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Thursday, November 27, 2014

My Thoughts: Rumble by Ellen Hopkins

“There is no God, no benevolent ruler of the earth, no omnipotent grand poobah of countless universes. Because if there was...my little brother would still be fishing or playing basketball instead of fertilizing cemetery vegetation.”

Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything.

Not in family—his is a shambles after his younger brother was bullied into suicide. Not in so-called friends who turn their backs when things get tough. Not in some all-powerful creator who lets too much bad stuff happen. And certainly not in some “It Gets Better” psychobabble.

No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about faith and forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting go of blame. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang,” and whatever happens happens. But when a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place, he hears a rumble…a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question

**Review copy received by the publisher**

I always get a little but nervous when I have an Ellen Hopkins novel on my TBR. I get this way because, her novels, generally, deal with some pretty heavy themes and they don't always end well. That's not to say that they're complete downers. No, that it not at all true. But Hopkins tends to present her readers with disturbingly realistic scenarios. And these scenarios can often make readers take stock of what's going on outside of their little bubble. Take her Crank Trilogy for instance (a series that I can/will never read), a series of books that follows one girl's decline into drug addiction and all the consequences that follow. That is some pretty intense stuff right there.

Rumble is the fifth book (and fourth YA) that I have read by Hopkins and I would say it's the lightest- thematically- of her novels. Maybe? Although it does deal with teen suicide, bullying, sexuality, religion, and PTSD... so maybe not. I just had an easier time reading this one, then I had with the others.

The story follows Matt, as he addresses his inner turmoil, which is beginning to spill into his every day life. His brother- Luke- committed suicide after her was unceremoniously outed as being gay. Luke's death tore the already fragile family a part. Naturally, Matt is feeling a lot of guilt about his brother's death and is not able to handle it in a healthy way- he's alienating his friends and lashing out at school. To top things all off, Matt in finding himself at odds with his girlfriend Hayden. Hayden, a good Christian girl who has devoted her life to Christ. Dating Matt, who cannot believe that there is a God, how could there be, when his brother suffered so badly and ended his life so tragically.

Where the synopsis might have you believing that this story focuses heavily on faith and the existence of God, that it actually not the truth. This is completely Matt's story and how he relates to the people around him after his brother's death. Which included Hayden and her circle of Christian friends (whom bullied Luke, and expressed their discuss at his homosexuality). Hopkins, again, does an incredible job of getting us into the mind of her protagonist. Matt is angry and confused, he's feeling neglected and hurt. There is a lot going on with Matt, and as readers we get to experience everything with him. I don't know how many good things I can say about Hopkins and the way she writes her main characters- they are such authentic representations of youth and the struggles they face.

I want to quickly talk about Hopkins' use of verse when she writes. Some people really struggle with this, and I thought I would as well, but really, it reads exactly like a book not written in verse. I first experienced Ellen Hopkins through and audio book (years ago) and it flowed so easily that I thought I'd give actually reading one of her novels a go, and I was surprised at how easy it was. I guess what I am trying to say is, if her prose freaks you out, don't let it, it's not that scary.

Overall, I really enjoyed Rumble and I love seeing what Hopkins brings to the table again and again. If you have never read any of her books, give Rumble a try, it's way less daunting that anything else I've read by her. A++ Ellen Hopkins.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Where Have I Been and Where Am I Going

Be prepared. 
This is going to be a chatty little post.

So, the last couple of months my posting schedule has been a little wonky. I have posted four times since July, and I didn't blog at all in October! That is just craziness. It was during the month of October that I really took the time to reflect about the blog and blogging. During the past six or so months, I have been thinking more and more about how much I want to invest in Just Another Story. How much time can I put into this? can I commit to posting twice a week? Can I commit to one review a week? I didn't know... and I still done. What I do know is that I want to produce solid quality content, can I do that and still post regularly?

The answer in a nutshell: NO!!

BUT!! I know for sure that I am not reading to throw in the towel and quit blogging. I love blogging! I love the people I have met, I love getting excited about books and talking to people are who understand my excitement. I love sharing my thoughts on the books that I have read- both books I loved and not loved. I love everything about Blogging. Everything except the pressure I feel to post consistently.

So, I'm giving that up. 

I'm going back to the old days.  Back to 2010 when I would review a book the day I read it- or months later. I am going back to reviewing any book that I want to- Whether that be and young adult title or an adult romance. I will review any and all.  I will talk about a book that I am excited about reading. 

I am going to let go the blogging pressure and guilt and just doing what I love. 

I would still like to try for at least one blog post a week- but if that doesn't happen okay. I love the Top Ten Tuesday Meme and I will continue to participate in that when the topic of the week interests me, I would also like to write more discussion posts. I have opinions on bookish things and I want to share thoughts, I will also keep reviewing. 

So here we go. The future of Just Another Story. I am excited and I am looking forward to posting more now. 

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I'd Reread

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at The Broke and Bookish

It seems fitting that my blogging come back would feature a list- and not just any list- a list featuring books I would like to reread.

So here I am and here you go.


1) The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling- I know this may seem like a bit of a cope out. But really? What do you expect? I would absolutely love to reread this series. It's a no brainer really.

2) If I Stay by Gayle Forman- I loved this book and as heartbreaking as it was. I would very much like to experience it all over again. Gayle Forman has a really amazing way of telling a story. This one stayed with me for a long time after I read it.

3) Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan- More than rereading this one, I would really love to re-listen to this one. MacLeod Anderson and Nick Podehl do an amazing job narrating this one. Such a fun story.

4) The Silver Lining's Playbook by Matthew Quick- I love love loved this book. I thought it was brilliant! So good. I loved the way Quick portrayed mental illness. funnily enough, I get to reread this one this month- it's our book club pick.

5) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness- I just read this a few weeks ago and almost as soon as I was done reading it, I wanted to start all over again. What a beautiful story! If you haven't read this book. What are you waiting for? You need this in your life.

6) The BFG by Roald Dahl- Can you believe that I have only read this book once, but it remains my favourite Roald Dahl book ever. And this book would not take very long to get through. One afternoon is all I'd need.

7) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald- I think I really want to reread this one, because I hated it the first time I read it. I mean I really disliked it. I thought Daisy was one of the worst characters I'd ever had the misfortune of reading about. I wonder if I'd experience the book differently knowing that I am not going to like her.

8) This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales- There was something really special about this story. One of the most authentic coming of age stories I have ever read. I even gifted this book to my non reader friend, because the story spoke to me so.

9) Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta- Every time I mention this book, I feel like a broken record. But Jellicoe Road has to be one of my most favourite books and I have only read it once. This seems completely wrong to me somehow.

10) Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi- This one I would like to someday reread. I really didn't like it when I read it. But so many people love it! I think I must be missing something. So I haven't written this one off yet completely. I am willing to give it another go.

That's my list. I hope you enjoy. Make sure to leave links to your lists below.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl