Review: Rules of Rain by Leah Scheier

34351044

It’s fairly easy to find a story about young people dealing with various issues.  It’s more difficult, though, to find one dealing with the siblings of those young people.  So I’m usually highly optimistic when such a story comes across my radar.  This one did not disappoint.

Rain has always taken care of her twin brother Ethan.  As the sister of a person with autism, her life has its own obstacles.  But she rises to each challenge, putting Ethan’s needs before hers.  She eventually finds out just how difficult it is to put her life on old for everyone else.  And the hardest part may be realizing that Ethan doesn’t need her as much as he used to.

This is a book with a solid storyline.  It’s enjoyable and believable.  The little sidenotes from Rain’s blog make it even more so.  Four stars!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Rules of Rain

Advertisements

Review: Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

** spoiler alert ** This was hard for me. I just found it a bit far-fetched. I know bad parents exist. I know they hide from the system. However, I find it very hard to believe that Ginny was able to be place for adoption so soon and that no one discovered about baby doll. I understand that no one asked the correct questions for Ginny to explain that the baby doll was real, I just find it hard to believe that social workers never discovered her. Especially since it was obvious Ginny’s mother didn’t want to give up custody. You add to the fact that Ginny’s mother is kinda portrayed as not very intelligent, unstable and very impulsive, well it doesn’t make sense to then have her smart enough and level-headed enough to be able to hide the existence from the authorities. I feel like there would have been some supervised visits between Ginny and her mother before adoption was placed on the table. Especially since drugs were involved and Ginny’s mom went into treatment voluntarily. Maybe it’s different in other states, but when I worked within the system it was evident that the main purpose of the system is to try all means to keep families intact. Even those that (I feel) have no business intact or with parents I felt should never have second chances.

Also, the adoptive mother….I get the whole protective mother thing and maybe even postpartum depression (giving her the benefit of the doubt here) but I just don’t understand the relationship at all. I do get that Ginny might have been very difficult, but still. To turn off like that and then at the end for us all to believe in a HEA ending…it was just too much. Again, I worked within a small part of the system, so I understand that people like this do exist…but it just didn’t mesh for me like it should have in this story.

Even Ginny’s doctor didn’t seem to understand the proper way to communicate with her at times. Yes, I get it. But as a trained professional, she should have understood the basics.

I hope my review is clear, I didn’t dislike Ginny. Or even the story. And certainly not the plight that all the characters found themselves in. I just think the things I mentioned left too much of a stretch for my imagination to believe. It really ruined the whole book for me.

Until next time…
Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

Review: Blame by Nicole Trope

29892846

Being a parent is not an easy job.  On the very best of days, children fill us with warmth and joy and hope for the future.  On the very worst of days, they make us wonder what ever made us think we could do the whole parenting thing.  And fair or not, mothers seem to carry an unfair share of the burden.  But still, we keep doing it because of the love.  What happens, though, when your child is not easily loved?  What does a mother do when you are blessed, or challenged, with a child so difficult that on most days you just barely get by?

Anna seemed to find Caro just when she needed her the most.  As the mother of a young child with autism, she finds herself sinking deeper and deeper into herself.  Then Caro reaches out to her, and a friendship is born.  Although they have daughters around the same age, their lives couldn’t be more different.  But their close bond withstands that.

Until the night that Maya is killed in a tragic accident.  Who is to blame?  Is it Caro, who was driving the vehicle?  Or is it Anna, who maybe wasn’t as vigilant as she knew she needed to be?  Their friendship is tested in ways they never thought possible as the truth is slowly unraveled.

I loved the style of this story.  The author alternates between Anna and Caro, narrating from the perspective of each.  Most of the story takes place as each is being interrogated by detectives.  We think we know who is at fault, and then we change our minds.  The author drags it out until almost the very end.  An excellent read!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Blame

 

Review: Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin


“A perfect, feel good summer romance” is part of this title, and it sure fits. This is a light, appealingly predictable read with a fresh storyline. 

American Riley comes to the English coast to live in his dad’s former home – a lighthouse. When he meets Darcy, a London transplant, he can’t help but fall for her… 

…Until Darcy’s new job threatens the existence of his lighthouse home. 

I loved Darcy and her interest in marine biology! I didn’t like the author/narrator calling her a nerd or a geek, though. Unnecessary. 🙂  Darcy’s swims in the ocean were awesome… and her lack of grace out of the water, hilarious!

And I liked that Riley was American, but as an American myself he was written a little awkwardly. I felt like the author stereotyped Americans as cowboys but knew that and so reined in some of the stereotyping but not all of it. 😦 I appreciated that Riley was always a gentleman, chivalrous and humble to the end. 

I thought the sub plot of George and Libby was fun, if a bit overdone here and there. And including the dogs in the storyline was terrific. They were written in very naturally and helped move the plot forward at some points. Martin also addressed some global issues in a thoughtful and realistic way: autism, rare shark extinction, support of marine research, and historical building preservation. 

If you’re looking for an easy, quirky British romance with an ocean theme, this is a steal at $2.99. You’ll fall in love with Riley’s lighthouse, Rose Island, and a certain marine biologist and her cowboy. 

-calliope

Buy SUMMER AT ROSE ISLAND

Review: How to Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo

How_to_Say_I_Love_You_Out_Loud_for_sitejpgModern-day readers are very fortunate. No matter what situation-ailment-predicament-life event they find themselves in, there’s a book for it. Nonfiction if they’re after factual information, fiction if they want to simply lose themselves in a story. And it’s the same for young adult readers. Almost every possible scenario has been imagined, everything from bullying to living with a mental illness. It’s not as common, however, to find a book that tells the story from the perspective of a family member. This wonderful book from Karole Cozzo does just that.

The story is told from the point of view of Jordan, a young girl living with a secret. To her it’s a terrible secret, one that’s led to embarrassment and isolation in the past. But it’s not something she can control. Her younger brother Phillip has autism, and it pretty much governs everything that goes on in her family. From family outings to alone time spent with her mom, it all revolves around Phillip and his unpredictable, ever-changing moods.

She survives by keeping a definite separation between home and school. A student at an elite school, she gets by well enough. She’s active in sports and does well enough academically. But she keeps her friends at arms-length, never letting down that boundary between the outside world and her home life. While not an ideal solution, it works for Jordyn. Until Phillip is unexpectedly and unavoidably transferred to her school. Now all her worst fears come true as the lines between home and school are crossed. And Jordyn has to confront some hard truths about herself. Is she using Phillip as an excuse to not let others into her life?

It’s hard to like Jordyn at first because she’s so hard on herself and her family. She’s embarrassed of Phillip, even to the point of pretending to not even know him. Most of us would find that inexcusable. But she’s a teenage girl, and that says a lot. Being a teen is hard enough, especially in an elite school. It’s entirely understandable to see how she’d want a little bit of normalcy, one area of her life that isn’t ruled by Phillip.

This was an outstanding story. It’s plausible and realistically written, and the descriptions of Phillip’s behavior as a person with autism ring true. It will hit home for anyone affected by autism, but will have readers of all kinds hooked until the very end.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: How to Say I Love You Out Loud

Review: Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Ann_MMartinWhenever I’m talking books with someone, there are a select few that I always feel the need to push. Wonder, Out of My Mind, Counting by 7s, The Book Thief…these are some of the ones I label as “Oh my gosh, you have got to read this one!” This newest book from Ann M. Martin makes that elite list.

Meet Rose, a young girl who’s just a little bit different. On the high end of the autism scale, she’s also obsessed with many different things-prime numbers, following the rules, and above all else, homonyms. She even keeps an ongoing list of homonyms she discovers. Needless to say, these are things that don’t exactly endear her to her classmates. While the ostracizing never quite reaches the level found in some other books of this genre, it’s still enough to make her feel like an outcast. She’s also dealing with the disappearance of her mother as well as life with a dad who borders on being verbally abusive and neglectful. One of the few bright spots in Rose’s life is her Uncle Walden who tries to act as a buffer between Rose and her dad.

And then, of course, there’s Rain. She’s Rose’s constant companion, her confidant, the soft spot in an otherwise sharp-edged world. She provides comfort and much needed stability to Rose. No matter how loud-bright-harsh the outside world is, Rain is there to soothe her. But when Rain is lost during a storm and then miraculously found, Rose’s strict adherence to “the rules” force her to make a very tough decision.

Rose is a character who will break your heart while at the same time giving you hope. She’s honest and straight forward while at the same time seemingly immune to what others think of her. The story evokes such emotion from the reader. Sadness for Rose, concern for Rain, and finally admiration for Rose and the challenges and decisions she faces. Ann M. Martin has written a winner with this one. Likely most well-know for her Babysitter’s Club series from many years back, this one puts her into a whole new category for me. While fans of that series will definitely appreciate this story as well, it’s in an entirely different league, destined to go down as one of those books that most, if not all, young people are familiar with. Five plus stars for me!

~Thalia

Buy it Now: Rain Reign