We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler | Book Review and Blog Tour

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Hiya guys! If you’ve noticed I’ve been MIA on here in the last month, it’s because I started a Bookstagram and have been enjoying that a whole lot. If you’re interested in being up to date with my reading, I’d definitely check my feed out! Same name as here. ๐Ÿ™‚

I was lucky enough to be able to join the Fantastic Flying Book Club blog tour for WE WERE BEAUTIFUL by Heather Hepler!

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SYNPOSIS

It’s been a year since fifteen-year-old Mia Hopkins was in the car crash that killed her older sister and left her terribly scarred. The doctors tell her she was lucky to survive. Her therapist says it will take time to heal. The police reports claim there were trace amounts of alcohol in her bloodstream. But no matter how much she tries to reconstruct the events of that fateful night, Mia’s memory is spotty at best. She’s left with accusations, rumors, and guilt so powerful it could consume her.

As the rest of Mia’s family struggles with their own grief, Mia is sent to New York City to spend the summer with a grandmother she’s never met. All Mia wants to do is hide from the world, but instead she’s stuck with a summer job in the bustling kitchens of the cafe down the street. There she meets Fig–blue-haired, friendly, and vivacious–who takes Mia under her wing. As Mia gets to know Fig and her friends–including Cooper, the artistic boy who is always on Mia’s mind–she realizes that she’s not the only one with a painful past.

Over the summer, Mia begins to learn that redemption isn’t as impossible as she once thought, but her scars inside run deep and aren’t nearly so simple to heal … especially when Mia finally pieces together her memories of the night Rachel died.

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REVIEW

what i liked:

  • Mia’s friendship with Fig was by far my favorite part of this book. Fig was a great character who took someone who needed help under her wing. Everyone needs a friend like her.
  • THE BAKING. I immediately wanted everything they were making and I actually did make whoopie pies because of this. They were delicious.
  • Mia is a strong character. She may have some typical YA traits to her that some may find annoying but her character development was pretty great.

what i didn’t like:

  • The pacing. Alot of the storylines went from zero to 100. We go from Veronica being very uptight to letting loose and being a lovable grandma with no context, Mia making instant best friends who do crazy things around the city, her mom becoming a nun???, a boy “saving the day” after one kiss. Typical YA tropes.
  • I felt like with how heavy subject was, it could have been a little deeper and gone more into the mental health sides of things.

 

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ADD TO GOODREADS

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WHERE TO BUY

amazon | book depository

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

121420.jpgHeather Hepler is the author of several books for teens and tweens, includingย  Frosted Kisses (Scholastic, 2015), Love? Maybe (Dial, 2012) and The Cupcake Queen (Dutton, 2009). She loves tomato soup, fat cats, and hiking. (Not necessarily in that order.) She’s lived in East Texas, Alaska, and Death Valley. Currently she, her son, their two spoiled cats, and their ridiculouslysmart dog live in Downeast Maine.

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TOUR SCHEDULE

April 22

That Artsy Reader Girl – Welcome Interview with Heather Hepler

April 23

Wishful Endings – Author Guest Post
Metamorphoreader – Creative Post
Journal of the Lost One – Book Review + Favorite Quotes
Books4Jessica – Book Review
Clarissa Reads It All – Book Review

April 24

Bookish Geek – Book Review
Book-Keeping – Book Review
Moonlight Rendezvous – Book Review + Favorite Quotes
Betwixt the Pages – Book Review

April 25

Musings of a (Book) Girl – Author Q&A
We Live and Breathe Books – Book Review
The Reading Corner for All – Book Review and Instagram Post

April 26

Fangirl Fury – Book Review and Creative Post
Lisa Loves Literature – Book Review
Bookish_Kali – Book Review
Nay’s Pink Bookshelf – Book Review
Rhythmicbooktrovert – Book Review + Favorite Quotes

April 27

ย Confessions of a YA Reader – Author Guest Post
The Book Duchesses – Book Review
Colleen’s Conclusions – Book Spotlight
Here’s to Happy Endings – Book Review

April 28

Singer of Stories – Book Review and Song Selection
the bookdragon – Book Spotlight + Favorite Quotes
Cheyenne Reads – Book Review
Amy’s Booket List – Book Review

April 29

Kait Plus Books – Author Q&A
Between the Pages – Book Spotlight
Some Books & Rambling – Book Review
Geronimo Reads – Book Review
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The Top Books That Intimidate Me

Darlene McCullough

I have so many books that are still on my TBR because I’m too scared to read them haha. Anyone else?! Like just looking at them scares the hell out of me and makes me want to hide them so they’ll stop staring at me! It will be a massive relief to finish at least 3 of these in 2019 so that way I can add more intimidating books to the never-ending pile!

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ya picks

Strange the Dreamer | The City of Brass | The Knife of Never Letting Go | Carry On

No surprise that 3 out of the 4 are fantasy, eh? Fantasy absolutely terrifies me, especially high fantasy, because it takes me so long to understand the world. Whenever I read, I like to be able to escape reality and find myself in another world for a while. You would think that would be in a fantastical world, but it usually feels like so much work to read that it doesn’t make it very fun. This obviously doesn’t stop me from adding more and more fantasy books to my TBR. I really want to try to get over my “fear,” for lack of better word, and get make myself read some high fantasy. I know I will enjoy it. I just need to actually sit down and do it.

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ya picks (1)

The Lies of Locke Lamora | A Discovery of Witches | The Secret History | A Darker Shade of Magic

Adult fantasy is even worse. The ones I have on my TBR are nowhere near the crazy insane high fantasy books that are out there, but still intimidating enough! The Secret History is the complete opposite of fantasy but adult literature freaks me out because I’ll feel so dumb if I don’t understand half of it haha. Basically, I need to realize I am smarter than I realize and I can read these damn books!!

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Do you have any books that scare the crap out of you??ย Hopefully I’ll remember this post exists at the beginning of next year so I can do a follow-up! Fingers crossed at least 1 of these books have been read by then!

Avengers Book Tag | 2019

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I saw this tag onย The Orangutan Librarianย and just knew I had to do it, too! I’m a massive Marvel fan and I’m equally stoked and dreading the release of Avengers: End Game. I am not ready for this chapter of the Marvel Cineverse to be over with! I’ve grown to love, adore and (sometimes) hate these characters. (I wasn’t a massive Capt fan for a while, ok??) I saw Captain Marvel last weekend and was blown away! Brie Larson has been my favorite actress for years so I was really excited whenever it was released that she would be playing Carol Danvers and she definitely didn’t disappoint! I’m happy to know that characters like Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Spider-Man will be continuing because I do love those characters, as well!

Feel free to use my completely awful banners if you like! Ha!

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rayne & delilah

 

A more recent read would be Rayne & Delilah’s Midnight Matinee. You can see my review for this book here. I was curious when I heard Zentner was trying to go more for humor rather than tear your heart out and crying a river. I was surprised when there were times that I was actually giggling out loud! The sarcasm in this book is real and I love it. (Of course, I also cried a little too because it IS a Jeff Zentner book, is it not?)

 

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dumplin

 

I honestly didn’t think I would like this book as much as I did. Dumplin’ has such great body positivity and fat rep. Willowdean loved herself for who she was and didn’t care if no one else thought the same. Super cute, super great. Highly recommend! Also the movie adaptation on Netflix was incredible!

 

 

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on the come up

 

I’m going to go with another recent read here (review) and say Jay, Bri’s mom, from On the Come Up. She has gone through so much negativity in her life. To see her sober and working so hard to make her both of her kids lives better, its admirable. She really, really loves her 2 kids and it shows.

 

 
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splintered

Everything about this book drives me up the freaking wall. The protagonist is annoying. Her love interests are assholes and creepy. They think the can control her and SHE LETS THEM. Alyssa is always waiting for Jeb or Morpheus (also, what kind of names are those??) to save the day instead of doing things herself. JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE A GIRL DOESN’T MEAN YOU’RE NOT CAPABLE OF DOING THINGS. For fricks sake. I hate this book so much. It started off SO well, too. I really thought I was going to like this book and then around the 40% mark, things just went to shit.

 

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Daughter of the Pirate King

 

This made me realize that I don’t read very many books with kick ass female protagonists and that makes me pretty sad. Please feel free to leave recommendations for me! Anyway, I’ve mentioned this book multiple times, but it’s still one of my favorites. Bad ass female pirates? Hell yes, sign me up!

 

 

 

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a mad wicked folly

I’m not sure if I’ve spoken about this book on here before, but A Mad, Wicked Folly is one of my favorite historical fictions. It’s basically about women supporting women in early 1900s London around the suffrage movement. Vicky is a very independent character who just wants to be free to do as she pleases and not care about what society thinks of her. Also this book features one of my favorite book boyfriends, William Fletcher. Read it!

 

 

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the wife between usย I randomly picked this book up from the library when it first came out, not knowing anything about it. I was in a huge thriller mood and the premise of this sounded interesting, so I figured I would try it out. The interesting thing about this book is you get the “twist” in the middle of the book and it’s pretty dang surprising. I really loved this book and highly recommend it!

 

 

 

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Who is your favorite Avenger? Mine is definitely Thor! Ragnarรถk is my favorite Marvel movie and I honestly don’t see that changing anytime soon. I could watch it over and over!

 

 

 

(Avengers illustrated art for header foundย here.)

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas | Book Review

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on the come upย Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Briโ€™s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Briโ€™s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make itโ€”she has to make it.

On the Come Upย is Angie Thomasโ€™s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.

I really enjoyed The Hate U Give when I listened to it on audio. It was incredibly moving and really made me think. I was excited when I heard Thomas was coming out with her sophomore book about a teenage female rapper trying to make it big! I was curious to see how it would play out and if I would enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed The Hate U Give. I’m still kind of on the fence on how I feel about it?

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  • I’m a sucker for great family dynamics in books. If the parents/siblings are actually around in the book and make a notable presence, it’s an instant like for me. This book definitely had that. It was so family driven. Bri wants to try to make it big in the rap world so she can help provide for her family that is struggling financially. It was really powerful to see a family come together like that, especially with all that has happened to them in the past that tried to tear them apart.
  • ย Jay, Bri’s mom, was my favorite character. She had it rough after witnessing her husband’s murder and turned to drugs afterwards. It was hard reading about how it affected Bri and her brother, but even worse knowing how much pain Jay was going through during that time. Not only did she lose the one she loved, but she is losing her children, too, because she can’t seem to quit. She overcomes and she gets better and she is just an amazing mother. She loves her kids more than anything and she would literally do anything for them. Her love and support reminded me so much of my parents and it made me feel a real connection with her, being the only character I really had a connection with.
  • Bri’s relationship with her two best friends, Sonny and Malik, were so realistic too. They fought like brother and sister. Again..THEY FOUGHT. Friends argue!! Especially if you’re as close as they are, basically knowing each other since birth. They fight and they make up and that’s how it goes. I love that Thomas added that aspect in there.
  • I was totally here for Sonny’s secret romance AND THAT SIMON REFERENCE THO. I was squealing all over that. Angie, can we please have a companion novella about Sonny and his romance? Please? Thanks.
  • Thomas’ messages are strong and important, especially for young readers. She tells them to use their voice. Change can only come if you speak up and make it known that change needs to happen. It is a powerful message and one needed especially with how shitty the world is today. I know a lot of teenagers were able to connect with THUG. I really hope they are able to connect with this story and never stop giving up.

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  • I’m still on the fence about the writing style. I know everyone loves it, but something about it doesn’t click with me. It was very, very repetitive. I listened to The Hate U Give and I physically read On the Come Up and I think that was a massive difference. If I would have listened to this, I definitely would have been more invested and liked it a lot more.
  • On that note, while the rap was great, I didn’t know the beat that went with the song, so I read it like poetry instead of rap and it didn’t get me like a lot of people are saying in their reviews. I’ve seen some say that they’ve had Bri’s songs stuck in their head all day and the only way I can see that is because they listened to the book on audio.
  • While I enjoyed the romance, it seemed kind of out of place. It grew on me as I read more, but it was just…there?

I originally gave this book 3 stars after reading it, but as I wrote this review, I realized I enjoyed the book more than I thought so I bumped up to 4 stars. It’s still not my favorite, but it is a very important book that needs to be read by everyone. Thomas is a great motivator for the next generation and with the help of her writing, her voice, a change is gonna come.

 

(Black Panther art found on Google. Original artist can be found here.)

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales | Book Review

book-review

 

this song will save your life Making friends has never been Elise Dembowskiโ€™s strong suit. All throughout her life, sheโ€™s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice,ย This Song Will Save Your Lifeย is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.

I’ve had this hyped contemporary on my TBR for ages. I bought it from Book Outlet months ago but finally read it by listening to the audio book via my library. I flew through it! I really liked doing the likes/dislikes in my last review of Undead Girl Gangย so I think I’m going to continue with that for my style of reviewing! Sometimes it’s too difficult for me to figure out how to describe my feelings about a book in an “professional” way so I’m going to do what works for me!

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  • The family dynamic was amazing. I really enjoyed being able to read about divorced parents and how they civilly worked together to make sure their daughter is healthy and ok. Elise’s relationship with her 2 younger siblings was great, too.
  • The music aspect was ugh, so good. I enjoy the kind of music that Sales mentioned, she even mentioned my all time favorite song, so it was like I could hear the music while I was reading along. It really added to the story. The author also has a few playlists in the back of the book with some really amazing songs on there!
  • Elise sounded and acted like a real teenager and that is refreshing to read. I sometimes don’t like it when a book reads “too young” but then again, I think it’s because the author “dumbs down.” for lack of better terms, the character and makes them act younger than they are.
  • The writing was freaking fantastic. I want to go back through and highlight all of my favorite quotes (there are a ton.) One of my favorites is the opening line of the book:

    You think it’s so easy to change yourself. You think it’s so easy, but it’s not.”ย 

  • Coming from someone who always thought they weren’t good enough and trying to change in order to “fit in,” I really resonated with this. Elise was so confident in knowing herself and that herself was good enough.

 

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  • The romance really creeped me out. Why in the world would an almost 20 year old knowingly kiss and hook up with a 16 year old? Dude. No. That’s gross.
  • I found it really hard to believe that out of EVERYONE she went to school with in her life, only 2 people befriended Elise. I understand that it could be a perspective thing, but so many people openly bullied her and no teachers, administrators, etc. picked up on it? Maybe I’m too old and can’t remember being in school anymore, but I don’t remember people acting like that to one single person and NO ONE doing anything about it.

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ย The more I read this book, the more I fell in love. It doesn’t matter if you’re 16 or 26, you will sometimes feel down and not okay and you know what? That’s okay. This book helped me realize that. Maybe it can help you, too.

4 stars

Throughout it all, you are still, always, you: beautiful and bruised, known and unknowable. And isn’t that – just you – enough?