Tag Archives: realistic

Impatiently Waiting For: I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You by Mishka Shubaly

PublicAffairs To Be Published March 8, 2016 352 Pafes
To Be Published March 8, 2016
352 Pafes

I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You is Mishka Shubaly’s apology for choices he wasn’t sure he’d live long enough to regret. It is a story of drinking, women, punk rock, and a journey so far down the low road that it took Shubaly years of running to come back.

A misfit kid in the best of times, Shubaly had his world shattered when, in a 24-hour span in 1992, he survived a mass shooting on his school’s campus, then learned that his parents were getting divorced. After the departure of his father, a decorated rocket scientist, his remaining family soon lost their house. In his first act to avenge the wrongs against his mother, Shubaly plunged into a 17-year love affair with alcohol.

In this fiercely honest, emotional, and darkly witty book, Shubaly relives the best and worst of these adventures: the disastrous events that fractured his life; his imaginatively destructive romances; his hot-and-cold career as a rock musician; his travels across the country in search of meaning, drugs, and his family; and the time he met his newborn nephew while tripping on cough syrup.

I Swear I’ll Make It Up to You is a memoir of a precocious young man trying to be good and failing (and failing, and failing)—until, one day, he succeeds. Taking a cab home one night after a bar fight, Shubaly decides to run five miles the next morning to retrieve his bike. Thus begins a new, much healthier love affair with running, and eventually a new life. And when Shubaly finally reunites with his distant father, he discovers the story of his childhood was radically different from what he’d imagined. Shubaly’s muscular prose, big heart, and sharp humor inflect this grand story of mistakes, their consequences, and eventual redemption. -Goodreads

Book Review: Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale (Seasons of the Sword #1) by David Kudler

Stillpoint Digital Press To Be Published June 15, 2016 230 Pages
Stillpoint Digital Press
To Be Published June 15, 2016
230 Pages

Japan has been going through a century long civil war; destroying most of the beautiful land in death. Kano Murasaki also known as Risuko (Squirrel) just wants to climb and forget all that is around her. But as a the oldest daughter in a fatherless family that isn’t a easy feat.

When her mother sells her to a high ranking lady, Risuko feels abandoned but quickly finds herself as a much needed asset in the war between armies.

The cover alone promised a badass girl, with not only the physical skills but also mental skills. No. No. This book did not even deliver based off the summary but that is not to say it wasn’t a decent book.

The book is more for middle schoolers than actual YA. I say that because Risuko is about 12 and for the most part she act as such.  The lack of confidence and self-knowledge is evident from the beginning and the end of the book. This is a coming of age novel, which I don’t have an issue with; I simply feel mislead.

I didn’t like how the book centralizes about how Risuko loves to climb and yet for most of the book she spend most of her time in the kitchen. When she did climb, she either got caught sneaking or was taunted into doing it.  How can someone love something so much and practically stop doing it?

The book was slow and drawn out. The “action” was full of yawns and the ending was i.e. the big twist was un-fufilling and more of ‘I can not believe I read this book for that.’ Despite all of this, I give the author credit for dragging me in against my will. There were things I didn’t understand that I wanted to know more of. There are still things I don’t understand and I am not sure if they are even going to be addressed in the next book.

I wanted more from the book. More passion, action, climbing something other than the promise of something exciting. I felt that the author played it too safe with this book. I also felt that the author did not allow Risuko to have an actual personality. I cannot describe her even if you paid me to.

Overall, it was a decent intro to possibly a better story. I still recommend this read for middle schoolers not young adults or adults reading YA.


2 Pickles

NetGalley Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Poppy/Little Brown Published Jan. 2, 2012 236 Pages
Poppy/Little Brown
Published Jan. 2, 2012
236 Pages

Hadley Sullivan just missed her flight to London and is late to her father’s second wedding. Angry, frustrated and alone she meets a boy; a handsome boy named Oliver, who seats next to her on her flight. 

What happens when two people lose track of the chaos around them and in their life? Love possibly?

*Short Review*

This book was cute despite the depression on every page.

Hadley is angry at her father for leaving her mother, moving across the water and not seeing her for almost two years. She is angry that married no longer holds the same value and cannot understand why her father left.

I get her anger and I get why this is turning point in her life without meeting Oliver but although this was a short book, it took for a long read because Hadley has no other emotion than sadness. Even when she is laughing, it is just sad and at the ending it was just sad. . . cute but sad. The sadness made for a slow read.

Oliver was a breathe of fresh air until his sadness came out. But even then he wasn’t as sad as she was, which was interesting because he sadness came from a darker place. I enjoyed the book because it hit everything pretty well but a various of emotions.

I didn’t completely liked the third person point of view, it was awkward. But other than that this story delivered a gushy romance, that I do not consider love at first sight but love none the less.

Overall, I am not sure if I would read anything in this nature by the author. Only because you really have to be in the mood for teenagers feeling the world revolves around them and them finding the perfect love, that apparently only they can find.

3 Pickles

NetGalley Review: Hector and the Secrets of Love (Hector #2) by François Lelord

Penguin Books Published Jan. 1, 1900 288 Pages
Penguin Books
Published Jan. 1, 1900
288 Pages

If you haven’t read the first book Hector and the Search for Happiness, go read the book. I read it some time ago and completely fell for it. Maybe I’ll do a review on it????? Anyway there is also a movie, which was really good.

Hector has been given the opportunity to help research love. What makes love? What breaks love? What’s true love? Within his research he is told to track down a doctor, who was developing a drug that makes people fall in love with each other on different levels. 

His search takes French psychologist Hector to parts of Asia that in his previous journey he has never been. But mentally and emotionally, Hector goes on a journey that he could have never prepared for.

This novel was a bit more fast paced that the second one. But it still held the same thoughtful questions and passionate emotions just like the first one. What I liked about this book was how human Hector was. He was/is (how ever you look at it) conflicted with not just love but with understanding people and their needs. But most importantly understanding himself. He was just a very confused man and it made me think of what I was always told about psychologist “In order for them to help people with such mental issues, they need to be a bit crazy themselves.”

Hector doesn’t know what to do, even when given solutions, even when the answer is obvious, he just doesn’t do anything. It makes for a very complicated but interesting story. I couldn’t stand Clara, who is extremely selfish, EXTREMELY SELFISH. Every time she came on the page I rolled my eyes. I was done with her.

I also, towards the middle and end of the book, felt some type of way about Hector; he was selfish too but in a different way from Clara. Without getting too much into detail, I don’t feel that he uses a (the woman not Clara) woman but he also didn’t change the situation either.

The pace of the novel was great once it got going. It took a little bit but I wasn’t unhappy when it started moving better. Although this book was originally (so it says per good reads) published in 1900 a lot of what is in the book hit home to modern times.

I hated the ending. It could have been better. It was sloppy and it was obvious the author didn’t want to write anymore.


3.5 Pickles


Book Review: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed

Nancy Paulsen Books Published March 24, 2015 304 Pages
Nancy Paulsen Books
Published March 24, 2015
304 Pages

Naila’s parents are conservative immigrants that believe in keeping their culture alive even though they live in America. Naila is allowed to go to school and choose her career but she isn’t allowed to choose her husband . . . dating is forbidden.

When her parents catch Naila with her boyfriend, Saif, they whisk her away to Pakistan to explore her roots. But things quickly change when Naila’s parents state they have found her a husband and she is to be married immediately.

Desperate to get out of this situation but unsure how since she is cut off of everyone she loves, her only hope is Saif and if he could find her.

Sidenote: It is hard for me to read realistic books.  I read them because it shows me something different about the world I live in.  But man, it is hard. *Short Review*

Now to the book.

I like how the book gets right into it. There isn’t a lot of fluff in regards to Naila’s situation with her family and her romantic relationship. Saif isn’t just a new boy in school Naila falls in love with instantly; they have history and they have been together for at least a year at this point and Naila knows as well as Saif what could happen if her parent’s found out.

The book was written well with a nice even pace. Naila is betrayed by her parents and family not betrayed by her lack of strength or back bone. Naila is respectful and she has a very simple personality that just makes you want to hug her. It was so hard to read this and know that Naila’s story could be or is someone’s true story.

Naila was the reason I kept reading this book because I loved her. But that is not because it was a bad book. The author created such an amazing mental picture, so detailed and with a lot of care. When Naila hurt . . . you hurt.

Because of the nature of this book, it had a simple pace that didn’t leave you so hung up on something missing. For the most part everything was straight forward but it didn’t leave any predictability.

If you are into realistic and emotional fiction then this is for you.

3 Pickles



Book Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

HarperTeen Published April 21, 2015 304 Pages
Published April 21, 2015
304 Pages

Quinn lost her boyfriend Trent in a car accident in their junior year of high school. To help heal and move on, Quinn has turned to the recipients of Trent’s donated organs in order to receive closure. 

Although she hears from most of the recipients, only one person doesn’t respond and that is the person with Trent’s heart. Determined to move on, Quinn tracks down the recipient, only to be surprised at what she finds. 

Colton has a new lease on life and is more than happy to live each day like never before. At what he thinks is in accidental meeting turns into Quinn receiving a new lease on life but at what cost?

Here I go again with realistic fiction. But I enjoyed this one for the most part.

I appreciate the author for taking down a sensitive subject such as organ donation. The biggest question I hear from people is “does that person now see, feel or remember memories from the original owner?” I liked the fact that the author used this question to fuel her book.

Quinn’s whole life surrounded by Trent. You don’t really know who she is outside of her lost. This made it hard for me to get into the book at times. I wanted to know Quinn more and I didn’t want to only associate her with her lost. Yes, she develops but her personality was missing.

I did love Colton. I believe I loved him so much because of the contrast with the main character. The author did a really good job of showing clear differences between the two while also showing what brought them together was Trent. I am pretty much stating the obvious while avoiding the biggest issue I had with this book and almost all realistic novels. . .  the pace.

Because Quinn was a lackluster character throughout the entire book the pace was slow. I wanted more from Quinn so bad it hurt. I understand lost and I understand lost as a teenager. I understand being broken and feeling dead inside but even when love was forming Quinn didn’t develop enough for me and it caused the pace of the novel to stall.

Beyond that I felt that this book was emotional (in a good way) and a insightful read. It is recommended to those who love realistic fiction.

3 Pickles

Impatiently Waiting For: Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Balzer + Bray To Be Published Sept. 15, 2015 384 Pages
Balzer + Bray
To Be Published Sept. 15, 2015
384 Pages

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.- Goodreads

Manga Review: Annarasumanara (안나라수마나라 #1-3) by Ha Il Kwon

Naver Published May 28, 2010 Ebook
Published May 28, 2010

Yoon Ah-ee is struggling to feed herself and her sister. After her mother abandons them and her father disappears, Yoon is at the end of her rope. 

But by chance, Yoon goes to the abandoned amusement park, where rumor has it a magician lives there with the ability to make someone disappear. From this point on . . . nothing is the same.

This manga is a can of emotions waiting for someone to crack its spine (or turn on the ebook).

Firstly, the artwork is different. This may be the wrong term but it  feels like the artist used some different mediums. I definitely know that different line techniques was used. What was really cool about this is it played off emotions extremely well. Some parts were goofy and other parts was just tugging at the heart strings.

The relationship between Yoon and the magician is interesting. It is because at one point you think there will be a romance and the other part you’re like what is there relationship. They both seem to need each other but there is so much back and forth on Yoon’s part that it is a bit confusing. Also at one point you think of a love triangle but quickly realize that isn’t the case and I appreciated that.

It always emotional to read when someone is living to the point they cannot take care of themselves or their family members but this book was tough (not to get through) because the magician begins to unfold and its emotional. You really don’t know what happens to the magician at the end and that bothers me because he was such an important character that I needed closure. . .  like I really need it.

Yoon fights between being an adult and dreaming. There are certain things that she wants but she knows that she can’t get it without letting go of responsibility to her sister.

This manga was in depth, emotional, creative and just attention grabbing.

Overall, 4 Pickles 

Book Review: Poisoned Apples: Poems For You, My Pretty by Christine Heppermann

Greenwillow Books Published Sept. 23, 2014 114 Pages
Greenwillow Books
Published Sept. 23, 2014
114 Pages

50 poems that are designed for the anguish modern teenage. From humorous to dark and then extremely dark, these poems are deigned to move you.

These poems were very dark and nothing remotely what I was expecting. This is a modern spin on fairy tales . . . to a certain extent. So you cannot go in there expecting some of the obvious themes of a fairy tale.

But back to the darkness. What makes this dark is how blunt and realistic everything is. The author focuses on anorexia a lot which makes me believe that either she experienced it hands on or experienced it with someone she knows.

This is an important book just like “Thirteen Reasons Why” because it is a raw. Just pure emotions and I can’t be mad at that.

However, I believe this would have been better as short stories instead of poems. I felt that the way it is worded it and the way each poem ended it should have been a short story. It left a lot to the imagination, which isn’t too bad of a thing. But the poems seemed lacking because they do not feel like poems. This book does not feel like a book of poetry.

Another issue I have is once realizing that this book wasn’t fairy tale-ish and was a modern viewpoint of teenage girls, I was disappointed in the fact that every other poem was the same issue. I felt that there are other issues or if this as the only issue to talk about then a disclaimer would have been nice.

Overall I enjoyed reading this. The book makes you think and pulls your emotionally.

3 Pickles.