main character, is not the most approachable person, but I felt like she held a strong demeanor and went at life with a raw and straight-forward manner. Even though she is going through a lot of emotional baggage throughout the chapters, she stays sincere to herself and approaches the world with caution. Barrie can be a very go-with-the-flow young woman , but I liked that she also questions everything, and I mean everything. She’s not my favorite literary heroine, but I liked how realistic she is and stays throughout the story.

Additionally, I loved that Compulsion is a genuine Southern Gothic story. I love Charleston, South Carolina, and the historical atmosphere that comes with it. When I noticed that Compulsion’s setting was set outside of Charleston, I became more involved with the story. Plus as the story progresses, we get a tremendous and fascinating meshing of Native American folklore and local stories, mystical and innate powers, ghosts, murder, and riveting family drama and secrets that date back generations. If all those ideas engrossed in one book does not give you an adrenaline rush and goosebumps, I don’t know what will.

Overall, I found Compulsion to be a great debut novel to a fascinating series. Although the story has a few confusing loopholes and is slowly-paced at some points, I still cannot wait to read more into Barrie’s family history and powers, and the historical presence depicted throughout the novel. I’m so glad that my book club forced me to read this book, and I hope the other books in the series are as intriguing as Compulsion.

4 star rating

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Note: I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in exchange for a review.  I bought this book with my own funds and reviewed it at my own discretion. All statements and opinions in this review are mine.

ARC Review: Dreaming of Antigone

Title: Dreaming of Antigone
By:  Robin Bridges
Release Date: March 29, 2016
Pages: 304 (Paperback)
Publisher: Kensington 
Format: e-galley/eARC
Source: Netgalley

GOODREADS’S SUMMARY

25852906Every star has its own path…

“I can’t ever be the blazing star that Iris was. I’m still just a cold, dark satellite orbiting a star that went super nova.”

Andria’s twin sister, Iris, had adoring friends, a cool boyfriend, a wicked car, and a shelf full of soccer trophies. She had everything, in fact—including a drug problem. Six months after Iris’s death, Andria is trying to keep her grades, her friends, and her family from falling apart. But stargazing and books aren’t enough to ward off her guilt that she—the freak with the scary illness and all-black wardrobe—is still here when Iris isn’t. And then there’s Alex Hammond. The boy Andria blames for Iris’s death. The boy she’s unwittingly started swapping lines of poetry and secrets with, even as she tries to keep hating him.

Heartwrenching, smart, and bold, Dreaming of Antigone is a story about the jagged pieces that lie beneath the surface of the most seemingly perfect life…and how they can fit together to make something wholly unexpected.


 

MY REVIEW

Dreaming of Antigone by Robin Bridges is a cluster of chaos that unfolds into a mending story of restoration. This story is dark and consuming. As a high school student, the main character, Andria, is not only dealing with failing grades and the fear of epileptic seizures, but she is still grieving for her twin sister, Iris, who died of an overdose six months ago.

I loved the aspect that this story is told in first-person narrative. Andria’s voice is raw, grief-stricken, and utterly straightforward and honest. She doesn’t hold the reader back from her internal thoughts or emotions when it comes to describing her connection with poets, a passion for astronomy, and a grudge against her late sister’s drug addict boyfriend, Alex. As Andria mourns, she also begins to contemplate and understand the sadness, the secrets, and the guilt that the people around her are also battling.

The development that Andria experiences throughout the novel is brilliantly written. Andria’s candid confessions of nightmares, fears, and emotional baggage come from the idea that she honestly believes, “My sister still blames me for her death” (chapter 1). But as she mourns, Andria also willingly adjusts to the unfortunate cards she’s been dealt.

Bridges makes a poignant move by writing a main character that doesn’t lose herself in her grief, but instead portrays Andria as someone that is compliant to accept change. Andria begins to hang out with her and her sister’s old friends again, earn extra credit with her “enemy,” and more importantly, she discovers her sister’s painful secret. Andria’s evolution and progress throughout the novel is not only heartbreaking, but it is wonderfully crafted. Bridges definitely has created a modern day tragedy, but in Andria’s story, the final message is as beautiful as a supernova.

I found Iris’s secret predictable, but only because her secret is a maddening reality that plagues our society daily. If you are a fan of Perk of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and Love Letter to the Dead by Ava Dellaira, definitely look into reading Dreaming of Antigone.  Dreaming of Antigone reflects the sadness, misfortunes, pain, and, more importantly, the healing message found in these two books where characters painfully suffer in silence. Additionally, similar to these two amazing novels, Dreaming of Antigone executes a message that sometimes nightmares become reality, but that reality doesn’t always have to be suffered alone.

RANTS and RAVES

RANTS: This story is dark, but Andria’s voice summons the reader to partake in her grief, hate, and understanding. Although the story is  first person narrative (strictly in Andria’s point of view), I would have loved to have heard from Alex Hammond’s, Iris’s boyfriend, point of view. He is dangerous, moody, brooding, but strong-willed. Alex and Andria’s story is quite predictable, but overall, I wish Alex’s perspective was brought to the surface more. His pain is often found in his dialogue and poems, but I would have loved to hear his side of the story.

RAVES: While reading this book, I felt like I was falling in love with a story similar to Love Letter to the Dead all over again. Dreaming of Antigone is a riveting page-turner. Andria’s voice is so direct and captivating. It is hard not to emotionally connect with her sorrow, internal thoughts, and her passion to seek and understand the truth involving her sister’s death. I am a sucker for any story that has characters obsessed with space, stars, and constellations, so I immediately connected to Andria every time she stargazed. Additionally, the novel definitely had some noteworthy quotes. 

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Natalie leaves the remaining cupcakes. ‘Take one a day as needed. With Diet Coke. Repeat in six hours if no results.’ I roll my eyes. ‘What results?’ ‘Mom says cupcakes are the cure for unhappiness.’” (Chapter 29)

“This is Greek tragedy. And I’m as broken as he is.” (Antigone, Chapter 27)

“His kisses are gentle, like a prayer, seeking and forgiving.” (Chapter 30)

“Think about other things, Andria. Like baby pandas. Or cupcakes.” (Chapter 25)

4 star rating

4 out of 5 Stars

NOTE:         I received this e-galley/e-ARC from the publisher on Netgalley for an honest review. All statements and opinions are mine.

 

Dreaming of Antigone is out on March 29, 2016. 

Amazon        Barnes and Noble         Book Depository 

Top Ten Tuesday: 02/23/2016

TOP TEN TUESDAY

HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish


This week’s topic is…Top Ten Books We Enjoyed Recently that Weren’t Our Typical Genre or that Were Out of Our Comfort Zone:

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I’ve stated many times in the past that my go-to genres are fantasy, magical realism, and science fiction. I usually have a hard time getting into contemporary books, but 2015 will forever be known as the year of breaking out of my typical genres and reading all the Contemporary books I could get my hands on! 

  1. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga 
  2. Mosquitoland by David Arnold 
  3. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
  4. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
  5. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
  6. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
  7. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
  8. The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi
  9. Breakfast Served Anytime by Sarah Combs
  10. Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry 

A lot of these books listed above will definitely be “feel-good” rereads for me in the future.

Have you ever got caught up in a genre and couldn’t stop reading it? What books have you read that took you out of your comfort zone/typical genre? 

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Day 3 #BBAW

 

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Book Blogger Appreciation Week (#BBAW) is hosted by Estella Society

Day OneIntroduce yourself (16)

 

Day 3’s Prompt:

Have you ever read a book because of a book blogger? Be it a good book or bad, bloggers recommend books every day of the year. Sometimes we take their advice and it’s great! Hello every graphic novel I’ve ever read! Sometimes, it’s not so great. Damn you Like Water for Chocolate (ducks). Today, tell us all about the book or books you’ve read because of a book blogger and be sure to sure to spread the blame around.~Estella Society

I’m not a huge young adult contemporary reader. However, every now and then I get on a contemporary kick, (side note: I blame the romantic kissage), and I read like ten contemporary or New Adult books in a row. As a hardcore fantasy and sci-fi book lover with this odd obsession with contemporary novels, I usually turn to my friends and fellow book bloggers for their recommendations. Now it’s time for the blame game…

 

I BLAME KAYLA

As I admitted before, contemporary is a hard genre for me to enjoy, but once I get started, I can’t stop reading them. A few years back, my friend Kayla, my brother Johnny, and I went to Decatur, Georgia for their annual book festival. One of the guest authors attending the festival was Stephanie Perkins. So of course based on Kayla’s recommendation and her being the book pusher that she is, I bought all of Stephanie’s books. After meeting Stephanie and acknowledging how sweet and adorable she is, I read Anna and the French Kiss. Then I fell into the Anna and the French Kiss series’ rabbit hole.

Before reading the series, I specifically remember Kayla stating (I’m paraphrasing here), “In Lola and the Boy Next Door, Cricket is sweet and adorable, but Lola is a spoiled brat and does not deserve him.” So obviously, I am going to blame Kayla for my must-read-marathon obsession I had with Stephanie Perkins’s books, but also, as I was reading Lola’s story, I kept thinking, “nope, nope, nope…Cricket you deserve so much better than Lola.” I also did not read Lola’s story until last, because I was so afraid I was going to despise her. HAHAHA!!! Thanks for putting that disapproval towards Lola in my head, Kayla.  

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Top Ten Tuesday: Valentine’s Day Edition

TOP TEN TUESDAY

HOSTED by The Broke and the Bookish


This week’s topic is…Top Ten Books That Would Make Great Valentine’s Day Reads. 

I read a lot of fantasy, British Gothic, and magical realism books, so putting this list together was really hard for me. However, 2015 will always go down as the year that I compulsively read cute and adorable contemporary love stories. So thanks to my 2015 contemporary obsession, I present to you the Top Ten Books that I think would make Great Valentine’s Day reads. 

Love Fortunes and Other Disasters (Grimbaud, #1) by Kimberly Karalius Love Fortunes and Other Disasters (Grimbaud, #1)

 This book has magical realism, a quirky heroine, and a cute love story that takes place in a town infatuated with love fortunes. It’s definitely a story with the right amount of swoon, in all the right places. 

 Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson  Since You've Been Gone

This has been a re-read for me (several times). I always skip the “flashbacks” of Sloane, but overall the relationship that forms between Emily and Frank is so freakin’ adorable.

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord The Start of Me and You

Emery Lord creates the most cutest and nerdiest love story/friendship in this novel. Additionally, Lord fantastically molds a very noteworthy story with kickass “girl power” and female friendships.

 The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West  The Fill-In Boyfriend

A very, modern-day love story that portrays communication, friendship, and the willingness to change and evolve as the perfect combination to a good relationship.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Fangirl

I love the development of Cath, the main character. She goes from a reclusive introvert to an introvert that is open to letting difficult changes occur in her life. Her love-interest, Levi, is goofy, nerdy, super sweet, and well worth Cath’s attention. 

 As You Like It by William ShakespeareAs You Like It

One of my favorite Shakespeare plays; it’s comical, dynamic, and portrays a well-structured play of transformation. The humorous and witty dialogue, jokes, and banter among the characters are profound and memorable. I love Shakespeare’s radical take on romance, society, and gender roles in this play.

Past Perfect by Leila Sales  Past Perfect

The setting of this novel mainly takes place at a historical reenactment village, which makes the story naturally geeky, hilarious, endearing, and sweet. 

 Going Vintage by Lindsey Leavitt Going Vintage

Lindsey Leavitt creates a beautiful story about family, friendships, heartache, and a determined, female protagonist who initiates a positive change in her own life.  

The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi The Night We Said Yes

Lauren Gibaldi sets up a charming story about two people, Ella and Matt, who are both cautious but fun-loving. It’s a story of second chances and a night of fun. 

 The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes The Art of Lainey

A very quick and fun read with lots of humor and banter to carry you through the slow parts.

Happy Reading! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

TOP 5 THURSDAY: Book Events

It’s Top 5 Thursday, where as the week is winding down, I tell you the Top 5 Things I’m looking forward to in regards to the bookish world. 

In the next few weeks, I am attending ALL the YA book events my local bookstore has scheduled. I love Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, and HOLY MOLY they are kicking up their game this year. HERE JOBE, TAKE ALL MY MONEY!!!the office -yes

I can’t keep up with all of this awesomeness. So this is why everyone in the bookish community has a planner, right? MY BOOKSTORE IS THE GREATEST!!
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 Top 5 Upcoming Book Events at Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati

  1. Emily Henry’s The Love that Split the World on January 28, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
  2. Ally Carter’s See How They Run on January 29, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.
  3. Kiera Cass’s The Siren on February 1, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
  4. Melissa Lander’s Starflight on February 6, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.
  5. Marissa Meyer’s Stars Above on February 7, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. (this is a ticketed event)

And as a rewards member of Joseph Beth, I have already bought my VIP tickets to Marissa Meyers’ event, and I’m ready to join all the Lunartics!!!

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For more information on the Joseph Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati and their events, please click HERE.

Will you be attending any of these events? What local book event are you looking forward to?