Follow Me Back

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Title: Follow Me Back

Author: A.V Geiger 

Published: March 22nd, 2016

Pages: 359

Genre: Young Adult Novel & Realistic Fiction

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Received as a Christmas gift- print!

 

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Goodreads Description: 

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…Wreath(13)-Black

 

Things I enjoyed about this book: 

I enjoy when a book incorporates technology and does it well. I thought the integration was great and easy to follow between actual writing and twitter conversations. It had a fun plot that is appealing to teens, especially ones who consider themselves fangirls. I wanted to keep reading it to see where A.V Geiger was going to take me. A relationship formed between me and the characters, something I find important for an author to accomplish.

The Things I Didn’t Enjoy: 

This section might be longer than it should be… Tessa has a phobia that is slowly piece together throughout the book, it was so spread out and vague that it was hard to keep up. How her mother reacted to the phobia was not how I picture a mother reacting, but maybe she needed to be that type of mom to carrying out the ending. This book was full of romance as well, not what I was expecting. Because Eric was a pop star and Tessa was a plain Jane, I did have a hard time fathoming there “meet cute.” The part that I am still up in the air about, whether I liked it or hated it, was the ending. To me it felt like a last minute add on…but the more I think about it, was it?

MRS BIRDS WORDS REVIEW

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A.V Gieger deserves 3 out of the 5 bird feathers. Finding someone to fall in love with isn’t always easy, especially if you’re doing it online. Eric and Tessa managed though, or so we think? This book fits in with the current generation of teens, all communication is done through technology. It has lots of tweet sessions and police reports. I wanted to love this novel more, and maybe with time I will. I enjoyed the beginning, but felt like the middle was slow and the ending was just a sucker punch to the face. The ending left me feeling more confused then satisfied and curious. The overall book was a fun read, but once you start taking it apart things get a little mucky.  I would say it’s a fun quick read, but not move to the top of the list to read book.

Parent’s Guide:

A.V Gieger kept this one relatively clean! Something I always admire about authors. I would let me 14/15 year old read this. There were a few swear words, and a few mentions of sex, but nothing more. It’s a good intro to mystery and thrillers, you know get them ready for Liane Morirarty and Stephen King…

(C)LVB2017

 

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The Way I Used to Be.

the-way-i-used-to-be-9781481449366Title: The way I used to Be

Author: Amber Smith

Published: March 22nd, 2016

Pages: 385

Genre: Young Adult Novel & Realistic Fiction

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Listened to on Overdrive

 

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Goodreads Description: 

In the tradition of Speak, this extraordinary debut novel shares the unforgettable story of a young woman as she struggles to find strength in the aftermath of an assault.

Eden was always good at being good. Starting high school didn’t change who she was. But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s world capsizes.

What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she thought she knew to be true, is now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened but she can’t. So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Told in four parts—freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior year—this provocative debut reveals the deep cuts of trauma. But it also demonstrates one young woman’s strength as she navigates the disappointment and unbearable pains of adolescence, of first love and first heartbreak, of friendships broken and rebuilt, and while learning to embrace a power of survival she never knew she had hidden within her heart. Wreath(13)-Black

MRS BIRDS WORDS REVIEW

This past week was rough and I think that it can be attributed to this book. I am glad I read it to gain exposure into this type of realist fiction, but it was draining. I felt anger for Eden and for the way her life played out. I know other reviewers have felt the same. The subject -sexual assault- was what drove the plot of TWIUB. Something I have learned after immersing myself in many books of this genre is  we can’t judge someone’s journey of recovery from sexual assault.

Things I enjoyed about this book: 

My favorite part of this novel was that it followed the span of her entire high school career. It’s not often we get to watch a character develop through the years unless it’s a series. This book had a steady plot flow, I never felt like it was dragging and enjoyed the climax at the end. For the most part I was satisfied with the ending. I think it is important to write on these heavy subjects to show readers they don’t have to keep assault a secret, it’s okay to speak up. The book ended with a supportive message to it’s readers, to seek help if they need it.

The Things I Didn’t Enjoy: 

I did not enjoy what this book did to my mood. It was hard to feel happy because of down spiral that Eden experienced. I think that reflects me more than the authors product. And perhaps that is what she intended for the reader to feel, I felt somewhat of the pain Eden did as I lived through her eyes.

Overall:  

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Amber Smith deserves 3 bird feathers for The Way I Used to Be. I didn’t have an overwhelming sense of love for this book but I also didn’t hate it. It was middle of the field. There came a point where I wanted to stop listening, but I wanted to see what happened to Eden. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone. Perhaps to those who are a little dark and twisty like me, but it was a book definitely written for a particular audience. If you do read it, read it with caution and let your significant other know you might be a little grumpy for awhile.

Parent’s Guide:

This book was full of F$^% bombs. I listened to the entire thing on headphones. It is defiantly one I would co-read and/or discuss with your teen. The books extensively about rape and is detailed. I think it is important to help our teens learn about these subjects but also help them digest it to a point where they can cope with in a healthy way. There also was a lot of use of cigarets, drugs, alcohol, and casual sex. I think I would wait for my child to be 16/17+ to read.

(C)LVB2017

 

32621710Title: Goodbye Days

Author: Jeff Zentner 

Published: March 7th,  2017

Pages: 405

Genre: Young Adult Novel & Realistic Fiction

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers

Listened to on Audible 

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Goodreads Description: 

What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

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MRS BIRDS WORDS REVIEW

Something I always fret about is the concept that we never truly know the ramifications of our actions. Will they be life altering or merely nod worthy. This book plays out the ramifications of one text sent by Carver to his 3 best friends. Carver’s mind is full of what if’s and and guilt. Through the complicated aftermath Carver begins to rebuild himself through the memories of his friends. The concept of a “Goodbye day” was wonderful. An opportunity to cope, celebrate, and let go. It was a great book that kept me engaged until the end. You learn a lot about life and learning to live with the natural consequences.

Things I enjoyed about this book: 

This book was well written and had great character development. I listened to it, and defiantly enjoyed hearing with the accent, it made me feel like I was really there. This book tackled some heavy subjects that need to be addressed with teens, including texting and death. I think it is important to normalize therapy and the benefits it can have, I thought this book did a good job of that. The storyline was intriguing and I feel in love with each of their lives.

The Things I Didn’t Enjoy: 

The one thing I didn’t agree with or appreciated, was when the author, Jeff, referenced the court case where a teenage girl texted her boyfriend and encouraged him to commit suicide and compared it to texting a friend while driving. Carver knew that his friends were driving, but his intention was not to kill them, it didn’t cross his mind.  I think there is a vast difference between encouraging suicide and texting. While I disagree with both, I don’t think they are comparable in the slightest. What do you think?

Overall:  

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Jeff Zentner deserves 4 out of 5 bird feathers for this one. I am always a sucker for young adult fiction and tragedy, it’s my jam. I’d feel confident recommending this one anyone! I am looking forward to reading Jeff’s other novels.

Parent’s Guide:

This book did contain foul language and the major theme is death and loss. I think there is a great need for books like this to show the dangers of texting and driving. It would be a great opportunity for a parent – child discussion post read. I think one of the most important things is to help your teen digest what they read!

(C)LVB2017

Far from the Tree

33830437Title: Far from the Tree

Author: Robin Benway

Published: October 3rd, 2017

Pages: 384

Genre: Young Adult Novel & Realistic Fiction

Publisher: Harperteen 

Listened to on Audible 

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Goodreads Description: 

A contemporary novel about three adopted siblings who find each other at just the right moment.

Being the middle child has its ups and downs.

But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including—

Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties. Having grown up the snarky brunette in a house full of chipper redheads, she’s quick to search for traces of herself among these not-quite-strangers. And when her adopted family’s long-buried problems begin to explode to the surface, Maya can’t help but wonder where exactly it is that she belongs.

And Joaquin, their stoic older bio brother, who has no interest in bonding over their shared biological mother. After seventeen years in the foster care system, he’s learned that there are no heroes, and secrets and fears are best kept close to the vest, where they can’t hurt anyone but him.

Wreath(13)-Black

MRS BIRDS WORDS REVIEW

When I looked into the eyes of after a long and excruciating labor and c-section I knew it was a new kind of love. A love I had never felt before, all of my hopes and dreams seeped from my soul into her tiny hands. I knew that she was now my life. Trying to imagine giving up my child was unfathomable and is something I won’t have to ever experience. That is one of the many reasons I love to read, it gives me a small insight into another person’s experiences, broadening my ability to be empathetic and understanding. Robin did a wonderful job at portraying the lives of three teens who found their families through a more unconventional journey.  Robin allowed us to see into the world of adoption and foster care, things I wish we talked more openly about. Life isn’t about walking in a straight line to the finish, it’s the twists and turns that help us grow along the way.

Things I enjoyed about this book: 

When authors follow multiple characters, sometimes it can be hard to keep up with each story, this wasn’t the case. I was able to easily follow Grace, Maya, and Joaquin. I loved how their lives began to intertwine and could sense the strength of their sibling relationship by the end. Far from the Tree had me feeling a range of emotions up until the last page. It has been compared to the show “This is Us,” on NBC, and I can see the comparison. I thought the character development was well done and left me with a feeling I knew each one by the end!

The Things I Didn’t Enjoy: 

I can’t think of anything at this point, but if I do, I will add it!

Overall:  

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I would give Robin Benway’s newest novel 5 out of 5 bird feathers. It had me from the start all the way to the last page. The characters became my friends, and was happy with their happily ever afters. The idea of learning more about adoption and the foster care, even it is fiction, helped me understand the aspects I had never even considered. Overall, it is a great read or listen!

Parent’s Guide:

This book did contain foul language, a lot of F%$# throughout the book, and it discussed teen pregnancy, which every parent should be open about with their teenagers. Overall, I didn’t think it would be fine for a teenager to read with a great message about family.

(C)LVB2017

Hug Me

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Title:  Hug Me

Author: Simona Ciraolo 

Published: September 16th, 2014

Pages: 32 Pages

Genre: Children’s Fiction, Children’s Picture Book

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Checked out at Parker, Colorado Library

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Goodreads Description 

Ever feel like you need a hug, a really big hug from someone? That’s how Felipe the young cactus feels, but his family just isn’t the touchy-feely kind. Cactuses can be quite prickly sometimes you know . . . and so can Felipe. But he’ll be darned if this one pointy issue will hold him back, so one day Felipe sets off on his own to find a friend and just maybe, that long awaited hug.

In her debut picture book, Simona Ciraola creates an endearing tale of friendship, beautifully illustrated with buoyant wit and the perfect story to share.

Wreath(13)-Black

Mrs Birds Words Review

It’s not always easy to express what we need to fulfill our emotional needs. It’s even more frustrating when you have built up the courage to vocalize them and they are not met. This story was absolutely adorable and it’s not just because I have a thing for cacti after spending a few years in Arizona. What drew me to this book initially, was the cover. The art in this book is very well done and made every page enjoyable. Hug Me illustrated to the reader how to handle the need for physical affection and a friend. I loved the premise and outcome of this Children’s Book. I felt the overall message was, no matter who you are or what you look like, there is a friend out there waiting for you. You might feel alone at some point, but the point will end.

 

Things I Enjoyed

As I mentioned above, I felt the overall theme for this book was perfect. One every child should read and start to understand. Emotions are not an easy thing to master, and this book was a good start. The art was captivating for the reader and allowed the story to flow. I won’t give away the ending, but my mom heart was bursting. I was able to talk to my 2 year old about friendship and how to be accepting of others differences.

 

Things I didn’t Enjoy

There was only thing that I would change. I did feel like the ending was abrupt, I wish they would have elaborated the new friendship a little more.

Overall

blackorangegreenstripesbluepurpledotThis book deserves all five feathers! It was able to keep my attention and my toddlers, which is not an easy task. I would defiantly check this book out from the library, it is one I would also consider purchasing. Snuggle up on the couch with your child and enjoy a fun read! Use this book as an opportunity to talk to your child and see what they learned from it, and then guide them a little bit. After you have read it, let me know what you think!

 

(C)LVB2017

 

 

Turtles All the Way Down.

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Title: Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green

Published: October 10th, 2017

Pages: 304

Genre: Young Adult Novel & Realistic Fiction

Publisher: Dutton Books

Checked out on OverDrive- Audio Book

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Goodreads Description: 

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

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MRS BIRDS WORDS REVIEW

Trapped in your own mind with no way out, all you can see is black, you have your own desires but can’t fulfill them. There is something or someone else in your mind, planting a seed of doubt each thought waters it and it continues to grow and fester, finally filling every space in your mind. Your mind is full, you are never alone. That was my interpretation of living with OCD according to Aza. I am a huge fan of Realistic Fiction; I think it highlights the hard to talk about subjects in society. John Greene did a wonderful job portraying the reality of mental illness and opened it up for conversation. It was one of the strong points of this book. John was able to captivate the audience with the in-depth pain that Aza suffered and this is my guess as to why the book has been rated so highly.

Things I enjoyed about this book: 

Aza was a character who came to life for me. When she appeared trapped, I felt trapped with her. I was able to empathize with her every step of the way. I enjoyed her friendship with Daisy and how it reflected the effects that mental illness have on those around us. I thought she gave a clear picture of the highs and lows of someone who constantly interacts with someone with mental illness. My love for Daisy grew towards the end when you learn more about the depth of their relationship and her desire be there for Aza no matter what.

I’ve only read a few John Green books, but continuing with his common theme, there was a romantic relationship. Davis was a strong character, he had to be to survive what he was going through and to be the support his brother needed. I admired his patience with Aza and did get the overall sense he cared for her.

The Things I Didn’t Enjoy: 

The whole plot line was odd and to me seemed unbelievable. It could have been a stronger book without the missing billionaire plot line attached because the character development was well done, everything else diminished the storyline for me.

The author also stayed true to his self by making the protagonist a female who needed help in some way, and to no avail a charming young man came to the rescue, well for the most part. I wanted to see her succeed on her own, and maybe that’s what happened in the end and I was just too caught up on the center focus of his portrayal of Aza.

The climax of this book just didn’t feel like a climax, without spoiling it, I felt like most of the novel was even toned with a few speed bumps here and there. Never did I find myself gasping for breath with a shocking turn of events. Which for some readers is a great thing, but for Gillian Flynn junkies like myself, it was a little slow.

Overall:  

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I would give John Green’s newest novel a 3 out of 5 bird feathers. While I am grateful for his portrayal of mental illness I felt the plot line fell flat. I wanted more from the story. I would love to hear your thoughts on this story, especially if they differ from mine!

 

Parent’s Guide:

This book did contain foul language but was not a consistent theme and there was occasional talk about sex. I would let my teen read it, but would want to either discuss throughout or at the end to make sure the teen knew where to turn if they or a friend needed help dealing with a mental illness.

If you are having mental health problems and need help please call (1‑877‑726‑4727) or go to http://www.mentalhealth.gov. Don’t be ashamed about what you are going through. It is real and it isn’t easy.

(C)LVB2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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