Break Time for TBR and Beyond Blog! We Will Return!

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Hey Everyone!

This is post is a little different from us.  We both love doing this blog so much – it’s a ton of fun and we love engaging with the community on here, but lately we’ve been burning out a little more than usual.  Mireille has had a really heavy work schedule, plus had a major flood at her house and my physical and mental health has been up and down over the past six months.  We’ve maintained everything because there are two of us, so one of us usually could keep going when the other was burnt out.
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Review: Wilder Girls by Rory Power

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My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Horror
Pages: 353
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Published: July 9th, 2019

 

 

 

 

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything. Continue reading “Review: Wilder Girls by Rory Power”

Spooky Book Recommendations for Scaredy Cats

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Do you want to participate with everyone in reading spookier reads during the October month, but are a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to horror? Don’t worry I got you! There are still tons of books for you out there! Lots of my friends fit into this category and have to get a little more creative during the Halloween month, so they can play along with the reading challenges as well. I’ve broken this list down into genres – there is really something for everyone and the best part – none of it is too scary!

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Review: Slasher Girls and Monster Boys – Various Authors

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My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Horror Anthology
Pages: 400
Pacing: Various
Publisher:Dial Books
Published: August 18th 2015

 

Trigger Warnings: Graphic violence, sexual assault, cutting, bullying, addiction, pedophilia.

 

A host of the smartest young adult authors come together in this collection of scary stories and psychological thrillers curated by Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’s April Genevieve Tucholke.

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Drama Llama Patrol: They’re Special Edition Boxes. Not Life Saving Medicine

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Hey beautiful people! We are starting up a new feature on the blog called Drama Llama Patrol.  There is always so much drama in the YA book community and we are here to give some commentary on it. We might ruffle a few feathers but this our just opinions – we can agree to disagree.  What is the point in having a blog if you can’t get a little sassy from time to time?

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Blog Tour: Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan, Favorite Quotes & Giveaway!

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We are so happy to be part of the blog tour for Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan that is put on by the lovely The Fantastic Flying Book Club.  To see the full schedule, go HERE Continue reading “Blog Tour: Tiger Queen by Annie Sullivan, Favorite Quotes & Giveaway!”

ARC Review: Slay by Brittney Morris

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 336
Pacing: Average/Normal
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: September 24th 2019

 

 

 

 

By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is an honors student, a math tutor, and one of the only Black kids at Jefferson Academy. But at home, she joins hundreds of thousands of Black gamers who duel worldwide as Nubian personas in the secret multiplayer online role-playing card game, SLAY. No one knows Kiera is the game developer, not her friends, her family, not even her boyfriend, Malcolm, who believes video games are partially responsible for the “downfall of the Black man.” But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, news of the game reaches mainstream media, and SLAY is labeled a racist, exclusionist, violent hub for thugs and criminals. Even worse, an anonymous troll infiltrates the game, threatening to sue Kiera for “anti-white discrimination.”

Driven to save the only world in which she can be herself, Kiera must preserve her secret identity and harness what it means to be unapologetically Black in a world intimidated by Blackness. But can she protect her game without losing herself in the process?

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“As we duel, as we chat, there’s an understanding that “your black is not my black” and “your weird is not my weird” and “your beautiful is not my beautiful,” and that’s okay. It’ brings tears to my eyes if I think about it too long.”

I knew when I saw this that I wanted to get my hands on this, so I actually requested this in two different places – just incase! I mean it was marketed as Warcross meets Black Panther – yes please! Thankfully Simon and Schuster was lovely enough to send me a physical arc because this was such a wonderful book.

I have to start by saying that I’m a little out of my depth with this review, SLAY wasn’t written for me in any shape or form.  This book is unapologetically black and I can’t even begin to imagine what this book has meant and will meant to so many young black teens – it makes my heart happy to think it.  I’m going to review this the best I can, but keep in mind that I am a middle-class, white, Canadian girl and my voice isn’t the main one you should be listening to when it comes to this book.  I encourage you to search out ownvoice reviews on this, it’s so very important. I would recommend checking out: Big Bang Books and Regina’s Review

This story features a seventeen year old girl named Keira,  who is leading a kind of double life.  One part of her life is being the good daughter and sister and going to a mostly white school and trying to excel, so she can get into a good college.  The other part of her life, she is the creator and co-admin (with another young bi-racial girl) of an online MMORPG for thousands of the black community only called SLAY.  Her parents, siblings and boyfriend are completely in the dark about this – she has remained 100% anonymous.  Her fear is in telling them is that they will think it’s a waste of time and not really get what she is doing for the community and how important it is to her and so many others.  Unfortunately, a player of the game is murdered outside the game because someone wanted some of his game items and so begins a giant new circus about violence in video games, as well as questions if the site is racist for being anti-white.

I want to get this out of the way real quick – there is no such thing as white racism.  Racism means oppression, not hurt feelings.  If you are not being oppressed by another race, by their actions then there is no racism.  Therefore, there can be not white racism – just name calling.  Just saying… SLAY is based on games like World of Warcraft, but it for the black community only and all the game play is based off historical, cultural, entertainment and everyday references that mean something in the black community.  No, not just the US community – world wide.  It sounds like such a badass game and I’d do it no justice if I ever tried to explain it but it’s very well thought out and super accessible for the people that are not gamers.  I will say that there is a lot of gaming talk and I am a gamer, but I don’t think many will struggle with it.  I promise, it’s broken really easy and keeps it interesting.  It’s not even my type of game and I was completely invested – the stakes always seemed high and the characters were amazing sounding.   A friend actually asked me if there was a game like this for certain communities.  I sadly answered, “no, because it would be swamped instantly by other communities with nothing but hate fueled comments.”  It’s a shame.  I think safe spaces are very important and as a girl gamer I get the desire for just wanting a place where you don’t have to be called names or harassed.

The one thing I could really relate to in this book is the girl gaming aspect and it being assumed they were men and ending gave me such chills and brought tears to my eyes. This is for the girls – the STEM girls! This book hears you and gets you.  I wanted to stand up and cheer for these girls – just thinking about the ending in this book makes me weepy – it’s so flipping empowering and I think the author for putting it on paper and allowing me to read it.

The only negative thing I can say about this book is that it’s a bit far fetched in terms of the creating the game.  A massive game could not be run by two young girls alone – it takes a ton of people.  It also takes cash, there is a reason that games aren’t free – they aren’t cheap to make, especially on the caliber of SLAY.  Also, there is no way they could just being doing it in their spare time – not realistic.  You’d be a slave to your PC if you were creating something like that and keeping it going.  This didn’t really bother me, but it might frustrate some because of how unrealistic it is and how easy the author makes it seem.

I feel like I was all over the place with this review.  I haven’t given the best overview ever but please don’t be scared of this book because you think it’s a gaming book or that you won’t get it because you aren’t black – you should read it for that exact reason.  It will likely open your eyes to some really important topics.  I know it did for me.  I highly recommend this one, I wish I could do it better justice but please go read it.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster for a physical ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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BLOG TOUR! ARC Review: Don’t Say a Word by Amber Lynn Natusch + Giveaway

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Hey everyone! Hope you enjoy my review of Don’t Say a Word by Amber Lynn Natusch.  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page to win your very own copy of this fantastic book! Details below! Also, pre-order details as well!
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Review: All Eyes on Us by Kat Frick

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My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 384
Pacing: Normal
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published: June 4th, 2019

Trigger Warnings: Conversion Therapy, Religious Fanaticism, Homophobia, Parental Shunning, Alcoholism, Threats of Outting and Violence.

 

Pretty Little Liars meets People Like Us in this taut, tense thriller about two teens who find their paths intertwined when an anonymous texter threatens to spill their secrets and uproot their lives.

The daughter of small town social climbers, Amanda Kelly is deeply invested in her boyfriend, real estate heir Carter Shaw. He’s kind, ambitious, the town golden boy—but he’s far from perfect. Because behind Amanda’s back, Carter is also dating Rosalie.

Rosalie Bell is fighting to remain true to herself and her girlfriend—while concealing her identity from her Christian fundamentalist parents. After years spent in and out of conversion “therapy,” her own safety is her top priority. But maintaining a fake, straight relationship is killing her from the inside.

When an anonymous texter ropes Amanda and Rosalie into a bid to take Carter down, the girls become collateral damage—and unlikely allies in a fight to unmask their stalker before Private uproots their lives. – Snyopsis from Goodreads. 

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PRIVATE NUMBER: You shouldn’t have ignored me. Now look what you made me do…

I went on a splurge at the bookstore in June and kind of was grabbing at stuff, whatever looked good to me.  Screw the Goodreads ratings – I was just buying blind.  This one was on the books that I hadn’t heard of prior but looked like fun, so was my blind buy worth it? Well, Kind of.

All Eye on Us is a different kind of book and I’m not entirely sure that the author even completely knew what she wanted to write.  This books follows two young girls of completely different backgrounds and we switch off and on with their POVS.

The first girl Amanda is your typical rich snob that is trying to make a perfect life with her douchey boyfriend Carter.  This is much more a financial and social relationship than anything else and both their parents have been pushing it on them their entire lives.  Honestly, if you’ve seen Gossip Girl – whenever Amanda’s POV was up, I couldn’t help but see Blair, so take that how you will.   Then we have Rosealie, who comes from far less money and her family is INTENSELY religious.  Rosealie makes most of her decisions based on fear due to her parents disapproval.  Rosealie happens to be a lesbian and when she tried to come out to her parents at a young age, she was sent to conversion camp.  She now has a girlfriend in secret and dates Carter (yep, that Carter) in public for her parents approval.  Amanda and Rosealie’s lives are about to become entangled even more than just dating the same idiot when they start to both get threatening text messages.

This book started out quite slow and honestly had a lot of pacing issues through-out.  I felt like it didn’t know if it wanted to be a tense thriller or a hard-hitting contemporary novel.  I really did find it interesting and horrifying learning about Rosealie’s past with conversion therapy, but it kept coming and going and didn’t always fit the flow.  It almost felt like two different books at times.  I would read both those books but having them trying to flow together at the same time was a little distracting.  I think the slow pace will throw a lot of people on this one – I mean it takes a LONG time to really build up that tension and I don’t really feel it ever hits a boiling point – not really.

The mystery wasn’t bad, I didn’t figure it out.  Near the end you will laugh for sure.  I can’t say anything but it was cleaver I will say that.  I just wish we could’ve stayed on the thriller path at least for half the book solid. I did like the characters – well the main girls.  The writing was pretty good and I would definitely read this author again.  I enjoyed the book, but it just didn’t come through on all things for me.  If you are interested in this one, I’d probably say pick it up at the library and try it first.

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Remember Me Review by Chelsea Bobulski + Quotes + Playlist + Giveaway

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We are so happy to be part of the blog tour for Remember Me by Chelsea Bobulski that is put on by the lovely The Fantastic Flying Book Club.  To see the full schedule, go HERE.  Also be sure to check out the playlist, favorite quotes and US contest after the review!

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