Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book Review: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

ISBN: 9780062320896
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Series: None
Released: September 20, 2016
Length: 341 pp

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.


So, this being my first review in over a year, you'll forgive me if I'm a little rusty. That being said, I haven't actually read all that many books in the last year and a half either, so it's not that I didn't review the ones I did read. For many reasons, I just haven't been able to really been able to get into much of anything. Aside from a handful of other books, The Female of the Species (TFotS) was the only one to pull me out of the funk and actually hook me.

This is my first Mindy McGinnis book (but certainly not my last!) and I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful, lyrical writing. It was a quick and easy read but it is one of the few lately that has really made me think and ask myself the important questions.

TFofS takes a deep look into rape culture, tears it open for all to see. While some scenes left me cringing and almost wanting to put the book back down, I know I needed to read this book. My reaction was much of the country's reaction. Rape and sexual abuse happens and we don't want to see it. Mindy McGinnis makes sure we do.

It's such an important book, especially for young women who have been victims of harassment, assault, rape, etc., or know someone who has. McGinnis has given victims, and those who loved them, a voice with this novel, albeit on a small scale, and I will be forcing this book on any and everyone I can find to enlighten their lives further.

Aside from the gorgeous writing and the ever important message of the story as a whole, I enjoyed the plot, and really enjoyed "Peekay" and Alex as characters. Jack always made me a little nervous, but I appreciated his likeness to (what I assume to be) a real teenage boy. I'll admit I occasionally had a hard time connecting with Alex because she was so different from the quintessential teenage protagonist, and I couldn't come up with an image for her in my head - probably because I can't think of anyone I know in my real life quite like Alex either. But I liked her and when I read it again (oh, because I will) I'm going to spend some time investigating this unique character further because she is not one-dimensional or single-layered. She is so much deeper than that.

I already feel the need to re-read this book like right now, to go through it again now that I know the ending, which mind you, broke me a little, but I'm over it and have -- nope, nevermind. Definitely thought I was over it until I started to type it out and my heart gave a throb.

RATING: ★★★★ 1/2 

TFotS was gritty, and honest, and at times hard to read, but it was the first book in a while to capture my attention. The style of the writing has an almost lyrical quality that forces you to really sink into the story and experience what these characters are thinking and feeling. Clearly, as you can tell by my Goodreads updates, it took me on quite the emotional rollercoaster. I recommend it to literally everyone. Even if the writing style isn't for you or you really just can't connect with the characters, the story and message are just too important to pass on.

Have any of you read this already? I'm itching to talk about it with someone who has! Leave me a comment or e-mail me so we can cry together


Friday, January 6, 2017

I'm Baaaaack!

I think.

Lately, I've been jonesing for some blogging. I miss it. I haven't posted since July of 2015 or something like that, and though my life hasn't really allowed for it as of late, I miss it. I miss the writing, I miss connecting with other bloggers and book lovers.

A lot has happened since I last posted. Actually, a few months after my last post, I found out I was pregnant. Fast forward to June of 2016 and wouldn't you know it - I was giving birth. Fast forward to now and my 7-month-old is making my life downright crazy! So as far as time goes, you can see I didn't have much of it to offer. With my kid about to start crawling and exploring the world any day now, I don't foresee much more time opening up as I'll be chasing him around the house all the time, but still... I miss it.

So... yeah. I think I'm back. It'll be limited for now as I get back into the swing of things, but I need to write and I need to do it now!

So expect some new reviews from me soon, but maybe some other stuff also. I mean, I'm a mom now, you know. Who knows what I might come up with!

What's been going on in your lives over the last year and a half? Read anything good? Write anything good? Have any good babies lately? Let's catch up!

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Diverse Books!

Oh, hey! Just me, popping in again for another TTT. As someone who would be considered "diverse" in culture, race, skin color, body type, and I guess even "neurologically" as being someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, diversity in books is pretty important to me. I don't love perfect characters. I can't stand flawless lives. Nevermind hurdle-less storylines. What I love is a little "imperfection".

That being said, I was perusing my lists today for "diverse" books I'd read and I was disappointed to learn that I only had about 15-20 of what I would consider diverse books on my "read" list. So that means I'm counting on all of your posts to point me in the right direction of more well-written diverse books!

Here are the favorites of the ones I've read so far:

Top Ten Books that Celebrate Diversity

10. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Maybe Someday centers around a "disability" that I have spent a lot of time over the last few months learning about: being deaf. When I read this book, I was fascinated and delighted that the characters were far from perfect. In retrospect, this book could've done a lot more in teaching the world about deaf people but it was a good start. I look forward to finding more romance novels about deaf people.

9. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Most people should already know gist of this book because of all the movie publicity it received a few years back, but in case you don't, it centers around the struggles of black maids ("the help") in the 1960s from the point of view of a young white girl who is an aspiring journalist. Such a great read!

8. The Summer Remains by Seth King

Aside from the fact that this book destroyed me emotionally and left me bereft and unable to function for days after finishing it, it is diverse in that the main character is a girl with a life-threatening condition/disability that affects her day to day life and how she chooses to live it.

7. None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

Despite any faults you (or I) may have found with the writing in None of the Above, it was one of the most enlightening books I've ever read. Not only was I educated on a topic I knew almost nothing about (being intersex), but there were some real worthwhile lessons in the book; mainly accepting yourself and others for who they are, not who you want them (or yourself) to be.

6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The book thief is about a German family with a young (adopted) daughter that hides a young Jewish man in their home during the holocaust. Such an amazing read, for its racial and cultural diversity, writing style, and message.

5. Cinder (and Scarlet, Cress, and Fairest) by Marissa Meyer

This book/series doesn't focus on the diversity of the characters, BUT the Lunar Chronicles is a breath of fresh air in that the characters are quite diverse and the setting of the story takes place over many continents. Cinder herself is part Asian, and the other MCs throughout the series include a French girl, a boy of Middle Eastern descent, and an African American girl. Not to mention it is one of my favorite series EVER.

4. Archer's Voice by Mia Sheridan

The MC, Archer (one of my favorite NA male love interests of ALL TIME), is mute (because of a medical issue, not a psychological one). The communication and interactions between the two main characters throughout this story touched me in a way some books can never come close to. I love diversity in romance novels and this is one of the best examples of that.

3. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

AtBP, one of the best books I've read this year, centers around a girl struggling with grief and depression, and a boy living with untreated bipolar disorder. Being someone who deals with mental illness and who comes from a family afflicted by mental illness, this book hit so close to home.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Hm... I don't feel as if this one really needs all that much explanation, but I think it's worth it to mention that TKaM is one of my favorite books of all time.

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

E&P is also one of my favorite books of all time. One main character in this story is physically diverse from what society deems to be beautiful, and one character is racially and culturally diverse and trying to fit in to what society says is normal. A perfectly imperfect love story, E&P touches on what it's like to be different and how to love people (including yourself) not despite, but because of those differences.

These are among the few diverse books I've read (in comparison to all the books I've ever read), and they are some of my favorites ever. Have you read any of these diverse books? What others have you read that you might recommend? Can't wait to see your lists!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten Books I've Read This Year

Not only has it been a while since I've reviewed anything, but it's also been a while since I've done a TTT. But I figured now was as a good a time as any to chime in with the best books I've read thus far. Sadly, I'm way behind on my goal and haven't read much at all this year. I've done quite a few re-reads too, which I won't include on this list.

The top ten books I've read (for the first time) so far this year are:

10. The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred

9. Where the Road Takes Me by Jay McLean


8. The Summer Remains by Seth King

7. The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

6. Stay With Me by J. Lynn/Jennifer L. Armentrout

5. Boy Toy Chronicles: Volume One by Jay McLean

4. The Selection by Kiera Cass

3. We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

2. Fairest by Marissa Meyer

1. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I will add that I haven't read a lot of amazing books this year, and while I did really enjoy all of the ones on this list and have rated them all a 4.0 or above, the only two I really loved were Fairest which I simply cannot get out of my head and All the Bright Places which I can't think about for too long or else I get weepy.

What have been your favorite books so far this year? I'm looking for some recommendations so leave me one in the comments. I love to read books other people loved!

Happy Reading!


Friday, May 8, 2015

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas (aka Abby McDonald)

ISBN: 9781442486607
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Series: Stand alone
Released: July, 2013
Length: 400 pp
Goodreads  |  B&N

Paradise in Aruba quickly gets gruesome in this “ripped-from-the-headlines thriller (Kirkus Reviews)” with a twist that defies the imagination.
It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.
But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.
Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone could ever imagine...


Any book that can suck me in and keep me hooked until I finish the damn thing in one sitting - that's the kind of book I love. Minor flaws and all, this book was amazing.

Sadly, I've learned over the years that I am super naive when it comes to sinister, creep-tastic and intense books like this one. I never see the twists coming even when everyone else does! You can see by my Goodreads updates (below) that I didn't start to truly suspect something until more than halfway through the book, and even then I was all like "No, say it ain't so!". It also doesn't help my case that this story was like a fictional version of the real-life Amanda Knox/Italy thing a few years back. Obviously no one really knows what happened in the Amanda Knox story, though so HA. Thank you Abigail Haas (aka Abby McDonald) for giving me a satisfying fictional answer, though!

Still, my lack of ability to deduce the identity of the bad guy may have been the reason why I enjoyed Dangerous Girls so much - because the twist was (mostly) a shock when I read it. A creepy ass shock that may or may not have caused me to lose sleep the night I read it. Whatever, NBD.

For starters, Abigail Haas' writing is smart and engaging and I was hooked from the start. She built and fleshed out characters that I somehow sympathized with yet didn't trust as far as I could throw 'em. I especially loved the back and forth chapters from past to "present" that equal parts made things make much more sense but (intentionally, [I think]) confused the airwaves, too. Like I said - I just didn't know who to trust!

Dangerous Girls was a wild ride from beginning to end and even if you're not a big dope like me and you can see the ending coming from a mile away, I think you will still find the truth to be rather disturbing and this to be quite a mind-blowing read.

And hey, if you've already read Dangerous Girls and are just checking this review out for kicks and giggles, maybe you should think about checking out Dangerous Boys, also by Haas. Equally disturbing but in such a weirder way. My review for that will be up in a few weeks.


RATING: ★★★★★ 5 stars

Have you read Dangerous Girls yet? I hope the answer is yes to that question because you're missing out if you haven't.

If perhaps you have not, pick it up soon! t's the perfect read a summer read (for you weirdos like me who like to go to the beach but stay out of the water). I'd love to know what you think if/when you read it!