Monday, May 25, 2015

Dime by E.R. Frank

Release Date: May 26th, 2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Genre: Young Adult | Fiction
Pages: 336 Pages
Series: N/A
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

The realities of teen prostitution are revealed in this eye-opening, heartbreaking story from the author of America, which Booklist called "a piercing, unforgettable novel" and Kirkus Reviews deemed "a work of sublime humanity."
As a teen girl in Newark, New Jersey, lost in the foster care system, Dime just wants someone to care about her, to love her. A family. And that is exactly what she gets-a daddy and two "wifeys." So what if she has to go out and earn some coins to keep her place? It seems a fair enough exchange for love.
Dime never meant to become a prostitute. It happened so gradually, she pretty much didn't realize it was happening until it was too late.
But when a new "wifey" joins the family and Dime finds out that Daddy doesn't love her the way she thought he did, will Dime have the strength to leave? And will Daddy let her?

It has been a long time since I've read a book that was so emotionally charged. A book that I could feel right down into my gut. Dime left me utterly raw.

Dime brings to light the horrors of Human Trafficking; An underground industry that happens right in front of us. Dime is a 13 year old girl who is in the Foster Care System. Her current foster situation is far from perfect but she has a roof over her head, food on her plate and an education, something she prides herself in. More specifically, she has a passion for reading, she loves to relate to classic characters like Charlie from the Chocolate Factory and Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird. When Dime's foster home situation worsens, her foster mom turning to alcohol, she finds herself staying out at night on the streets and eventually standing in front of Daddy, a pimp who wines and dines her and fills her with false hope and promises; It's not long that Dime finds herself on the street with her "wifeys" making money for Daddy.

I don't think I have loathed a character any more than I have loathed Daddy. He is worse than any evil villain I have come across. He is just a "normal" man that you probably wouldn't think twice about when passing him on the streets yet he is responsible for ruining and demolishing so many lives. He steals your soul and leaves you empty so you have no choice but to stay with him. His manipulation literally left me fuming. There were even moments when I was thinking to myself that if I was 13 years old and in Dime's shoes, would I have known any better? At that age she was completely vulnerable and there for the taking. She was infatuated by him and was willing to say or do whatever he asked.

I really had a soft spot for Brandy. Although she was rough around the edges(but who wouldn't be in her situation?) you knew she had a yearning for a better life deep down, no matter how much she loved Daddy or how much he "took care" of her.

Dime is not for the faint of heart. E.R. Frank brings forward the ugly, ugly truth. I had no idea how strategic and manipulating these men or women can be to one another to come into and stay in this business. Despite how powerfully raw this novel is, I could not put it down. A part of me was so committed to Dime and a the other characters that I just had to know what their outcome would be and another part of me was learning from this novel. Afterwards I ended up researching documentaries including 3a.m. Girls which left me completely baffled with how out and in the open this is. It is literally happening right under our noses. E.R. Frank also provides great resources at the back of the book.

I would definitely rate this book a Mature Young Adult or even Adult Fiction. Like I said, it gets pretty detailed. Yet, I think this book would open a lot of eyes and encourage people to learn more and to do more about Human Trafficking. I have already educated myself more since reading this book and will continue to learn more and take it from there. I have also put in a request at the 3 libraries in my city that they must carry this. I think it is great for teenagers to not only educate themselves on this matter but to see how easy it is to get pulled in. The characters may be fictional but this situation is very real.

If you were anything like me, you will most likely devour Dime in one sitting because you just simply have to know the fate of these girls as soon as you can. I immersed myself in their lives and ended up caring so much for them. A little piece of my heart was taken by each of them.

I will definitely be picking up E.R. Frank's previous novels and will be keeping my eye on her future work!!

Be sure to get your come of Dime that hit's shelves tomorrow, May 26th!

Monday, May 18, 2015

#IReadYAWeek: Daily Challenges, Giveaways and 1 Grand Prize!

Scholastic’s #IReadYA Week

Hey Crazy Readers, it’s time once again to celebrate #IReadYA week! Scholastic’s #IReadYA week is a celebration of all things YA! In support of this week, Scholastic will be holding daily challenges beginning today and running through Friday the 22nd. By participating in the challenges, you earn the chance to win some really fun #IReadYA prizes including: #IReadYA tote bags, tumblers and free YA books!

These daily challenges are a lot of fun, and range from describing a YA book only using words that start with the same letter (e.g. Harry helps Hogwarts, hefting horcruxes), to sharing YA reaction videos/memes.

Also, some of your favorite YA authors will be participating right alongside you with impromptu Twitter chats, Tumblr posts and more.

To become a part of #IReadYA week and take part in the daily challenges, just click here:
Scholastic’s #IReadYA Week

Challenge Details:

  •  Each day, 10 entrants who complete the daily challenge will be randomly selected to win a #IReadYA prize pack worth $145. The prize pack includes a tote, books, pin and a tumblr. 
  • A Grand Prize will be awarded to one user who submits their #IReadYA Reaction video or animated GIF Tumblr post. The reaction can be to anything YA from a plot twist, to an adored character, to the final book in a trilogy. We are excited to see what you come up with! The Grand Prize is 10 books from your TBR (To Be Read) list, up to $250 in value!

Day 1 - #IReadYA Picture Share
Day 2 - #YAlliteration Challenge
Day 3 - WOW, Help share Fall 2015 & Spring 2016 Books
Day 4 - YA #TBT Instagram Challenge
Day 5 - #IReadYA Book Recommendations

 Grand Prize - #IReadYA Reaction Tumblr post (Video or animated GIF)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint AnythingRelease Date: May 5th, 2015
Publisher: Penguin Canada | Viking
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 432 Pages
Series: Stand alone
Format: Arc
Source: From the Publisher
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chatham's, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

“The future was one thing that could never be broken, because it had not yet had the chance to be anything.”  

I still consider myself a newbie to the Sarah Dessen fan club. I have only read 4 of her previous books before Saint Anything but it only took one book to become an immediate fan of hers!

You know that feeling when you listen to a song and it brings you back to a certain moment in your life? That's the effect Dessen's books have on me. Each novel of hers brings me back to a memory of my youth, my teenage years; It may be heartbreak, the qualms of growing up, a carefree summer afternoon...Dessen's novels pluck me from ordinary life and place me into the worlds of her memorable characters.

Sydney is the little sister of Peyton, a good looking, outgoing teenage boy with a loving personality that gets him through life. But all it takes for one decision to go from bad to worse and that is exactly what happens to Peyton. Now, more than ever, Sydney is stuck in his shadow; Becoming even more invisible to her family while they are left picking up the pieces after Peyton.

I consider myself a big believer in fate, and if it not were for Peyton's horrible decision, Sydney never would have found herself at the courthouse or even transferred schools, which then wouldn't have led her to meet wild, care-free Layla...Who I absolutely adored(not as much as Mac but we'll get to him later!) Layla has a heart of gold, not once did I ever question her intentions. She wears her heart on her sleeve. What you see is what you get when it comes to Layla Chatham...Well, I guess when it comes to the entire Chatham family. I have now officially adopted the Chatham family as my book family. When faced with a situation I will ask myself: WWMCD(What would Mrs. Chatham do?) That women was so kind and so wise. And although faced with a devastating disease, she not once let that deter her quality of life. The amazing character traits that Mac, Layla and Rosie held was a clear reflection of the amazing Mrs. Chatham. I adored the whole family!

Ok, now we'll chat Mac. One word: Swoon! Yes he is good looking, yes he plays the drums but he is also a care-giver for his mother, kind, gentle and sweet. I mean COME ON! How can you not love him?! Mac's character goes far beyond Sydney's love interest. He is a very present character and plays a big part in Sydney's growth.

Saint Anything has so much heart and soul. Another gem for Sarah Dessen!

Monday, April 27, 2015

All the Rage by Courntey Summers

All the RageRelease Date: April 14th, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 320 Pages
Series: None
Format: Arc
Source: From the Publisher
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 
With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?  

“I don't believe in forgiveness. I think if you hurt someone, it becomes part of you both. Each of you just has to live with it and the person you hurt gets to decide if they want to give you the chance to do it again. If they do and you're a good person, you won't make the same mistakes. Just whole new ones.” -- Romy Grey

If you're a frequent reader of The Crazy Bookworm then you probably already know that I love 'deep' books. Those books that are raw and powerful. Books that make you cry and cringe at the same time. I love all types of books, but I tend to gravitate to the heavier reads more.

Where do I begin with All the Rage? I fell in love with Summers' writing ever since Fall for Anything. That book will always stay with me but it now has company. I completed All the Rage in bed, not being able to put it down until I finished the last page, then I was up for at least an 1 hour reeling over it. It's raw and is a powerhouse. This book will definitely leave with a little piece of your heart.

Romy is a delicate character. On the outside she seems strong with this hit-me-with-your-best-shot attitude, yet deep down she is broken and scarred. She wears her trademark red nail polish and lipstick as an armour and is meticulous with it's application. This is actually a strong character trait of hers and shows up throughout the novel. My heart absolutely swelled for her while reading this novel.

This novel packs A LOT of punch when it comes to storyline, yet I still found it to be a very character driven novel. After all, it's the characters that give the storyline it's depth, right? And if the characters fall flat, then the whole book is out a balance. Each character in All the Rage added so much to this book...Each one was necessary! They took this heartbreaking storyline and made it even more real.

The writing is nothing short of amazing. Courtney Summers has this lyrical writing style that transports you from wherever you are reading  and drops you down gently to whatever world the character is living in. It also flows so beautifully and effortlessly. Her writing style is one of my absolute favourite reading experiences!

Even though I devoured this book in nearly one sitting, it will stay with me forever. It took me on an emotional roller coaster with it's raw storyline and beautiful writing style.

Thank you for another powerful read, Courtney Summers. You never disappoint!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten All Time Favourite Authors

Top Ten ALL TIME favourite Authors

It was pretty impossible to narrow this down, but I never turn down a challenge!
1. Nicholas Sparks
He is my guilty pleasure. He is the one I turn to when I need mushy love stories that will also tear my heart out in the process. Whenever I need a good cry, I turn to my ol' pal Nick!
2. John Green
I am sure he will pop up A LOT today! Does this really need an explanation?
3. Jodi Picoult
Another one who writes raw, powerful stories...I am sensing a trend here...That I like to torture myself with soul-crushing books!
4. Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games...
5. Deb Caletti
6. Sarah Dessen
7. Gayle Forman
My love affair started with If I Stay. The rest, as they say, is history!
8. Jennifer Brown
Another outstanding Author that brings tough issues to the forefront. Everything from bullying, teen domestic abuse, sexting and more.
9. Neil Gaiman
He's just magical
10. J.K. Rowling
Yes, I'm finally reading the Harry Potter Series(on book #3) and I definitely see that I missed out on my youth as a reader!
I can't wait to see what your favourite authors are! Be sure to leave your link in the comments so I can check out your post!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters You'd Like To Check In With

Top Ten Characters You'd Like To Check In With
(meaning, the book or series is over and you so just wish you could peek in on the "life" you imagine they are leading years down the line after the story ends)

What an awesome topic this week! Let's see if I can narrow it down here...
 The Book Thief
Liesel from The Book Thief. This book stole my soul! I suffered a major case of Book Hangover after reading this one.  I would love to peek in to see how Liesel has moved on from all that tragedy.
 Beholding Bee
Another forever favourite of mine. Bee still remains in my heart, protected by many other lovely characters, but she has earned a special spot.
The Choice
Oh Nicholas, you sure know how to pen some epic characters. I would love to visit all of them, but when it comes to storyline, I would love to see how this one turned out!
Out of the Easy
I feel this one needs no explanation. If you haven't read it, you need to...Now! I miss Josie!
Where She Went (If I Stay, #2)
Um, who doesn't want to know how Mia and Adam are doing? And the damn well better be together!!
The Help
I would love to know where all the fabulous ladies from The Help are doing...Yes, even Hilly...Just out of pure curiosity.
Gone Girl
Am I messed up for wanting to know how this train wreck turned out?
Uses for Boys
Such a tragic, beautifully written novel. I can only wish for a happy ending.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
(The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
Again, does this need an explanation? Anyone? Bueller?
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Such a lovely story. I would love to know how this corky bunch are making out!
That was tough! I could do 10 more of these lists!
Can't wait to see what books pop up on your list!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Release Date: March 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Viking: Penguin Imprint
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 352 Pages
Series: N/A
Format: Arc
Source: From the Publisher
Reason: For Review
Find the Author: Website | Twitter
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon 

"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange."
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.  

“Life can be a real son of a bitch sometimes, bringing things back around long after you've said good-bye.”

Wow! To say I am suffering major book hangover after reading this one would be an understatement! 2015 has kicked off with a bang in the world of books; and Mosquitoland may take the cake!

Over the last few months I was seeing this book pop up on all kinds of blogs and memes. One of the most anticipated books of 2015, and after reading it, I can totally understand why! I am not usually one that falls for the hype or that ends up liking it as much as everyone else does. As I've already mentioned though, that was clearly not the case for this book. I loved every second...Every page...Every word! I am totally fan-girl'ing over this book right now.

My arc is tattered and worn. This book literally followed me everywhere! To the gym, the mall, the kitchen, friends houses...When it came to Mosquitoland the phrase: "I'd rather be reading." definitely marks true!

Alright, alright! You're probably thinking: "Just get to it already!". What about Mosquitoland did I love so much? Well, everything. Ha! How do ya like that?! Go on and read it. You'll see exactly what I mean.

First, you'll meet Mim(Mary Iris Malone). A character that has so many amazing, sarcastic qualities that I couldn't help but love her...And see a little of myself in her. There are also qualities about her that will have you wanting to embrace her. Shelter her from the cruelties of the world.

Then you'll meet Arlene, Carl, Poncho man *shutters*, Ahab, Walt, 17C a.k.a Beck...And the rest is history! This amazing crew of characters(aside from Poncho man) will nest their way into your heart. You will want to prolong your reading experience just so you can spend as much time with this eclectic bunch o' folk.

Mosquitoland also tackles Mental Illness. Something that I am grateful for. Mental Illness is slowly getting the attention it needs, and I think the more it comes up in Early Chapter Books and Young Adult books, the more people will learn that they are not alone, that they can relate and that they there is help out there.

I've mentioned it before and I'll say it again: I LOVE novels that take me on a journey(pun intended) of self discovery. I love seeing not only the character go through their transition, but to also discover who they truly are in the process. As Mim mentions: Sometimes a thing is not a thing until you say it out loud.

In case I did not make myself clear, this is a novel that you need to read. Allow yourself to fall victim to the hype when it comes to Mosquitoland. David Arnold has definitely put himself on my radar! If there is ever a standing ovation warranted for a book, this would be the one!