Book Review: Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

Girl Made of Stars
Title: Girl Made of Stars
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Pages: 304
Format: ARC Paperback
Publisher: HMH Book for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary

       
"I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that."
Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara's friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn't know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn't help that things have been strained with her ex-girlfriend and best friend since childhood, Charlie.
As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.
 
Content Warning: This book contains sexual assault and rape.

This book absolutely wrecked me and I applaud Ashley Herring Blake for including several topics which were not romanticized in any way. In fact, it'll make you angry at how honest it is because it is a raw reflection of what happens in society and how girls v. boys are perceived. This book explores both dealings with gender identity and rape, and how it affects relationships and what it means when you're still searching for your place in this world.

Mara and Owen are twins. They are closer than any two people could be. They both relate to each other in the stars and the twin constellations and they are always there to hold each other up when the other is down. That is, until the day Owen is accused of raping Mara's friend, Hannah. It's easy to take sides when you hear of the accused and the victim - no one truly knows the facts. But there are the fabricated facts and the real ones and the question becomes, who do you believe? And the bigger question this book poses is, who do you believe when you are pitted between your twin (someone who is so sewn into your being it hurts) and your best friend in the entire world, who you know would never lie?

And here is the genius of this poignant book. The topics are handled expertly as Mara struggles with decoding the truth because she herself has a story to tell, and she also is dealing with her sexuality, as she is bisexual and her ex-girlfriend, Charlie, is genderqueer. The best part is that everything is handled in a subtle way and doesn't make one topic more important than the other. It's just one jumbled beautiful mess and I was so emotional over these characters from start to finish.

This is such an important read and even more so when there's so much hatred in the world and that hatred is so confusing to kids who are still trying to figure it all out that they're scared, terrified even, and this book might just make them feel a little less so.

Brilliant and I loved it! Thank you, Ms. Blake, for this beautiful, important, and necessary book.

Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway: Bite me by Louise Cypress


Welcome to our tour stop for Bite Me by Louise Cyress, hosted by Rockstar Book Tours! We're excited to also share an excerpt and giveaway with your, so make sure you read the excerpt and enter the giveaway!

Enjoy and good luck!

Title: BITE ME 
Author: Louise Cypress 
Pub. Date: May 14, 2018 
Publisher: Louise Cypress 
Formats: Paperback, eBook 
Pages: 303 
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon

I fell in love with the slayer sent to destroy me.
Morgan Taylor-Jackson can't wait for high school to end. In six months she leaves for UCLA and says goodbye to La Jolla, California and her parents' messy divorce. But when Morgan is bitten by a four-year-old boy, she becomes infected with a mysterious condition. Fever, insomnia, and a new bustline are only the beginning; Morgan morphs from nerd to bombshell.
As far as Van Xander is concerned, all vampires are evil, even the ones who reject human sacrifice and call themselves Puritans. When Helsing Incorporated sends Van to La Jolla to investigate the local coven, Morgan is his prime target. Pretending to be interested in her, Van asks Morgan out and puts her through a series of tests to determine her killer nature.
Morgan is thrilled to be dating a hot guy like Van and falls for him hard. As Van strings Morgan along, he grows increasingly guilty. Morgan is kind, compassionate, and a gooey romantic. Just as Van's mind begins to change, evil forces threaten everything. When prom night arrives, there are only two ways out of the ballroom: death or immortality.

Morgan 

Grandma Mimi tugged at the baby pink tank top I was trying on and tsk-tsked. “It’s like you developed overnight.” 

There in the fluorescent light of the Nordstrom dressing room, I looked paler than milk. “Do we have to talk about this?” 

“I blame all that soy your mother feeds you. It’s doing wacky things to your breast development. We need to get you properly fitted for new bras.” She poked her head out of the dressing room and called for an attendant. “My granddaughter needs her boobs measured.” 

I winced. “Can’t we go to VS Pink instead?” 

Grandma scoffed. “With your cup size? I doubt they stock that high.” 

A tall woman in a French twist and a flowing blouse waltzed into the room and held up a tape measure. She measured my band and cup size with detached efficiency. “32 DD,” the woman said when she was finished. You’ll need a wide strap so your back doesn’t hurt.” 

“She’ll take two in nude, a black, and a strapless,” said Grandma as the attendant left to find options. 

“Can’t we get something prettier?” I asked. “Like lace or one in purple?” 

Grandma narrowed her eyes at me. “And who do you need a pretty bra for? Is someone seeing you naked?” 

“No!” 

“Then nude is the most practical option. You’ll thank me the next time you wear white.” 

I sat down on the heap of clothes on the tiny bench in the dressing room and waited for the torture to be over. But when the woman came back I was pleasantly surprised. One of the white bras was definitely ugly, but the rest had embroidery and lacy details that met Grandma’s qualifications for modesty but still looked pretty. 

And I couldn’t complain, either, especially when I saw how much better I looked in the tank top once I had a properly-fitting bra. 

“So young. So beautiful.” Grandma Mimi sighed. Then she pulled down another hanger from the overstuffed dressing room hook. 

“What should I wear tonight?” I asked. Grandma might have been in her sixties, but she could have been a cover model for In Style. If they put grandmothers on the cover, that is. 

Grandma held up a strapless red dress with a long zipper down the back. “Wear this one if you want to make him suffer.” 

“Grandma!” 

She held up a yellow dress with a sweetheart neckline. “And this one if you only like him ‘as friends’ but still believe he’d make a decent date for prom.” 

“I’m not going to prom.” 

“You don’t know that.” Grandma held up the red dress again. “Wear this one, and you’ll go for sure.”


Louise Cypress believes in friendship, true love, and the everlasting power of books. She has never met a vampire, but she has been to a Love Sucks concert on Valentine’s Day. Louise can often be found curled up with a romance novel on Saturday night, diet soda in hand, secretly wishing bustles were back in fashion. Louise lives in San Diego, California, where the beach is crowded and summer is immortal.





Week One:
5/21/2018- The Phantom Paragrapher- Review
5/21/2018- Mythical Books- Excerpt
5/22/2018- Ya wonderlust- Review
5/22/2018- Novel Novice- Guest Post
5/23/2018- The Young Girl Who Loved Books- Review
5/23/2018- Confessions of a YA Reader- Excerpt
5/24/2018- Simply Daniel Radcliffe- Review
5/24/2018- Owl Always Be Reading- Excerpt
5/25/2018- K.L. Knovitzke – Author- Excerpt
5/25/2018- Parajunkee- Interview


Week Two:

5/28/2018- To Be Read- Review
5/28/2018- BookHounds YA- Interview
5/29/2018- Two Points of Interest- Review
5/29/2018- The Howling Turtle- Guest Post
5/30/2018- Smada's Book Smack- Spotlight
5/30/2018- Two Chicks on Books- Guest Post
5/31/2018- Wonder Struck- Excerpt
5/31/2018- Jaime's World- Spotlight
6/1/2018- The Book Girl- Interview





Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Character Names I'd Totally Use in Real Life

Top Ten Tuesdays (TTT) is a weekly event now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's TTT is: Top Ten Character Names (to make as narrow or broad as we would like). Sometimes when I'm reading a book, I come across a character name that I really love. A name that I would steal for consideration to name a pet or kiddo or whatever it is. 

Here are the Top Ten Characters Names I'd Totally Use in Real Life 



Elian
From To Kill a Kingdom

Finnikin
From Finnikin of the Rock

Chaol 
(pronounced like Kale)
From the Throne of Glass series

Aria
From Under the Never Sky trilogy

Sybella
From Dark Triumph (part of the His Fair Assassin series)

Sorcha
From Daughter of the Forest

Alina
From The Grisha Trilogy

Conrad
From the Summer I Turned Pretty

Daenerys
From A Song of Ice and Fire series

Ronan
From The Raven Boys series

Picture Book Review: Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic

My Magic Breath
Title: Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic
Author: Alexandra Boiger
Release Date: March 27th, 2018
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons for Young Readers
Pages: 32
Age Group: Children - any ages
Genre: Picture book

          
Best friends Max and Marla are back in this charming spring tale of friendship and forgiveness. . .

Max and Marla know how to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. So when the first sunny day of spring comes along, they've got the perfect plan--a picnic! They pack up their favorite dishes and their comfiest blanket and then they're off to the lake. Once they settle in, Max realizes the picnic needs one more thing to be just right: a bouquet for Marla. But while he's gone, Marla falls asleep, leaving their picnic prey to some thieving squirrels. Max returns to find their spread ruined and says it's all Marla's fault. But best friends can't stay mad for long . . . Max and Marla Are Having a Picnic is another adorable ode to friendship from fan favorite Alexandra Boiger.



What a perfect spring and summer (and any season) read! This sweet story shows such a great message of forgiveness and fun. 

 

This story tells the tale of Max and his owl friend, Marla, going on a picnic adventure together. This dynamic of a boy and his owl friend is so endearing. My littles and I both loved the illustrations throughout the story as we go on a picnic adventure with Max and Marla. But we also loved the story too. 


I love the gentle way that conflict is displayed in this book. There's a conflict between Max and Marla  that I felt was handled gently and thoroughly in a healthy way. It was such a good example for kids to see a conflict between friends that is resolved with love. 
There was so much to enjoy with this story. We loved the illustrations and the story was full of friendship, love, warmth and a little bit of humor as well. A wonderful story to pick up and read this spring/summer/whenever!




It's Monday! What Are They Reading?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by
Book Journey * *
Here is what we Finished, Currently Reading, and what is
Next In line. How about you? These were some fantastic reads and we are so excited to share what we think with you! So make sure you keep your eyes out for our reviews!

The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1) Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King, #2)
The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2) The Perfect Mother Devoted to Pleasure (Devoted Lovers, #1)

The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3) Girl Made of Stars Legendary (Caraval, #2)

Stacking the Shelves


Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews.
We love getting new books and seriously can't wait to dive into them.
How about you? What new books did you get?

The Last King (The Kings, #1) Jar of Hearts The Mermaid Handbook: An Alluring Treasury of Literature, Lore, Art, Recipes, and Projects Bring Me Their Hearts
Wintersong (Wintersong, #1) 100 Days of Cake To Kill a Kingdom City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)Nemesis (Project Nemesis, #1) Maggie & Abby's Neverending Pillow Fort Bounce Vicious (Villains, #1)City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2) One True Loves A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1) The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1)The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy, #2) The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1) Hunger (Gone, #2) 
The Perfect Mother How to Walk Away Still Lives Tangerine
The Queen of Hearts The Widows of Malabar Hill (Perveen Mistry, #1) Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1) Daughter of the Siren Queen (Daughter of the Pirate King, #2)
 
Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1) Rebecca I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America



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