(Review) A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes by Atia Abawi
Publication Date: January 23rd, 2018
Pages: 288 (kindle)
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Synopsis: In a country ripped apart by war, Tareq lives with his big and loving family . . . until the bombs strike. His city is in ruins. His life is destroyed. And those who have survived are left to figure out their uncertain future.

In the wake of destruction, he's threatened by Daesh fighters and witnesses a public beheading. Tareq's family knows that to continue to stay alive, they must leave. As they travel as refugees from Syria to Turkey to Greece, facing danger at every turn, Tareq must find the resilience and courage to complete his harrowing journey.

But while this is one family's story, it is also the timeless tale of all wars, of all tragedy, and of all strife. When you are a refugee, success is outliving your loss.

Destiny narrates this heartbreaking story of the consequences of war, showing the Syrian conflict as part of a long chain of struggles spanning through time.

An award-winning author and journalist--and a refugee herself--Atia Abawi captures the hope that spurs people forward against all odds and the love that makes that hope grow.

My Review: 
This was a beautiful story about loss and perseverance through that loss. 

While I don't think that this subject matter should be taken lightly at all I'd like to think that there are some stories that are actually like this one. 

Tareq's story is sad and probably all too familiar to the world today. His country has been taken over by Daesh fighters, most of his family has been killed, and he, along with his father and sister, are just trying to find a better life. 

This story gives you an in depth look of what it's like in the lives of refugees who just want something better for their families and themselves. It's sad and raw, with little bits of hope and love sprinkled in also. You can feel the family's commitment to each other and how much they truly care for each other. 

There are so many other little stories within this one book that it really opens your eyes to things you might not even know exist. This book was educational, as well as entertaining. 

Thanks to First to Read and the publisher for the ARC.

(Review) Words in Deep Blue

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Publication Date: June 6th, 2017
Pages: 273 (hardcover)
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

Love lives between the lines.
Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.

Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

My Review: I was putting together my end of year list when I realized that I never wrote a review for this gorgeous thing. I've been hooked since Graffiti Moon and was thrilled when I heard she was giving us more lovely words. 

Rachel is sad. That's really the only way to truly describe her. Things are hard for her and being back where she grew up is hard for her. For starters, the family doesn't know about her brother - and she doesn't want to tell them. 

I loved this family something big. All of their personalities are big and beautiful and they all welcome Rachel home and into their bookstore again. 

Reading the little notes and trying to figure out who wrote what was so much fun. The side stories that came from the notes brought a little bit of happiness to a book that was kind of sad (my favorite kind, tbh). 

As Rachel comes to terms with her life, she and Henry become closer and she rebuilds a long lost friendship. I loved reading about these relationships and the way that each of these characters were put back together. Those are my favorite kinds of stories. 

Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. 

(Review) Down and Across

Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi
Publication Date: February 6th, 2018
Pages: 336 (kindle)
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 3.5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis:
Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can hardly commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion.

With college applications looming, Scott’s parents pressure him to get serious and settle on a career path like engineering or medicine. Desperate for help, he sneaks off to Washington, DC, to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of success.

He never expects an adventure to unfold out of what was supposed to be a one-day visit. But that’s what Scott gets when he meets Fiora Buchanan, a ballsy college student whose life ambition is to write crossword puzzles. When the bicycle she lends him gets Scott into a high-speed chase, he knows he’s in for the ride of his life. Soon, Scott finds himself sneaking into bars, attempting to pick up girls at the National Zoo, and even giving the crossword thing a try—all while opening his eyes to fundamental truths about who he is and who he wants to be.

My Review:
It took me a while to get into this one, but once I did it was hard to put down. Scott is a great character, despite his evaluation of himself. Who doesn't love a self-deprecating teenage boy, amirite? Scott is funny, if not a little sad. He can't seem to concentrate or stay committed to anything (his parents don't believe in psychologists). 

In an effort to fix himself, Scott ditches an internship in order to talk to a professor who studies grit, which he decides he needs more of. 

While Scott is searching for grit he also finds Fiora, Trent, and Jeanette. This trio of characters affect his life in big, small, and kind of weird ways. Scott's time in DC is filled with hangovers, fights, friendships, and really awkward dates. Through it all Scott does happen to find something that he's passionate about and manages to help others in the process. 

I loved reading about Scott's progress and how he come to terms with things in his life. His relationships with the people he meet are genuine and entertaining (even when they end). 

Great read about a boy trying ti find his place in the world.

Thanks to First to Read and the publisher for the ARC.

Ash's Top 17 Books of 2017

Well, here we are again. Another year, another list of books. I'd love to start this post off by bragging about all the books I've read this year...but I can't. By current count I'm at 101 books. My Goodreads Reading Challenge is set for 120. It was set for 175. But first it was set at 200.

This year was rough, y'all. Still! Out of those 101 books I had some pretty great ones. You might know the drill here. I'll post each book with a mini review and a link to my review of it, if you're into that sort of thing.

This book is pure magic. Hatfields and McCoys family rivalry, a love story, wit, sarcasm, and magic. 

Far From the Tree is perfection, in my opinion. If you have siblings, even if you aren't a "young adult", you can relate. It's beautiful. 

I just realized I never wrote a review for this lovely story so, fail on my part. I know I recommended Graffiti Moon a while back and this one is just as good. It's about friendship and loss and finding yourself. I'm a sucker for those kind of stories. 

Again with the magic and the family. If you love supernatural twists and turns, check this one out. 

I'm always skeptical when it comes to romance novels, but I loved this one. It's sweet (lives up to its name) and sassy. Also a little bit sad. It's not too smutty or fluffy. 

There are a lot of layers to this book. It's fun and light, but also deals with some issues that we have today, even though it's set in the 18th century. 

I can't say enough good things about Emery Lord's books. This one especially hit home for me after losing my stepfather and grandfather within a year of each other. It's about loss and faith, and finidng your faith within your loss. 

To quote John Green: "Frankly, I'd read your grocery lists." Don't read John's grocery list. Read his new book. It's about anxiety and dealing with the things in your head. If you suffer from anything like that, then read this book. If you don't suffer from anything like that (good for you), but also read this book. 

Sweet. Relevant. (There's a movie coming out.)

Megan Miranda is becoming one of my favorite mystery-ish authors. I've had the pleasure of reading a couple of her books as advanced copies and I've loved them. If you're into creepy and mysterious, check her out. 

I loved this because it mentions The Glades area of Florida, where I was raised. Janie makes a life for herself even though the hand she was dealt was leading her on a different path. 

Best friends who become more. Families who are great and families who suck. Cookies. This one is fun. 

I loved both of these stories. They're told by two different characters and full of so many emotions. The second book, in my opinion, was the better of the two. You can't read one without the other, though. 


Sequel to Rebel of the Sands. One of my favorite ongoing series (and I'm not one to read ongoing series, okay?). Magic. Friendship. Sacrifice. Love. 

I LOVED the ending to this series (start with To All the Boys I've Loved Before) . Lara Jean is such a fun character and I've enjoyed watching her grow throughout this series. This ending was picture perfect. 

Okay. So there's a little bit of what I'm looking forward to in 2018: 

Y'ALL. I recommend the Red Rising series to anyone who ever asks for recs. It's gritty and sad and so, so good. I thought the series was over but then I saw the author share this. A FOURTH BOOK FULL OF DARROW AS AN ADULT. I NEED IT NOW.

The final book in the Rebel of the Sands series comes out in March and I can't wait to see how it ends. 

Yeah, so, this is actually all I have to look forward to at this point. Oops? Like I said, it's been a weird year when it comes to books for me. I've got plenty of books on my shelves to read so I'll start with those. As always, follow the blog or find me on Goodreads if you want to know what I'm reading. 

Here's Chris Evans reading things for your time.

Happy reading, friends. 

(Review) The Dark Intercept

The Dark Intercept by Julia Keller
Publication Date: October 31st, 2017
Pages: 320 (kindle)
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 2 stars

Goodreads Synopsis: When the state controls your emotions, how hard will you fight to feel free?
In a radiant world of endless summer, the Intercept keeps the peace. Violet Crowley, the sixteen-year-old daughter of New Earth’s Founding Father, has spent her life in comfort and safety. Her days are easy thanks to the Intercept, a crime-prevention device that monitors and provokes emotion. But when her long-time crush, Danny Mayhew, gets into a dangerous altercation on Old Earth, Violet launches a secret investigation to find out what he's hiding. An investigation that will lead her to question everything she's ever known about Danny, her father, and the power of the Intercept.

Much like the device itself, The Dark Intercept might get under your skin.

My Review: 
I...did not like this book. I gave it two stars because it had a lot of promise. But other than that I had to force myself to read it. It took me almost two weeks to finish this book and it never takes me that long to read something. 

Violet is a boring character, first of all. I almost feel like she's got some social anxiety disorder because she is very, very awkward. Especially around Danny, the boy she's "in love with". Violet's dad is the ruler of New Earth and she works in Protocol Hall helping monitor Old Earth. 

Their weapon of choice is people's memories, courtesy of the Intercept. The Intercept was created by boy genius Kendall Mayhew only he killed himself and that story just turns into one big trash pile toward the end of everything. 

Here's my main problem: it took until I was about 60% through this book that something actually happened. For the first part it was Violet following Danny. Or pining after Danny. Or sitting at her father's feet. It was boring. I loved the idea of New Earth but it wasn't expanded. The Intercept sounds like a great threat, but I didn't get it. Maybe it's just me? 

The end of this book happened SO FAST that I feel like the build up (the first 60%) could have been done a little better. Too little action at the beginning and too much at the end. There was no balance and not really enough depth of the characters for me to enjoy them. 

Thanks to Tor Teens and NetGalley for the ARC. 
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