Review: In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Title: In the Neighborhood of True
Author: Susan Kaplan Carlton
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Ficton
Source: Received an copy from NetGalley/the pubsliher/Fantastic Flying Book Club in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 5 stars

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

Review:

From the moment I began this story, I was instantly hooked. It started with Ruth in a courtroom about to testify about the hate crime that occured during the novel. What was the hate crime? What was she specifically there to testify for? What was she going to say? So many questions popped into my mind in the first few pages, and I knew I needed to have all of them answered.

Ruth, her mother, and her sister have moved from New York to Atlanta to live with her grandparents after her father’s sudden and unfortunate death. Fontaine and Mr. Hank (the grandparents) are Christian, but Ruth and her family are Jewish. In Atlanta in 1958, being Jewish was not something that was very accepted. Ruth hides this part about her as she goes to a Christian school and is influenced by Fontaine to get involved in debutante life.

The glitz and the glamour capture Ruth, along with Davis, the boy with the lovely smile and cute dimple. In her infatuation, Ruth continues to hide the real her. Until a violent hate crime occurs, and Ruth must ultimately decide the person she wants to be.

This book was incredible. Incredible. I was sucked in from the very beginning and just couldn’t put it down. The writing really brought the setting of the 1950s to life. I could picture the fashion, the speech, and the manerisms so clearly in my mind. It was almost like watching a movie.

But what was most important about this book was how Susan Kaplan Carlton chose to tackle such a prevalent issue. Sure, this was book set in 1958 and schools and busses and movie theatres are no longer segregated and you won’t be turned away from a debutante ball if you’re Jewish, but you can’t sit there and tell me that people do not experience awful prejudices in 2019. It may not be as clean cut as 1958, but it sure as hell exists.

And just as it was important in 1958 for Ruth to decide whether or not to do the right thing, it is also important for us to absolutely decide to do the right thing in 2019.

Susan Kaplan Carlton has graced us with a lovely novel and I think you should all pick it up when you have a chance. Every single thing about it was great. When someone can present such a vital topic with a beautiful story and elegant writing, it’s not something you want to miss out on.

Check out the tour schedule here!

Enter the giveaway here!

  • Prize: Win (1) of (2) copies of IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF TRUE by Susan Kaplan Carlton (US Only)
  • Ends April 16, 2019

About Susan Kaplan Carlton:

Susan Kaplan Carlton, a longtime magazine writer, currently teaches writing at Boston University. She lived for a time with her family in Atlanta, where her daughters learned the fine points of etiquette from a little pink book and learned the power of social justice from their synagogue. Carlton’s writing has appeared in Self, Elle, Mademoiselle, Seventeen, Parents, and elsewhere. She is the author of the young adult novels Love & Haight, which was named a Best Book for Young Adults by YALSA and a Best Book by the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street Books, and Lobsterland.

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Review: This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Today I am so excited to present to you my review of This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher. A million thanks to Fantastic Flying Book Club for letting be a part of this book tour. You can check out the schedule here.

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Title: This Lie Will Kill You
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: December 11, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Source: Received an advanced copy from the publisher and Fantastic Flying Book Club for the purpose of this book tour

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Rating: 5 stars

Tell the truth. Or face the consequences.

Clue meets Riverdale in this page-turning thriller that exposes the lies five teens tell about a deadly night one year ago.

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?

Review:

One year ago, at a party in December, a series of events happened that led to the death of a teenager. Five teens had played a part in that death, but no one really knew what happened. Fast forward one year, and each of these students receive an exclusive invitation to compete for a $50,000 scholarship. After the events of last year’s party, they could each use that money for college so they all attend.

Once there, they realize they may have been a little hasty in accepting that invitation. Someone is hellbent on revenge and determined to find out the truth of what happened that night, and they will do whatever is necessary to know the entire story from start to finish.

Each of the characters were so strongly developed. I adored each persons’ chapters and being able to get into their brain to see exactly how they were feeling about the events that transpired at last year’s party, as well as the events at the revenge party. Ruby’s chapters were by far my favourite though. She was such a complex and interesting character with an insane life. No joke, I have no idea how that girl is still standing.

The writing was easily my favourite part of the book. Like I just mentioned, the characters were written beautifully. Not only that, the descriptions threw you into both the past and the present so clearly. I could picture everything as it was happening, and my god, if I never even have to think of a porcelain doll ever again, it’ll be too soon.

I was constantly on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen. While it was pretty obvious from the prologue who organized the revenge party, I was engaged all the way through wanting to know every single detail of both the past and present.

Overall, I would highly suggest picking up this book. While, yes, it is obvious who the party is organized by, I think the book is so thrilling and mysterious that it’s easy to look past that and have a wonderful reading experience.

Enter Chelsea Pitcher’s giveaway here:

  • 1 of 10 copies of This Lie Will Kill you, US only
  • Ends December 19, 2018

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About Chelsea Pitcher:

Chelsea Pitcher is a karaoke-singing, ocean-worshipping Oregonian with a penchant for twisty mysteries. She is the author of THE S-WORD, THE LAST CHANGELING & THE LAST FAERIE QUEEN.

Watch for her new YA thriller, THIS LIE WILL KILL YOU, coming December 11, 2018 from S&S/McElderry!

Review: Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Today I am so excited to present to you my review of Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton. A million thanks to Fantastic Flying Book Club for letting be a part of this book tour. You can check out the schedule here.

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Title: Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful
Author: Arwen Elys Dayton
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: December 4, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: Received an advanced copy from the publisher and Fantastic Flying Book Club for the purpose of this book tour

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Rating: 5 stars

For fans of television shows Black Mirror and Westworld, this compelling, mind-bending novel is a twisted look into the future, exploring how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimen and what it means to be human at all.

Set in our world, spanning the near to distant futures, Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a novel made up of six interconnected stories that ask how far we will go to remake ourselves into the perfect human specimens, and how hard that will push the definition of “human.”

This extraordinary work explores the amazing possibilities of genetic manipulation and life extension, as well as the ethical quandaries that will arise with these advances. The results range from the heavenly to the monstrous. Deeply thoughtful, poignant, horrifying, and action-packed, Arwen Elys Dayton’s Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is groundbreaking in both form and substance.

Review:

Wow. That’s all my brain can seem to conjure up after this reading this book. Just wow.

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful is a collection of six intertwined stories that are set beginning in the near future all the way to years and years from now. They explore the possibility of what our future and those extending past our life spans could very possibly look like.

One of the best parts of this anthology, despite the fact that the stories were intertwined, was that it never once felt repetitive or boring. Every story was so different from the last and made you think about the future in different ways. Because each story differentiated from one another in the way that they did, I find it incredibly impressive the way Arwen Elys Dayton was able to intertwine them in what seemed to be such an effortless way.

Each of the characters were so different from the last despite the fact that they all revolved around the same prominent theme. They all had their own voice within the stories that made each one memorable and affected your opinions of them in different ways.

This book was incredible. I literally cannot stress that enough. It really makes you contemplate the future and where we are headed as a species and I honest to god think everyone should read this book. It’s one of those ones that’s going to stick with you long after it’s over.

Enter Arwen Elys Dayton’s giveaway here:

  • 1 copy of Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful, US only
  • Ends December 11, 2018

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About Arwen Elys Dayton:

Arwen Elys Dayton is the author of the Seeker series—Seeker, Traveler, and Disruptor and the e-novella The Young Dread—and the science-fiction thriller Resurrection. Arwen lives with her husband and their three children on the West Coast of the United States.

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White as Silence, Red as Song by Alessandro D’Avenia – Spotlight + Giveaway

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Click here to view the tour schedule.

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Title: White as Silence, Red as Song
Author: Alessandro D’Avenia
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: September 4, 2018 (originally January 26, 2010 in Italian)
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

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Chapters | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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Sixteen-year-old Leo has a way with words, but he doesn’t know it yet. He spends his time texting, polishing soccer maneuvers, and killing time with Niko and Silvia. Until a new teacher arrives and challenges him to give voice to his dreams.

And so Leo is inspired to win over the red-haired beauty Beatrice. She doesn’t know Leo exists, but he’s convinced that his dream will come true. When Leo lands in the hospital and learns that Beatrice has been admitted too, his mission to be there for her will send him on a thrilling but heartbreaking journey. He wants to help her but doesn’t know how—and his dream of love will force him to grow up fast.

Having already sold over a million copies, Alessandro D’Avenia’s debut novel is considered Italy’s The Fault in Our Stars. Now available in English for the first time, this rich, funny, and heartwarming coming-of-age tale asks us to explore the meaning—and the cost—of friendship, and shows us what happens when suffering bursts into the world of teenagers and renders the world of adults speechless.

Alessandro D'Avenia

About the Alessandro D’Avenia:

Alessandro D’Avenia holds a PhD in Classical Literature, and teaches Ancient Greek, Latin and Literature at a high school in Milan. White as Silence, Red as Song was his first novel, published in Italy in 2010. It sold a million copies in Italy, has been translated into over twenty languages and was released as a film in 2012. Alessandro has since published four more books, the latest of which, Every Story is a Love Story, was published in October 2017.

 

Enter the giveaway here:

  • 1 copy of White as Silence, Red as Song
  • US Only
  • Ends September 21, 2018

Review: A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Today I am so excited to present to you my review of A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma. A million thanks to Fantastic Flying Book Club for letting be a part of this book tour. You can check out the schedule here.

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Title: A Room Away from the Wolves
Author: Nova Ren Suma
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism, Mystery
Source: Received an advanced copy from the publisher and Fantastic Flying Book Club for the purpose of this book tour

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Chapters | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | iBooks

Rating: 4 stars

Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable.

Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again, the city of her dreams calling for her. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. There, Bina is drawn to her enigmatic downstairs neighbor Monet, a girl who is equal parts intriguing and dangerous. As Bina’s lease begins to run out, and nightmare and memory get tangled, she will be forced to face the terrible truth of why she’s come to Catherine House and what it will take for her to leave…

Review:

“Somtimes a person can’t tell you what you already know,” she said. “Somestimes you have to see it for yourself. Then you’ll believe.”

Bina has had a pretty complicated upbrining. Leaving her crap father with her mother and hitchhiking only to be thrust into this new step-family where her step-sisters are basically scum of the earth. So many things happened, including getting a massive black eye the night before she left to go to Catherine House. She was a fun character to read about. I enjoyed her personality and reading through her adventures while living in Catherine House.

All of the other characters added to the mystery of the novel. Their half-answers and weird stares only made things even more haunting. Monet was an interesting character. I was definitely as captivated by her and what she was up to as Bina was.

Nova Ren Suma is an incredible writer. Everything about this book was so dark and atmospheric and I loved it. I could imagine all the haunting this being presented to me as a reader and I enjoyed it.

My smallest issue was the plot. I felt like for a lot of the book I was questioning where it was supposed to be going and what I was supposed to be expecting. The one good thing is that it wasn’t predictable. I had a strong sense of what the ending was going to be concercing what was going on with Bina, and I was glad to be wrong. Everything did tie together at the end, but I still had a lot of questions. To be fair, this is my first time diving into magical realism, so maybe it’s because it’s a new genre to me that I’m not used to how things are supposed to go.

The pacing of the novel was great. It took place over the course of a month and all of the events flowed together so well. Nothing was rushed and nothing was slow. The pacing definitely added to the dark atmosphere of the novel in the most positive way.

A Room Away from the Wolves is the perfect dark book to settle in with on a cold autumn evening. Get a warm blanket, light a couple candles, make a latte, and immerse yourself in this wonderfully haunting novel.

Enter Nova Ren Suma’s giveaway here:

  • 1 copy of A Room Away from the Wolves, US only
  • Ends September 5, 2018

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About Nova Ren Suma:

Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels THE WALLS AROUND US as well as the YA novels IMAGINARY GIRLS and 17 & GONE, which were both named 2014 Outstanding Books for the College Bound by YALSA. Her middle-grade novel, DANI NOIR, was reissued for a YA audience under the title FADE OUT. She has a BA in writing & photography from Antioch College and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and has been awarded fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Millay Colony, and an NEA fellowship for a residency at the Hambidge Center. She worked for years behind the scenes in publishing, at places such as HarperCollins, Penguin, Marvel Comics, and RAW Books, and now she teaches writing workshops. She is from various small towns across the Hudson Valley and lives and writes in New York City.

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