May 26, 2018

Review: Don't Forget Me by Victoria Stevens

Title: Don't Forget Me
Author: Victoria Stevens
Publisher: FSG Books
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 360 Pages
Published February 2018

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Hazel Clarke is no stranger to heartbreaks, and being sent to live with a father she’s never met is the latest in a string of them. Even the beauty of eastern Australia isn’t enough to take her mind off her mother and the life she had to leave behind in England. But when Hazel meets the friendly, kindhearted Red and his elusive twin, Luca, she begins the slow process of piecing together a new life—and realizes she isn’t the only one struggling with loss. As friendships deepen and love finds its way in, Hazel also learns that when you truly love someone, they are always in your heart. 

I first heard of this book while I was cataloging it during my internship, and it immediately caught my interest. It seemed like it was a story that was going to be filled with a bunch of emotional moments, which is the kind of story I like, so I immediately added it to my TBR. And, having read it now, I'm glad that I did!

As the summary explains, Hazel winds up moving to Australia with her father (who she didn't even know existed up until that moment) after something happens with her mother in England and she's no longer able to live with her. So Hazel is adjusting to her new life in Australia while also trying to connect with her father while still mourning her mother and the things that are happening to her. Along the way she meets a whole bunch of new friends, one of them being Luca, a troubled twin with a secret past that he's having a tough time battling. Hazel tries to connect with him on top of everything else she's struggling with, and this book basically chronicles this journey as she takes it.

What I really liked about this book was all of the emotion is contained. There were a lot of plot threads to follow throughout this book, so it definitely felt like a multi-faceted story in so many different ways. There's a lot to unpack here, but that's the kind of thing I really do enjoy in a book. There's Hazel's struggle with missing her mother, meeting her father, adjusting to Australia, making new friends, trying to reach out to Luca, trying to uncover his secret...definitely a lot to think about! Which is probably why I finished this book so quickly -- because I kept flipping the pages and wanting to see what was going to happen next and which plot points were going to be addressed again.

My favorite character in this book was definitely Red. He was super friendly and really funny throughout the whole story, but he was also really fiercely loyal and supportive, which was really sweet. He definitely seemed like the type of character that I would want to be friends with in real life!

There were only a few things that I wasn't super crazy about with this book, the first being the fact that the story being told in third person made it kind of unclear which characters were the focus at certain times, and it also made it really hard to get into their heads and understand them. Even after reading this entire book, I'm not entirely sure that I could get a grasp on all of the main characters and their thoughts -- and it was especially tricky when the perspective/character of focus seemed to switch mid-chapter, sometimes even mid-paragraph. That's why third person can be tricky, and I definitely found that a little bit confusing to read! However, as the book went on, I found myself getting used to it.

(Minor spoilers, so please skip to the next paragraph if you don't want the book spoiled for you!) The other thing about this book that frustrated me a little bit was the fact that the "big reveal" of what was going on with Hazel's mom (and even what happened to Ryan) isn't told until almost the very end of the book -- so I spent almost the entire story getting teased about the big reveal of what was happening, but then still not being told. It was a really long tease that started to get a little frustrating, to the point that when it finally was revealed, I didn't really feel any sort of "shock value" so to speak, since it had been teased so many times previously that I already figured out what it was -- it was more of a feeling of "glad we finally got that out in the open," but there really wasn't any sort of shocking plot twist there. Which disappointed me a tiny bit for sure.

However, those were just *my* personal takes while I was reading! I'd still totally recommend picking this book up, because the small little things that bothered me a little bit with this book may not end up bothering you, so you might like this story even better!

Overall, I liked reading Don't Forget Me. It was adorable, heartfelt story that kept me turning pages from start to finish -- I managed to finish this entire book over the course of a night because I found myself wrapped in the story and intrigued with all of the characters. In the end, I'm glad I decided to pick up this book, because it gave me a deeply moving, emotional story that I enjoyed from start to finish.

May 25, 2018

May Scribbler Unboxing: Fight Scenes!

It's time for our my third unboxing of Scribbler, a new subscription box created by writers, for writers! Each month the box comes with writing tips and tricks, a new book, tons of cute supplies, and also an exclusive online video call invitation with someone involved in the writing/publishing fields. And boxes are only $30 a month -- and there are tons of pre-paid packages to choose from! So definitely head over to their website if you're interested.

Now, time to unpack the May box! This month's theme was Fight Scenes. I haven't ever really needed to deal with fight scenes in my stories before, but my current work in progress involves a lot of them, so this box came at the perfect time! Here's what the box looks like, and here's what came inside:

1. This month's writing passport!
An adorable little booklet that gives tons of super helpful information regarding writing successful fight scenes.

2. An exclusive invitation for a Skype chat with Marisa Russel.
Another thing that comes with the box each month is an exclusive Skype invitation for a chat with someone involved in the publishing field -- this month, it's Penguin publicist Marisa Russell!

3. The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green.
I mean, OMG. Just look at the fantastic packaging for this book! I was fangirling the entire time I was opening it.

4. An exclusive example of line edits from editor Jackie Cantor!
I won't show the actual line edits, as they were an exclusive for subscribers, but we got ten full pages of line edits to go through to see how agents and editors critique and help reshape a manuscript so it becomes the best that it can possibly be. I absolutely LOVED looking through this.

5. Adorable 3D Yoobi erasers.
Dinosaurs, giraffes, lions, French fries, apples, and ice cream -- all of these were adorable little 3D erasers that I immediately fell in love with!

6. A cute little pencil sharpener.
To go with the adorable pencils that I'll be mentioning in just a bit!

7. A cute little promo button from Penguin.
Another one to add to my tote where I collect all of my pins! Also, my dog insisted on being present in this picture and I couldn't get her to leave.

8. This adorable rose gold notebook.
Perfect for planning stories -- and it's also one of my favorite colors, which is a huge plus! I've only had the box opened for a little while and I've already busted this one open and gotten down to writing.

9. Cute "Write Your Heart Out" Pencils!
Which makes writing in the notebook all the more fun.

10. A "famous lines" poster from Penguin Teen.
I loved this poster so much as soon as I saw it that I immediately went out to buy a frame, and I'll be hanging it on my wall ASAP! It contains so much important lines from some of my favorite books and authors, which is extra exciting and inspirational! I made it extra large so you can see!

Overall, I really enjoyed opening the May box -- because I really needed help with writing successful fight scenes, and I know that this month's box can help me do that. I've decided that I'm going to keep my subscription (even though it was supposed to be ending this month!) because I'm so in love with all of the incredible stuff that this box has to offer. If you haven't subscribed to Scribbler yet and you're a current writer or an aspiring one, what are you waiting for? This is writer gold, people!

And now it's time to enjoy my May box while eagerly awaiting the June box, whose theme is Research -- something I totally need help with

Check out our March 2018 Scribbler Unboxing: Emotional Touchpoints!

Check out our April 2018 Scribbler Unboxing: POV!

May 24, 2018

ARC Review: The Leading Edge of Now by Marci Lyn Curtis

Title: The Leading Edge of Now
Author: Marci Lyn Curtis
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: ARC from author
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: Sept. 4th,2018

Summary: Just when Grace is beginning to get used to being an orphan, her estranged uncle suddenly comes forward to claim her. That might have been okay if he'd spoken to her even once since her father died. Or if moving in with Uncle Rusty didn't mean returning to New Harbor. 
Grace once spent the best summers of her life in New Harbor. Now the place just reminds her of all she's lost: her best friend, her boyfriend and any memory of the night that changed her forever. 
People say the truth will set you free, but Grace isn't sure about that. Once she starts looking for it, the truth about that night is hard to find --- and what happens when her healing hurts the people she cares about the most?

Oh man guys, I don't know where to start. First I want to thank Marci for giving us the chance to receive an ARC of this amazing book. Marci was able to transport me into a new world with this book. The way she wrote this novel left me feeling the heartbreak and betrayal as well as the love and happiness, like it was my own. 

Like it says in the summary, Grace is moving in with her uncle Rusty after two years of living as an orphan. She's moving back to New Harbor, a place she loved as a child, until one night that changed her entire life. Grace is now faced with the memory of that night everyday. As she begins to face the truth of what happened, she learns much more than she thought she knew and the truth may be more than she expected.

THE LEADING EDGE OF NOW was a wonderful story of personal growth, trust, and facing the truth. I loved everything about this book and can't even tell you how many times I cried. The character development was beautiful and Owen might just be the man of my dreams (yes, he's perfect). Grace was instantly my favorite character. She's a strong, young girl who just lost her dad and has to live with her distant uncle next to her ex best friend and ex boyfriend. She has a lot on her plate but walks with her head held hight either way. As you get to know Owen, Rusty, Janna, and the others, you realize just how close and caring everyone is with each other. It also made the truth even more shocking (which I wont spoil I promise). 

The title really caught my attention and after reading the book, it fit the story completely. Grace was truly on the leading edge of now as she was learning the truth. She had to face something no one should ever have to go through and in the end, she was able to get closure.

This book is a must read for everyone. You'll laugh and cry (maybe even at the same time). Be sure to check out our Q&A with Marci as well as entering our ARC giveaway located on the same page! I hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I did!