Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review: Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce

Anthem for Jackson Dawes Author: Celia Bryce
Genre:  Contemporary
Pages: 240
Published: April 30th, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Megan Bright and Jackson Dawes are two teenagers who first meet each other on the hospital ward where they are both being treated for cancer. Megan is scared and worried about her illness, but Jackson seems to be an old hand, having been on the ward for ages. And everybody loves Jackson! He is a whirlwind of life and energy, warmth and sparkle. Megan will need to borrow some of Jackson's extraordinary optimism to face her and Jackson's future. A moving story of first love and a remarkably powerful debut novel."~Goodreads
 Even though I'm not usually drawn to contemporary romance, I make an exception for issues books. One of the big sub genres for YA contemporary issues books is cancer/illness.  With so many "cancer books" out there it's easy for a story like this one to get lost in the shuffle.  While Anthem for Jackson Dawes very much follows the same pattern as many of these books, it's still worth the read.


  • Jackson:  I really enjoyed Jackson's character.  He was so much fun and full of energy.  He really jumped off of the page for me and helped me get into the story.  His adventurous spirit and frequent field trips around the hospital were the best parts of the book for me.  Not only is he fun and mischievous, he also has a huge heart.  His interactions with the younger patients in the hospital were more touching for me than his interactions with Megan.  He was the life force of this story.
  • The overall feeling:  In the beginning of the book Megan doesn't want to go to the hospital.  It's strange and new and she doesn't feel right there.  However, after undergoing months of treatments for her cancer it becomes a second home and she feels out of place when she leaves.  The author did a great job of making this feeling real.  I was right there with Megan and it was easy to understand her emotions and reservations about leaving the ward.  I really didn't expect to feel that way, then again neither did Megan.  Atmospherically, the book was great.
  • The dialogue:  This is a distinctly British book and the way the dialogue is written really helped the characters come alive for me.  I could hear each one of their voices and every one was made so unique and given their own personality through the dialogue.  Even without being British myself I was able associate each individual with their dialect and that was a lot of fun.


  • Megan wasn't my favorite:  First of all, let me preface this by saying that I am used to reading slightly older teen characters.  Megan was only 14 and her immaturity was evident throughout the book.  However, even leaving room for her age she was pretty whiny and self-centered.  I just didn't connect with her the way I would have liked.  I also didn't really care for her romance with Jackson.  There just wasn't much chemistry there.
  • Where's the drama?: For a book about kids who have serious illnesses this book wasn't very heavy on the drama.  I kept thinking something was going to happen and then it wouldn't.  At the end of the book there were some big events but they sort of passed by without much fanfare which I found odd.  I wish there would have been a bit more heaviness to this book.

While I wouldn't call this story groundbreaking, it does have it's moments.  It is a quick, surprisingly upbeat read that is great for a younger YA audience.  It isn't the kind of book that will devastate you and leave you moping for days, but it does tug on the heartstrings.  Overall, I would say give it a go.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

1 Year Blogiversary and 2 Giveaways!!!!

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One year ago, today, I gathered up my resolve and decided to put myself out there.  I'd been following some great book bloggers and had discovered some amazing reads thanks to them but I had no one to talk about those books with.  That's where you guys came in.  I decided to start this blog so that I could connect with some of my fellow readers.  It started out as a fun hobby, but it has become so much more.  From day one you guys were so supportive and really made me feel welcome.  I am so happy and honored to be a part of this amazing community of bloggers and readers.  My only regret is that I didn't start Movies In My Head sooner!  A lot has changed in the past year, there have been crazy ups as well as downs but I have had so much fun running this blog and meeting all of you.  I can't wait to see what the next year brings.  

So before I start tearing up, let's get to the fun stuff, huh? 


First Review Book:  Intangible by J. Meyers

First Interview: Sarah Walsh


Followers: 768 (and I love each and every one of you *group hug*)

Posts: 124

Reviews: 55

Giveaways: 10

YouTube Videos: 57

Books Read: 75

Hours of Lost Sleep:  too many to count

So to celebrate this auspicious occasion and my wonderful followers I've decided to have two giveaways!  One will be open to everyone as long as The Book Depository ships to you and the other will be US only.  Feel free to enter both if you are eligible.  

First up, for my US followers, I have a very special prize pack.  This bundle includes a really cool hardback copy of my favorite book of all time, Jane Eyre, a beautiful birdy notebook, some tabs to mark your favorite quotes with and some super cool mustache bookmarks!  I'll also throw in all kinds of bookish swag for the winner!

Unfortunately I can't afford international shipping on this one, but don't despair, I would leave out my lovely international followers!  I'm also giving away a book of your choice ($15 USD or less)  from The Book Depository!  Just make sure they ship to you.  As always please be 18 or have a parents permission and please no cheating.  It makes me sad.

So go ahead and fill out the Rafflecopters below and best of luck!  Thank you all for being a part of this journey with me.  I can't wait to meet more of you and have many more bookish adventures in the coming year!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review: The After Girls by Leah Konen

The After Girls Author: Leah Konen
Genre:  Contemporary
Pages: 304
Published: April 18th, 2013
Publisher: Merit
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Source:  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

"Ella, Astrid, and Sydney were planning the perfect summer after high school graduation. But when Astrid commits suicide in a lonely cabin, the other girls' worlds are shattered. How could their best friend have done this--to herself and to them? They knew everything about Astrid. Shouldn't they have seen this coming? Couldn't they have saved her?
As Ella hunts for the truth, and Sydney tries to dull the pain, a chilling message from Astrid leaves them wondering whether their beloved friend is communicating from the after life. The girls embark on a journey to uncover Astrid's dark secrets. The answers to those questions--questions they never dreamed of asking--will change their lives forever."~Goodreads

High School is a tumultuous time for most kids.  It is often marked with extreme highs and extreme lows.  Most teen escape relatively unscathed but some choose to make a terrible choice and end their lives.  These individuals leave a huge hole and plenty of questions.  One of the most painful things about a friend or family member's suicide is the guilt that those who are left behind are often faced with.  The After Girls is the story of two girls who spend the last summer of high school mourning their best friends tragic death while trying to piece together what happened and deal with their own guilt.  It deftly explores the grieving processes and pain of those left behind in a way that is both suspenseful and moving.

I'm not going to do my review the way I usually do because my feelings about this book can't be explained with bulleted lists or snarky comments.  Like many people I'm all too familiar with suicide.  Especially when I was in high school, it felt like an ever present shadow at my school.  My junior year two of my classmates took there own lives within a couple of weeks of each other.  One of the girls sat next to me in English,  the other was a friend.  To protect her identity I'm going to refer to her as Beth.  Beth and I were not close friends.  We had some classes together and we were both in drama club.  We hung out rarely but we bonded at the beginning of Junior year over our mutual distaste for a certain girl in our Theater Arts class.  I was in a bad place, I was dealing with the normal hormonal teenage angst as well as some family issues at the time and I wasn't myself.  After a long talk with Beth one day, she turned to me and said "you have a lot to live for, you know".  I don't know why, but those few words made a huge impact on me.  I decided to seek help and Beth and I continued to hang out at school.  Then, one morning, the principle interrupted our drama class.  The news wasn't good.  Beth had killed herself the night before.  No one saw it coming.   She was there one day and gone the next and I didn't know how to deal.  We weren't best friends but she had been there for me when I needed her.  I hadn't.  Now, I know that I couldn't have known what was going on, she didn't tell anyone, but at 17 I felt like I could have done something.

I think that's why this story resonated with me so strongly.  These two girls lose there best friend and are so wracked with guilt that they are willing to do anything to cope.  Ella tries to find out why Astrid killed herself and becomes so obsessed she begins to see things.  Sydney, on the other hand, begins drinking heavily and hanging out with her abhorrent ex to numb the pain.  In the process they start to drive a wedge between their friendship and spiral deeper and deeper out of control.  Konen does a beautiful job of making these characters and their grief intensely realistic.  From the first page the reader feels for each of them and truly cares about the story.  Astrid, the victim, is not who they imagined her to be.  They at once feel betrayed and guilty.  These are such difficult emotions to bring across and it is done perfectly.

This is not a book about death though, it is a story of resilience and survival.  It is about being thankful for what we have when we have it and trying our utmost to support and love our friends while we can.  What I most appreciated is that Astrid is not turned in to this glamorized martyr.  She is a girl who had severe issues that were not dealt with.  She chose a permanent solution to a temporary problem and left devastation in her wake.  She is not villainized but she is not left without blame either.  Suicide is always a messy topic for an author but I think that Konen did an amazing job with this book.  I think that this is an important book for anyone who has lost someone to suicide and for teens in general.  I would recommend it across the board.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stacking The Shelves #20

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by the amazing Tynga @Tynga's Reviews



Thanks Merit!


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles, # 3) Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone Liesl & Po The Blue Fairy Book (Barnes & Noble Leatherbound Classics)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Stacking The Shelves (19)


Stacking the Shelves is hosted by the amazing Tynga @Tynga's Reviews

For Review:

The After Girls

Thanks Merit!


The Tragedy Paper

Thanks RandomBuzzers!


The Death Of King Arthur: The Immortal Legend (Penguin Hardback Classics)  The Looking Glass Wars (The Looking Glass Wars, #1)

Look who didn't go overboard!  What did you guys get this week?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Review: Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya's GhostAuthor: Vera Brosgol
Genre:  Paranormal, Graphic Novel
Pages: 221
Published: June 7th, 2011
Publisher: First Second
Rating: 4/5 Stars

"Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn't kidding about the "Forever" part...
Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.
Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya's normal life might actually be worse. She's embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she's pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs.
Or so she thinks. Spooky, sardonic, and secretly sincere, Anya's Ghost is a wonderfully entertaining debut from author/artist Vera Brosgol."~Goodreads

What is it about graphic novels that is so enticing?  The beautiful artwork, the clever story lines, the challenge of fitting an entire narrative into a comic strip?  Yes, of course, but let's be real for a second.  Pictures!  Here is the excuse that the petulant twelve year old in all of us has been looking for to read a book that's mostly pictures and still feel like we've accomplished something.  These puppies are great for pulling you out of a reading slump, plus they're nice to look at!  So I decided to delve into more graphic novels this year and one of my first was Anya's Ghost.  I'm not sure what I was really expecting but this spooky little read was completely satisfying!


  • The Art: The artwork in this book is really beautiful in a quirky sort of way.  It's very cartoonish but it works for the story.  The visual element of the story fits in really well with the plot development and enhances the book rather than simply illustrating it.  This becomes especially important as certain characters start to evolve toward the middle of the book.  It simply would have been lacking without the visual element.
  • Actually Scary: At first I had my doubts about whether or not this would actually be a scary read.  Sure, it's about a ghost, but the cartoonish art style and the beginning of the story line made me skeptical.  Then the story started taking a dark turn and the book just got downright creepy.  I think that was my favorite part of the book.  It was so unexpected and such a pleasant surprise.
  • Great Message:  The underlying message in this book is less about restless spirits and more about a girl who is uncomfortable with her place in the world.  Anya has to see first hand how important her family and her life are to really appreciate her value and what she has.  
  • Anya and Her Family: The characters of Anya and her mother and brother are very well-written.  They are incredibly realistic and endearing and have obviously been created with love by the author.  In the few hours it took to read the book I became very attached to these characters.  I always love it when I can hear a character's voice and really get to know them.


  • Some of the secondary characters: Unfortunately I felt like some of the secondary characters weren't very well-developed.  I realize that this is mainly a story about Anya and her family but I would have liked a little more depth in some of the other characters.

This was a great graphic novel to start out with.  I loved it.  It was heartwarming, funny and actually pretty spooky at times.  It will definitely stick with me for a long time and I will absolutely be re-reading it.  I would recommend this if you you're looking for a super fast, fun book or an intro to graphic novels. 

Let me know what some of your favorite graphic novels are as I'm trying to build up a reading list for them!  All input is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I Don't Want to Lose You Guys!

So as most of you probably already know, GFC is going away in June.  That means that over 500 of my AMAZING followers will poof :(  I don't want to lose you so pretty pretty please follow another way if you don't mind.  You can follow via Bloglovin, NetworkedBlogs, Linky or email/RSS feed (not feedburner though, since it's my understanding that it will be going away as well).  Everything is located to your right!  This way you won't miss any of my psychotic rambling and I won't sit in a corner and sob quietly on June 1st because all of my followers are gone.  It's a Win-Win guys!

Look forward to lots of great stuff this month including my One Year Blogiversary Giveaway!!!!!  Updates to come.  Love you all!