I’m not crying, you’re crying: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt [ARC Review]

orbiting jupiter reviewOrbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
Published on December 31 2015
Tags: Contemporary, Middle Grade, Young Adult

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N 

Source: ARC  (NetGalley)

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A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.

What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.

I received a free ARC ebook copy from Penguin Random House UK via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I was so happy to find this NetGalley even though it was published over a year ago, as it’s been on my TBR for quite some time now. I had wanted to read this book because I kept seeing reviews that talked about how it made them ugly cry and it intrigued me. 

I WAS STILL NOT PREPARED.

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My problem with New Adult: Come What May by A.M. Arthur [ARC REVIEW]

29505971Come What May by A.M. Arthur
Series: All Saints #1
Expected publication on May 23rd 2016 by Carina Press 
Tags:
New Adult, Romance, LGBTQIA
Buy: Amazon | B&N

Source: NetGalley

Rating:  photo three stars_zpsohkkn6ww.png

Jonas needs Tate. He just doesn’t know it yet.

Or at least, he doesn’t want to admit it. Because there is no way Jonas Ashcroft is gay. He’s a straight, carefree frat boy player, just like any good son of a conservative state senator. If only his struggle to convince everyone—especially himself—didn’t leave him so miserable. No matter how many girls or bottles he drowns himself in, Jonas can neither escape nor accept who he is.


Enter Tate. He’s smart, confident, and instantly sees right through Jonas’s surly exterior. Sure, he’s done things in life he’s not proud of, but he knows who he is and what he wants. And what he wants is Jonas. As their easy friendship intensifies into something more, Tate introduces Jonas to a life he’s never known. One filled with acceptance and sex and a love that terrifies and excites them both.


But some inner demons refuse to be shaken off so easily. When Jonas’s old life barges in, he faces a shattering choice, one that could destroy everything he and Tate have fought so hard for. Sometimes love just isn’t enough—and sometimes it’s exactly what you need.

 I received a free copy by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The thing with New Adult, or at least my impression of New Adult, is that it’s not really anything new or exciting all that often. No new plots, new characters, or new relationships. To me, this is nothing different from what I read on AO3 every day and have been reading online every day for the last decade or so. 

ARC Review: Getting Him Back by K.A. Mitchell

k.a. mitchellGetting Him Back by K.A. Mitchell
Series: Ethan and Wyatt 1#
Published by Carina Press in February 2016
Pages: 133

Genres:
New Adult, LGBTQIA, Contemporary, Romance
Source:
 NetGalley
Buy:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble
Rating: gay books

An unexpected fresh start leads to an unlikely-but-absolutely-perfect pairing in this male/male new-adult novel from bestselling gay romance author K.A. Mitchell

Ethan may have followed his high school sweetheart to college only to get dumped his first day there, but he’s not going to let that stop him from exploring all his new life has to offer. Sex-only hookups, his photography, new friends and a campus-wide game of zombies vs humans all help keep his mind off his broken heart and move him toward building a new, better life without his ex.

And then there’s Wyatt. Mysterious, grouchy—hot. And possibly not gay. But Ethan’s not going to let that stand in the way of figuring out what makes Wyatt tick. New college goal? Get Wyatt into bed and into Ethan’s life.


Step one: arrange a “tutoring” date. Step two: “accidentally” bump into Wyatt as often as possible. Step three: explore the sexy body under that ever-present hoodie. And when their friendship deepens into something neither of them expect, convince Wyatt he’s not just a pity fling or a one-time hookup, but that Ethan is in it for the long haul.

I received a free ebook copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

First off, I don’t think the synopsis does a good job of really describing the novel. Or short-story maybe, because it’s very short, it’s a couple thousand words shorter than a NaNoWriMo story. I think the synopsis is talking about a book much longer than this one, because Getting Him Back is too short to really be about all these things the synopsis claims is in the book. Sure, it mentions some of it, but it’s not part of the plot. At all. Sex-only hookups? Not really. Photography? I can’t even remember that. New friends? They’re there, I guess. Zombie vs. humans? It’s there, kind of, but doesn’t really have any significance. 

The plot is basically 1) Ethan arrives at campus looking for boyfriend 2) Boyfriend breaks up with him 3) Ethan is sad/angry 4) Ethan needs info about ex-boyfriend so he makes ex-boyfriend’s grumpy but cute roommate tutor him 5) Grumpy but cute roommate likes him??? 6) Ethan hooks up with ex-boyfriend’s grumpy but cute roommate 5) Some angst 6) The end

But even though it should have been longer, I thought this was incredibly cute, I was smiling almost all the way through and towards the end I even felt a little tug on my heartstrings because of the angst. I think that if you view this book as simply a small slice-of-life type story then it works. Don’t expect a deep plot or grand character development, but simply expect a little peek into Ethan and Wyatt’s lives. 

I read a hell of a lot of fanfiction. A lot. This reads a lot like one because of how it’s built up. I don’t read a lot of NA, maybe it’s like that a lot? There’s nothing new here for me, I’ve read it all before, I’ve even read about this couple before, but who cares, it was cute and I enjoyed it. Ethan and Wyatt as a couple is my favorite type of couple. You know, the couple where one is sunshine, kittens and rainbows while the other one is a tiny grump with a filthy mouth and a bad attitude.

“I didn’t realize that a smile from someone who acted like they didn’t know how to meant a lot more than one from someone who smiled at everyone.”

So not surprisingly, they reminded me of my OTP, Ian and Mickey from Shameless US. Really, Wyatt is basically Mickey. And since Mickey is my all-time favorite character you better believe Wyatt moved into my heart. 

gay booksgif by tinkrdust

Slight spoiler maybe? What set this book apart a little is Wyatt and his Waardenburg Syndrome. The moment Ethan noted that Wyatt had a white streak in his hair I knew it, and I was excited, because I haven’t seen a character with Waardenburg in a book before. I only know about this syndrome because of Stef on youtube, she’s absolutely adorable. 

I really do wish this had been longer, a lot of things could have done with some expansion, but it was adorable and I’m happy. 

I have to add that I loved that this book used the term “dude-bro.” 

k.a. mitchell

Do you read a lot of NA? What do you think about it? Have you read this particular one? Discuss! 

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Review: Tabatha by Neil Gibson

Tabatha by Neil Gibson
Published by: TPub
Expected publication: November 3rd 2015
Pages: 141
Genres: Graphic Novel, Horror, Sci-Fi
Buy: Amazon
Rating:
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READ A FREE SAMPLE HERE.

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I received a free eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads synopsis

Luke works as a mailman in Los Angeles and moonlights as a thief – the empty houses on his postal route are rich, easy pickings for him and his friends. Everything goes to plan until one house turns out to not quite be so empty. The situation spirals out of control, leaving the happy go lucky thieves battling for their lives. And all because of Tabatha.

I don’t read graphic novels often, but I’ve always wanted to get into the habit. I read a lot of comics as a kid though and I had a manga phase that lasted a couple of years. I figured this sounded pretty cool and since it is a “read now” book on Netgalley I decided to go for it. 

The art is pretty awesome and colorful, I liked the look of it. I would have liked it to be a touch scarier at times, but that’s all right. I thought the villain looked quite stereotypical, and I don’t even read that many comic books or graphic novels but I know I’ve seen villains like that before. But for all I know it’s an intentional reference/homage so I can’t say anything about that. 

The story itself is pretty dark and contains a bit of gore. I like that, but some don’t, so I’m just putting it out there. But the genre is horror, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s dark. 

I had no idea what this would be about except from what’s in the synopsis, and that’s how I prefer it. I like being surprised (as long as it’s a good surprise). I didn’t think Tabitha would be what she was, I thought that was really interesting. I liked that we got to see the villain’s backstory so we could gradually see him losing it. I think most people will see the ending coming, but it was still pretty creepy. I’d read a continuation to find out what happens. 

I also liked the relationship between the two brothers, I thought that was sweet. Oh, and the older brother’s music taste (Backstreet Boys and Carly Rae Jepsen) made me laugh. Loved that little detail. 

Something prevented me from being in love with it though, I’m not quite sure what, but I did enjoy it. Maybe I’d have liked there to be a bit more to the characters. 

Review: Mad About the Hatter by Dakota Chase

Mad About the Hatter by Dakota Chase
Published by: Harmony Inc Press
on August 20th 2015
Pages: 190
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBTQIA, RomanceFairytale Retelling,
Insta-love?
 Yes
Buy: Amazon
Rating:
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I received a free ebook copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A retelling of Alice in Wonderland with Alice’s brother in a relationship with the Mad Hatter? Sign me up. Plus I adore both the cover and the clever title of this book, so those were some good draws too. 

Henry, Alice’s younger brother, never believed his sister’s tales of Wonderland and has deemed her crazy. Then he finds himself in this strange Wonderland, being escorted to the Red Queen by someone called Hatter. The two don’t like each other at all. Until they do. 

Let me start by saying that this book isn’t heavy with action. It’s not exactly slow per se, but I didn’t feel like that much was happening. I somehow felt that it pretended a lot was happening but in reality there was just a lot of walking back and forth and easily avoiding dangerous obstacles. If you prefer books to have more action and things constantly happening, then maybe this book won’t be for you. If you don’t mind a slower pace and if you like “going on an adventure” books and cute M/M romances then go for it. 

The book alternates between two POVs, Henry’s and the Hatter’s. We get to see Henry being confused with and frustrated by the workings of Wonderland, and we get to see Hatter’s nonchalant reaction to it all. 

I really liked Hatter. He’s funny and charming, and I enjoyed the chapters from his perspective. I found myself chuckling a lot through his chapters. At one point in the second half of the book I wish one chapter (or was it more than one? I can’t remember if these particular scenes took place during more chapters) was Hatter’s point of view instead of Henry’s. It was still funny, but the other way around would have been much funnier. It would have been very interesting to see our own mundane world through the eyes of someone used to a world with magic. “Magic” is so subjective, anything you’re not used to can seem magical, and we see that in Mad About the Hatter

“Your world is amazing, Henry! First popped corn and moving pictures of giants, then this Pete’s Ah. It’s wonderful!”

What I said above about magic being everywhere, in “the eye of the beholder” so to speak, is one of the themes I found in this story. It’s a nice sort of moral and I didn’t feel like it was spoon fed to me like many of the other morals in this book. I got a bit annoyed by the way some things were spelled out to me as if I wouldn’t get it otherwise. Yes the Red Queen is only human, no your size alone doesn’t make you superior, we don’t need an entire paragraph (or paragraphs!) where this is spelled out directly. There are other ways to include morals like these without underestimating the reader’s intelligence. These were cases of telling instead of showing. If it was a children’s book it might be different, but this is teen and young adult and neither teen nor young adult need to be talked to like children. 

There was a lot of unnecessary repetition. Like the above it was like the author didn’t think we’d get it unless she reminded us of something from just a couple pages or chapters back. For example, Hatter thinks about his curse several times and the reasons why he doesn’t like it. The impact would have been better if that information had been spared until he tells Henry about it later.  

This book also set off my insta-love alarm. Granted, it is a fairytale, but still. If that is something that grinds your gears to the point where it completely turns you off then you might want to skip this. It’s still cute but it develops way too fast for me. How long has it been, a few days? I doubt you love him after a few days of just walking around. Despite this the book wasn’t romance heavy, which only made the insta-love stand out even more, in a not-so-good way. I just didn’t buy it. 

I thought this book was charming and funny, but it didn’t do much for me outside of that. I think it might be a better fit for someone a bit younger than me. I rate books mostly based on how much I enjoyed reading them, so because of that I’m giving it 2.5/5. Not terrible, I didn’t hate it, but nothing special either.