“You probably think you know who I am, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t. I used to be a bright star of a girl, but that girl burned out of existence, like a fire swept through my life and left nothing but ash and smoke.”-Mellie from ‘What They Don’t Know’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ I am very excited to bring you a book that discusses` a lot of very deep topics. Today we are reviewing the book ‘What They Don’t Know’ by Nicole Maggi, which was provided for review by Sourcebooks Fire & will be released tomorrow October 2nd, 2018. As always I will try to keep this review as spoiler free as possible however I will issue a trigger warning for the following subjects: rape, pro-life vs pro-choice debates, abortion, abuse of pills, harassment (if you are easily triggered by these topics then do not read this book). So this is definitely a book that requires A LOT of discussion so let’s get straight to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘What They Don’t Know’ revolves around two teenage girls named Mellie & Lise who live in a small, conservative town in Colorado. Although Mellie & Lise were friends as children, they have grown apart over the years but soon find themselves forever woven in each others lives. Mellie has grown up in a very strict, religious household, is a good student, & is determined to remain sexually abstinent until marriage. Unfortunately her entire world changes when she is raped at her home a few days before Christmas. Mellie soon discovers that she is pregnant & must wrestle with whether she should give the baby up for adoption or get an abortion. Feeling alone & unable to tell anyone about her assault, Mellie begins to question everything that she previously believed, & this lead her to some dark & scary places. On the other hand, Lise is a free-spirited tern who isn’t afraid to speak her mind & help anyone who needs her. This trait of helping anyone who needs it leads Lise to figure out Mellie’s secrets & stopping at nothing to help her. However, when helping Mellie risks Lise’s own secrets coming out in the open, Lise must decide if she really can help Mellie or if some places are just too dark to climb out of.
Ok I’m going to start off by saying that this is one of the most captivating books I’ve read all year. ‘What They Don’t Know’ takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, that will make you truly think about all of the topics in this story. Obviously this book is a 5 smiley face read, but I will say that you do have to be emotionally prepared when going into this one. Nicole Maggi has an incredible talent of making her truly become emotionally involved with the characters she creates. She is also able to present the topics brought up in this story in such a way that you feel as lost as Mellie regardless of your personal opinion on some of the topics. Also, I love how not every character reacts exactly the way you expect in certain situations in this book, which really gives you characters to root for. One concern that some people have had with this book is the depiction of Christian characters, however I truly disagree with this concern. Although I wish we did see more open-minded Christian characters, it’s perfectly believable to not see this due to the fact that Mellie’s parents have kept her far away from anyone who believes in things contrary to what they believe. Also, we do see that Mellie finds more open-minded Christian people towards the end of the book, which I think really helps Mellie’s growth as an individual feel more powerful, while allowing her to keep some of her religious foundation that makes her Mellie. The last thing I want to talk about is the fact that the two girls perspectives are told in journal entries, which really makes the narrative feel more personal, as if the girls are telling us this story themselves. I’m truly excited to read more from this author, & hope that everyone checks out ‘What They Don’t Know’.
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“I never meant for it to go the way it did. I swear. I just wanted to talk to someone. I didn’t mean to fall in love.”- Eric from ‘Follow Me Back’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘ Monday Memos’ we’re going to discuss a book called ‘Follow Me Back’, a psychological thriller that will definitely find a place among your TBR pile (or To Be Read for those of you who don’t speak BookTube) very soon. ‘Follow Me Back’ is the debut book from A.V. Geiger, one of the latest superstars to come out of the writing website Wattpad, and was provided for review by Sourcebooks Fire. On the outside this book seems like your typical Young Adult contemporary novel, but it quickly evolves into a story that will keep you mesmerized until the end. So now that you’re excited, let’s begin the review! Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Follow Me Back’ is a dual perspective novel that tells the story of 18 year old Tessa Hart who is a super fan of musician Eric Thorne. Tessa become famous within the Eric Thorne fandom when her fanfiction ‘Eric Thorne Obsessed’ goes viral. Due to her newfound internet fame, Tessa grabs the attention of fellow super fan MET (a screen name that stands for Mrs. Eric Thorne), as well as Eric’s management team. However, Tessa is harboring a deep secret that will eventually change her life forever. We also get insight into 18 year old superstar Eric’s deep resentment of his extreme fame, due to the fact that his fans seem to be more interested in his body than his music. When Eric creates a catfish Twitter account in order to ruin his own image, he sets off a series of events that will expose the dark sides of fame & obsession.
I feel like I have to start off this section by saying that not only is this a 5 smiley face book, but it broke the smiley face scale. Luckily the last few books I’ve reviewed have been very good reads, but this is undoubtedly the best book I’ll read this year. The characters are incredibly well developed & interesting, the plot grips you from the first word & never lets you go, & the twists and turns not only make perfect sense, but actually surprise you. Lastly, I really have to commend A.V. Geiger on her talent as a writer. She is able to perfectly jump between the perspectives of Tessa & Eric, while making their characters feel distinct and interesting. She is also able to use the tool of flashbacks through police reports to help her story become even more compelling. Needless to say I am so excited to not only read the sequel to this book, but to also add A.V. Geiger to my list of auto-buy authors. I am so excited to see where her career goes, & encourage all of you to invest in this duology TODAY!
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to discuss rising BookTuber/Lifestyle Guru ‘Basically Britt’. If you love channels that have really amazing, varied content then you gotta subscribe to this channel. Whether you like vlogs/book videos/or beauty & fashion videos you’ll find it all on `Basically Britt`. So now let’s get to why you’re here, the videos! Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
First up, we’re going to talk about is Britt’s ‘Best Books I’ve Read Because of BookTube’ video which was uploaded on March 26, 2016 (you can check out this video below). Now we’ve all been influenced by BookTube, Goodreads, or other reviews when it cones to books. If someone whose opinion you trust tells you that a book is good then that’s usually the next book you’ll pick up. Unfortunately sometimes this can lead to some not so great picks that add to your DNF (which means did not finish for those who don’t speak BookTube) pile. However, in this video we get to see some of the books that Britt was exposed to through BookTube that she ended up liking. It’s really fun when we get to see someone enjoying a book that they may have not known about without BookTube. The next video we’re going to discuss is her ‘MEETING KOALAS AND KANGAROOS | Backpacking Australia’ video, which was uploaded on November 16, 2017. This is such a cute vlog because we actually do get to see Koalas & Kangaroos! If you had to have a staycation this year (don’t worry I feel your pain), then this vlog will help you feel as if you did get to have exotic adventures this summer.
Next up we have Britt’s ‘Books, Beauty, & Fashion | Try On Haul |’ which was uploaded on February 25, 2018 (you can check out the video here). In this video we get to see more diversity on Britt’s channel through the inclusion of beauty products & clothes! It’s so interesting whenever YouTubers branch out of their niches, so this definitely shows us that we can expect lots of different, cool videos from Britt in the future. The last video we’re going to talk about is her ‘ON MY SHELF #3’ video which was uploaded on August 20th, 2018. In this video Britt asked her viewers to pick random numbers, then she choose a shelf & book number on that shelf & talked about that book. It was definitely a fun game to watch because you got you see Britt discuss books she may not normally comment about.
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review a YA contemporary book called ‘Lessons in Falling’ by Diana Gallagher, which was provided for review by Spencer Hill Press. This is a very interesting book about friendship, love race relations, & finding your own voice. Fair warning, this book does contain some racial slurs directed towards the Hispanic community as well as discussion about depression & attempted suicide, so if any of these subjects are triggering to you, this is your warning. So now let’s get to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Lessons in Falling’ is a young adult contemporary novel that revolves around the life of a young former gymnast named Savannah who has recently given up the sport due to an injury. Although Savannah can continue to compete in gymnastics, she spends most of the book running from the sport due to her overwhelming fear that she will fail. Also, throughout the book Savannah must deal with pressure from her family to continue her gymnastics career, pressure from her best friend Cassie to not continue, as well as fear that she will cause her family financial hardship by not receiving a gymnastics college scholarship like they always planned. Along with this, Savannah has to deal with some unwanted attention/consequences when she begins romance with a Hispanic classmate named Marcos, during a time when racial tensions are high in her school. Lastly, Savannah has to decide if Cassie (the person who she has always put all her faith in) truly has her best interests at heart, or if her best friend is actually stopping her from becoming the person she’s meant to be.
First of all I want to say that I really liked this book. It was an interesting story with characters that were well written, & a plot that kept you interested, & even surprised you from time to time. Savannah was a really good protagonist, because you never felt frustrated with her choices (even if you don’t agree with everything she does), & in the end you really feel yourself rooting for her. Marcos was a well written love interest who really complimented Savannah’s character, & who you also found yourself rooting for. The last character I wanted to discuss was Cassie. There are many points in the story that you’ll find yourself hating Cassie because of how she treats Savannah, but you also understand why she does what she does & in the end you find yourself hoping that Cassie can overcome her personal demons. There is so much more I’d like to talk about regarding this book, but I don’t want y’all you be stuck here all day. I would definitely give this book a rating of 5 smiley faces, & suggest that EVERYONE add it to their TBR.
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to discuss an amazing sister duo from the U.K. who have an AMAZING channel that you need to subscribe to right now. Seriously just go ahead & subscribe to them right this second, I’ll wait. Did you do it? Well if you need motivation to click on that subscribe button then continue reading & by the end of this post you’ll be convinced. Now let’s get to the videos. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The 1st video we’re going to discuss is Maddie and Bee’s ‘Top 5 Middle Grade Books!’ video, which was uploaded on January 30, 2015. I really loved this video because in it we not only get to see Maddie and Bee’s fun, bubbly personalities, but we also get a glimpse at their reading tastes. It’s also really fun to see how comfortable they are in front of the camera, which gives them a more inviting vibe. The next video we’re going to talk about is ‘Totally Should’ve Book Tag’, which was uploaded on April 27, 2016 (you can check out the video below). This is a really fun tag video that shows alot of interesting “should’ve” book scenarios that will have you thinking about your own answers to these questions. Again we get a deeper glimpse into who these BookTubers are as readers, which makes you feel like you’re talking about bookish things with your friends.
Next up we have Maddie and Bee’s ‘YA Romance Recommendations!’ video, which was uploaded on February 11, 2017. If you’re looking for some fun, interesting YA romance novels to end your summer with, then this video gives you some great places to start! Also, in this video you see how much more confident Maddie and Bee have grown in front of the camera by showing off their fun personalities even more, & really helping us feel as if we know them. The last video we’re discussing today is the ‘Our Collaborative Writing Process’ video, which was uploaded on May 22, 2018 (you can check out the video below). This has to be one of my favorite videos on their channel, because it really shows us how difficult it can be to colaborate with someone. In this video Maddie and Bee explain to us the mistakes they’ve made as a writing duo, and how they fixed these mistakes to form a better team. It’s really whenever you see YouTubers share their writing tips & tricks because then you can learn from their experience & apply it to your own writing. If you are an inspiring writer this is a MUST SEE video for you!
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“It’s all frivolous, meaningless. The only things that matter are already gone or almost gone. Already put aside in my safe, tidy compartment of lost things.”- Lena from ‘Who We Are Instead’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review a new book called ‘Who We Are Instead’ by Kyla Stone, which was provided by for review by ‘Paper Moon Press’. This is a very interesting book that touches on themes of loss, love, family, & finding your purpose in life. Fair warning this book does discuss mental illness, child abuse/neglect, drug/alcohol use, undetermined rape self-harm, & suicide, so if these issues are triggering to you, please don’t read this book, or proceed with caution. Now let’s get to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Who We Are Instead’ follows the dual perspectives of sisters Lena & Lux McKenna as they are forced to confront their individual personal demons when their father has a heart attack & is given a very small window of time to live. Lena must return home from her arts college where she is studying photography, & take on her role as “the responsible one”, while trying to resolve her issues with 18 year old “wild child” Lux. As we learn more about Lena, we see that issues from her childhood have cause her to become a more guarded & introverted person. Contrary to Lena, Lux has no desire to succeed in school, likes to party, smoke, do drugs, & drink a lot, & also leaves home for weeks at a time without informing anyone as to where she’s going.
So now we’ve reached the big question, is this book worth your time? Honestly the answer is a very loud yes! In this book we not only get to experience both girls perspectives, but also get a very strong sense of who they are as people, what has shaped them, & what’s important to them. We also get romance plots for both girls, & get introduced to Lux’s AMAZING childhood friends. I also really like that all of the characters we meet are flawed in some way of another, & the author does not attempt to redeem each of them which unfortunately does often mirror our own world very closely. With Lena & Lux’s stories we see how similar past experiences can cause different reactions in each person. We see that some people fight the past they are given to create the future they desire, while others run from their past in order to numb the pain & protect themselves. ‘Who We Are Instead’ gives us a very realistic & gripping tale of what can happen when a fractured family finally shatters, while also leaving the ending as ambiguous & open to promise as Lena & Lux themselves are. Definitely a 5 star read that’s will give you all the feels, but as also make you think about these very important issues.
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to review a very cool musician, who has found a way to merge her love of anime, with her love of music. If you haven’t heard of Amanda Lee (aka ‘LeeandLie` on YouTube), then you’re missing out on a uniquely talented singer/songwriter/voice actress. At the time of this blog post Amanda has over 1.2 million YouTube subscribers, & has worked on numerous anime/video game titles such as: Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Overlord II, One Piece, Anonymous Noise, Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2, Yandere Simulator, & many more. In 2017 she also released her debut EP which included 5 original songs co-written by Amanda. Needless to say she has become a rising star both online & in the voice acting industry, so now let’s catch all of y’all up with the amazingness that is Amanda Lee. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The first video we’re going to talk about is Amanda’s ‘Sword Art Online- Crossing Field (Opening) [English ver]’ cover video, which was uploaded on September 2, 2012 (you can check out this video below). This is a very interesting video that really shows a unique take on this song. It’s very cool to see Amanda change the original Japanese lyrics into original English lyrics that still fit the beat of the music, but show her original take on the song. This skill shows that Amanda was a true artist even towards the beginning of her career. The next video we’re going to talk about is her ‘Dango Daikazoku (Ending) |English ver |’ cover video which was uploaded on February 22, 2014. Just in the 1 year & 5 months between this video & the Sword Art Online video, you can see a vast improvement in Amanda’s vocals, which shows just how dedicated she is to her craft. This cover is also a great example of how well Amanda can project the emotional undertones of a song, & really make her listener understand what the lyrics are trying to convey.
Next up we have Amanda’s ‘Pokemon – Pokemon Theme (Full Opening)’ video which features Natewantstobattle, which was uploaded on December 12, 2016 (you can check out this video below). This is definitely one of my favorite videos because it shows such a growth in Amanda’s artistry & video production skills. This video features revolving animation from all of the Pokemon generations from the 90s until present day which so unique & cool. This video shows the amount of thought Amanda puts into her videos, which proves how much she cares about her subscribers having a great experience on her channel. Lastly we have her ‘Debut EP Hourglass – Digital + Physical copies [Pre-Order NOW] video’, which was uploaded on August 14, 2017. This video features snippets of all 5 original songs on the ‘Hourglass’ EP, & really gives you a sense of Amanda’s personal musical style. In this EP the musical styles range from Pop, to Rock, to even EDM based. It definitely shows that Amanda is very comfortable as an artist, & that she will continue to impress us all as her career continues to grow.
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“…it feels a little like it was during those days and weeks after we were born— like we’re all still part of one greater whole. The older we get, the more we all stretch into our own identities, but I still love the reminder that we started out together”. -Reagan from ‘Four Of A Kind’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we have a new book review courtesy of Patchwork Press. Today we’re going to change things up a little bit by reviewing 2 books in 1 blog post. I was given the AMAZING opportunity to not only review the 1st book in a new series, but also the prequel novella. Because of how the books are written, it just makes more sense to give you all of my thoughts in 1 review so you can truly know if this series is for you. So 1st up we’re briefly discuss the novella entitled ‘Where We Were’, followed up by the 1st main book in the series called ‘Four Of A Kind’, both written by Kellie Sheridan. So now on to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
In ‘Where We Were’ we meet our 4 central characters: 14 year old quadruplets Reagan, Reece, Reilly, & Rhiannon Donovan who are in the process of moving from their home in Richmond, Virginia to a small town in another state called Fairview. Throughout the book we get alternating chapters in which each girl narrates what’s going on in each of their lives in the final weeks before their move. This novella does a really great job of showing us each girl’s individual personality, as well as what their sister’s think of them through the use of a quote before each chapter begins. ‘Where We Were’ perfectly sets the stage for the beginning of ‘Four Of A Kind’, which is told from Reagan’s perspective & begins once the girls have moved to Fairview. We immediately see that the entire town has such a fascination with the girls’ birth, that they are minor celebrities in town. The story follows the girls (through Reagan’s eyes) as they deal with typical teenage drama such as friend & relationship issues, as well as trying to find their own identities in a town that watches their every move.
So now that you know the plot, let’s look at the book a little closer. First of all , Reagan is one of my new favorite protagonists. She is relatable, interesting, and most of all someone who you don’t mind spending the entire book with. She wasn’t a perfect character, but she was the kind of person that you can definitely see yourself befriending in real life. Now let’s move on to the love interest Kent, the son of a local reporter. Thank goodness for Kent! It is SOOOO hard to find a love interest in young adult literature that is loveable. They do exist, but they’re hard to find. I know that we are all tired of the bad-boy, the rebel with a heart of gold, the emotionally/physically abusive guy that our protagonist falls for because they’re “wounded inside”, basically the ‘you should never actually date this guy trope’. With Kent we don’t see any of this, instead we get a nice, friendly guy from beginning to end, he respects Reagan & honestly always seems to want what’s best for her. I thought that at some point he would turn on Reagan to help his mother write a scandalous story about her & her sisters but he never did. Needless to say there is definitely a great need for more characters like Kent in young adult literature. Next I really want to compliment the author on her awesome writing style. Although the story is told from Reagan’s point of view, you really feel like you get a sense of each sister’s personality. In both stories each sister is instantly identifiable, & none of them feel as if they get lost in the plot. We also get some diversity through the character of Reilly when we find out that she’s a lesbian. Although this is not thoroughly explored, it also doesn’t feel like a tacked on label in order to check the diversity box, but instead a real part of who the character is. Honestly there is so much that I can & do want to say about this book, but I would have you here all week. This is one of those truly great books that you instantly know will be one of your favs as soon as you finish it, & this definitely made this author an auto-buy author for me. With all that said I HAVE to give these books a 5 smiley face rating because I will DEFINITELY be re-reading them again this year, & look forward to reading the sequels that are already out, & any additional books in the series that are released in the future.
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