I'm just a girl on a mission - a mission to read many books, run (walk) many miles and ramble about it all!

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Read, Run, Ramble's bookshelf

Fangirl
Red Hill
Broken Wings
Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run
The F- It List
Angel Eyes
The Fault in Our Stars
After Her
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
The Boy Who Could See Demons: A Novel
Speak
Hopeless
Forever, Interrupted
The Never List
Doll Bones
The Rockin' Chair
When Mockingbirds Sing
Overcoming ADHD Without Medication: A Guidebook for Parents and Teachers
NOS4A2
The Silver Star


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Title: Rumble
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover (checked out from Johnson County Library) 

Synopsis 

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

My review (published at Read, Run, Ramble): 

Ellen Hopkins’s books are books I always have to pick up and read. I look forward to them and I impatiently await the next after finishing. I’ve been looking forward to Rumble for a very long time. Not only because it is a Hopkins book, but also because I knew the topic was Atheism and I knew Hopkins would handle it with a true and well-rounded voice. I wasn’t wrong. 

Rumble tells the story of Matt Turner whose brother was bullied until he felt the only solution was suicide. The story details Matt’s fight to understand and come to terms with not only the guilt, but also the blame he feels because of the situation. And he’s trying to do so in relation to his faith, or in this case, lack thereof. 

Surprisingly, as a determined atheist, he is dating a strong-minded Christian girl. The two’s beliefs are completely at odds which creates tension in the relationship more than once. I was frustrated for and with Matt on several of those occasions (and I’m leaving my beliefs completely out of this review, I just felt like being with someone who believes so differently would have been unbelievably frustrating and I could feel it in Hopkins’s writing). 

As always Hopkins writes in beautiful and touching prose, pulling readers along on the journey. Feelings are definitely felt – good and bad. I enjoyed living in Matt’s world and head for a short while; he is one of my favorite Hopkins characters to date (and she creates some kick ass characters in my opinion so he’s not filling small shoes). Whether readers agree or disagree with Matt’s beliefs, they will be able to connect with him and enjoy his dialogue. Hopkins created him as an intelligent and well-spoken young man so while he might have some anger issues, along with some outbursts, he states his views strongly, competently, and admiringly. 

This is one I’ll definitely recommend over and over. Hopkins is an amazing writer who brings to life characters and situations worth reading. Characters and situations that help us see the world around us with clearer eyes and perceptions. She writes books that mean something and that is pretty important in our world today!

The Fall in Love Tour! Loved this event. These ladies are magnificent and we had a super awesome time!

EEEEKKKKK!!! She called my review smart and lovely!!! I could do cartwheels right now!

EEEEKKKKK!!! She called my review smart and lovely!!! I could do cartwheels right now!

Title: Nest
Author: Esther Ehrlich
Genre: Children’s Fiction – Middle Grade
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books/Wendy Lamb Books
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Format: egalley via Netgalley 

Synopsis 

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

My review:

Thank you Wendy Lamb Books via Netgalley for providing me with an early copy of this book!

Nest, the debut novel by Esther Ehrlich, is a moving, sweet, and pivotal book. Written for middle-grade children, Nest, explores family dynamics – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Ehrlich writes her two main characters, Chirp and Joey, with brilliant authenticity. Chirp is a bird-loving 11-year-old and Joey is her rough and tough classmate who also happens to live right across the street from her. The two are headed toward a journey that neither expects, but one that will bring out their fears in full, living color. 

Chirp loves birds; they are her hobby. But above interest in and knowledge of birds, birds are her coping mechanism. She finds solace in identifying with the different species she’s come to know about. She finds strength in sharing her knowledge with others. She finds comfort in some of her own nests. 

Joey copes differently. Joey presents as the no-good, tough guy (much like his brothers), but he’s seen throughout the novel always caring for Chirp in his own way. His battles manifest themselves in an overreaching obsession with germs and the harm they can do. Joey struggles as much as he supports in this novel and he and Chirp become, without really thinking about it, each other’s shelter. 

Ehrlich writes beautifully, both for adults and children, in a perfect balance between simplicity and richness. Readers of all ages and interests will find it an easy, thoughtful, and interesting read. For the middle-grade readers, it is a great show that we all have our battles, both large and small. Those battles can bring us together or tear us apart, and that is mostly thanks to how we choose to look at a situation or a person. Ehrlich shows her middle-grade readers that things aren’t always what they seem on the outside. To adult readers, Ehrlich illustrates the intensity with which children process things early in life, whether the events are good or bad. Through Chirp and Joey, readers will see that memories or perceptions and reality can be quite different through their eyes. 

Friendship and family are explored in depth – how much they mean, how much they can change a person, how much they can hurt, and how much they can heal. 

There is a happy balance of life sucks and we can get through this within the book. Ehrlich never insinuates that tragedy is easily overcome, for adults or children, but also shows the redeeming power of love, friendship, and selfless support. 

I’m going to get a copy of this book for my 11-year-old daughter and I hope (and suspect) that she’ll love it as much as I did. I also plan to buy a copy for her teacher/classroom (last year’s choice was The One and Only Ivan and I feel as strongly about this book as I did about that one). It was that good and meaningful to me! 

I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.

Title: The House We Grew Up In
Author: Lisa Jewell
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 12, 2014
Format: egalley via Netgalley 

Synopsis 

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

My review :

Thank you Atria Books via Netgalley for providing me with an early copy of this book!

In The House We Grew Up In, Jewell tells the story of the Bird family. A story that includes secrets, heartbreak, family dysfunction, and all else that gets tangled up in those subjects. She writes these things with a touching, gentle style. Her words flowed off the page and into my psyche – mesmerizing. 

Lorelei Bird is the eccentric matriarch of the bird family and your heart will ache for her at the same time that it smiles with her. She has an unequivocal love for Easter and being a mother, but on one fateful Easter, something bad happens and the family is forever changed. 

Colin, Lorelei’s husband, just seems to be along for the ride in the beginning of the book, but readers will learn so much about him as the story moves forward. Additionally, there are many things to learn about their children, Meg, Beth, Rhys, and Rory. 

Throughout the story Jewell sifts through the scraps of the Bird’s life. Lifting pieces and revealing secrets in a well-timed and well-written way. Up until the end, readers will be looking for the next secret, the next answer – this family has so many skeletons to bury. However, the drama and the dysfunction never seems over-the-top. Jewell has balanced the family’s issues with healing, growth, and revival in a way that makes this a spectacular and moving read and not just a drama-fest. 

As the novel unravels, readers will be transported into Cotsworld village. They’ll take up residence with the birds for a while – get to know them, understand them, hurt with them, and ultimately love all of them not despite their flaws, but due to them. 

It was a privilege to read and review this one – I loved it.

I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.

courtneyisawesomeateverything:

If you’ve never read Good in Bed, or anything by Jennifer Weiner for that matter, then do yourself a favor and start.

Love this book and this author so MUCH! Good in Bed will always be my fave of hers - no matter what she writes.

(via duckduckbooks)

Starting!

Starting!

Bad Feminist: Essays

Title: Bad Feminist
Author: Roxanne Gay
Genre: Non-Fiction, Essays
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Format: egalley via Edelweiss 

Synopsis 

My rating: 5 of 5 stars 

My review:

Thank you Harper Perennial via Edelweiss for providing me with an early copy of this book!

I was beyond excited when I found this book for offer on Edelweiss’s site and even more so when I got approved! As I suspected, I wasn’t disappointed. 

Gay shares so much information and opinion, but she never points the finger and dictates what we all should be feeling, thinking, doing, etc.  She shares examples, consequences, actual events and shows readers the world we’re living in. Whether it is gender, race, class or some other label, we are limited or empowered by those labels. Gay shows several ways in which that happens. 

I love her refreshing honesty, brutal bluntness, and her ability to put words to all the craziness in this world using humor, class, and intelligence. From Tyler Perry movies, to gangsta rap, to Sweet Valley High, she shows us the flaws while reminding us that liking these things doesn’t automatically negate who we are or what we believe in. 

I have personally had internal struggles and battles with myself over being the right kind of feminist. Are we supposed to hate pink? Hate men? How about sex – should that be off the plate? And that’s the thing – those are assumptions and stereotypes. We’re really just a group of people who believe in equality and that is what Gay illustrates in several of her essays. 

When I heard of this book and subsequently requested the ARC, I thought the book was 100% essays about feminism and that is what interested me about it – the fact that someone out there; someone who is someone is writing about how we all enjoy things or do and say things that seemingly make us hypocrites or “bad feminists”, but we can’t be perfect and we do occasionally have to lighten up so to speak. But she also covers race, class, and other distinguishing labels that trouble our society today. She really opened my mind on a few things – readers will get a lot to think about. 

From books, to movies, to music she covers it all. I still stand by my original love of The Help, but I do see it through a different lens now. I will still watch Madea and crack up, but I’ll do so through a different lens. I think that’s what Gay offers by giving us perspective without getting angry or full of blame. She gives us a new way of looking at the world and at ourselves. It is the new lens that will help us move past all the labels we use to pigeon-hole people – to judge them and put them “in their place”. I think now, just as much as any time in the past, it is very important that we do that. 

This is a book I’ll buy for my shelf, give as a gift, and recommend over and over again. Readers owe it to themselves to pick this one up.

I was provided with an ARC of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I am not compensated for any of my reviews.

Me and my oldest kiddo at the Head for the Cure race this morning! Love this giant to the moon and back!